How to Earn Free Stays at 2016’s Best Hotel Brands Ranked by J.D. Power

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The results are in for the J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.  Overall, guest satisfaction improved for a 4th consecutive year.  And satisfaction is higher for guests that are part of hotel rewards programs.

Luxury brand hotels, like Ritz-Carlton, had the biggest jump in customer satisfaction.  And Ritz-Carlton also had the highest satisfaction score of any hotel brand in the last 20 years!

How To Earn Free Stays At 2016's Best Hotel Brands Ranked By J.D. Power
Ritz-Carlton Hotels Ranked as the Top Luxury Brand for a 2nd Consecutive Year. I’ll Show You How to Earn Free Stays at Ritz-Carlton and the Rest of the Top-Rated Hotel Brands

I’ll explain how you can get free stays at the top-rated hotel brands! 

8 Top-Rated Hotel Brands

Link:   J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study

The study measured guest satisfaction for 8 hotel segments by gathering responses from more than 63,000 guests in Canada and the United States who stayed at a hotel in North America between May 2015 and May 2016.

The survey reviewed 7 key measures including:

  • check-in / check-out
  • cost & fees
  • food & beverage
  • guest room
  • hotel facilities
  • hotel services
  • reservation

Here are the top-rated hotels for each segment:

Although they were not top rated, several IHG hotel brands like InterContinental and Holiday Inn Express were also ranked highly.

In a moment, I’ll show you how to get free nights at these hotels!

Hyatt House Has Free Breakfast

Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan has stayed at a few Hyatt House hotels, which was the top rated hotel in the Upper Extended Stay segment.

He liked the free and reliable in-room Wi-Fi.  Hyatt House hotels usually have free breakfast with a few hot food items, served buffet-style.  So you can get a big breakfast and save money if you’re traveling with friends or family.  

In his experience, they also have nice pools and a small fitness room.  This means you can enjoy hotel amenities without paying more for a higher-end hotel.  

Hilton Garden Inn Has Made to Order Breakfast

And team members Jasmin and Keith have both stayed at different Hilton Garden Inn hotels in Calgary, Houston, and Las Vegas.

They enjoyed the made-to-order breakfasts.  And they usually have nice outdoor pools.

How To Earn Free Stays At 2016's Best Hotel Brands Ranked By J.D. Power
Hilton Garden Inn Was the Top Rated Upscale Hotel Brand. Many Hilton Garden Inn’s Have Great Pools, Like This One in Las Vegas!

Mixed Feelings About Microtel Inn

Jasmin and Keith have also stayed at different Microtel Inn & Suites hotels, which was top rated in the economy and budget segment.  Their experiences were very different.  Jasmin thought the Microtel felt cheap and wouldn’t stay there in the future.

But Keith enjoyed his stay at the Microtel Inn & Suites South Bend where he stayed for a weekend to see a Notre Dame football game.

Because folks can have different opinions of hotels, I recommend using TripAdvisor to read detailed reviews about a hotel before booking your stay!

Use Points for Free Stays at Top-Rated Hotels

If you don’t have enough points to book a hotel stay, here are some ways to quickly increase your point balances!

The best way to earn free stays at these hotel brands is to earn points through their credit card sign-up bonuses.  You’ll often earn enough points for multiple free nights!  Spend on items you’d be buying anyway with your new card and you’ll earn a big welcome bonus.

And certain hotel cards give you a free night each year you keep your card open!

Just be sure you ALWAYS pay your bill on time and in full!



Marriott / Ritz-Carlton


For smaller chains like Drury Hotels, you can use the miles from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard to save on your stay.

To find hotels that can be booked with points, I use Hotel Hustle (which even shows you if rooms are actually available!) or AwardMapper.

Or you can book your stay through and use your 10th night free at the hotel you want.  Or when you shop at Orbitz, collect Orbitz Orbucks points that you can use to stay at independent hotel brands.

Bottom Line

There are many ways to earn points for free stays at many of the top-rated hotel brands in the J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.

You can earn credit card sign-up bonuses or transfer points from certain airlines or credit cards for free stays at hotel brands like Hilton, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, and Wyndham.  Or you can use sites like and and Orbitz to earn rewards for free stays at independent hotel brands.

Which is your favorite hotel brand on the list?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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