As you may have guessed we are ALWAYS on the lookout for cheaper ways to travel with a family of 5. Especially now as we need 2 rooms per night in most hotels to accommodate our family. Hotels have always been a weak travel spot for us to save money. We try to use peer to peer rentals whenever possible (airbnb.com and VRBO.com) but often when we are arriving or departing from a destination we choose to stay in a hotel near the airport to make the travel process easier. Hotels.com has a unique loyalty program that you can leverage your way to free hotels stays without having to actually stay in a hotel!
Why airport hotels?
An airport hotel allows us to get organized the night before the flight, the kids get a chance to sleep in a bit longer, and if you plan it right you can find a hotel with the pool to exercise the children to ensure a good night sleep. This is especially helpful preparing for longer flights both domestically and internationally. Starting a long trip with tired kids can make travel days feel extremely long and challenging.
What loyalty program to choose?
For a long time we focused on choosing a specific hotel chain (for us it was IHG) and utilizing credit card sign up bonuses to help offset the costs, but over the past 6 months I have changed gears towards a new program that has been going swimmingly! HOTELS.COM
What makes hotels.com unique is that it is a clearing house for a plethora of hotel chains and boutique hotels, but hotels.com has its OWN loyalty program.
How it works.
You have likely seen their commercials on tv with captain obvious, but the rundown is simple. Stay 10 nights, get one free. They average the costs of each of the 10 nights and you get that average dollar amount against a new hotel reservation. If your “free night” reservation is more than that average you pay the difference.
But that is not the unique part of this program. What makes it unique is that YOU are not required to stay in the room to get the credit on the 10 nights of reservations. You can book someone else, even pay for it with their credit card, but the credit for the stay goes to you. All that it requires is that you are signed into your account when the booking is made.
How to make Hotels.com work for you!
Think family, think friends, think anyone you know that travels and offer them your “services” to help them with the booking. I do this for all of my family members and have currently 6 free nights with 61 pending nights (which will garnish me 6 more free nights). Often I will help someone book their hotel room just via a quick phone call. I ask for dates and preferred location, I will then scout the offerings and give them suggestions based off reviews or my personal experience, then call them on the phone to get the pertinent details and billing info while I book their room under my account. Granted my extended family travels a lot, but you would be shocked how quickly you can rack up free nights making bookings for friends and family.
I have found hotels.com’s booking and cancellation policies to be the most user friendly of all the travel portals I use, as they allow lots of flexibility in cancellations and changes. If you take the short amount of time to help friends and family book hotels you can expect a quick turn around in free hotel stays.
Disclaimer: I am a affiliate for hotels.com, but my opinion and blog post are just that, my opinion. This is a program that I truly believe can be beneficial to family travelers If you click the hotels.com link it does route you through my affiliate page which helps the Family Frequent Flyer stay afloat, so if you appreciate the travel tips please use any of our booking links to make your reservations!