New Frequent Guest Program

Loyalty Traveler outlines the new rewards program called Welcome Rewards. Basically one free night up to $400 for every 10 nights booked at an eligible property (each of wihch must be at a rate of at least $40).

That’s pretty good value for folks who aren’t brand loyal. In most cases you give up in-hotel points-earning in a hotel’s own program for the rate booked at So these can be either-or, program OR Starwood points/stay credit.

Folks coveting elite status for the upgrades won’t find this useful. But if you bounce around chains, you may see a free room night more quickly via than from your various hotel loyalty programs. And you can chase the best rate, independent of brand loyalty now. Loyalty to the booking site matters under this program, not loyalty to hotel brand.

The online booking agencies are beginning to get serious about their loyalty programs. To date they’ve been fairly unrewarding, at least in my experience with the Orbitz and Expedia VIP programs (a special customer service number, some marginally useful benefits at best, and some extra marketing emails). And Expedia’s tie-in with Thank You Rewards is better than nothing (and better than Loyalty Traveler suggests — $5000 in spend should earn you $150 in travel, not a $50 gift certificate if you use the program correctly). But this is undoubtedly the strongest move to date.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Expedia is a scam”

    What the heck does that mean?

    I’ve used Expedia many, many times over the past seven years with absolutely no problems, ever.

    Do you just go trolling around blogs posting the propaganda link every time the word “Expedia” is mentioned? I know this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this link posted in a similar manner.

  2. Hey,

    They give 1 free night everytime you stay 10 nights. But if you have, let’s say 2 free nights they won’t let you redeem the two nights, there is a limit of only 1 free night per booking.
    Is there a workaround for this?
    What about doing a separate booking for each day?
    Has anybody tried that before?

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