Get More Out of The Occasional Hotel Stay

Next time you check into a hotel, consider signing up for its loyalty program.  Even if you are not a frequent flier, or usually stay with friends or relatives when traveling, you should still make the most out of your occasional hotel stay.

Most large hotel chains have loyalty programs through which you can earn hotel points or airline miles for your stay.  Even if you travel infrequently, you can still sign up for the program and opt to earn miles in the airline program of your choice.  This way, even if you don’t stay at hotels enough to score a free night, you can at least boost your frequent flier account.

The number of miles you get varies by hotel chain, hotel category, and even airline program.  The Marriott chain, for example, awards 2 miles per dollar spent at Marriott, JW Marriott and Renaissance hotels, and 1 mile per dollar spent at all of its other hotels, including Courtyard and SpringHill Suites.  With the Priority Club, on the other hand, if you belong to one of the many US-based airlines’ frequent flier programs, you can earn 500 miles per stay at InterContinental hotels and 2 miles per dollar spent at other hotels such as Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.  If you have a frequent flier account with Air Canada, Japan Airlines, or many other international airlines, however, you will earn 500 miles per stay at any of the hotels within the Priority Club, regardless of how much you spend.

As you sign up for a hotel loyalty program, also keep an eye out for time-sensitive promotions.  For instance, until February 28, 2010, you can get 2,010 bonus miles on Delta for every 3-night stay at any hotel within the Hilton Honors program.  And with the Priority Club, each night can earn you an extra 200 miles on American Airlines until April 30, 2010.

So next time you have to travel and stay overnight somewhere unexciting for work, don’t grumble.  Or if you do, at least get the most miles you can for that trip.  The same goes for the cross-country trip to attend your second-cousin’s wedding.

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