Military families travel. A lot.
They aren’t afraid to embark on an epic road trip during their kids’ spring break. They travel for holidays and every 3-day weekend. Heck, military families travel even when they are moving from one duty station to another. The summer PCS season is also prime vacation time for military families.
Are you planning a family vacation for spring break or this summer? Are you mapping out your PCS route from Maine to California? Do you want to save money when booking your hotel rooms for this trip?
Consider a hotel loyalty program.
A hotel loyalty program is a convenient way to save money when you are traveling. More and more hotel chains are offering loyalty programs to reward frequent customers.
Each program works a little differently. As U.S. News and World Report wrote in an article comparing hotel loyalty programs,
There isn’t one best loyalty program that would suit the needs of every traveler. Each rewards program targets different preferred lodging styles — from boutique to business-friendly — travel habits and goals.
Here are 3 things to consider when reviewing the perks of a hotel loyalty program.
1. The frequency of travel for you and your service member.
Take a moment to review your most recent hotel stays. How often did you book a hotel room in the last year? Did you stay in a hotel once a year or every few months?
Let’s say you, as a military spouse, don’t travel very often. But, your service member does. He or she may have a job that requires frequent travel for classes or training. When your service member is traveling for the military, do they stay in a national hotel chain? If the answer is yes, then a hotel loyalty program may be a good fit for your family. He can earn the points during his military travel and you can use those points later for a free night during a family vacation. It’s a win-win.
2. The hotel chain’s locations in relation to your frequent travel spots.
Geographic coverage is a super important factor to consider when reviewing a hotel loyalty program. Like I said earlier, lots of hotel chains are offering loyalty programs.
But not all hotel chains are nationwide. So if you sign up for a hotel chain with locations primarily in the Midwest, but you are living and therefore traveling in the Northeast, this hotel loyalty program would not benefit you.
This isn’t a problem with the Best Western Service Rewards program. With more 4,000 hotels worldwide, you are nearly guaranteed to find a Best Western on your PCS cross-country route.
The Best Western Service Rewards program, which benefits service members, allows members to:
- Earn 10 points for every U.S. dollar spent on qualified hotel room rates
- Receive a military discount of 10% or more on room rates
- Automatically be upgraded to Gold status, which allows you to earn points faster
With the Best Western Service Rewards program, your points never expire, there aren’t blackout dates (so you can use your points to book a room during Memorial Day weekend) and you have access to their exclusive reservations line.
Always review a hotel loyalty program’s policy regarding the expiration of points and blackout dates. Nothing is more annoying than not being able to use the points that you earned because of blackout dates or your points expired before you could use them.
3. The benefits and savings of the hotel loyalty program.
A hotel loyalty program should be beneficial so pick one that benefits you. Do you want to earn free hotel rooms for future trips? Then find a program that rewards travelers with an easy-to-navigate points system to get you that free room in the future. You should know how many paid nights are required to earn a free stay.
Do you want to be upgraded occasionally from a standard room to a suite? Then pick a hotel loyalty program that rewards with free amenities.
Don’t forget to ask if the rewards can be shared with your spouse. It’s frustrating if your service member earned a crazy amount of points during her TDY, but then you can’t use those points for a free night when you’re driving to Grandma’s house with the kids.
A hotel loyalty program may help you save money when traveling, as long as you understand how it works. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and review the program’s policy before signing up for one. You want to find a program that works for you. Use the program to your advantage and get ready to enjoy the benefits as a loyal and frequent customer.