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One of the great things about collecting miles and points is being able to share Big Travel with Small Money with the important people in our lives. Emily and I have created wonderful memories by treating our friends and family to trips they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
Readers have asked if they can use hotel points or free night certificates to book hotel stays for friends and family without traveling with them. I’ve written about booking award flights for others with miles, but can you do the same with hotels?
Use Your Points to Book Hotel Award Stays for Others
You CAN use your points to book award stays for friends and family. But the process and rules are different for each hotel chain.
Some hotels let you book a guest under the guest’s own name. Others require that you make the booking under your own name, but add your friend or family member as an additional guest in the room.
1. IHG Hotels
I’ve booked IHG hotels for others by booking under my name, then adding an additional guest online. I always add a special request that “Mr. or Mrs. Friend will be checking in before me” or call IHG after making the booking to add my friend’s name.
While there’s nothing in their terms and conditions about booking award nights for other people, folks on the IHG Community Forum and on FlyerTalk have confirmed that you can easily book hotels for others.
Make the award booking under your own name, but add your friend’s name as an additional guest. You can do this over the phone at 877-536-2509 or through the IHG Rewards website. If you book online, it’s a good idea to follow up with a phone call to reservations or the hotel to make sure they got your guest’s information.
But when I tried to make a booking using the Chase award night, the same fields for additional guests and special requests came up at the bottom of the reservation. So the 2nd guest can check-in!
Their terms and conditions say:
Hyatt Gold Passport members may request that a Hyatt Gold Passport award be issued to another individual. In order to transfer a Hyatt Gold Passport award, member must comply with the following requirements:
The reservation must be made by the Hyatt Gold Passport member redeeming the Hyatt Gold Passport award in the name of the recipient of the transfer.
The recipient of the Hyatt Gold Passport award must provide photo identification and a credit card or cash deposit for incidentals at check-in.
I made a dummy booking for a friend on the Hyatt Gold Passport website and it was easy. Just fill in your friend’s details where you would normally put your own.
Or, you can book under your own name, then call the hotel and have your friend’s name added to the reservation. Let them know your friend will be checking in 1st.
There are lots of other ways to earn Hyatt points!
Note: If you want to use a free award night from the Chase Hyatt card, the terms and conditions also state that free night awards are NOT transferable. However, folks on this FlyerTalk thread report being able to use them for others.
You can use points to book rooms for friends and family through Hilton HHonors, which includes DoubleTree, Conrad, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Home2Suites, Homewood Suites, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels.
The Reward may be issued to the HHonors member, or to any other person, as directed by the Member. Once issued, the Reward is not transferable and may be used only by the individual named on the Reward.
Folks on FlyerTalk confirm that they’ve been able to book for others by calling Hilton HHonors at 800-446-6677. Some suggest booking online and adding your guest’s information into the reservation, with a comment that they’ll be the person staying.
I would follow up with a phone call to the hotel or reservations line just to be sure everything’s in order.
I checked the website for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, and there’s nothing about the free weekend night certificates being non-transferable. But always double check if you plan to use these for someone else!
4. Starwood Preferred Guest
You may book a room in someone else’s name, but you have to call to make the reservation 888-625-4988. Or, if you make the booking on the SPG website, you can call after you make the booking to put your guest’s name on the reservation.
SPG’s terms and conditions say:
SPG Awards are typically non-transferable, but certain SPG Awards may be given to a third party where an SPG Member makes the request at the time the SPG Award is issued. The guest using the SPG Award may be required at check-in to show proper identification and provide a credit card to the SPG Participating Hotel for incidental charges.
There’s lots of information on FlyerTalk regarding booking rooms for others with SPG points.
Remember, there’s nowhere on the website reservation form to add additional guest names or comments, so I’d save time and just book directly with SPG over the phone (because you’d have to call anyway).
Here’s my series on using Starwood hotel points!
5. Club Carlson
Their terms and conditions say that points can be used for others.
Club Carlson members may redeem Gold Points at Participating Properties or through our Partners. Gold Points may be redeemed for the benefit of the Club Carlson member or for another individual as a gift.
FlyerTalk confirms that it’s easy to book rooms for friends and family. I went to the website and on the guest information page, you can just click a button to indicate you’re booking for someone else with your points!
In this case, I wouldn’t worry too much about calling to double check, because you’re booking directly with your friend’s name. But if you want to call, Club Carlson’s number is 888-288-8889.
The Club Carlson card gets you the last free when you book an award stay for 2 or more nights.
6. Choice Hotels
You can book an award night for a family member (spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brother and sisters) even if you’re not staying with them.
I’m not sure how they could enforce the family member only rule. Anybody could be your brother, sister, or in-law!
Their rules state:
When booking a reward night for someone other than yourself, be sure to ask the reservation agent to include the name of the guest in the notes field of the reservation. When booking a reward night through your online profile, be sure to include the name of the guest who will be staying in the room in the “Special Request” field.
I made a dummy award night booking through the Choice Privileges website. There is a clearly marked “special request” field at the bottom of the booking screen. Just enter the name of the person who will be staying in the room.
Note: Folks on FlyerTalk report having issues with booking for others on some international reservations. It’s probably wise to call Choice at 800-521-2121 after making the booking, just to be sure.
The Marriott Rewards program includes Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, AC Hotels by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C., ExecuStay, and Marriott Executive Apartments Grand Residences by Marriott brands.
The terms and conditions don’t address booking rooms for others. This FlyerTalk thread confirms that you can book rooms for friends and family. But it can’t be done online. You have to call reservations at 888-236-2427 to book the room.
Note: You can NOT book a room for others using the free night certificates from the Chase Marriott Premier Visa. The terms and conditions clearly state that they’re not transferable. And folks on the Marriott Rewards forum confirm that you can only book for yourself using these certificates.
However, you could book a room for yourself, then call and add your guest’s name to the reservation with a note that they’ll be checking in first. Or call the hotel directly to let them know.
Will Others Enjoy Your Elite Status Perks?
If the room is booked under your name, your guest should get your elite status benefits. Hotels extend perks based on who’s booked (but occasionally this doesn’t happen)!
But if the room was booked directly under your guest’s name, there’s no guarantee they’ll get any of your benefits.
However, some folks report that their guests have gotten elite perks just as if they had been staying in the room themselves. And if your guests have elite status of their own, they could mention it to the hotel when they check-in.
I certainly wouldn’t expect elite benefits. If your guests get extras, consider it a bonus!
You can book rooms for friends and family using your points, but the process is slightly different for each hotel chain.
The exception to this is using free award nights from some credit cards. It’s always best to double check with the hotel.
If you make the booking online, it’s always a good idea to follow up with a phone call to confirm the reservation has the other person’s name on it. And don’t expect any elite benefits (even though your guest might get them).
Booking award nights for friends and family is a great way to create memories and share your love of Big Travel with Small Money!
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