Which Hotel Loyalty Programs Are Best for Business Travellers

Overwhelmed by the sheer number of hotel loyalty programs out there? This handy guide might help you decide a program that suits your needs.

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By Adele Eliseo • Feb 26, 2020

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Many business travellers are airline loyalists, getting a thrill every time they step off the plane to see their points balance rise, and their status credits edge them closer. But a surprisingly large number neglect to join hotel loyalty programs, thinking they aren't worth the effort. The fact is, in many cases, loyalty schemes operated by accommodation providers represent even better value. Why? It's often easier and more straightforward to earn and redeem points. Furthermore, with high competition, hotel chains are competing for your loyalty and will regularly send deals and offers to entice you in. So how do you navigate the best program for you? Discover our top picks below.

IHG Rewards Club is one of the world's largest hotel loyalty program. Backed by InterContinental Hotels Group and completely free to join, IHG boasts over 5,900 properties around the world, including many brands loved by business travellers. Think Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and boutique offerings like voco and Kimpton. Whether you're travelling within Asian Pacific or beyond, IHG manages properties in dozens of countries, from Malaysia to the Philippines, Australia to the UAE. If you travel globally, IHG Rewards Club membership can be handy, because you're bound to find a hotel where you'll be able to earn and redeem your points. Entry level "Club' membership unlocks free internet, exclusive booking rates and the ability to convert points to leading airline programs. It's a no brainer.

Another popular scheme is Accor Plus, a paid membership program available exclusively in Asia Pacific. The joining fee unlocks exclusive accommodation and dining perks at over 800 Accor hotel resorts and hotels in the Asia Pacific. The benefits are expansive, and they include one complimentary hotel stay each year. Accor boasts an extensive footprint in Asia Pacific, operating chains such as ibis, Fairmont and Sofitel. Markets covered include Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Vietnam. Accor Plus operates alongside the chain's free loyalty program, the recently re-launched "ALL - Accor Live Limitless'.

Global road warriors should also consider Marriott Bonvoy. Once a smaller player, the recent merger of Starwood Hotels and Marriott Hotels sees this program cover over 6,000 properties globally - including luxury chains such as Ritz Carlton and St Regis. Marriott is on an aggressive growth trajectory across Asia Pacific so joining now will pay off in the long term. You can earn free nights, enjoy member rates, free wifi and online check-in.

Hilton Honors has historically been a popular hotel program for business travellers, offering a range of benefits from late check-out and free wifi at Member level, through to coveted Gold status, which is one of the only hotel loyalty programs to offer a complimentary (continental) breakfast. Top tier Diamond members are treated to access to the Executive Lounge. Hilton boasts relationships with a number of credit card providers in Asia Pacific, often providing a fast-track to elite membership. As an example, a partnership with American Express in Australia sees Platinum cardholders unlock instant Gold status, while Explorer Card holders score complimentary Silver Status.

Ultimately, when choosing the best loyalty program for you, you need to ascertain what your personal travel habits and preferences are. If you travel frequently for business in certain markets, choose the program that covers properties you're likely to stay at. If you're more about family travel, sign up to the program that has hotels in your favorite destinations for holidaying.

Finally, take some time to investigate which hotel programs partner with the airline you fly most often with, or your car hire provider of choice. Unlike frequent flyer programs, hotel schemes won't hold you to airline routes or changes in schedules. The larger hotel loyalty programs have a presence in most cities and tourist destinations, so you have more choice on which program - or programs - you reward with your loyalty. Remember, these providers want your custom, so select the one that works best for you.

Adele Eliseo

Founder, The Champagne Mile

Adele Eliseo has a passion for travel, scouting tricks and hacks to earn frequent flyer points and using them to travel in style - without the hefty price tag. Whilst working full time in research and project management, she began a personal blog, offering her advice on how to navigate airline and hotel loyalty programs. When her blog, The Champagne Mile began attracting large numbers of followers and corporate partners, Adele gave up the day job and now works on the site full time, helping thousands of Australians to enjoy luxury travel for less.

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