Family Travel: What to Look for When Booking Your Hotel

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Finding the right hotel stay for your family can take a lot of time and effort.  Luckily there are a few great travel tools to help you make the decision easier!

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

Traveling With the Family? Finding the Best Hotel Is Easy When You Use the Right Tools

I’ll show you how to find family-friendly hotels that can save you money and make your travels more comfortable!

How to Find the Right Hotel for Your Family Trip

Consider Your Destination

Will you be traveling to a big city or small town?  What sort of activities are you planning to do?

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

City, Country, or Somewhere in Between? Your Hotel Choices Will Depend on Where You’re Going

Keep in mind that in smaller cities and rural areas, you might not have the same hotel choices as you would in a large city.  Here’s a post on how to decide which hotel points are best to collect for your trip.

Which Hotel Chains Are Available?

You don’t have to search hotel chains individually to see which hotels are in each city.   And you don’t even have to search each website to see which one has available award nights.

AwardMapper is a tool that allows you to enter a city name and see a map view of where the hotels are located and even how many points are needed.

Or check Hotel Hustle, which shows hotel chains in each city, including real time available award nights and alerts that automatically let you know when a specific award has become available.

Both are great time-savers for finding award nights!

Know Which Perks Are Most Important to You

Location

One of the most important factors in selecting a hotel is location.  For many families, being as close as possible to public transportation is a top priority.

Both AwardMapper and Hotel Hustle use Google maps to show you your options, and zooming in will show metro stations in each city.

Free Breakfast

Having breakfast included in your stay is a great perk offered to some elite program members.  But these hotel chains also offer free breakfast to all guests, which is a terrific way to save money, especially when traveling as a family.

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

Families Can Save a Ton of Money by Choosing Hotels Which Include Free Breakfast

Folks with the AMEX Hilton HHonors Surpass or Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve have complimentary Hilton Gold elite status, which gets you free breakfast at certain Hilton hotels.

Also remember that The Platinum Card from American Express or The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN holders have access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which offers free breakfast for 2 when you book through the program.

And the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection programs gives Visa Signature card holders (like the British Airways Visa Signature Card) access to free continental breakfast for 2 when booking a hotel through the program.

Free Internet

Internet access can be a pricey add-on.  Luckily, there are many ways to get complimentary internet access.

A Real-Life Example

Hilton

Suppose your family wants to go to Washington, DC, to visit the National Mall.  And you have lots of Hilton points from the recent AMEX Hilton best-ever sign-up bonuses.

First, visit Hotel Hustle and enter the city and travel dates.  To see only Hilton hotels, check “Hilton HHonors” and uncheck the remaining hotel brands.  The Hilton hotels are marked with a yellow flag.

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

Stay at the Hampton Inn Washington DC Navy Yard and Get Free Breakfast – No Elite Status Required!

There’s a Hampton Inn & Suites – Navy Yard available on your travel date with a cash price starting at $186, or 50,000 Hilton points.  Or a cash & points rate of 20,000 Hilton points plus $85.

Hampton Inn provides free breakfast and, like all Hilton locations, gives free Wi-Fi to Hilton HHonors members who book directly through Hilton.

Another Hilton Option

If you want to be closer to the action, consider the Capital Hilton, just a few blocks from the White House.  Rooms are available for $199 or 50,000 Hilton points on our sample night.

There’s no cash & points rate available, but you can set an alert which will notify you if a room opens up.

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

You’ll Pay the Same Number of Hilton Points to Be Closer to Popular Tourist Attractions, but You Won’t Automatically Get Free Breakfast

You won’t automatically have free breakfast at the Capital Hilton unless you have Hilton Gold status, which is included with the AMEX Hilton HHonors Surpass or Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cards.

Hyatt

If you have lots of Hyatt points, or Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which you can transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio), there are good Hyatt options in Washington, DC.

Families would enjoy the Hyatt Place DC / Downtown, which costs ~$279 or 12,000 Hyatt points per night.

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

Stay at the Hyatt Place in Washington, DC, for 12,000 Hyatt Points per Night

Hyatt Place has spacious rooms and offers free breakfast to all guests.  Plus, the Chase Hyatt card comes with Platinum status, which entitles card holders to complimentary premium internet access and late check-out.

IHG

If you earned lots of IHG points from the Chase IHG card, you might consider the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Northeast.  It costs 20,000 IHG points for the same date, or make a cash reservation starting at ~$159.

Family Travel What To Look For When Booking Your Hotel

If You Have a Lot of IHG Points, Consider the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Get Free Breakfast

Because it’s a Holiday Inn Express, you’ll get free breakfast and, as long as you’re an IHG Rewards Club member, free internet as well.

Free Anniversary Nights

Because big cities like Washington, DC, tend to have hotel rates that are expensive in both cash and in points, I find that urban hotels are excellent options for redeeming free anniversary nights that come with some credit cards.

There are also several cards that come with awesome ongoing perks for remaining a cardholder long term!

Earning More Points

If you don’t have enough points to make an award reservation, you have several options for moving transferable points into hotel points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold (no longer offered), you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to:

  • IHG (1:1)
  • Hyatt (1:1)
  • Marriott (1:1)
  • Ritz Carlton (1:1)

American Express Membership Rewards

AMEX cardholders who earn Membership Rewards (for example, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold, American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum, or the no-annual-fee American Express EveryDay Credit Card) can also transfer their points to hotel programs, including:

  • Choice Privileges (1:1)
  • Hilton HHonors (2:3) and
  • Starwood (3:1)

As always, you can find the best offers (even if they don’t earn us a commission) on our Hot Deals page!

Getting Your Last Night Free

Don’t forget, if you have a multi-day stay, there are several options for getting your last night free.  If you’re paying in cash and you book 4 nights with your Citi Prestige card, your 4th night is always free!

And certain hotels offer a 5th night free when redeeming points:

Bottom Line

Choosing the right hotel for your family trip is easier when you use the right tools!  I like Hotel Hustle, which shows you if award rooms are actually available for your dates.

And hotels with perks like free breakfast are a real money saver for families!

My friends who travel often for business say extra perks like free Wi-Fi and breakfast are even more important to them when they’re traveling with their families, because those expenses would otherwise be paid for by their company if they were traveling for work.

Let me know if you have any tricks for booking hotels for your family!

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2 responses to “Family Travel: What to Look for When Booking Your Hotel

  1. Missing one thing:
    First thing I look for is if there is a bedroom door that will close in the room.
    No fun sitting in the bathroom while your children are sleeping!