I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in mid-America. Missouri to be exact. My total cost for this hotel room and the breakfast I’ll be eating tomorrow is exactly $0. My current stay is in a Best Western hotel. All of the Best Westerns that I’ve stayed in have been clean and reasonably comfortable. It’s a decent chain by all accounts.
However, I generally stay at Marriott properties. How did I get my free night at the Best Western? From loyalty points. I earned a nice chunk about seven years ago from a stay at the Best Western Carolinian (I think that the hotel has changed hands since). I stayed in a one-bedroom condo that week. I also stayed in a Best Western in Kentucky about six years ago and at the Best Western in Wall, SD, a couple of times (this is the city that’s home to the world famous Wall Drug).
All of my previous stays added up to just north of 16,000 points, so I looked for a Best Western along my route for my current trip. I found one in the city that I frequently stay at during a trip east that I take a couple of times a year for a family visit. Total cost $0. That’s hard to beat. Many people ignore the option to earn points for every stay at a hotel chain that has a loyalty program. Even if it takes years, these programs can pay off. I had to spend the night somewhere tonight, and it’s better that it’s free.
Usually, when I stay at a Marriott property, I use the chain’s co-branded credit card from Chase. This gives me bonus points. I have no such card for Best Western, even though one is available. I don’t even intend to get this card at any time in the near future. Had I made any purchases in the sundries shop, I would have put them on my Chase Sapphire card, which earns 2 points per dollar for travel expenses. Hotel stays definitely qualify in this regard. I always try to maximize the points that I earn, because they can lead to free nights at a Best Western that’s close to very little. They can also lead to trips to Europe or Mexico that cost way less than most people would think.
How have you been able to save money through loyalty programs? Let me know in the comments.
Please note that you can get into pretty heavy debt with credit cards. That’s why I would recommend that you avoid them if you cannot pay off all purchases on a monthly basis.
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