Hello everyone! In my previous post on my tips of how I research and book a great value holiday, I had flagged the Hotels.com Rewards loyalty scheme as being particularly of note for how generous it is. With this in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate a full post to review the Hotels.com Rewards scheme to highlight why that is and what you can get from it!
Please note – the OneKey programme has now gone live in the United States, which makes significant changes to the return rates and details of the Hotels.com Rewards programme. As we are a UK based blog, we are continuing to reflect the old Hotels.com Rewards programme which is still applicable for now and will be the case for most non-US readers, but please do check first if OneKey is live in your region.
(Note: We may receive a small commission for referring you using our links, but it won’t affect the service you receive and per our editorial policy, we always write honestly about what we review, no matter if we get paid or not).
How does Hotels.Com Rewards work?
The Hotels.com Rewards loyalty scheme consistent of 2 main structures:
A “Free night’s stay” after 10 nights.
The Hotels.com Rewards loyalty scheme works of the basis of a stamp system, similar to your average coffee loyalty scheme. For every night you book into a hotel using Hotels.com, that equates to one stamp.
Each stamp is made at the value of the price you have paid for that night’s stay. Once you’ve hit 10 stamps, you get a “free night’s stay” on your next booking with Hotels.com which is a deduction off a booking of the average price of the 10 nights.
That works out as a very generous deal. Let’s illustrate it with an example just to make it crystal clear:
- I stay 5 nights in a hotel at £200 a night
- I then stay 5 nights in a hotel at £100 a night.
- As the average of my 10 nights would be a stay at £150 a night, I can redeem a voucher for £150.
Effectively, this equates to a 10% return on your holiday bookings – absolutely worth grabbing onto!
Below I am demonstrating how your stamps are recorded and the average cost shown post booking:
Membership Loyalty Tier Benefits
Should you collect multiple stamps over the course of a membership year, you’ll move up though the Hotels.com loyalty tiers which contains some further additional benefits depending on the level you’re at. These are more “nice to have” benefits than the outright savings in the stamp system above.
Basic Hotels.Com Rewards
Applies until reaching the point of collecting 9 stamps:
- Offers access to the stamp system as per the above.
- Offers discounts via signing up through “secret prices” – these are simple discounts when booking your trip.
Hotels.Com Rewards Silver
- For “VIP Access” properties only you may get an extra, which is hotel dependent. (These are rarely worth getting too excited about but they’re nice little extras like a bottle of wine on arrival, or a late checkout being provided as standard).
- Price Guarantee Plus. This is a really good perk but most people won’t put in the legwork to take full advantage – if you book somewhere and then find the same hotel cheaper either on Hotels.com or another site at a later date, they’ll refund you the different.
- Priority Customer Service – you’ll get prioritised for any issues when contacting Hotels.Com
Hotels.Com Rewards Gold
Obtaining Hotels.com Rewards Gold requires you to be a seriously regular customer, racking up over 30 stamps in a year. If you manage to achieve this, you’ll get the following additional rewards:
- A free room upgrade (if available) at VIP Access hotels only.
- Early check in where available at VIP Access hotels only.
- A guaranteed late check out of 2 hours at VIP Access hotels only.
- For Avis customers an upgrade to Preferred Plus Avis Membership when you link accounts.
How long is a membership year with Hotels.com?
A membership year is one calendar year from the date you opened your Hotels.com account.
This picture shows how your membership tier status, stamps earned and expiry date get tracked:
What is a VIP Access Hotel with Hotels.Com?
It’s a selection of properties (fairly extensive) which have a preferred status and business partnership with Hotels.com.
I’ve enclosed an example picture below which shows how to identify this in your search results you’ll see that next to the hotel name, there’s a little black circle with “VIP” which identifies these so look out for that.
How Do I sign up to Hotels.com Rewards?
Are there any disadvantages with Hotels.com rewards?
No, but we would note one thing that can potentially limit the benefit you get from a reward and is worth keeping in mind as it’s something that can catch you out:
- If you book your Reward Night for a room which is cheaper than the average price of the 10 nights used to get your voucher, the difference is simply forfeit.
- (If your Reward night is more expensive, you’ll get the full value of the voucher and just pay the difference).
Is Hotels.Com Rewards worth it?
Absolutely it is – Hotels.com Rewards is one most generous rewards schemes I’ve seen full stop, let alone for holidays.
On a premium product where you can end up spending fairly large amounts, a 10% bonus is well worth claiming and as such we think it’s worth prioritising Hotels.com even where there may be a small price premium, so long as you are certain you will use the voucher.
The membership tier benefits are also a nice touch – but given most of them are small and limited to VIP Access properties, we wouldn’t go out of our way to achieve a status. If you do make it to Silver, it’s absolutely worth seeing if you can get your holiday a bit cheaper though!.
I’ve covered some additional FAQ’s on Hotels.com rewards below.
Do I earn Hotels.com Rewards stamps at all properties?
In your search results there will be a tick or cross next to each property saying if you will earn a stamp for staying at this property. (I actually haven’t seen one yet where you don’t!)
Do Hotels.Com Rewards stamps expire?
Your stamps will expire if you don’t make any Hotels.com booking within the 12 month period following you earning your previous stamp. Earn another and the clock simply restarts.
Is Hotels.Com Rewards free?
Yes absolutely and there’s no ongoing cost – although you obviously have to pay to book rooms and use your stamps to see real advantage from it!
Hotels.Com Vs. Expedia Rewards
A side note that Hotels.com is actually part of the Expedia Group and so offers very similar results to looking directly with Expedia. However slightly weirdly the two brands don’t have the same loyalty scheme, and it’s why we favour Hotels.com of the two – even if we think Expedia’s design is a bit nicer and more user friendly.
Is Hotels.com Rewards Silver worth it?
Reaching Silver is very achievable in Hotels.com Rewards at 10 nights, but we wouldn’t necessarily go out of your way to claim these and they vary a lot by hotel.
The best ones I’ve had have included free transfers or a free welcome bottle of wine (however, I’ve usually had to ask for these to claim them). Often, they’re a small extra like a slight discount at the spa or dining at the hotel.
As a result, see these as a bonus, but the free night’s stay is still the main bonus of Hotels.com rewards at this level.
Is Hotels.com Rewards Gold worth it?
After taking many trips this year, I’ve actually managed to hit Hotels.com Rewards Gold.
Everywhere I’ve stayed with it that has been a VIP access property has given me an upgrade at check-in – however, I haven’t been sure if it’s because of my Hotels.com status or another reason – but I do seem to be getting upgraded more frequently, and was successfully able to use the late check out perk which really is a nice bonus.
I will report back on future findings as I use Hotels.Com Rewards Gold, but the early indications are very positive.
Upcoming Changes to Hotels.com Rewards with OneKey
Unfortunately, there are clouds on the horizon for Hotels.com Rewards as it’s facing some upcoming changes.
What we know about this so far is not good news – it looks like instead of the 10% reward rate presently in Hotels.com rewards, it’s expected to be adjusted to around 2% under OneKey.
There’s plenty still to be confirmed here. We’ve covered some key questions below:
What will happen to any Hotels.com Reward Nights and Stamps when OneKey goes live?
We’ve been told any outstanding Hotels.com nights/free night stamps will be transferred over to OneKey at the same effective value of your existing Hotels.com rewards earnings, so there’s no loss to you or immediate need to get them spent before OneKey arrives.
When will Hotels.com Rewards change to OneKey?
We don’t know anything exact yet, but have been told it will happen later in 2023.
Update: OneKey has launched in the United States on July 6th 2023, and roll out worldwide subsequently in stages.
Other UK Loyalty Schemes
If you’re interested in our pick of the other best loyalty schemes out there, why not look at our guide to the best UK Loyalty Cards and Apps?
Have you any questions about Hotels.com rewards or have questions for us on the scheme? Just leave us a note in the comments below. We’d also love to hear about your travel adventures if you’ve done well out of the programme!