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Travelers Can Earn Free Hotel Nights Through Rewards Programs--Marriott Rewards

Updated on January 14, 2015

Can You Earn Free Lodging?

Many people in America and other nations travel on a frequent basis. The wealthy may travel for pleasure regularly. Those involved in business often have to make trips to deal with clients in person. For most people, the jetsetters live in a world unknown to them. Just because the jetsetting class travels often does not mean that they are the only travelers who can benefit from frequent travel.

Even those from the middle class who take an annual vacation can earn rewards through brand loyalty that can make them feel as though they belong to the same strata as the jetsetters for that week. How can this be, you might ask? The use of a travel rewards program can lead to free nights at some of the most luxurious hotels on the planet in some of the most exotic locales. I've personally used Marriott Rewards in very nice vacations to Hawaii and Aruba.

Hotel Loyalty Programs

Do You Take Advantage of a Hotel Loyalty Program

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Hotel Chains Reward Loyal Customers

Just about every major hotel chain provides guests the opportunity to join their loyalty programs. These programs can provide benefits for those who would have to stay in a hotel anyway. How do they do this? Chains provide points to those who visit. Those points add up until the traveler can spend them on free lodging. At times, these points can add up quite quickly, at a relatively low cost to the loyal customer.

The Marriott Rewards Program

As mentioned above, most major lodging chains have loyalty programs. Among these chains are Choice Hotels, Wyndham, Holiday Inn, and Hilton. This particular article will focus upon the Marriott chain, however. Anyone can sign up for the Marriott Rewards program at a hotel or online.

After signing up, patrons receive a Marriott Rewards number. After providing this account number to the various hotels in the Marriott chain, visitors will receive a set number of points toward travel and other rewards. Hotel rewards start as low as 7,500 points for a night in a Level 1 hotel. A week at a Level 8 property would cost 240,000 points (the fifth night of any stay at the same property is free). These may seem like huge numbers, but they can actually be achieved relatively quickly--especially the 7,500 needed for a night at a Level 1.

For most Marriott properties, excluding Towneplace Suites and Residence Inns, Mariott Rewards members earn 10 points per dollar spent. The extended stay hotels noted above only pay 5 points per dollar. If a person was to spend a night at a relatively cheap rate of $75 per night, they would earn 750 points. Just 10 nights (a week-and-a-half of the imaginary vacation) would lead to a free night--just for spending money that would have been spent regardless. Obviously, the points for a week at the top tier would take quite a while to accumulate. I've personally been able to earn free (with $20 per night surcharges for upgrades) nights in both Hawaii and Aruba.


Other Ways to Earn Points

The quickest way that most people would be able to earn more points through the Marriott Rewards program would be to utilize the Marriott Rewards credit card, available at the Marriott Rewards website. New premier-level cardholders are given a bonus of up to 50,000 points for their first purchase on the card. They are also given a free night at a Category 1-Category 5 hotel each year the card is open, as well as an immediate free night at a hotel between Categories 1 and 4.

There is an annual fee associated with the card, but the immediate rewards are more than offset by the bonus points, as long as the consumer pays the bill before incurring interest costs. In addition to the bonus points, those with a Marriott Rewards premier credit card get at least 1 point for every dollar spent with the card. Dollars spent at Marriott's hotel brands earn a bonus of 5 points for each dollar, along with a 20% bonus for becoming an automatic silver preferred member--that would be a total of 17 points per dollar spent at a Marriott property. Our hypothetical $75 hotel room would then earn over 1,200 points.

Using the card is obviously not a good idea for those who cannot pay it off on a regular basis. But for those who can avoid interest charges, these types of cards can add up points for consumers who would be spending the money anyway. Almost free lodging can definitely add up more quickly than anticipated.

Other Rewards Offered by Marriott Rewards

The Marriott Rewards program is not just limited to free lodging. Members can elect to earn frequent flyer miles through their favorite airline. They can also elect to save up even longer for travel packages that include airfare and lodging, rounds of golf at Marriott golf resorts, trips on the Orient Express Train, or cruises. The options are increased through a catalog that Marriott Rewards sends to customers on a fairly regular basis. Items such as golf clubs, computers, flat screen televisions and other such items are available for those who have earned enough points. The options, while not limitless, are definitely plentiful enough to appeal to just about anyone's taste. Marriott Rewards is definitely a loyalty program that can pay off if worked correctly.

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      We have the benefit of Marriot Rewards and have used them throughout the years. Once we were able to travel by plane, stay at a hotel, rent a car -- all free through our reward points! Great hub article and hope people will add this to their list of options in saving money.

    • cprice75 profile image
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      cprice75 4 years ago from USA

      We have been able to get several free nights through the program. We actually used points to get a room on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii a few years ago. They did not have any standard rooms, so we had to pay $30/night for an upgrade. I didn't feel terribly bad doing that, since nasty looking hotels four blocks from the beach were double that.

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Great information! This is helpful, especially nowadays when everyone is looking to save money. Voting up and useful!

    • cprice75 profile image
      Author

      cprice75 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for reading yogi. Loyalty programs can definitely pay off in the long-run when customers can cash in. Some perks are available just for signing up for many of them.

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