Hotels.com Welcome Rewards Scheme
If you've booked through Hotels.com you may have noticed the Welcome Rewards scheme logo against some of the available hotels, and you may be wondering what its all about.
This hub is aimed at explaining how this scheme works, and how it may or may not work for you.
What is Hotels.com?
Hotels.com is an online hotel booking website who act as an agent on behalf of hotels all around the world. Their business model is based on selling hotel rooms at a particular rate, and then passing on that money to the hotels less a commission fee.
Hotels.com is part of the Expedia group and represents over 240,000 hotels in more than 60 countries.
The fundamental idea behind this site is that you can compare the prices of many hotels in a single location without the need to visit each hotel providers websites individually. In many cases the price on Hotels.com is also cheaper than if you went to the hotel directly.
What are Welcome Rewards?
The Welcome Rewards scheme is a loyalty scheme aimed at gaining Hotels.com repeat business from customers.
When you're searching for hotels, a lot of them will include the "Welcome Rewards" logo. If you choose and book one of these hotels, you will earn one credit per nights stay at this hotel. Once you earn 10 credits (i.e. 10 nights), you'll receive a free night credit to redeem!
Your Welcome Rewards credits are added to your account after you have completed your stay.
The free night credit can be used against any of the Welcome Rewards hotels on Hotels.com and its value is the average cost of your 10 nights that you've booked and stayed for.
To illustrate this point, lets say I book 5 welcome rewards nights for £50 per night, and 5 nights for £100 per night. This gives me a free credit worth £75.
I can then redeem this for a free night up to the value of £75, or I can pay the difference on a more expensive hotel night i.e. I can get a £100 night for £25. You can book hotels of a lower value e.g. £50, but you lose any remaining credit i.e. the £25.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The main advantage of this scheme is obvious, you get free hotel nights! But this in itself is not unusual if you're a frequent hotel guest. Collecting points with the hotel chain directly can get you free nights, but what if you stay with a few different hotel chains? You end up with a small number of points with each chain, never having a sufficient balance to get anything free. This is where the Welcome Rewards scheme really pays off, as you can stay in all sorts of different hotels, from national chains to independent boutiques, and as long as the logo is on their page you can collect credits towards a free stay.
The other benefit vs collecting hotel points is that when you come to redeem your free night, you're not tied to the hotel chain you have the points with...you can stay at any Welcome Rewards hotel!
The downside of this scheme is that you cannot collect points directly with the hotel, which in cases can be more profitable if you stay in the same hotel chain regularly, but of course you have the choice yourself on which option is going to be better for you.
In addition you don't usually earn tier points with hotel chains when booking through a third party i.e. it doesn't count towards your membership level, silver, gold, platinum etc.
If you know you're always going to stay in the Hilton for example, and are happy to redeem free nights at Hilton hotels, then Welcome Rewards is probably not the right option for you, as you will probably get a better deal, and more point bonuses by booking directly.
Hopefully this gives you a brief introduction to what the Welcome Rewards scheme from Hotels.com is all about, and if it may be right for you.
It's not ideal for everyone, but its another option to getting a little bonus for staying in hotels regularly.
Why not look at Hotels.com next time you're booking your summer holiday, and you may be able to earn yourself a bonus nights stay somewhere when you get back!