How to earn rewards when you stay at independent hotels and self-catering cottages
By Sophie Lam
All the major hotel groups – such as Marriott, IHG and Hilton – operate loyalty programmes that allow their customers to accrue points that can be redeemed for discounted or free stays.
However, unless you’re a frequent and/or business traveller, or are particularly brand-loyal, these are likely to be of little use or interest.
But the way people are travelling is changing and while Airbnb doesn’t yet offer a loyalty programme, CEO Brian Chesky indicated recently that this is likely to change.
In the meantime, there’s a growing number of loyalty programmes that offer rewards for stays in independent hotels. Many are worth signing up to, even if you travel only sporadically.
Barcelona-based Wanup (wanup.com) offers cash-back (3-6 per cent of the booking, depending on the number of nights booked per year) and perks that might include late check-out, free breakfast and discounts on food; there’s also a €40 (£35) voucher when you sign up.
Wanup currently has around 1,000 member hotels in Europe, with the greatest concentration in France, Spain and Italy and a number in the UK and Ireland.
The Global Hotel Alliance’s Discovery Scheme (gha.com) covers more than 500 upscale properties in 76 countries worldwide and offers “authentic local experiences” rather thancash incentives.
This might be an Art Nouveau experience at the Grand Hotel Kempinksi in Riga or a cultural tour of Bishangarh in Rajasthan, India.
Booking portal Hotels.com offers Rewards (as does its parent company Expedia), for bookings at its 297,000 properties. Customers earn one “reward” night for every 10 booked, the value of which is calculated from the average of the collected nights. There are also members-only discounted “secret prices” that are unlocked once you join the scheme.
It’s not only hotels that reward loyalty. In South Devon, Coast and Country Cottages’ (coastandcountry.co.uk) Return & Reward programme includes benefits such as discounts on future bookings and advance notice of discounts while cottage rental company Best of Suffolk (bestofsuffolk.co.uk) offers similar perks for customers who have made at least two bookings.
Savings are often marginal, but if you holiday frequently in the same area or find a winning formula with a particular rental company, it’s certainly worth signing up.
This piece originally appeared on our sister site, iNews