Hotels.com relaunched its Welcome Rewards loyalty scheme as Hotels.com Rewards yesterday.
I am a big fan of Hotels.com Rewards / Welcome Rewards as I wrote in this article. It is a very simple scheme:
you get a free night for every 10 nights you book via Hotels.com
the value of your free night is the average price you paid for the 10 nights
as long as you stay one night every 12 months, your accumulated count of nights does not expire
The downside of booking via Hotels.com is that you will not receive loyalty points, stay credit or – in most cases – status benefits at the hotels where you stay.
However, if your job involves staying at random hotels with no clear preferred chain, you may find Hotels.com Rewards works better for you. Even if you spend 80% of your nights with, say, Hilton and have status with them you may still find it worthwhile booking the other 20% of your rooms via Hotels.com.
What has changed from Welcome Rewards?
‘Not much’, it seems. Which is good news.
You will still receive one free night for every 10 nights. That part of the programme is untouched.
Similarly, the two status levels – Silver (10 nights in a year) and Gold (30 nights in a year) are unchanged. These do not come with any real benefits, however, except for improved customer service if things go wrong.
The key addition is ‘Your Secret Price’.
‘Your Secret Price’ appears to be the outcome of price fixing investigations launched in recent years by the EU against hotel chains. In simple terms, Hotels.com IS now able to undercut the price charged online by major chains without being punished by them.
However, you MUST be a Hotels.com Rewards member or a registered (and logged in) Hotels.com user to see these prices. This allows the hotel companies to avoid having to pay out on their Best Rate Guarantee programmes as these rates will not technically be available to everyone.
Don’t get too excited though. So far there seem to be very few ‘secret prices’ available. A search for a random date in London in mid June found only a handful of properties and these were all independents, not part of large chains. The number of four-star and five-star hotels in London with a ‘secret price’ was, erm, 1.
That seems to be it. For once, a hotel loyalty programme makes changes and nothing bad happens!
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)