Points and Miles are this teacher’s bread and butter to getting the best travel deals out there.  Being a traveling teacher on a budget means that full price airfare or hotel are just not an option. We need to earn free hotel rooms.  So we have to get creative.

Points and mileage bonuses are how we manage to get reasonable if not free airfare. Using these same strategies is how we get free hotel stays too.  

Here are some tips and tricks to double dip on your points and mileage to get free hotel stays and keep your budget in check so you can keep on traveling!

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How To Earn Free Hotel Stays

What is a Double Dip?

I am pretty sure this isn’t an industry term but Double Dipping is what I like to call it when I am booking anything for travel and I get some kind of double advantage.  Its like this- booking a $100 hotel room with a rewards program that earns nights towards a future free room and getting the miles for the $100 purchase.

This started a few years ago we were taking a pretty advantageous road trip from Texas to Canada. We were going to be gone for a few weeks and needed hotel rooms all across the country.   I started booking hotels based on our itinerary at random sites but felt like I was leaving money on the table. There are way too many point credit cards and reward programs out there to just book willy nilly.  So I started double dipping, paying for a travel expense with a travel reward credit card and using a reward program so I would be earning more for each booking. 

Tips for getting free hotel stays

Hotels.com

This is probably one of my favorites.  When you enroll in their loyalty program you get a free hotel night for every 10 stays.  You can see how this was incredibly beneficial on our long road trip.  We were going to be getting 10 plus nights anyways on our journey which meant we were already on our way to a free night.  As a sidebar, the free night is based on the average price of your 10 stays.

This reward program is a no brainer especially since I have found that hotels.com prices are comparable to most other booking sites.  It is free to enroll, just keep booking your hotel nights through the program.  You will be surprised at how quickly your nights add up. 

Sign up here:

Travel Credit Cards

Now that you are booking through hotels.com and earning a night towards a free one, how are you going to pay?   Hopefully, it is with a miles or points earning credit card. now you are paying for your night and earning 2 to 3 times the points for the purchase and adding stays towards your free night.  Now we are really double dipping! To Travel and Teach knows that you will have to pay for some parts of a vacation but it should be earning you something for your next one. ​5 Hacks for Traveling Teachers

Earn more hotel nights

Build Up More Points!

Finally, if you are planning a trip and don’t have a ton of miles or points to pay for it, this could be a good time to get a travel card and use the expense of your trip to get a great sign on bonus.  This means that you are investing in your next trip. Build those up! If you are planning on using hotels.com the Capital One Venture Card may be your best bet to building up points. They have a sign on bonus and until 2020 you get 10x the points at purchases through hotels.com.  That’s a big bonus! I have no affiliation with them I just want you to be able to get the best deals. Remember these are only okay options if you can pay off your balances, I am not offering any financial advice.

Other Double Dip Options for Free Hotels

Expedia and other hotel booking programs have variations of reward programs. It will depend on what your needs are. I have to be honest, I do not have brand loyalty. Specific hotel chains don’t really offer reward programs that offer a lot of benefits for the way we travel.  We are budget travelers and we are always on the lookout for a good deal. I am on a budget and I am searching for the nicest and closest to where I want to be over choosing a specific brand. 

I don’t use hotel specific loyalty programs because I don’t stay enough at  specific hotel chains. This would be different if I traveled for business or traveled to the same destination regularly, then they would be really worth it.   Check around, most travel booking sites want your money and for you to keep booking with them. Do a little research and find out which rewards programs are best for you.

To My Teacher Friends 

We are fortunate to have long stretches of time off.  But too often it is at peak travel times so planning is key to stay on budget.  I am a meticulous planner.  Keeping up with points and miles can be a big challenge.

Tips for free hotel stays

Ryan, the other half of To Travel and Teach, has been fortunate to be teaching geography and hospitality management recently.  Because he has a strong passion for travel, he wants to encourage his students to explore the world too. Travel can seem so daunting when money is involved, so he created a lesson that combines multiple skills in creating and planning future vacations.  This activity can be modified for many different classes, or hey even as an adult it is a good travel planning tool. Check it out here on our Teachers Pay Teachers site.

What kinds of tips do you have for double dipping or finding the best deals on your vacation?