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Hotels.com Rewards adds an avoidable £4 reward booking fee

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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.

Hotels.com adds £4 redemption fee on rewards

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.

A full-length article on why I like Hotels.com Rewards so much is here.  You can learn more about how the rewards scheme works on its website here.

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.)

Comments (158)

  • BrianN says:

    OT – IHG Rewards Premium Credit Card

    With regards the free night voucher, do you have to have consumed the voucher before the expiry date or do you only need to have booked a night with it?

    For example. Expiry date Sep 2020. Do I need to both book and stay by Sep 2020? Or can I book by Sep 2020 but stay on a date after this? eg Mar 2021

    Thanks

  • Russ says:

    I’ve never really benefited from Hotels.com as I keep forgetting to book through them. If you book via them religiously then I can see the benefit. But I can’t be the only one who forgets to book via them and ends up receiving no benefit.

  • BJ says:

    O/T: Popped into Morrisons yesterday to get £100 vouchers before amex offer expired, asked for a lucky dip (something I rarely ever do) after hearing somebody saying rollover, and got very lucky indeed 🙂 Biggest prize I ever won in my life before being a bottle of spirits so it came as a bit of a shock. Think I’ll spend it on avios at the next sale and boost the winnings further with a 241 Christmas redemption.

  • Jen says:

    Sadly AMEX has disappeared from DVLA for taxing vehicles.
    Bit disappointed as I used to tax company HGV vehicles through that so it was easy was to get £10k spend a year.

    • SimonW says:

      Found this out yesterday too…. I paid at the Post Office with my Amex instead – no problems.

  • AndyK says:

    OT. Need to cancel a non-BA flight which was paid for by BAPP. Transaction triggered sign up bonus Avios back in Feb. Will Amex try to take sign up bonus back?

    • Shoestring says:

      no

      • AndyK says:

        Thank you
        I spent well over the sign up limit in the first three months even without this flight.
        And this is not a flexible flight even. Cancelling as they changed the departure time.

        • Shoestring says:

          they’ll take your transaction points back but you’re on very firm ground if you hit the spend target anyway without taking this transaction into consideration

          I know YMMV etc but I’ve had to cancel a few things such as car rental several months down the line and Amex have never taken back the Amex offer statement credit associated with the original purchase either

          • Jonathan says:

            Shhhh! (Though they seem to have sorted this loophole out recently)

          • Genghis says:

            From historical experience the sign up bonus gets taken away only if you refund the transaction that took you over the threshold to get the bonus in the first place. As to whether it’s changed recently, no idea.

          • Rob says:

            Correct – I assumed that’s what the OP meant, but perhaps not?

    • Rob says:

      Normally they would, but this far on …? Dunno

  • aDifferentSimon says:

    OT: Has anyone tried loading a revolut card with an mbna credit card? Any fees?
    Thanks

  • Charlieface says:

    OT: Drowned out by all the Thomas Cook news, Adria Airways looks like it’s also about to go belly-up. It’s already suspended all flights.
    Don’t forget you can claim on Section 75 for rebooking, not just a refund.

    • John says:

      Sad but they were always much more expensive than their partner airlines like Lufty and LOT when I was trying to go to Slovenia.

  • memesweeper says:

    If I’ve ‘saved up’ by making bookings with hotels.com, forgoing other benefits in the process, surely they cannot unilaterally make me pay to redeem? How is this not a material change to T&Cs?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Just redeem in the app? You can still research in your browser etc.

      • memesweeper says:

        …. or they can change their T&Cs to include the charge, but don’t retro-apply that to credit (or part credit) earned before the T&Cs were changed. I don’t think it’s OK to apply new charges to credit already earned.

        • Lady London says:

          I agree with you. They cannot presume that everyone is in a position to (or willing to) use the app… I think they’re on sticky legal ground.

          It’ll just stop me booking with them because I think it’s bit dirty to change the cost of redeeming any points that have been earned on the basis it would cost nothing to redeem the points.

          I think it’s just a way of pushing people into the app so they can hoover up all your data, track you and sell it (for lots, you’d be surprised what your data is worth). I’ve just had one of my cards claim the only way to manage my account in future will be to use their app and not the website. They didn’t give the contractual notice period that this was what they were changing, they sent lots of threating emails out saying you have to use the app now or you can’t manage your account. I’ve complained and probably reporting them to the Ombudsman for lack of notice of removal of functionality.

    • Roy says:

      All other loyalty schemes seem to devalue on a regular basis. Why should hotels.com be any different?

      • Shoestring says:

        Tesco Clubcard hasn’t actually devalued (for me) – still the same conversion rates as several years ago on the ones that matter. I don’t think dumping (say) Uber counts as devaluation, maybe degradation of the offer range but you’d expect the range to change over time.

      • Rob says:

        Revenue-driven points-based schemes must devalue, logically. If IHG kept an InterCon night at 70,000 points then – to take it to an extreme – in 50 years time you’d be paying £5,000 per night for a room currently costing £100 per night and getting a free night with every paid night!

        No reason, except for corporate greed, to devalue schemes which are not revenue driven.

        However, one problem Expedia / Hotels.com has is that they are making monopoly (well, oligopoly) profits. The 22% commission they charge is not sustainable and the bigger chains (who were foolish enough to agree to this in the first place) are now trying to push back.

        The problem is that Expedia / Hotels.com – and Priceline / Booking.com – are actually too powerful. Imagine IHG pulled its 7,000 hotels from the 500,000+ on Expedia / Hotels.com. Who is the bigger loser? IHG or Expedia / Hotels.com? I doubt 98% of customers would even notice but the hotels would take a huge hit.