Hotels.com Rewards emailed its UK members yesterday to announce a £4 booking fee when you redeem your ‘free’ nights from 27th November.
This did not come as a surprise, since a similar fee was announced for US and Continental European members a few weeks. If anything, I’m not sure why the company waited so long.
The £4 booking fee is waived if you book your reward night via the Hotels.com app. This makes little sense and throws doubt on the claims that this change is needed to ensure the viability of the programme. It would also, logistically, have been easier to deduct £4 from the value of your free night.
I am a big fan of Hotels.com Rewards – I am typing this in a Kempinski hotel booked via Hotels.com – but the rewards scheme has never been entirely ‘free’. Certain special offers run by the company are only valid if you agree to waive your right to reward night credit, for example. You also do not earn reward night credit on the night you book using your free night voucher so it is best saved for somewhere where the value covers most of the cost.
(Comments below corrected my earlier statement – if you use the voucher on a multi-night stay you DO get credit for the other nights.)
There is no reason why this change should make Hotels.com Rewards less attractive. You can avoid the fee as long as you have a smartphone, and in any event a £4 fee to redeem a free night probably worth £75+ is not a disaster. It remains a scheme that I think makes a lot of sense for people who only do a modest number of hotel stays per year and do not have elite status.
You may also find this April 2020 article on proposed changes to Hotels.com Rewards worth a read.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)