- Major hotel chains offer various membership levels and benefits to encourage customer loyalty, and they are usually free to sign up.
- Even if you don’t travel frequently, there are still ways to get some benefits.
- The benefits may be quite simple, like free Wi-Fi and bottled water.
Billy Costanzo joined Hyatt’s loyalty program nine months ago and, after spending over 60 nights at Hyatt hotels, now has the highest level of membership. He chose Hyatt because he enjoyed the VIP services, which include room upgrades, free breakfasts, and late check-out.
“At most hotels, you get a standard suite (upgrade) for free. If it (standard room) is $200, the cost of a suite is usually between $400 and $500, so I save 200-,” said Costanzo, a student at Northwestern University. 300 bucks there.
Major hotel chains offer various membership levels and benefits to encourage customer loyalty, and they are usually free to sign up. Costanzo got into the system when he learned he was going to be traveling and staying in hotels for a long time. However, even if you are not a frequent traveler, there are still ways to get some benefits from these loyalty programs.
Travel Tips:Save time at the airport this summer
More about hotels:When should you turn down your hotel room — and when should you be too picky?
Clay Voorhees, a professor of marketing at the University of Alabama who has researched hotel loyalty programs, said there are two ways customers can take advantage of them — financial discounts through the accumulation of points and status benefits such as better hotel service.
“Even if you stay at a relatively lower rate, just being a member of the program can give you some service-based perks when you show up, even if you aren’t able to use the points to get the actual discount benefits of the program,” Voorhees added.
Status benefits can be quite simple, like free Wi-Fi and bottled water. It is usually difficult for occasional travelers to take advantage of the points system unless they actively monitor their accounts, Voorhees said, because the points may expire.
Voorhees added that occasional travelers can consider Stash Hotel Rewards, which makes travelers earn points through some independent boutique hotels. But for hospitality companies, let’s take a look at the hotel loyalty programs from Wyndham, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt.
The story continues below.
An extra night at the Wyndham?
Wyndham Rewards offers four membership levels: Blue, Gold, Platinum and Diamond, mostly dependent on the number of nights the member has stayed at Wyndham hotels and accommodation facilities in the previous year. Benefits include points that can be used for free hotel nights and gift cards, more flexible check-in/out hours, suite upgrades, and better personalized service. A higher membership level will lead to more benefits.
Wyndham’s portfolio ranges from economy to luxury, said Lisa Checchio CMO of Wyndham, so they have a choice for every traveller. Wyndham only has three free nighttime tiers — 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points — which are part of “program simplicity,” according to Checchio.
Customers earn 10 points per dollar for each eligible stay at Wyndham Rewards. They can also apply for Visa Wyndham Rewards cards for Gold or Platinum membership and earn points through daily purchases.
For guests who don’t travel often, “Having a credit card is an ideal way for them to really increase the points they earn, so that they can redeem them on future trips,” Checchio said.
Hilton digital keys
Hilton Honors has four membership levels: Member, Silver, Gold, and Diamond, and points can be used for free hotel nights, online shopping, Lyft rides, car rentals, and concert tickets. Gold and Diamond members can take advantage of room upgrades when available, and food and beverage credits at select brands. Similarly, customers earn 10 points for every dollar spent on their stay.
The hospitality company also offers the Hilton Honors American Express Card, with which customers can earn bonus points.
In addition, Hilton members can take advantage of shareable digital room keys, which can be shared with up to four additional people, making group trips even more convenient, says Jennifer Cheek, global president and senior vice president of Hilton Honors, Customer Engagement & Partnerships.
“We have a digital key, and it’s through the Hilton Honors app… that lets you choose your room; it allows you to open your door with your phone as your key,” Cheek said.
luxury. luxury:Reach by water at these 6 amazing hotels and resorts
I feel the need for speed:How to make sure your hotel’s Wi-Fi is fast enough
Early check-in or late check-out at Marriott
The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program offers six levels of membership: Member, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite. Customers at each level enjoy different benefits. For example, Silver Elite members (10-24 nights/year to qualify) have priority for late check-out when available, while Ambassador Elite members (more than 100 nights/year to qualify) have the flexibility of Your24, which is the flexibility to choose 24 hours of their stay, Like check in and check out at 7 pm
Customers can earn points through hotel stays, Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, car rentals, etc. Points can be used for free hotel nights, excursions, gift cards and more. For every dollar spent on affiliated hotels, customers earn 10 points.
The rewards program is a travel program because the hospitality company not only has hotels and private home rentals, but also all-inclusive resorts and luxury yachts, said David Floyk, senior vice president of loyalty at Marriott. He added that members are able to redeem points for special experiences.
“We have these once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like they can go to the Super Bowl. I’ve hosted over 40 of our members in a VIP suite overlooking the 50-yard line at the Super Bowl.”
The story continues below.
Free breakfasts with Hayat
Hyatt has four membership levels: Member, Discoverer, Explorer and Universal. Benefits range from resort fee-free nights and room upgrades to complimentary breakfasts and club lounge access. Members can redeem their points for free nights at hotels, certain car rental locations, or convert points into airline miles. They earn 5 points for every dollar they spend at a Hyatt hotel or resort.
“World of Hyatt members can now enjoy program benefits, including earning and redeeming points at over 50 must-see resorts from the Inclusive Collection in destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Caribbean,” Hyatt wrote to USA TODAY.