How To Earn Maximum Discounts & Points When You Stack Hotels.com
Here’s how to earn the maximum discounts & points when you stack hotels.com offers. We’ll look at where to find offers and discounts for hotels.com stays and also how to use their internal loyalty/rewards program for further earnings. If you have an upcoming hotel stay where using points isn’t possible, follow along for how to stack points and rewards with hotels.com bookings.
While Hotels.com does offer its own rewards program, it’s not overly spectacular in and of itself. Hotels.com Rewards offers a free night after staying 10 nights at any property booked through their website. This free night can be redeemed for the average value of the 10 paid nights. Registered members also receive emails for promotions, reduced rates, etc. However, not all hotels participate in redemptions, though you should earn paid night credits for all stays.
It’s worth remembering that you typically will not earn credits toward status, perks, or even stay credits with hotel chains. You can ask at check-in, but most hotel brands like Hyatt or Marriott insist that you book through them to earn credit in their rewards program for your hotel stays. So, why book through hotels.com?
If you’re heading to a destination where your favorite chain isn’t present, this works. Maybe you don’t care about status and just want a deal from your own personal travel rewards plan. Perhaps there aren’t any hotels where you can redeem your points for a free stay. Any of these could be reasons to book a paid stay on hotels.com. If you’re paying, let’s look at how to stack and combine discounts, rewards and points for maximum benefit on hotels.com.
Use The Right Credit Card
Always use the best credit card for the purchase at hand. When booking a hotel directly with Hilton, for example, you’d use a Hilton credit card or use a card that earns bonus points on hotels. However, that doesn’t work when you aren’t booking directly through the hotel but instead using a third-party site like hotels.com. So, what card should you use?
If you’re working on minimum spend to earn the bonus from a welcome offer, use that card. if you’re working on earning a bonus (such as the “free night after spending $15,000” on the World of Hyatt Card), that’s a good card to use.
Or Use A Gift Card!
You could also use your credit card to buy a Hotels.com gift card and pay with that. Why? You might earn points from your card AND pay less. Here’s how.
Discounted Hotels.com Gift Cards
There are recurring opportunities to buy discounted gift cards for Hotels.com. From the screen shot above, you can see an offer I have right now on my Platinum Card from American Express. Add the offer to your card, follow the terms, and get statement credit. This amounts to a 20% discount.
Unfortunately, you can only use that offer on one of your American Express cards. And it’s only valid for 1 purchase. Purchasing 2 gift cards or making separate transactions won’t earn you another $10, according to the terms. The good news is that you can use the American Express Connect website for offers, also. Add these manually, including for American Express cards issued by third-party banks.
Hotels.com Gift Cards From A Better Source
Maybe you’re not buying at a discount, but it’s also possible to buy these gift cards from a better source. There are stores that offer more points per dollar on your spending, which is another way to increase your return. Buying the gift cards from Staples, for example, where I can earn 5x on my Chase Ink Business Cash is a good option. Multiple cards earn bonus points at supermarkets, as well, and many of these sell Hotels.com gift cards.
Do the math for what discount you’ll get + what points you’ll earn to see what’s best out of your available options. Check office supply stores and even Amex Offers for Walmart, office supply stores, or anywhere selling Hotels.com gift cards. Plus, check Raise.com for discounts and even cash back. That will further sweeten the pot, as well.
Combining Multiple Gift Cards
We should pause to point out that you can only use 1 gift card at a time on hotels.com for making a reservation. If you have a bunch of $50 gift cards, that doesn’t help much for a $150 hotel room. You can combine the cards online at this website or call 1-888-999-4468 since the website is fickle.
Since you’ll be booking online, make sure you use shopping portals. You can earn cash back or even Membership Rewards if using Rakuten as a shopping portal (and you can then cash out these points). A few extra clicks is worth it, so use portals and be sure to never earn just 1 point per dollar when shopping online.
In fact, you should be using cash back portals when booking your stay AND when buying gift cards online. If you buy the gift cards online, earn double by using the portals for both transactions. 4X from Rakuten, which I can cash out at 1.25 cents each, turns into another $5 off each $100.
Final Thoughts On Stacking Discounts & Points With Hotels.com
Hotels.com isn’t perfect, and there are definitely things I wish they’d improve. Despite this, I find myself using Hotels.com whenever I need a cash stay in an area without a chain hotel from rewards programs I participate in. If you’re heading off the beaten path or even just don’t care about these rewards programs, Hotels.com is a good option. By using the tips outlined here, you can turn their moderate rewards program into something decent if you stack discounts & points with Hotels.com.
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I also use hotels.com infrequently. I’ve accumulated four or five nights toward their free stay, which is another reason which is a small bonus, although I think they apply about 10% of your stay towards the future night….its not simply a free future night anywhere on hotels.com. so say you spend $100/night × 10 they give yo a voucher for $100 TOWARDS a free room. Still, not bad, just a bonus to use sometimes. Next, if u have got a few nights built up in your account, they look at you a little better (I think). For instance, I booked two nights at a hotel that cost $130/night. Turned out not to be so nice a room. So I called and gently complained. They called the hotel, and the hotel was NOT willing to make ANY concession. However, Hotel.com gave me $130 voucher toward a free night. That’s good service and makes me feel real comfortable with hotels.com.
Frank – correct. It’s the average value of the 10 nights you paid, and you can either redeem it for a room that price/less or use it as value toward a more expensive room.
I’ve found in the last few years that most portals invalidate cash back when you pay with a gift card.
Audrey – I’ve had a few, but definitely not 100%. I still think it’s worth clicking to try, though.