Welcome Rewards is essentially a loyalty scheme for Hotels.com which is one of the large booking sites for accommodation online (just like Expedia, and even owned by them). You can book 140,000 hotels, B&Bs, villas, and other types of accommodation through Hotels.com.
How Welcome Rewards from Hotels.com Works
It’s very simple to understand for every 10 nights you book and stay through Hotels.com you’ll get the 11th night for free. The free night is based on the average spend from the 10 nights, but there are no blackout dates. It’s a reasonably fair system as you get what you pay for – note that special coupon code nights are not eligible (check before making reservations).
You can use the free night at many of the 140,000 properties, which is a far greater selection than the big hotel chains. In addition there aren’t restrictions on the room type that you book whether it’s a single or a suite.
You can sign-up to Welcome Rewards from Hotels.com here.
The Benefits of Welcome Rewards from Hotels.com
- Unlike the other hotel loyalty programs you can stay where you like including those brands you are familiar with (e.g. Hilton or SPG) – this greatly increases the portfolio of properties you have access to.
- You’ll earn even if the hotel is a boutique hotel and not affiliated with a big chain brand
- It’s arguably simpler than maintaining many hotel loyalty programmse
- There are fewer restrictions on redeeming your nights
- You still get your hotel chain benefits if you’re lucky!
The Downsides of Hotels.com Welcome Rewards
- The value of your earned redemption is only the average of your last 10 stays
- You’ll only earn rewards for making your own bookings through Hotels.com – so if yo have a company travel agent this is going to be very impractical for you!
- You still pay taxes and fees on your redeemed nights (so not totally free)
- You won’t be refunded the difference if you redeem at a hotel that costs less than the value of your free night.
If like me you like to book a boutique hotel now and then, or you have stays outside your normal hotel loyalty scheme then Welcome Rewards is for you. The prices are normally competitive and you’ll get a bonus for every ten stays that you make. If you have a booking agent then this is really not going to work for you at all, and I still believe that you’ll get more value out of a hotel loyalty scheme if your able to work you stays into them. Some chains like Hilton will often give you your usual benefits when staying at their property even if booked through a third-party like Hotels.com but don’t expect any HHonors points.
You can sign-up to Welcome Rewards or find out more about the programme from Hotels.com here.