When it comes to loyalty programs and hotel booking services, many people prefer a how straight forward and simplistic the Hotels.com Rewards program is.
With this, you get a free night after you book 10 nights with hotels.com. That free night is worth the average amount you spent the previous 10 nights, though you still have to pay taxes and fees.
In many ways the program is industry-leading (especially in conjunction with the Capital One Venture and Hotels.com partnership), and for someone who isn’t otherwise super invested in a hotel loyalty program, it’s an excellent option. That’s because you can earn free night rewards based on stays at both chain and independent hotels, and the program is also much simpler than hotel loyalty programs directly.
While many wouldn’t consider this to be a huge deal, a negative change has been announced to the Hotels.com Rewards program. As of November 27, 2019, the Hotels.com Rewards program will charge a redemption fee of $5 for every reward night redeemed. This fee won’t apply if you book a free night through the app.
So is this intended to encourage members to use the app, or what’s the justification? As the company explains to members in an email:
We’re making this change to cover some of the costs of running the program, so more than 43 million Hotels.com Rewards members can continue to benefit from this program.
That’s not exactly a very good explanation of the logic of this change. They’re making this change to cover “some of the cost of running the program?” But they’ll also waive it if you use the app?
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