Years ago, frequent flier miles and airline loyalty programs were all the rage. But with the increasing popularity of these programs came more restrictions and fewer benefits of the kind that made the programs popular in the first place. Now, those who once valued frequent flier miles are turning their attention to hotel loyalty programs and rewards points. So take a look below to discover four reasons why you or a frequent traveler you know should start taking advantage of what hotels have to offer.
Once you enroll in a rewards program, you'll notice that online prices are no longer shown as a dollar amount, but as points instead. Furthermore, a brief comparison often shows that the points necessary to book a stay are far less than their equivalent in hard cash. There's no surer sign that hotels are beginning to value customer loyalty, and are willing to offer rooms at steeply discounted rates in order to earn and maintain it.
Redeeming airline rewards points is notoriously difficult, and the number of hoops a person is required to jump through often make the process seem, well, pointless. But hotel rewards programs make it easy to redeem your points, whether online six months in advance or in person when you're about to check in.
One of the major perks of earning hotel rewards points is the extra benefits that become available to you during future trips. Most are small - things like free WiFi, unlimited use of the hotel fitness center or room service during breakfast - but add up over time and go a long way toward making your stay that much more inviting. After all, once you've used points to get a complimentary bottle of wine in your room, it's hard to see how you ever managed without them.
Among travel aficionados, the points you earn in a hotel loyalty program are most prized for how flexibly they can be used. Many can be used to secure a table at crowded downtown restaurants, get tickets to a concert, or simply rent a car. It's rare that frequent flier miles can be used for anything but flights, and only a few programs let you transfer them to hotel rewards programs. But points earned in the latter can be used for a staggering number of things - up to and including a flight to your next destination.