6 surprising ways to use your on-property credits at hotels
Written by ABC Audio All Rights Reserved on December 17, 2022
Depending on which credit cards you have, you may receive a $100 on-property credit during your next hotel stay. Uses of this benefit can vary from hotel to hotel. Moreover, uses of this on-property credit can range from the obvious to the ingenious.
Let’s look at some surprising ways to use your on-property credits at hotels, starting with how you can receive this benefit.
What are on-property credits for hotel stays?
Using your on-property credits for food and beverage spending — at the hotel restaurant or through room service — visits to the spa and even parking are common uses of on-property credits. There are three main avenues for receiving on-property credits, explained below.
Through specific programs
The most common way to receive on-property credits with your hotel bookings is to book through a luxury hotel program from a credit card issuer. These include the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection from Chase (LHRC), Premier Collection from Capital One and two offerings from American Express: Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR) and The Hotel Collection (THC). Remember, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits each year for hotel bookings through these programs.
Related: A comparison of luxury hotel programs from credit card issuers: Amex, Chase and Capital One
Along with benefits such as room upgrades at check-in (if available), complimentary Wi-Fi and daily breakfast for two (except with The Hotel Collection), another key benefit included with these reservations is the on-property credit. LHRC bookings promise a unique property amenity or credit valued at $100. This is usually a meal for two people, though other offerings may include a spa treatment, airport transfers or waived green fees for golf at properties with golf courses.
The Premier Collection includes a $100 credit on all bookings. Eligible expenses charged to your room can be covered by this benefit, and uses of the credit will vary by property.
With FHR, you will receive a unique amenity at each property, valued at $100. This is typically a spending credit for on-property restaurants or spa treatments. On the other hand, THC reservations offer $100 in credits to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities.
These benefits are what you should expect when making reservations through these programs. That’s not to say that you won’t receive other benefits, though. You may receive a credit and a free meal at some properties, allowing you to use your on-property credits toward other expenses.
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With a credit card
Those who have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card can take advantage of up to $250 in statement credits for spending at participating Hilton resorts, available each cardmember year. You can use the $250 in credits on dining, activities, spa treatments and even room rates and taxes, but you can’t use these credits toward advance-purchase or nonrefundable rates.
Aspire cardmembers also can receive up to $100 in on-property credits when booking a stay of at least two nights at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties using the Hilton Honors Aspire Card website or booking on the phone using the code ZZAAP1. With this benefit, you’ll receive a credit of up to $100 for incidentals during your stay. Note that enrollment is required in advance for some benefits.
The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Another example comes from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. Cardmembers can receive an on-property credit of up to $100 for incidentals when booking a paid stay of at least two nights at participating Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties using the special “$100 property credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate.”
With elite status
Additionally, you may receive benefits from your elite status, depending on the hotel and the rewards program. This is not guaranteed, but it does happen. If you get free parking and breakfast as status benefits, you could use your on-property credits to cover other expenses during your stay.
No one likes resort fees. These can present a real surprise when you think your hotel room will cost $150 and then receive a bill for $185, thanks to a resort fee or “destination fee” tacked onto your bill.
You can avoid these by redeeming points or free night awards at some hotels, but programs like Marriott Bonvoy still assess resort fees even on award stays at some hotels and resorts.
The good news is you can use your on-property spending credits to cover the resort fees in many instances. Logically, using your credits for resort fees leaves less money to spend on other things, such as activities and meals, but it can soften the sting of unpopular fees in popular destinations like Hawaii and New York City.
I recently used my on-property credits from a booking with The Hotel Collection to cover pet fees. The Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego honored my World of Hyatt Globalist status on this reservation, meaning they waived the parking fees, gave my wife and me free breakfast every morning and still provided a $100 on-property spending credit.
The fee for two dogs in our room during the weekend? $100.
On top of receiving $200 in statement credits for booking this hotel using my Amex Platinum Card‘s annual hotel credit, we were able to erase the pet fees with the spending credit from our reservation.
When I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi last year, I booked a one-night stay through Fine Hotels + Resorts to use my Amex Platinum Card’s $200 hotel credits for the year. Since this property participates in Marriott Bonvoy, they recognized my Titanium Elite status and gave me a free breakfast and dinner. That freed up my $100 on-property credit for other uses.
In addition to covering my lunch at the hotel restaurant, I could charge taxi rides to my room. From the queue of taxis waiting near the hotel’s entrance, I could inform the driver of my room number and destination. After dropping me off, the taxi driver charged my ride to my room.
I used this feature a few times for rides around the city to do some sightseeing, then I erased the charges from my bill at checkout — thanks to the on-property credit of $100 for my reservation.
Beach chairs and cabanas
If you stay at a hotel with beach chairs or cabanas for rent around the pool or near the ocean, see if you can charge these to your room; you should be able to, as long as these are managed by the property and not a third-party vendor. If you can charge these to your room, you may be able to cover those purchases with your on-property spending credits.
Of course, the flexibility of your spending credits will be important here. Inquire at check-in whether you can use the credits for everything charged to your room or only for certain spending categories.
Similarly, if you can use the on-property spending credits however you’d like, you should be able to apply the credits to any expenses charged to your room. At resorts with an activities desk, you will have additional options.
Ask whether you can use your credits to cover excursions, snorkel rentals, family activities or other on-property activities. If you can use your property credits for anything charged to the room, look for opportunities to charge your family’s expenses to your room to cover the fun extras that make your trip more enjoyable.
Related: Top picks: The best hotels for families you can book with points
Buy a round at the bar
When my wife and I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton Sao Paulo Jardins in Brazil, which is part of The Hotel Collection, the hotel provided us with free breakfast and $100 in on-property credit. Because we have friends in the area, we invited them to the hotel’s bar one night and charged everyone’s drinks to our room. Fortunately, $100 goes pretty far when converted to Brazilian Reais, and using our on-property credit this way made for a great evening with friends.
We have to eat every day. Thus, using on-property credits to meet this daily necessity will be the first thought for most people. Covering parking fees for your vacation rental car may come next. However, if you have on-property credits during your next hotel stay, there are some less-common uses that you should consider.
Using your property credits for cabana rentals, pet fees or fun extras can be a great way to offset the costs of your next vacation. Consider whether using your credits for these things and then eating off-property for a cheaper meal (or using these credits for activities because the hotel provided free meals) could elevate your next hotel stay.
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