When trying to travel for as little as possible, gaining the most amount of miles and points for everything you do is important. Credit cards play a big role here, maximizing your spending categories can earn you points many times faster than other methods. If you look outside of the credit card though, there are many opportunities to gain miles from your hotel stays.
Almost every hotel chain makes some bonus or promotional offers available to their customers. IHG hotels is running a promotion right now where you get a chance to win a bunch of points through stays with a mastercard payment. This essentially puts you into a game that lets you win a whole bunch of points. IHG made this a game that legally needs a method to enter without purchase though, and taking advantage of that has so far gained me 30,000+ points just from writing into the sweepstakes a whole bunch of times… and I still have more going in this week.
SPG is no exception when it comes to promotions, though SPG points are worth a whole lot more than IHG points and so their promotions tend to be far more lucrative. Currently Starwood Preferred Guest is running a promotion now called SPG Take Two, and I highly suggest everyone sign up for this promotion if you haven't already done so.
The way this promotion works is that for every standard point you would earn, you get double earnings. In the case where I was to spend $1000 on a hotel, that would normally net 2 points per dollar, for 2,000 points. As an SPG Gold member I get an extra point for elite status, giving me another 1,000 points. The bonus kicks in on the original 2,000 points and doubles them. Overall I’d gain 5,000 points in total from this one stay. If you happen to be staying at a hotel that is also participating in the additional promotion, you also get an additional 250 points on top of that.
SPG elite status comes with more promotions, 250/500 point bonus upon check in depending on your level of status. You can also forgo some cleaning services for the green bonus and get even more points. All of these promotions when used together can earn you so many points that you may be searching for places to spend them.
Sign up for new bonuses when they come out, keep on top of these opportunities and it will pay off in the end.