The problem with using points or a free night voucher for a hotel stay- is you generally get put into the most basic, no view, benefit free room. No one goes to an epic city or destination to look at the wall of the hotel next door. If you’re staying more than just one night at the property- even if your voucher only covers one night, there’s a pretty clever way to get some serious benefits, and a lovely room…

Stack A Paid Night(s) In Front Of Your Free Night(s). But Not Just Any Paid Night…

The goal here is to pay for a better room for your first night(s), like one with a view, or club lounge access– so that when you check in, the hotel very courteously lets you keep it for the additional nights, booked using points or free night voucher. Moving guest rooms is inconvenient for the hotel and the guest, so for a polite guest, a hotel will often allow them to keep the upgraded accommodations. No, it’s not guaranteed, and no, it probably won’t work if you book one paid night and 12 complimentary nights, but within reason- it’s a great strategy.

This Works Especially Well When Hotels Aren’t Sold Out…

A great strategy to proactively check your chances, is to see if most room types are available during the dates of your stay. Just search the hotel website like you’re going to use cash. If there are seemingly many Club Rooms, or upgraded view rooms still on offer, the hotel would have far less reason to ask you to move. Weekends and off peak times, like those just after a public holiday will often work out best. Again, courtesy and politeness are a big key here. Of course a $20 at check in never hurt anyone either…

And This Is Incredibly Fun If You Can Bag A Club Room, Especially In Europe and Asia…

If you’ve never experienced the delights of a Club Level Room in just about any top Asian hotel, you must. We’re talking evening cocktail hours- with complimentary top shelf champagne, cocktails, beer and wine, five (free) meal presentations per day, gorgeous views and personalized service. It’s mind blowing that a room which may only be $40 more per night can get you $100’s in value. If you can swing a Club Room for your paid night(s) and manage to stay there for the duration of your complimentary nights, you’re really winning. Enjoy!

Of Course, If You Have Elite Status, You Can Get The Best Rooms Or Suites For Free…

Hotel frequent guest programs are a cutthroat business. If you already have elite status, it’s easy to match your status to other chains- giving you benefits almost anywhere you stay. If you don’t already have elite status- it’s easy than ever to attain. Marriott and SPG have a fast track offer, where just a fraction of the stays can get you top tier status with Marriott, Starwood and Ritz Carlton simultaneously. You could then match that status to Club Carlson, Hilton and more…