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Review: Why Rewards may be better for you than hotel loyalty schemes

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I wanted to review Rewards today and explain why, for some people, it may be a better option than focussing on chain loyalty schemes.

Each of the big hotel schemes (IHG Rewards Club, Hilton Honors etc) offers a different mix of status benefits, points earning and points redeeming features. Which is the best for you is very dependant on where and how you stay and where and how you redeem.

There is another option, though.A lot of people end up, by choice or by default, splitting their stays across a number of different chains. They do a lot of nights, but never enough to build up status or a decent number of points.  For these people, Rewards may be a better way to go. (which is actually owned by Expedia) will be familiar to most readers.

You won’t find much cheaper than booking a hotel directly, although it will sometimes show discounts if you register for a account.  Like most online travel agents, it agrees not to undercut ‘official’ hotel websites in public although it can show lower prices to registered ‘members’.

However, the majority of the properties on the site count for ‘ Rewards’ (500,000 hotels, which is about 20 times more than all of the ‘big six’ hotel loyalty schemes combined). Rewards (their home page is here) – previously known as Welcome Rewards – is an idiot-proof loyalty scheme:

You earn 1 stamp for every night you book, whatever the chain.

When you have got 10 stamps, you get a free night.

The value of the free night is the average price you paid for those 10 nights.

Your stamps don’t expire as long as you have one stay every 12 months

There aren’t any catches when you redeem. You can pick any property on that takes part in Rewards (ie most of them) and you can pay the difference if you want to book a hotel which is more expensive than the value of your free night voucher.

There is a lot of upside here:

ALL of your stays (assuming the hotels you book are in Rewards and most of the 500,000 are) will count towards free nights. No more ‘wasted’ stays.

Your free night can be used to book any room on Most reward schemes restrict the ability to book club rooms, suites, family room etc. That is not a problem with Rewards.

When travelling, you are free to stay at the hotel which is most convenient for where you need to be – no need to mess around with badly reviewed properties or out of the way hotels purely to find one in your favourite chain.

Is there a catch?

Well, the main one is that you will not earn points with the hotel itself.  None of the major hotel loyalty schemes award points, or status benefits, if you do not book direct. Rewards does have its own status programme, of sorts. Do 10 nights in a year and you become a Silver member albeit with no hard benefits. Do 30 nights and you become Gold which promises access to ‘exclusive deals’.

For a lot of travellers, it is also impractical.  If you have a company travel agent, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to book via You would need to be self-employed or working for a company which gives you a lot of flexibility in making your own travel arrangements.

The key point to take away about Rewards, however, is that you should have a serious think about whether you would be better off taking their free nights instead of collecting points in specific hotel schemes.

Hotel offers update – May 2024:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points?

  • IHG One Rewards is offering an 80% bonus when you buy points by 8th June 2024. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% to 50% mystery bonus when you buy points by 24th July 2024. Click here.
  • World of Hyatt is offering a 20% bonus when you buy points by 1st July 2024. Click here.

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