Do I Earn Hotel Rewards When My Employer Pays for the Room?
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TPG reader Clayton sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel points:
“My new client books hotel rooms for me instead of letting me book and pay with my own credit cards. Can I still earn points by adding my rewards number to the reservation each time I check in?”
Loyalty programs are mostly designed with individuals in mind instead of groups. While some airlines and hotels run separate business rewards programs, they’re invested in earning your loyalty as an individual traveler, too. That’s why you’ll generally earn rewards for your flights and hotel stays even if you’re not the one paying for them.
Clayton’s new client prefers to handle reservations and payment directly, so any credit card rewards he might have earned by paying for the room are off the table. However, you should still be able to earn hotel points and elite credits for rooms booked using your name and member number. If your employer doesn’t add your number to the reservation, you can do so when you check in and you’ll be eligible for any elite or promotional bonuses that apply to your account.
That said, many companies have agreements with travel providers that override the standard loyalty program rules. Your employer might have pre-negotiated corporate rates or other discounts that make you ineligible to earn rewards. If that’s the case, you’ll have to discuss the booking process with your employer, as the hotel isn’t likely to budge.
Furthermore, each hotel chain has its own rules about awarding points for rooms that are not paid for by the person traveling. Hilton, Marriott, Choice Hotels and others still offer rewards so long as you’re the one responsible for authorizing settlement at check-out (known as a direct bill). However, you usually won’t earn rewards when your room is part of a folio that’s settled by your employer without your involvement (known as a master bill).
One other issue to consider is that your employer may be picky about which hotel you choose. Even if your stays are eligible to earn rewards, they might not be from your loyalty program of choice. I wouldn’t jeopardize a business relationship to garner extra loyalty points, but it’s worth checking to see how much latitude you have to stay where you want.
For more information about earning rewards on business travel, check out these posts:
- Which Hotel Rewards Program is Best for Business Travelers?
- How to Choose the Best Airline for Business Travel
- How Corporate Rates Affect Earning Hotel Points
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