We talked about airfares, now let’s talk about hotel costs.
I know, another few hundred dollars, right? What the hell am I possibly going to tell you about that?
Along the same lines as with the airlines, there are hotel loyalty programs. You can earn points or miles for staying in a particular hotel chain. Examples of chains are Hilton, Marriott, Choice, Carlson, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Wyndham, etc. You get the picture.
These hotel chains love when you’re a return customer. But specific brands love it even more. Unfortunately, as a general rule, you won’t earn any more points for staying at a Marriott Renaissance hotel versus a Marriott Courtyard if the price is the same.
With the points you earn, you can use them for free nights, or depending on the hotel, you may be able to use some points + cash to reduce the out of pocket expense. Not too shabby, right? If you’re short of points, or think you may need more, keep an eye out on the emails the hotel chain will send. They offer an opportunity to buy points at either a discount or may do a two-for-one sale (i.e. you buy 10,000 points for $100, but get 20,000).
How can you use this information to reduce your hotel cost for the reunion?
First, identify the hotels in Waterloo. Second, decide which chain is affiliated with that brand. Since the loyalty programs are free, you can request to join them all!
Do you have a preferred hotel chain? Did you know nearly all, if not all, chains have credit cards that help you earn points towards free nights?
Since you may be using your airline credit card to earn those bonus points, getting the hotel card about six months later would give you a chance to get comfortable with the whole points/miles thing.
Once you get the hotel credit card, you can begin paying your internet, cable, DirecTV or dish, utilities, and buy groceries and gas to earn the bonus points.
Most hotel cards offer enough bonus points for at least 1 free night in exchange for you spending a specified amount of money over a 3 month timeframe, same as the airlines. You’re going to spend it anyway, why not get the points for it – one way or another?
Do you travel for personal or work purposes? Don’t want a credit card, but would love to earn points? You can most likely become a loyalty member for your favorite hotel chain.
What does loyalty member mean? It means you have an opportunity to earn a base number of points when you stay each night. One thing to note – a lot of hotels offer bonus points for making reservations using their apps. Hilton is offering 3x the points just to use their app to book your room through the end of 2016.
How much does it cost? Being a loyalty member costs $0.00. And you don’t need a credit card for this program. However, the amount of points you could earn is less than what you’d get with the credit card.
Again, you have plenty of time to begin saving points.