Tom Lipkis, WalletHub Credit Card Consultant
The most reliable ways to get free hotel rooms are to use a credit card with hotel rewards, and to join hotels’ free loyalty programs. Plus, you can always ask a hotel to match a better price you’ve found, and checking in late can sometimes lead to free upgrades since the hotel will have a better sense of which rooms won’t be needed. But for fully comped stays, credit cards and loyalty programs are your best bet.
How to Get Free Hotel Rooms with Credit Cards
With credit cards, there are two paths you can take. If you’re not particularly loyal to any one hotel chain and value flexibility, just get a travel rewards credit card whose points or miles can be redeemed for stays at any hotel. For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card let you book hotels using rewards on their travel portals.
But if you tend to favor one hotel chain over others, the most efficient way to get free nights is with a co-branded hotel credit card. You’ll earn the most rewards at the hotel chain in question, redeemable for free nights. And if you join the hotel’s loyalty program, you’ll usually get an extra point or two per dollar spent, on top of what the card gives you.
Some of the Best Credit Cards to Get Free Hotel Rooms
Capital One Venture offers 75,000 miles for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. You also get 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases.
Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits, which includes hotel stays. The card has a $95 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. You also get annual statement credit for travel purchases, including hotel reservations. With this card, you earn a total of 10 points per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase, a total of 10 points per $1 spent on prepaid restaurant reservations or takeout orders made through Chase, a total of 5 points per $1 spent on flights purchased through Chase, 3 points per $1 spent on all other travel and dining purchases, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
You can redeem your rewards for hotels on Chase’s travel portal, for the highest points value. The card has a $550 annual fee.
The IHG Premier card offers one free night every account anniversary and when redeeming points for 3+ nights. You also get 140,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
This card also offers 10 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels, 5 points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants and on travel, as well as 3 points per $1 on all other purchases. You can redeem your rewards for free nights. The card has a $99 annual fee.
The Hyatt Credit Card offers one free night each account anniversary and an extra night after meeting a set spending requirement. This card also offers 30,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Cardholders also get 4 points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels, 2 points per $1 at restaurants, on tickets booked with airlines, transit and gym memberships, 2 points per $1 on all other purchases in the first 6 months (on up to $15,000 spent), 1 point per $1 on all other purchases after that. You can redeem points for free nights. This card has a $95 annual fee.
The easiest way to get free hotel rooms is to get a credit card that rewards you with them each account anniversary and/or offers other rewards redeemable for hotel stays. That’s because you’ll be earning free stays with every purchase you make, not just on reservations.
How to Get Free Hotel Rooms through Hotel Rewards Programs
You can also earn free nights by joining some of the best hotel rewards programs. Every time you book a stay, you’ll earn points that you can redeem for free nights. The best hotel rewards programs for earning policies are Radisson Rewards and World of Hyatt.
Lance Fischer, Member
Well, there are two big ways you can get a comped room: loyalty programs and credit card rewards.
For the first one, it's pretty simple: get into a hotel loyalty program (which is like frequent flyers) and just keep going to the same chain. Depending on the hotel chain you choose, you'll get a bunch of free stuff, like room upgrades, but also extensions on your stay for free.
The second one is similar: buy things with rewards credit cards, and use the points towards a hotel stay. Here you can use a regular card, not necessarily a hotel co-branded card, like the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, just to name a couple, are also very good for this type of stuff.
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