Hotels.com is making changes to their loyalty program, and it’s something of a burden for the members especially for those seeking low-cost accommodation. I guess it’s time for me to go back to Agoda. LOL.
Specifically, Hotels.com will charge $5 redemption fee for every reward redeemed starting Nov. 27, 2019. Currently, there’s no additional redemption charge. You’ll have to pay the excess though if you’re booking a hotel room that costs higher than your reward value. You’ll also pay for any taxes.
By November, if you redeem via the app, however, there will be no charge. But what’s the point? Booh!
How “Rewards” Used to Work
I had always loved booking through Hotels.com solely because of the loyalty program where you get one night after booking for 10 nights (cumulative within a year after the last booking). The price of your reward night is based on the average price of the 10 nights you accumulated.
So if the hotel room you choose for your reward night is higher than the average price of the 10 accumulated nights, then you have to pay the excess amount. If you’re booking a reward night with lower price than your reward value though, then you’re booking it for free.
I think I had redeemed my nights a couple of times. I lost count though.
My Practicality Persona Kicks In
I guess Hotels.com has to remove or change the term “free nights” when marketing their Rewards program because it can’t literally be free anymore. The redemption fee of $5 (loosely converted to PHP260) is basically 30% more than my average hotel costs (I average around $15.40 or PHP800 per night).
That’s technically not a FREE NIGHT anymore. It’s just a major discount. LOL.
Well, a good thing about Hotels.com is that a lot of properties are offered at a “huge” discount. With the additional “DISCOUNT” from the reward redemption, you can enjoy lower hotel room rates.
When you’re comparing the final hotel rates at Hotels.com and other hotel booking websites, the rates are basically more or less the same. LOL.
Another funny thing is there was a time when I have to extend my stay in the hotel which was booked via Hotels.com. And since I cannot make additional booking through the website, I just paid the hotel in cash. And guess what? The hotel’s price is more than a hundred pesos ($2) CHEAPER! Lol.
In short, the “free night” redemption was basically the only thing making me stick to Hotels.com.
No Redemption Fee via App. Yey! Yeah, Right.
On the bright side, there will be no redemption charge when you redeem through the Hotels.com app.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not the type of person to add another app unto my loaded phone, especially an app that I don’t use most often anyway. I normally book my accommodation through my computer, when I’m planning for a trip.
Yes, some hotel rates are cheaper in the Hotels.com app than in the Hotels.com website. But in the app, the hotel rates seem unreliable. I’ve encountered it a couple of times. I plan to book a room through the App because it was cheaper compared to booking on the website, and then, when you apply a discount voucher (or something similar), the app will suddenly tell you in the lines of “the hotel rate has changed since you last viewed it” and gives you a higher rate. LOL.
What treachery is this?! LMAO.
Hotels.com is Just Part of Expedia Anyway
I usually come up to the reception desk and proudly tell them “I booked my stay through Hotels.com” and each time I am responded to with a confused look by the hotel officers as if they’re saying “what booking site is that?” Then I tell them my name (or show the printed booking details), and they look it up on their computer and they will say “Oh, you booked through Expedia.” LMAO. My enthusiasm vanished.
The first time I was told I was booking through Expedia (and I didn’t know about it), I was like “no, I booked through Hotels dot com.” And the Thai receptionist was like, “okay” then smiles. I don’t know if it was because the topic just needs to be stopped right away or because there was too much English and he (or she? LOL ) was the only staff who can converse in English.
Expedia Group, a Washington-based company in the travel technology industry, has so many products under its wings, including Expedia.com, Orbitz, trivago, Travelocity and HomeAway.
Do I Let Go of Hotels.com Now?
I don’t know! I still have a few nights to spend to grab a “free” night. But everything will expire in October. I might let go of the current rewards though due to budget constraints. Ooops. (so sad)
Keeping the Hotels.com account is a good idea though. At least I have another platform to find and compare hotels. Maybe I’ll use my Agoda account again as my main platform to search for hotels. But I am still bitter with Agoda. LOL. That’s another story.
But I heard Agoda has a lot of booking incentives and /or loyalty rewards now. We’ll see.