Yes, 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.
Here are the best cards to get free hotel rooms:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: 75,000 miles for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. 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. $95 annual fee.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. You also get annual statement credit for travel purchases, including hotel reservations. 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. Redeem for hotels on Chase’s travel portal, for the highest points value. $550 annual fee.
- IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card: One free night every account anniversary and when redeeming points for 3+ nights. 175,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 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. Redeem for free nights. Annual fee: $99.
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card: One free night each account anniversary and an extra night after meeting a set spending requirement. 30,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 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. Redeem points for free nights. $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.