There are a lot of different methods for getting a free hotel stay. These range from signing up for certain credit cards to catching the right promotions and even building up your own travel-related media platform. This article will discuss 9 different methods that will show you how to get a free night stay at a hotel.
Hotel credit cards
The most sure-fire method for getting free hotel stays is to utilize credit card rewards.
You can get free nights via credit cards by earning points or by earning free night certificates. Many cards will give you free night certificates each year just for paying your annual fee. A great example is the Chase IHG card. It only comes with a $49 annual fee (waived the first year) but you can use its annual free night to book any property, including properties in peak season that would cost $1,600+ per night! That’s a crazy lucrative trade off.
- You can click HERE to learn more about this card and compare it others.
Other credit cards that offer you annual free night certificates are the Chase Hyatt Visa credit card, the Marriott Rewards credit card, and the Hilton Aspire (one of my other favorite hotel credit cards). The Hyatt and Marriott cards come with lower annual fees but the Aspire will get you a free weekend night that can be used at any Hilton property.
Cash back credit cards
If you don’t want to hassle with points or free night certificates then using cash back credit cards or travel statement credit cards is a great way to get a free hotel stay.
We used the Capital One Venture Card which currently offers a $500 sign-up bonus. You can use that travel credit to cover any hotel stay and it won’t be subject to black-out dates or award inventory. The Venture also now earns 10X on purchases made at Hotels.com so there’s additional opportunities for big savings. You get all of these perks for an annual fee of only $59 and it’s waived the first year.
- Click HERE If you want to learn more about this card and other similar cards!
5th night free
Hotel loyalty programs like Hilton, Marriott, and SPG provide you with the 5th night free when you book five consecutive award nights. Obviously you’ll need a decent amount of points to cover 4 nights but that’s when the credit cards come in handy with their sign-up bonuses.
4th night free
Sometimes it’s not ideal to stay in one location for five nights so you can go for the fourth night free instead.
The Citi Prestige offers the 4th night free when you use your card to book hotels through its portal. This perk can be used on any hotel found through the portal. This makes this one of the most valuable benefits out of any credit card since you can easily save hundreds of dollars on a four night hotel booking.
Note: You need to book the 4th night free with the Prestige via the phone in order to receive all of your elite benefits with a given hotel program.
Utilize OTAs (online travel agencies)
OTAs (online travel agencies) are actually great ways to earn free hotel nights. You can go with a program like Expedia and earn rewards or programs like Hotels.com that give you the 10th night free based on the average cost of your prior 9 stays.
Personally, I prefer BonWi.com. Full disclosure: I know the owners of BonWi (and they’re great guys), but I choose to refer folks to this OTA because the returns are simply incredible. For example, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas and received 40% back on my stay. That’s unheard of.
If you’re serious about earning a free hotel stay via an OTA, I highly recommend to check out BonWi.com.
Catching the right hotel promotions can be a great way to get a free hotel stay.
Marriott started a promotion for the 2017 NFL football season allowing you to earn 1,000 free Marriott points every week just by following them on social media and tweeting out answers to football related questions. And Wyndham offers promotions like this one where you can earn one free night (good even for all-inclusive properties) by completing two stays (even if they were at super-cheap motels).
You just need to stay tuned in to blogs like this one and all of the others to see when these promos are happening.
This is something I’ve never personally done, so I won’t pretend to be an expert. But you can often find special promotions going on that allow you to receive free travel perks by sitting through a time share presentation. You need to be very careful that you know what you’re getting yourself into when attending these, but they can lead to free hotel nights.
- Read more about timeshare presentations and how to get free hotel stays here.
Be an “influencer”
This is probably the hardest to accomplish. You can start to build an online presence as a travel blogger, vlogger, etc. Once you can demonstrate that you have a certain reach online (and quality content to go along with that), you can reach out to hotels about receiving comped stays.
Typically, you’ll need to be somewhat established in the field to be considered an “influencer” (yes, I don’t care for the term either). You’ll need to have followers, features, awards, or some type of notable element to your brand so the hotel knows they’re not wasting their time. Also, this method works best on newer hotel properties that can use the additional exposure upon opening.
Just pray that this doesn’t backfire like it did recently for one unfortunate blogger.
When something goes wrong with your booking or your stay, don’t be afraid to voice your displeasure and to request compensation. I just wrote about a guy who received 2 additional free nights, 100,000 additional points, and elite status for two years with IHG all because IHG canceled his mistake fare booking.
Obviously, you never know what you might get with this method and you need to remain reasonable. However, you never know what type of perks you might get offered just by asking when something goes awry with your hotel stay.
Final word on how to get a free night stay at a hotel
Knowing how to get a free night stay at a hotel comes down to just a few key things. Generally, signing up for the right credit card is the best and most surefire method for getting free night stays. But signing up for promotions, utilizing OTAs, and knowing how to leverage your situation are also ways to get a free night.