Just as the name suggests, Hotels.com focuses mainly on hotel reservations, although it does offer the ability to book a flight as part of a package with your lodging. Its search filters are very specific, making them extremely helpful for finding the perfect hotel. However, the booking process itself is confusing and vague enough to deter inexperienced travelers.
The rewards program offered through Hotels.com is extremely simple. The site has 235,000 eligible hotels around the world, including major hotel chains, boutique hotels and resorts. Once a Rewards member has stayed 10 nights at any of the eligible hotels, they earn one free night's stay. The great part of this program is that there are no restrictions on which hotel users can redeem their free stay at. As long as the hotel is eligible for booking through Hotels.com, users have their pick.
One of the newer features available through the Hotels.com Rewards program is the ability for members to unlock secret prices on hotels as they book them. Members will have access to lower rates that aren't available to everyone and that apply to select hotels in popular destinations. Registration only takes a few minutes and requires very basic personal information.
For those who travel often, there are two higher levels above the basic rewards program. Silver members will have access to priority customer service on a dedicated phone line and early access to special offers. To qualify as a Silver member at Hotels.com, you need to stay at hotels booked through the site 10 nights or more during one membership year.
The next and highest level of the Hotels.com Rewards program is Gold. To qualify as a Gold Rewards member, you'll need to stay at least 30 nights in one membership year. Once you've reached that point, you'll have access to a dedicated phone line, early access to exclusive deals and what it refers to as a 'hassle-free travel guarantee.' This essentially means that if there is a problem during your stay, the service will help make new travel plans right away, being sure to minimize cancellation fees or other extraneous charges.
The hotel booking process on Hotels.com is very straightforward. Users will enter their travel dates, select their preferences using the available search filters and choose a hotel from the search results. From there, they are given a general overview of the property they have selected. If the hotel fits the traveler's needs, they can continue on to the actual booking process. One aspect of this service that we appreciated was the option to pay upfront or to pay at the hotel upon arrival. Those who choose to book upfront can also opt to participate in the Hotels.com Rewards program or use any gift card credit they may have.