Short of being an influencer or an undercover hotel evaluator, have you wondered how to score hotel accommodation without a cost? What does it take to get free hotel rooms?
If you want to travel more while paying less, specifically for your hotel lodgings, you’ll be happy to know there are many legitimate ways.
Some involve maximizing the hotels’ own marketing and promotional offers; others range from opting for hospitality industry-related or media careers to perfecting the art of complaining about hotel service.
Keep reading our list of hacks and tips to learn more about getting free hotel accommodation.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Using a Hotel-Branded Credit Card
1. Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express
Ascend Card from American Express holds significant appeal for those who frequently opt for Hilton properties when booking accommodations and seek a co-branded credit card packed with valuable advantages. Among its noteworthy features, the card carries an annual fee of $95. It offers an enticing welcome bonus, granting cardholders 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points upon spending $2,000 on purchases during the initial 3-month period.
The card boasts an impressive rewards system, allowing users to earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar spent directly at Hilton hotels and resorts, 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, as well as 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other qualifying purchases.
2. Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
The Marriott offers its esteemed customers the Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, a lucrative deal with an annual fee of $95. This card has an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) ranging from 17.49% to 24.49%, providing flexibility for different credit users.
One of the standout features of this card is the initial bonus offer; if you spend $5,000 within the first three months of card membership, you will be rewarded with 100,000 bonus points.
3. IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards
IHG provides two credit card options for your consideration: the Premier and the Traveler Card. Each has unique benefits and cost structure, with annual fees and APR variations. The Premier Card offers an attractive rewards structure. For every dollar you spend at IHG hotels, you’ll receive 10 points.
Furthermore, spending at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants rewards you 2 points per dollar. For all other purchases, you’ll still earn 1 point per dollar. On the other hand, the Traveler Card follows the same points system but with a slightly lower earning rate for hotel stays – providing 5 points per dollar instead of 10.
4. Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card
The Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card is an excellent option for travelers wanting free nights at Choice Hotels properties. The card has no annual fee and offers a 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles.
You can earn 32,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, which can be redeemed for up to four nights at a select Choice Hotels property. You can also earn bonus points for every dollar you spend at Choice Hotels properties and other purchases.
5. Best Western Rewards MasterCard
The Best Western Rewards MasterCard should be your next consideration. The standard variant has no annual fee, making it a cost-effective choice. Conversely, the Platinum card initially offers the same benefit, with no yearly fee for the first year, after which a $59 annual fee applies.
As for the APR, the regular card charges 24% or 24.24%, while the Premium Card ranges between 18.24% and 24.24%. The premium card offers up to four free nights with bonus points. Plus, you automatically get Platinum membership status. The regular card gets you up to two free nights with bonus points.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Joining Hotel Rewards Programs
6. Best Western Rewards
It’s straightforward: each time you stay at one of their hotels, you earn points – the more you visit, the more points you accumulate. And guess what? These points lead to free hotel stays. You’ll earn 10 points for every dollar you spend during your visits, and once you reach 8,000 points, you’ve earned yourself a free night’s stay.
7. Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham rewards program is designed to make your wanderlust wallet-friendly. You can expect 10 points per dollar spent or 1,000 points for each eligible stay, whichever option yields more. Do the math; you’ll find that just 15,000 points can get you a free night stay.
And the beauty of it? These points can be earned not just through stays but also by using the Wyndham Rewards Visa card. Spend on your card, rack the points, and book your free hotel room.
8. Starwood Preferred Guest
SPG lets you earn up to 5 points per dollar spent. But where it shines is the flexibility it offers. You can transfer your points to numerous frequent flyer programs, usually on a 1:1 basis. When you’ve gathered enough points, just 2,000 to be precise, you can redeem them for free rooms.
Plus, the more you stay, the more benefits you enjoy, like late checkout and room upgrades. With SPG, the perks don’t just stop at free stays.
9. Choice Privileges
Choice Privileges has no yearly fees. In the first three months, spend a thousand bucks and get 32,000 bonus points. That’s like four free nights at a hotel. If you go further and spend $10,000 on your card’s anniversary, guess what? You’re treated to 8,000 bonus points, equal to a whole night’s stay, for free.
For every dollar spent at Choice Privileges locations, you earn 15 points. Spend a buck on hotel gift cards or points? You pocket 5 points. Use the card anywhere else? Still, you get 2 points. Plus, each time you stay with Choice Hotels, you get a 10% bonus on points.
10. Marriott Hotel Rewards
With a $95 annual fee, Marriott Hotel Rewards allows you to spend $5,000 in the first three months and earn 100,000 bonus points. Here’s the cherry on top. After your account anniversary, Marriott will give you a free night’s stay. Here’s how you earn more points: for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels, you’ll get 6 points.
Making purchases elsewhere? They’ve got you covered with 2 points for every dollar spent.
11. Global Hotel Alliance Discover Program
This incredible hotel loyalty program brings together a fantastic range of hotel brands, including Al Faisaliah Hotels, Alila Hotels & Resorts, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, and more.
They may not offer free nights per stay, but they have something amazing in store for you: member discounts! Picture this—10% off your booking. That discount alone could be like getting a free night, depending on how long you stay and the cost of your trip.
12. Omni Select Guest
Next up is Omni Select Guest, a fantastic reward program that lets you earn free nights. With free Wi-Fi and exclusive offers, it’s a great deal. Stay 20 qualifying nights at a qualifying rate and earn a free stay. Joining is a breeze, too—just visit their website and sign up.
13. Radisson Rewards
Radisson Rewards is a well-known loyalty program with a global reach, offering 1,100 properties worldwide.
Here’s how it works: for every dollar you spend on stays, you’ll earn 35 points, and the same goes for food and beverages during your stay. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can redeem them for a free night’s stay. You must gather at least 9,000 points in your account to enjoy this perk.
14. iPrefer Hotel Rewards
iPrefer has a network of 650 hotels spanning 85 countries – talk about options. And the best part is, every time you stay at one of their hotels, you’ll be racking up points, earning 5 to 10 points per dollar spent, depending on your membership level.
These points are pretty sweet, as you can later redeem them for certificates ranging from $25 to $500. Gather 12,500 to 250,000 points, and you’re good to go.
15. World of Hyatt
Let’s talk about the World of Hyatt. It’s a fantastic loyalty program that offers great perks. You only have to spend a dollar to earn 5 points when you sign up. Once you’ve accumulated 5,000 points, you’ve earned yourself a free night stay.
The membership comes with various levels you can climb, unlocking even more goodies like free internet, access to an exclusive reservation line, late checkout, and room upgrades.
16. Shangri-La Golden Circle
Shangri-La Golden Circle is a rewards program where you earn points: one dollar equals one point. The more points you earn, the higher your tier and the more bonus points you get—ranging from 25% to 50% extra.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Credit Cards That Reward You With Free Hotel Stays
17. Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card gives you a ticket to free hotel rooms with no annual fee. Here’s how it works: spend just $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account. Boom! You’ve just earned 20,000 bonus points.
What’s that, you ask? You can trade these points for a $200 credit toward any travel purchase.
18. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Initially, Chase Sapphire is fee-free for the first year, and then it’s just $95 per year after that. Spend $4,000 in the first three months and enjoy $ 50,000 bonus points. Better still, these points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
That means those 50,000 points become a hefty $625 for your dream vacation. Add to this the fact you’ll earn 2x points on travel and dining, with a point for every other purchase, and free hotel stays are almost guaranteed.
19. American Express Platinum Card
American Express Platinum Card has a hefty price tag and an annual fee of $550. The most crucial point is that you aren’t charged any interest because the balance is paid monthly. In the first three months, if you spend $5,000, you are rewarded with 60,000 Membership Rewards Points.
They’re the keys to numerous benefits, some of which include access to luxury lounges at airports, exclusive hotel programs, and much more.
20. Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card
You won’t have to worry about annual fees during the first year. However, starting from the second year, there’s a $95 annual fee. But the benefits are worth it. You earn two miles for every dollar spent, and if you spend $1,500 monthly on your regular expenses like groceries and bills, you’ll quickly rack up those miles.
For instance, after the first three months of opening your account and spending $3,000, you’ll receive a massive bonus of 50,000 miles, equivalent to a cool $500 at a cent per mile.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Availing of Hotel Promotional Offers
21. Omni Hotels & Resorts
Imagine finding a cheaper rate for the same room on another website. What does Omni do? They’ll match that price. But they’ll also take it a step further. They’ll offer you a whopping 20% off on your stay. Remember when we hinted at a free night’s stay? Well, this is your ticket.
Next in line is Marriott Hotels. They promise to match any lower rate you find elsewhere. They give you a choice. Fancy a 25% discount? Or do 5,000 Marriott Rewards points sound more tempting? It’s entirely up to you.
23. IHG Hotels
Got a membership with IHG Rewards? Then you’re in for a real treat. Discover a better price on another website? They’ll match it. Plus, you’ll receive five times the usual IHG Rewards Club Points, up to a massive 40,000 points. A free night’s stay could be just around the corner. However, remember these extra points won’t affect your membership level upgrade.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, consider booking your room at Shangri-La. They’ve got your back with their Best Price Guarantee: If you find a cheaper deal on another website within 24 hours, they’ll match that price and even give you an additional 10% discount on the lower rate. You can always trust Shangri-La to offer you the best deal for a comfortable stay.
Let’s shift gears to Hilton. Their offer is a steal! Like Shangri-La, they’ll match the competitor’s price, but here’s the kicker: Hilton takes it a step further. You get a whopping 25% discount on the matched price, resulting in massive savings.
Can you imagine? You could get a free night at Hilton depending on your stay length and room cost.
26. Starwood Hotels & Resorts
They’ll match it if you find a better price within a day. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. They give you a choice: grab a sweet 25% discount on your booking or take home 2,000 points. Either way, you’re a winner!
Let me break it down for you. Picture a four-night stay originally priced at $800, but with that 25% discount, it comes down to just $600. You’ve saved a cool $200, like getting a free night’s stay.
27. Best Western
Best Western has an irresistible offer you won’t want to miss. Picture this: you come across a room rate on a different website, lower than what’s on BestWestern.com. No worries, because Best Western will match it for you.
They’ll even throw in a $100 Best Western Travel Card to sweeten the deal further. How great is that?
AccorHotels wants you to take advantage of a good deal. So if you book with them and spot a better offer for the same room and hotel elsewhere, they’re ready to step up. Not only will they match the price, but they’ll shave off an extra 10%, too.
29. Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels has an exciting challenge for you. If you find a lower rate for the same date on another website, they’ll match it easily. And here’s the best part: if you’re from the U.S. or Canada, you’ll receive a $50 Reward Card just like that!
And for our international visitors, you’ll be treated to a free night.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Becoming a Mystery Shopper/Hotel Visitor
Mystery Shopping. What’s that? It’s a cool job. You pose as a customer. Your aim? To evaluate services. Companies hire you. They want to improve. How? By getting feedback. It can be for restaurants, stores, or hotels. Yes, hotels, too.
However, be careful when looking for mystery shopping opportunities. Scams are prevalent in various domains, and mystery shopping is no exception. Being cautious is crucial.
A typical scam involves receiving a check for more than the agreed amount and requesting to refund the excess. Unfortunately, when you return the money, the check bounces, leaving you empty-handed. It’s a deceitful trick, so being on guard and protecting yourself from such scams is crucial. Stay vigilant!
30. Coyle Hospitality
Coyle Hospitality stands out as a reputable firm operating since 1996. If you’re considering becoming a mystery shopper, it’s worth considering. They offer a great opportunity to visit different hotels and the best part is, you don’t have to pay for your stay – it’s completely free.
In return, you must provide honest feedback about your experience.
Have you heard of BestMark? They offer mystery shopping opportunities, where you can experience free hotel stays. It’s pretty straightforward: your job is to observe and report. Your feedback plays a crucial role in enhancing their service quality.
Ways to Get Free Hotel Rooms – Complaining About Your Stay
You may face an issue during your hotel stay. You could be tempted to get angry, but hold on. Approach it wisely. Here’s how.
32. How to Nicely Complain About Your Stay
- When an issue crops up during your hotel stay, be calm. Clearly state your problem. Be concise. Avoid emotion. It’s all about being clear and to the point.
- Have a camera handy? A photo or a video can be your best friend, acting as proof of the issue. Remember, evidence strengthens your case.
- Let’s keep expectations real. A tiny hiccup might not get you a free stay. Remember, big problems, big rewards. So, only serious issues can lead to significant compensation.
- Next step? Report it. ASAP. Ideally, face-to-face at the front desk. Instant feedback can speed up the resolution process.
- Did you leave the hotel already? No problem. Just pick up the phone. Call the hotel as soon as you reach home.
- Think of your complaint as helpful feedback. This way, the hotel can fix the issue and improve. It’s a win-win. You get your problem solved, and they get to up their game.
- How to wrap up? Express your disappointment. But do show your willingness to give them another chance, which shows your loyalty to the brand and could sway them in your favor.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Travel & Hospitality Opportunities
33. Becoming a Staff in a Hotel
Perks are a big part of the job, like free rooms. Imagine being in a new city and not worrying about lodging. Sounds dreamy.
Here’s the deal. Hotels like to pamper their employees. It’s a win-win. Happy employees make happy guests. So, you sometimes get to stay for free in the same hotel or a sister property.
34. Joining a Travel Agency
Travel agencies have their charms, too. You’re the link between hotels and travelers. Hotels often invite agency staff for ‘familiarization trips.’ The fancy term, but what it means is free stays and a chance to experience the hotel to sell it better.
35. Joining a Frequent Flyer Program
Do you travel often? If so, there’s an advantage you might be missing out on—a golden ticket to free hotel stays known as a frequent flyer program. Sounds interesting, right?
Most airlines reward loyalty with points, which can be exchanged for free flights, seat upgrades, car rentals, and even hotel stays. It’s a win-win!
Different airlines have different partners; some stick to specific hotel chains, while others offer options from major cities worldwide.
So, how do you start? Simple: Just sign up and join a program that suits your travel pattern. Then, as you fly, you’ll collect points and watch them add up. The more you travel, the more you earn. As a bonus, these points can even lead to room upgrades.
36. Becoming a Social Media Influencer
Social media has become the new word-of-mouth, wielding immense influence power. Hotels are well aware of this, and they adore it. The craving for shares, likes, and glowing reviews is real. They’ve come to comprehend the impact of a perfectly timed Instagram post or a raving review on a travel blog and are willing to shell out for it.
Surprisingly, you don’t need a massive follower count to benefit. Even with just 15,000 followers, you can walk through the doors. It’s a small investment that promises significant returns. A couple of free nights for you could translate into thousands of potential guests for them.
So, if you’ve got an audience, get ready to explore some incredible hotel perks.
37. Becoming a Travel Journalist
A travel journalist is more than just someone who travels. They are storytellers who share their experiences of exotic places, weaving vivid descriptions and inspiring narratives. These tales find their way into magazines, blogs, and newspapers, and sometimes, they earn the journalists complimentary stays.
How does that work?
Well, it’s simple: hotels love publicity, and by writing about them, they gain traction. In return, these hotels may offer a free room, creating a win-win situation. If you aspire to be a travel journalist, start by building a portfolio, exploring local places in your city, and writing captivating stories about them.
As you grow, reach out to hotels, offering your services and demonstrating the value you can bring to their establishment. Remember, it all begins with sharing your passion for travel and the joy of storytelling.
Ways To Get Free Hotel Rooms – Scour Travel Search Engine Sites
Let’s talk about travel search engine sites. The hidden gems in this game? Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia. They are a ticket to free, or at least discounted, hotel rooms.
Start with Hotels.com. It runs an alluring rewards program. How does it work? Simple. Stay ten nights, and bag one free! The catch is the value of your free night equals the average price of your ten stays. So, choose wisely. The best part? You get to decide how to gather these nights. It could be a single ten-night stay or separate trips.
You have exclusive rates and an opportunity to unlock rooms at half the regular price.
One great thing about Booking.com is that loyalty pays off with their Genius deals. You can snag some real bargains! The more you book, the more you save. As a Genius member, you’ll enjoy a cool 10% discount on room prices. It’s a smart move.
With Expedia Rewards, every dollar you spend on hotels, packages, and more earns you 2 points. And get this: even your flights earn you points, too! It’s like saving while you spend. You’ll be surprised how quickly those points add up, leading to serious savings on future bookings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Free Hotel Rooms
What’s the Best Way To Get a Free or Discounted Hotel Room?
The quest for scoring a free or discounted hotel room involves savvy and strategy. Some believe it to be a matter of pure luck, but it’s often more about leveraging the right tools and understanding how hotel loyalty programs work.
Stay loyal to a hotel chain, collect loyalty points, and look for special promotions or credit card partnerships. It’s a game; booking during off-peak periods can sometimes yield surprising discounts.
How Does One Get Free Hotel Rooms for Homeless People?
First, look for community programs and nonprofits dedicated to homelessness. Often, they have partnerships with local hotels for emergency accommodations. Reach out to them and see if they can assist. On another note, some government programs provide vouchers for hotel stays during extreme weather conditions or other crises.
How Does One Get a Free Hotel Room for COVID Purposes?
The answer usually lies within governmental assistance and public health programs. Many states and cities have launched initiatives to provide isolation rooms for those infected, especially those with vulnerable individuals.
These programs aim to curb the spread within households and communities. Apply through the proper channels, which usually involve health departments.
Conclusion – Free Hotel Rooms
Staying at hotels for free will definitely be a boon to your finances, especially if you can land a gig that would pay you to actually stay at hotels. Ace this feat and consider your globe-trotting goals half-paid.
Lastly, if you set your mind to snag freebies of any kind, keep up the smart and timely research; eventually, your diligence will unlock the secret world of free stuff.
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Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
- Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
- Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
- Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.