We have previously covered the top frequent flyer programs for Australians to join. In this guide, we take a look at the handful of hotel loyalty programs for which you should do the same.
Hotel loyalty programs are useful to understand and engage with, as they are usually more flexible than frequent flyer programs by allowing you to transfer the points out to a range of frequent flyer partners.
Alternatively, you’ll be able to redeem the points for hotel stays or credit for future travel.
Why should I register for multiple programs?
Simple—if you don’t register, you can’t earn points for your stays. Also, by registering you will start to opt into emails (if you want to), which will guide you toward some of the hotel promotions on offer.
Finally, many of the promotions where you can buy hotel loyalty points at a discount will require you to have an account set up for a minimum amount of time, e.g. 30 or 90 days before purchasing points.
Going through and joining these programs will at least let you get your account in place to take advantage of any deals in future.
Which are the top 5 hotel loyalty programs to join for travellers in Australia?
To get started, register with the following programs that coincide with having the most properties in the region.
The Marriott Bonvoy program is a culmination of the Starwood Preferred Guest, Ritz Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards programs, officially uniting in early 2019.
Marriott’s points currency is one of the most valuable out there on a point-for-point basis, with transfer partnerships with most major frequent flyer programs, including Qantas and Virgin Australia. There are useful bonus points purchase promotions that crop up a couple of times per year.
Marriott Bonvoy is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards too.
- Join Marriott Bonvoy for free here (and also earn a free night after two paid stays!)
Hilton has a good hotel spread in Australia too. Hilton HHonors points are a useful major points currency to consider if you have an affinity for the Hilton hotel chain.
Hilton has a massive global reach of hotels, and they also partner with a large number of airlines, including Qantas and Virgin Australia.
Hilton is also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.
- Join Hilton Honors for free here
3. IHG Rewards
IHG Rewards is the loyalty program of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, including the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Indigo hotel chains.
IHG also has a massive global hotel reach, and run promotions for large numbers of bonus points on your hotel stay along with discounted redemptions.
- Join IHG Rewards for free here
Hyatt has a much smaller global footprint than some of the other chains mentioned here, but have some very aspirational properties and hotel brands in their portfolio.
Hyatt points are also transferrable to airline miles, and Hyatt runs points purchase promotions too. Otherwise, Hyatt points can be a little hard to come by for Australian travellers.
However, it might be worth taking two minutes to link your World of Hyatt and American Airlines AAdvantage accounts. You’ll be able to double-dip by earning both Hyatt points and AAdvantage miles on American Airlines flights.
- Join World of Hyatt for free here
Accor is the parent brand for Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis and other hotels. Accor Live Limitless, their loyalty program, have a number of European frequent flyer airline partners, as well as the major ones in the region for Australia.
They are aggressive at acquiring new hotel partners. For example, they recently onboarded Mantra and Art Series properties, which has further expanded their reach in Australia.
While there is no major credit card points transfer partner in Australia, there is a quick path to Gold elite status.
- Join Accor Live Limitless for free here
What about my stay at other hotels?
You might find that other hotel chains, small and large, have their own loyalty program too. They may be of use if you stay at a specific chain frequently enough, but otherwise, I would look to book using a method where I would earn a points currency I know I will get more use out of.
For example, often you can choose to earn frequent flyer points instead of hotel rewards points. This is often the better option, particularly for one-off stays.
My own personal strategy is to focus on staying at properties that I already have elite status benefits with or can receive stay extras such as those offered through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
For all other hotel stays outside of the major chains, you should consider sites offering an upfront discount (like CheapTickets), or look at one of the points hotel consolidator sites such as Qantas Hotels, Velocity Hotels, Kaligo, Agoda or Rocketmiles.
If you don’t join some of these programs, you are locked out of ‘playing the points game’ and joining in any great promotions that might crop up in future.
This includes buy points promotions which will often either require that you have had a membership period of a certain length, or even have earned some points already.
Spend a few minutes to join each hotel loyalty program now so you don’t miss out. You’ll also start to understand the ins and outs of the various programs and hotel chains as you go.