Best time to book hotel rooms (loyalty program perspective)

“When is the best time to book a hotel?” I get asked that a lot and it really depends. One of the variables is whether or not you’re a (loyal) member of one of the big hotel group loyalty programs. Their campaigns (or challenges as they are often called) can help you earn double the number of points or have serious discounts when booking. So I’m writing this post from the perspective of a frequent traveler who is locked in with either IHG, Hilton and/or Marriott loyalty programs. So these are the best times to book hotel rooms, from a loyalty program perspective.

Overall

January

  • IHG usually announces their Accelerate Q1 program early January for mid-January through the end of March. Accelerate programs are usually tailored to your own staying habits (you will have to complete challenges like staying at specific number of different properties, total nights, etc) and can have you earn somewhere up to 75.000 points.

February

March

April

May

  • IHG usually announces their Accelerate Q2 program early May for mid-May through the end of July. Accelerate programs are usually tailored to your own staying habits (you will have to complete challenges like staying at a specific number of different properties, total nights, etc) and can have you earn somewhere up to 75.000 points.

June

July

August

September

  • As we’re closing in to the end of the year and you might be thinking about your travel plans for next year, it pays off to look for filing errors of hotels. Often, independently owned (franchise) hotels file their own room prices on the website and they from time to time make mistakes for the next year (either it being too high or too low).
  • IHG usually announces their Q4 Accelerate program end of september. This is often the worst of their accelerate programs and is either usually a doublepoints offer (earning double the amount of points) or some mildly interesting challengres.

October

  • You might want to start thinking about which hotels you’re booking in the next three months in order to maintain your loyalty program tier level and/or to qualify for a next level. To avoid having to do a points/stays run at the end of the year, start planning carefully.
  • Additionally, it is good to take into consideration how each of the loyalty programs treat ‘extra’ nights, the nights you do not need to qualify for the next tier level.
    • Hilton: rollover nights, use them towards your next qualification. Additionally, an extra 10 nights will get you 10.000 extra bonus points. This, on top of the usual extra points % you will have with extra tier level.
    • IHG: rollover nights, use them towards your next qualification. This, on top of the usual extra points % you will have with extra tier level.
    • Marriott: rollover nights, use them towards your next qualification. This, on top of the usual extra points % you will have with extra tier level.

November

  • End november/beginning of december is Black Friday and Cyber Monday which often means hotel deals from the different properties.

December

These were the best times to book hotel rooms, from a loyalty program perspective. Have tips? Leave them in the comments.

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