Hotel Loyalty Programs: Yea or Nay?

These days, almost every business has a “loyalty program” of one kind or another: the airlines, car rental firms, grocery stores . . . everyone. I don’t join most of them, but only because I know I’ll never use them enough to claim any significant reward.

My wife and I are in the American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines programs and we charge just about everything in order to get as many miles as possible. It really helps hold travel costs down because when we leave these islands, it’s at least a five hour flight to anywhere.

As to hotel chain loyalty programs, I take two approaches.

First, I picked the Hilton Honors program because it includes Embassy Suites, Double Tree, Hampton Inns and Hilton Garden Inns . . . not to mention classy older properties like the Palmer House in Chicago. My rationale is obvious: I ought to be able to find one of those hotels almost wherever I go. And—obviously—the more I stay at one of those hotels, the sooner I’ll accumulate enough points for a “free” room.

And second, I am also a member of loyalty programs for perhaps a half-dozen other hotel chains. The reason? Wifi is free for their members so if I find myself in one of their properties, I’ll at least save as much as  $25 on a two-night stay.  

The only other suggestion I can make is that you might try using the same password for all the hotel loyalty programs.