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How to Stay in Hotels for FREE!

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

For more than 10 years now, we’ve been staying for free as we travel. We stay for free at resorts, chain hotels, small boutique hotels, and even local hotels!

I know the idea of staying for free in a hotel seems too good to be true but it is real. I have stayed for free in Italy, Belize, Paris, London, Thailand, as well as all over the United States. I have also been able to use free nights when we are traveling in our RV and I become ill and when our RV was in the shop after a break down.

In order to stay for free in hotels I use points I earn from specific hotels. I am also able to stay for free by earning gift cards in a variety of ways. So let’s learn how.


There are many chains of hotels. I have points with the following hotel chains where I can stay for free.

To earn points with these hotel chains you first need to sign up for their rewards card for free. This way when you stay with them you will earn extra points and perks.

stay at hotels for free
Most hotels offer FREE breakfast saving you more money!

Then you should sign up for their branded credit card and earn a large sign up bonus. Typically you are rewarded a large amount of points or a certain number of free hotel nights for spending a set amount of money within say 3 months when you sign up.

It may sound difficult to spend a certain amount of money within a set time but we have never had trouble meeting the spends and getting our bonus points. We just put everything we buy onto that card. From gas, healthcare costs, groceries, to future travel expenses. Everything we can, we put on that card until the spend is met.

The key to this is, you must pay off the credit card every month. If you are paying interest then you are not really getting anything for free. What makes this easier to do than in years past is today’s technology. You simply download the credit card apps to your phone, link your bank account, and you can pay off each purchase like a debit card.

You also will earn more hotel points for free hotel nights when you use your card for your everyday purchases. PLUS even more points when you spend at the hotel property.

So which credit cards should you get? I recommend the AMEX Hilton to start out with because it never has an annual fee. There is also a fee card which I find is worth it as right now they are offering 170,000 points to sign up. And the required spend is low. Plus I find they have really great customer service. In addition, you earn 5x points when you spend at US restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets and 3x points on all other purchases. Sign up for the Hilton Hotel AMEX here.

l also recommend getting the Marriott Bonvoy. I recommend this card because they are the largest hotel chain so the likelihood of you finding a hotel where you want to go is high. When you sign up for this you earn 3 free nights when you meet the spent of $3,000 within 3 months. PLUS every year that you have the card you get another free night’s stay. Don’t forget you will earn two times points to use for free nights every time you buy something with the card and earn six times when you use it to pay for a stay at the hotel. Sign up for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

Another option for staying in free hotels is with the IHG card. This is Holiday Inn and their properties and you will find lots of really nice Holidays Inns overseas. Right now you can earn 80,000 points or 4 free nights depending on the card you choose. This is a good amount of points so I suggest you jump on this deal.

You can also earn general points that can be transfered to various airlines and hotels. You can earn Chase points here and Capital One points here

There are lots of ways that you can earn gift cards. Some are games like rolling dice, others are surveys, and some you can earn from shopping and scanning receipts. One of the great things about earning gift cards with is that they have a rewards program where you earn credit with every stay.

Conveniently, there are typically many hotels at virtually any location I have ever searched where you can use your gift cards. From large hotel chains to small local hotels, there are tons of options with

So how do you get these gift cards? You earn them using apps on your phones and shopping and scanning your receipts. Use them all or pick the ones that sound the best for you. I use them all so I can earn as many gift cards for free hotels as possible.

Here are 5 ways you can earn free gift cards.

FETCH- Fetch is an app that gives you points for shopping and scanning any grocery receipt. You can also earn additional points buying certain products. You can then use these points to get gift cards. Sign up and get a $2 bonus for scanning your first grocery receipt.

SHOPKICKS- Shopkicks gives you points for walking into big box stores, for scanning certain products in store, and shopping and scanning your receipt and extra for buying certain products. It also gives points for watching daily videos and interacting with ads. It is pretty easy to earn points fast with Shopkicks that you can use to get gift cards. Sign up and get a bonus if you walk into a store within the first week.

VERYDICE-Verydice lets you roll dice very day to try to earn points with. You can then use these points to get gift cards. You can earn more rolls by watching videos and taking surveys. Roll dice earn points and get free hotel rooms. Sign up and enter my code 3894971 and get 30 free rolls.

IBOTTA- Ibotta is an app that lets you earn on groceries and online purchases. If you don’t have Ibotta you can sign up and get a $10 bonus here. Simply shop and scan your receipt to earn.

Now that you have earned your gift cards go to the Ibotta app to book your room using your gift cards and earn 4% percent back (offer at the time of posting) on your purchases.

Let me recap. You can use these apps to earn gift cards. If you book your room through Ibotta you will get up to 4% back. And once you stay 10 nights at you will get another free night.

Where will you go with your free hotel nights?

By using these steps to earn free gift cards and earn points with large chain hotels you should be able to earn enough points and gift cards to stay for many nights for free!

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know. We are happy to help you earn free hotel nights!

Happy Trails,

Penny Pinching Globetrotter

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1 Comment

Have any advice on how to stay organized and "on top of" so many rewards cards, credit cards and apps? I feel like my head would be spinning if I took advantage of all of these.

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