Travel tip: sign up for any hotel's rewards scheme

By David Flynn, July 17 2014
Travel tip: sign up for any hotel's rewards scheme

Savvy globetrotters follow a few key rules, and one of those dictums is to never miss a chance to earn points.

Airline points, hotel points, credit card points – they're all just a form of currency, which can eventually be converted into another currency (such as funnelling credit card points into your favourite frequent flyer program) or used to buy goods and services (anything from a free flight or hotel stay to a Nespresso machine, noise-cancelling headphones or a toaster).

An extension of this, then, is to sign up for any airline or hotel loyalty scheme through which you might earn points, even on a one-off basis.

If you're soon to travel on an airline you've never flown before, it can make sense to join their frequent flyer program, as long as it's free (and most are) and there's not the option to earn points in the reward scheme of a partner airline where you already hold a decent balance.

In the same way, your first stay at a particular hotel chain is your cue to look into its loyalty scheme.

Last week I visited Seattle (as a guest of Air New Zealand and Boeing) to take part in the handover and delivery flight of the world's first Boeing 787-9.

As with all my business trips, the choice of hotel rests in somebody else's hands – and in this instance the 30-odd media from New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan were put up at the Hotel Monaco, which is part of the Kimpton family of boutique hotels.

And as with most hotels, Kimpton offers a loyalty scheme – Karma Rewards (previously known as Kimpton InTouch) – which is free to join, so shortly before my trip I signed up online.

I've never before stayed at a Kimpton hotel, but on checkin at the Hotel Monaco my virginal status still qualified me for

  • an upgrade to a larger Premier room on one of the hotel's top floors
  • free WiFi Internet (which would usually cost US$12 per night across this three-night stay)
  • $10 credit against the minibar (handy for a snack to fuel late-night writing) or the hotel's restaurant bar (handy for a cocktail at any time)

This is a welcome triple-treat, and it cost me nothing but the few minutes necessary to join the group's reward program.

Most business travellers have more control over where they stay, but there will almost always be times when a client or a conference has you visiting a 'new' hotel brand. If that happens, jump online and look at signing up to their loyalty scheme – you never know what little perks could come your way.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

The one caveat being that you should expect to lose those points if you are not a frequent stayer, but still potentially worthwhile for the other benefits

Most hotel programs have relatively short points expiries, as low as 12 mths (Best Western, Starwood, Hilton)


31 Aug 2013

Total posts 12

I definitely agree with getting a membership strictly for the purposes you've mentioned here, i.e. making your patronage visible to the hotel in exchange for a little more recognition or fringe benefits.

What I no longer do is chasing points in order to exchange goods or services from these hotel or airline programs. I just find that playing whack-a-mole with tightening program restrictions and devalued points is a very unattractive way of life.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 10

Hi, I stayed at Hotel Monaco and it is a great hotel.  Signed up for their reward program and they status match any other hotel reward program you are in.  Got top tier in their reward program and the benefits are really good.

17 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

I signed up for the Kimpton loyalty program as well. Their hotels are generally quite good and I like the perks of received even as a new member of their program.

21 Sep 2012

Total posts 49

Signing up can allow you to jump the queue when arriving at a hotel too.  One New Year we went to Toronto and the check in queue at the Royal York was at least a 30-40 minute wait but because I'd signed up to the Fairmont rewards programme we had a separate check in queue and only a few minutes wait.

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