Best Family Hotel Rewards Programs and Perks
I am the mom of a toddler. But just because I have a young child doesn’t mean I’m going to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs until she’s a teenager. No, we travel, and we travel a lot! We also spend a fair amount of time in different hotels. It’s not a surprise that some chains are more family-friendly than others. This is true both in terms of the amenities they offer, as well as their points rewards systems and hotel elite status tiers. Here are a few of my favorite chains for family travel, both in terms of amenities, and deals and rewards perks.
Hilton’s Embassy Suites
The best chain overall for family travel has to be Hilton. The Embassy Suites brand within the Hilton family is especially well designed for families. It is an all-suites hotel with over 200 locations that provide a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and an evening manager’s reception with complimentary snacks and drinks. What I love about their suites is that, unlike some other hotel chains, they are true suites with 2 rooms: a sitting/living room and a bedroom. The living room could easily be used for the children, with the adults comfortably in their own bedroom. I love setups like this when my toddler is sleeping, so that we can be in the other room and not disturb her.
Hilton HHonors Rewards Program
The HHonors rewards program is also pretty strong for families; the threshold for gold elite status within their program is just 16 stays per year. That may sound like a lot, but I have also seen gold status given out in various promotions. You can learn about these types of promotions by subscribing to emails from Hilton or by checking miles and points blogs, such as Mommy Points. Gold status with Hilton is the best mid-tier hotel elite status out there. It comes with occasional hotel room upgrades or hotel lounge access, free internet and free breakfast at locations that don’t already include a complimentary breakfast.
Another chain that I have found to be very family-friendly is Hyatt, especially one of its hotel brands, Hyatt House. It offers studios, 1- and 2-bedroom rooms that come with a full kitchen. Full kitchens can save so much money for vacationing families, especially on longer trips. That doesn’t mean you have to cook all your meals yourself, though. Hot breakfast is complimentary with Hyatt House, as is the “Evening Social” -- adults can unwind with a complimentary drink or 2 and the whole family can enjoy some complimentary snacks and appetizers. Internet is also complimentary at Hyatt Houses, and many of them have an on-site pool.
I have also found many of the higher-end Hyatts to be family-friendly, especially the Hyatt Resorts. Beyond their spectacular pools, Hyatt Resorts typically have scheduled family-friendly events -- some even have toy “check-out programs” where you can check-out a toy or 2 for your little ones while you are there. Less to pack and more to play with! Some Hyatts also have Camp Hyatt programs geared just for kids. Camp Hyatt is a program that’s typically for children aged 3 and up; prices can run about $50 for a half-day program. It can be a great way for kids to play with other kids and for parents to a get a few moments to themselves.
Hyatt Gold Passport Program
The Hyatt Gold Passport program has a generous rewards structure: free hotel nights start at just 5,000 points. Hyatt top-end properties such as the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa cost a maximum of 22,000 points per night. That is far fewer points than the top-end properties in other rewards programs. You can rack up Hyatt points quickly with the use of some rewards credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This card transfers points 1:1 into the Hyatt program. So, you don’t have to spend your life racking up points through stays. You can just earn Hyatt points from everyday spending -- and then enjoy free hotel nights with your family.
More Hyatt Perks
If you happen to have top-tier hotel elite status with Hyatt, you get 4 confirmed suite upgrades each year that you can use on paid reservations. Knowing in advance that I am able to confirm a suite for my family on family trips is very helpful in terms of planning sleeping arrangements! Additionally, top-tier status with Hyatt comes with free breakfast for everyone in the room; that can result in a huge savings for our family as well.
Additional Family-Friendly Hotels
Starwood Hotels is also worth mentioning. They often have very good kids’ clubs -- they are quite similar to the Camp Hyatt program -- and exceptionally nice hotels and resorts with many on-site amenities. Their Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program is also one of the best out there in terms of point redemption opportunities. The program offers a “cash and points” redemption in which you pay a heavily discounted cash rate and a set number of points. I have secured a room going for $400 to $500 before by paying 4,800 SPG points plus $90 per night. That is a great return for hotel points.
The InterContinental Hotel Group that operates hotels such as Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites is another family-friendly hotel chain. They have suites with kitchens at Candlewood Suites, and offer free hot breakfast at Holiday Inn Express hotels. The hotel group also offers many regular bonuses and discounted promotions such as their PointBreaks hotels -- these rotate quarterly and cost only 5,000 Priority Club points per night. Keep an eye on the Priority Club website once per quarter to see if any of the PointBreaks hotels work for your travel plans -- it is one of the best miles and points deals available.