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HomePoints and Miles5 Easy Ways to Get Free Hotel Rooms

5 Easy Ways to Get Free Hotel Rooms

Save your cash and use these simple strategies to book your next hotel stay for free.

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The majority of people would love to travel more, but the cost of travel often holds them back. Hotel rooms can be a major travel expense, so it pays to learn how to get free hotel rooms or secure significant discounts. Here are some of our favorite tips to get free hotel rooms for your next vacation.

How to Get Free Hotel Rooms on Your Next Vacation

There are many ways to get free hotel rooms, but these are our favorite strategies because they are relatively easy to do and can earn bunches of hotel points in a hurry.

Earn a Welcome Bonus from a Credit Card

When you apply for a new credit card, you have the opportunity to earn a large number of hotel points when you meet the card’s minimum spend requirements. Many of the minimum spending requirements can be hit just by putting your regular monthly expenses on the card. Some of the best hotel credit cards offer one-time bonuses of 100,000 or more points.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card both currently offer bonuses worth at least 100,000 points. Depending upon where you redeem them, these bonuses could be redeemed for multiple nights at your favorite hotel or resort.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: Earn 3 Free Nights
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 2X-17X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card offers up to 17X total points for every dollar spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers new cardholders three free nights stays after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Additionally, earn 10X total points per each dollar spent — up to $2,500 in combined purchases — at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants in the first six months of account opening. (That’s an additional 25,000 point if you max out spending.)

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Marriott loyalists and anyone who will stay in a hotel several times a year.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a solid choice if you’re interested in getting into the travel rewards game and find yourself staying at Marriott properties several times a year. This hotel credit card offers some solid benefits, including the free elite night credits, a free anniversary night every card membership year, a welcome bonus, Silver Elite Status and more.

A lot of the ongoing value this card provides comes through its rewards program. Cardholders will earn up to 17X points per dollar on eligible purchases at Marriott properties — that’s 6X points per dollar from the credit card, 10X points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1X point per dollar for having Silver Elite Status, which is automatic with the card. You’ll also earn 2X points per dollar on travel and other purchases you make with the card. That base rewards rate is high compared with most travel credit cards, which settle on a 1X point per dollar base rate.


Marriott Bonvoy Bold ®Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: 30,000 Points
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1X-14X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card offers up to 14X total Bonvoy points per dollar spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains) and 1X point on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Marriott loyalists who want to earn rewards without an annual fee or for people who are dipping their toes into the Marriott rewards program.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is a solid choice if you’re interested in getting into the travel rewards game, but don’t want to commit to an annual fee. This credit card offers a solid welcome bonus and can be a great place to start, especially if you’re loyal to Marriott. Every cardmember year, you’ll receive 15 Elite Night Credits, which is enough to qualify you for Silver Elite Status with Marriott. This status level comes with 10% bonus points when you book Marriott stays with cash, late checkout when available and ultimate reservation guarantee.

As with other hotel cards, this one offers outsized rewards on purchases made with the hotel brand. You’ll earn up to 14 points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels — that includes 3X points per dollar from the card, 10x points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1X point per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy Silver member, which you get automatically as a cardholder. The card also offers 2X points per dollar on other travel purchases and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases you make with the card.


IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $89
Bonus: 150,000 Points
APR:Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1X-25X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $89

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This hotel credit card awards up to 25X points per dollar at IHG Hotels, 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Frequent customers of IHG hotels and other people who enjoy earning rewards nights for hotel stays and premium hotel status.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Aside from its astounding sign-up bonus, the IHG Rewards Club Premier offers tons of value, especially for loyal IHG customers. You get a free reward night every year on your account anniversary for use at eligible IHG hotels. When you redeem points for stays of four nights or longer at any IHG hotel, your fourth rewards night is free. Cardholders also enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member. Plus, it offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card. IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels and Holiday Inn®.

This IHG card is a traveler’s dream, especially if you’re already a loyal IHG customer. The perks accompanying this Chase co-branded credit card are worth way more than the $89 annual fee that comes with it. If you’re in the market for a hotel rewards credit card, look no further than the IHG Rewards Club.


Annual Free Night Benefits

Many credit cards include an annual free night benefit that allows you to get a free hotel room. Some of them provide this annual free night just for renewing the card, while others require you to spend a certain amount before receiving your free nights.

Credit cards like the World of Hyatt Credit Card provide one annual free night just for having the card, plus the opportunity to earn another free night based on your spending.  Whereas the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card requires you to spend $15,000 before earning a free hotel night.

Each hotel credit card has its unique restrictions and limitations. The Hyatt free night is good at participating Category 1-4 hotels. By comparison, the Hilton free night can be used at almost any Hilton family hotel. However, the Hilton free night is restricted to weekend travel only.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: Up to 60,000 Points
APR:Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 9X-1X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR based on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: Earn up to 9x points total for Hyatt stays – 4x points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels and 5x base points per dollar from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member. Plus, earn 2x points per dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships.

Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2x points total per dollar spent in the first six months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1x point, on up to $15,000 spent.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who travel frequently and want access to status benefits from a hotel loyalty program.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the World of Hyatt Credit Card

Among all of the top hotel rewards programs, World of Hyatt offers the most valuable rewards, and the World of Hyatt puts you on the fast track to enjoying some of the program’s preferred benefits.

The rewards program also offers a range of properties, including all-inclusive resorts. That said, Hyatt has the smallest footprint of any hotel chain on our list, with roughly 1,000 properties in 68 countries.

In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, the World of Hyatt Credit Card also offers a free night every year, as well as automatic Discoverist status, which is the program’s lowest status level. However, there is a path to earn up to Globalist status, depending on how much you spend on the card.

Credit: iStock.com/aogreatkim

Earn Hotel Points on Your Purchases

Even when you’re not staying at a hotel, you can earn hotel points on all of your purchases with a hotel credit card. While you’ll get the highest number of points on your hotel purchases with these cards, many also offer bonus points on many of your regular expense categories.

Bonuses vary by hotel credit card, but many offer bonuses in a variety of categories, such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, travel and gym memberships. Additionally, they all offer a base number of points per dollar on non-bonus categories too.

Take Advantage of Bonus Categories

Although credit cards offer bonus categories, not all of your purchases will fall into those categories. You can take advantage of your bonus categories with this awesome workaround. Places like grocery stores, gas stations, home improvement stores, and office supply stores offer gift cards for some of your favorite merchants.

When you buy gift cards from stores that offer bonus points on your purchases, you can turn non-bonused spending into extra hotel points towards your next vacation.

Say you’re getting ready to do back-to-school shopping at a department store. However, that store doesn’t qualify for one of your card’s bonus categories. Simply make a quick stop at the grocery store or gas station (whichever one offers bonus points with your hotel credit card) and buy a gift card for that department store. Voila! You just earned extra hotel points and can now use that gift card to make your purchases.

Maximize Your Online Shopping

When shopping online, using a travel portal is a quick way to earn extra rewards. However, most hotel loyalty programs don’t have their own shopping portals. Instead, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards or cash back on your online purchases.

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be used to book travel or transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs. When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 25% or 50% more, respectively, when booking travel through the Chase travel portal.

And, of course, cash can be used however you’d like to. We suggest depositing your cash back into a high-yield savings account. This can create a travel fund that earns interest and pays for future vacations.

The Bottom Line

Paying for hotel rooms can put a major dent in your travel budget. By following these five simple strategies, it’s possible to score free hotel rooms on your next vacation. You can earn extra hotel points on your spending or use the annual free night benefits of your credit cards. Get the absolute best deals on your trips with Travelocity Promo Codes and status-based discounts. Booking.com also offers loyalty programs that can help you save more. Booking.com promo codes can help you earn points and miles for your next trip. 

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Lee Huffman
Lee Huffman spent 18 years in banking and investments and now uses that insider knowledge to write about credit cards, travel, and other personal finance topics. Lee enjoys showing people how to travel more, spend less, and live better through the power of travel rewards. You can connect with him at BaldThoughts.com.

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