Hotels.com is a great site for people who travel frequently but often stay in smaller towns where chain hotels don’t have a presence. It allows you to be rewarded for your loyalty when you can’t benefit from status in a major rewards programme. Every ten nights results in one free night, equivalent to the average of the value of the ten nights’ stayed.
What happens however if you have a choice between bagging a night towards your ten at hotels.com or staying at a chain hotel and earning rewards points? Which offers the best value? I will be reviewing the main chains against hotels.com over the course of the year but today, lets see how hotels.com compares with Marriott Rewards.
As you can see, you earn between 5 and 10 points per $1 spent at hotels within the group. I am using 10 points per $1 for my example as the hotel is a Marriott.
Hotels.com v Marriott example
This shows the earnings for the hotel in reward points and airmiles and assumes £50 of incidentals for each stay. All figures are calculated based on the exchange rate of 1.24875 US $ to GBP on 12th February 2017. as ‘miles earned while staying at any participating hotel located outside the United States will be based on the U.S. dollar conversion‘.
|Marriott Hotel Booking||Marriott Rewards for hotel plus £50 spend||Airmiles for Marriott booking plus £50 spend||Hotels.com Booking|
Marriott Reward conclusions
As you can see, it is immediately evident that you would be better booking directly with Marriott. Not only does it cost less, but you will earn points which contribute to status. The Marriott Rewards Terms and Conditions clearly state that rooms booked through third party online retailers, such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Priceline, are ineligible for Miles or Elite night credit.
So not only would you pay £25 more for your rooms on Hotels.com, you would also lose out on valued status benefits. Stay 10 qualifying nights in the calendar year at Marriott to reach Silver Elite status, 50 for Gold Elite and 75 for Platinum. Gold Elite members earn free lounge access and breakfast for two not to mention a room upgrade. The value of these perks could be considerably more valuable than just the £25 saving made on hotel bookings.
How do Hotels.com and Marriott compare for our US friends?
Surprisingly when I do this comparison using the US site, the Marriott hotel prices are consistently more expensive than booking through hotels.com.
|Marriott Hotel Booking||Marriott Rewards for hotel plus $50 spend||Airmiles for Marriott booking plus $50 spend||Hotels.com Booking|
However, the site offers a best rate guarantee meaning that if you find a rate elsewhere which is better, Marriott will match it and give you a further 25% off. On this basis, therefore it pays to check both but my conclusion is the same. Booking direct with Marriott.com rewards more.
Marriott redemptions start at 7,500 per night unless you are taking advantage of a PointSavers offer.
In these examples, the ten nights earn enough to redeem for one free night with points remaining. The free night with Hotels.com is equivalent to £79 0r $83.
Which scheme is more rewarding?
Admittedly, there may be more flexibility with hotels.com but there is no denying that acrruing points within the Marriott Reward scheme, offers better value, particularly once you start to progress through status ranks.
Not only are the hotel booking rates cheaper (remember the Best Rate Guarantee), but the ability to earn tier status is incredibly valuable as the value of those free drinks in the lounge and two breakfasts can easily exceed £50 per stay.