Accommodation is often the reason why traveling becomes so darn expensive. While it’s possible to spend an entire day in a new destination without spending a single penny (think about sightseeing, free museum admissions, and free walking tours), you still need to pay for the room you’ll lodge in at the end of the day. Of course, you can always go for cheap hostels, sleep in your van, or go camping, but don’t you just love comfortable hotel beds in an air-conditioned room, plus free breakfasts and access to high-end pools?
if you see advertisements that say “stay in this hotel for free”, you’ll probably click it right away. Sounds too good to be true? Fortunately, free hotel stays aren’t merely fantasies or scams. And this article isn’t clickbait: you can actually score a free hotel stay… if you’re wise and diligent enough to do the legwork.
Without further chitchats, check out these travel hacks and see if you can use them to stay in a hotel of your choice for free.
1. Sign up for loyalty programs
Do you patronize a specific brand? See if they have a rewards program that gives you credit when you stay at properties within their brand. For example, a hotel group may reward you 5 points per dollar spent at their hotels and give you a free night’s stay once you’ve reached 5000 points. They may give you a free night if you book a certain number of nights, or give you a voucher when you’re staying on your birthday.
While it may take a while (and money) to earn enough points for a longer stay, it’s better than having nothing to look forward to, right? A freebie is a freebie.
2. Watch out for hotel promotions
If you a hotel reward card but don’t travel often, you can still earn points without staying in their hotel. Sign up for the newsletter of your preferred hotels to stay updated about upcoming promotions. Catch hotel promotions, like opportunities to earn 1000 free points by following them on social media or sharing their posts.
You can also get a free night when you book several paid nights. That’s a great deal if you want an extended stay in a lovely city without worrying about your hotel bills piling up.
3. Get a hotel-branded credit card
Another way to earn points without booking numerous hotel stays in a specific hotel chain is by signing up for the hotel’s co-branded credit cards. Hotel-branded credit cards include Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card, Word of Hyatt VISA credit card, and Hilton Honor credit card.
These cards allow you to earn loyalty points with the brand just for using it on everyday purchases. These credit cards may also provide introductory offers, making it easier to reach your target number of points.
4. Free nights promo on third-party booking sites
Not loyal to a particular hotel brand? If you regularly use a particular third-party booking site when finding hotel accommodation, your loyalty to that booking website can also lead to a free hotel stay for one night.
For example, hotels.com grants you one stamp for staying for one night at an eligible property. Collect 10 stamps and you’ll get one reward night to redeem at any eligible property. Find out your favorite third-party booking site’s terms and conditions, and watch out for promotions like these.
5. Make the most out of your credit cards
Gone are the days when credit cards have a reputation for enabling financial irresponsibility. Today, they can actually be used for saving money. Play your cards right and you could get a free night’s stay in your dream location, like a Kilkenny hotel that’s just right across Kilkenny Castle. You may earn travel credits and use them to cover any hotel expenses.
6. Consider frequent flyer programs
Don’t forget your airline points or miles. While converting airline points into free hotel stays isn’t the most practical way to spend your precious miles (because flights are so expensive, tbh), it’s a great option if you want to pamper yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime stay in a luxurious hotel.
7. Join raffles
The probability of winning might be low but not zero. I know, because my first ever hotel accommodation was a free one — all thanks to that company seminar when I won the grand prize of a free overnight stay in a nice three-star local hotel for two.
Try out your luck in raffles. Who knows? You can fly to your dream destination without paying a single buck.
8. Watch out for travel opportunities at work
Whether it’s an all-expense-paid business tour to Australia or an occasional team vacation, there are many free travel opportunities you can find at work. That is, if your company grants them. You could be working at your desk now and sipping cocktails by the beach later after your bosses decided to reward you and your colleagues for your hard work.
9. Be active in the travel industry and social media
Using influencers is one of the best marketing strategies. More and more luxury hotels are opening up to new promotional opportunities to boost their profits, like offering free stays to select guests in exchange for recognition on social media.
So if you’re a travel blogger, or any travel industry insider who’s active on social media, you may get complimentary hotel stays as a reward for the business you may bring to the hotel. If you’re a frontrunner in the field or a social media influencer, you can get a free stay in exchange for creating blogs or vlogs that mention their brand name, which can bring a major boost in their online presence.
Now that you know the hacks to getting a free stay, go ahead and plan your next trip. No expensive hotel rate will stop you now from enjoying your dream vacation!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel and lifestyle writer. Aside from taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny.