How To Book Vacation Rentals Through Your Favorite Hotel Programs


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We get it. Vacations are supposed to be low-stress getaways, but cramming your family of four into a standard hotel room isn’t always conducive to that. Children fight. Parents want a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal in their pajamas instead of having to get dressed and head to a crowded, half-stocked buffet line. Heck, even if you’re not a parent you’d probably rather lounge around in the morning.

Vacation rentals give you something incredibly valuable: space. You can book multiple bedrooms to give different travelers a chance to sleep on different schedules. Even if you only have one bedroom, you’ll have a living room to retreat to once the bedroom lights go out. Kitchens make snacktime easy and dining areas can double as a makeshift office if you have an emergency work email to send.

While Airbnbs and other vacation rentals also solve these problems, they’re not always the best solution. Hidden fees, unwritten check-out expectations and a lack of consistency make them more challenging. That’s why booking vacation rentals through the hotel brands you know and trust can be a winning solution. With these options, you’ll have the space you crave with the brand standards you love—plus the option to earn or redeem points for your stay.

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Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott was the first loyalty program to curate a collection of vacation rentals under its own branding. All of the rentals listed on Homes & Villas are private units that have been vetted to have specific amenities and pass cleaning and inspection criteria.

Because of this, you can expect more upscale options without having to weed out properties that don’t meet a higher standard. You also get premium bedding and towels—no more sleeping under Grandma’s quilt.

In addition to making reservations easy, the Homes & Villas program allows Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem rewards points in addition to earning elite night credits. Members earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on the nightly cost (before taxes and fees) and elite members are eligible for point bonuses. You’ll also earn one elite-qualifying credit per night on paid stays.

Reward redemptions vary in price based on when and where you’re traveling, but typically you’ll receive less than Forbes Advisor’s value on villa redemptions of .7 to .8 cents per point. To redeem your points for a stay, you’ll simply need to click the checkbox to “Use Points” when making reservations. You’ll have the option to pay fully in points or to use a combination of cash and points if you prefer.

Vacasa Rentals Using Wyndham Rewards Points

Wyndham doesn’t manage vacation rentals directly. Instead, it partners with Vacasa vacation rentals to allow Wyndham Rewards members to redeem points for award stays. Through Vacasa, you’ll have access to 35,000 different properties in North America.

These rentals can be booked at a flat-rate in points: 15,000 points per bedroom per night. The price per room applies based on the unit size, not how many rooms you wish to occupy (therefore, a three-bedroom condo would cost 45,000 points even if you only need two rooms). Best of all, your points redemption also includes all taxes, cleaning costs and other fees—which can save you a bundle.

A hack to find larger one-bedroom condos on Vacasa is to search for rooms that sleep four or even six people. Sometimes you’ll find an office or loft that’s not listed as an official bedroom.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to book your award stay online. Instead, you should confirm availability on the Vacasa website and take note of the specific listing number. Then, you can call Wyndham Rewards at 1-800-441-1034 to redeem points for your stay and finalize your reservation.

A downside to Vacasa redemptions is a 30-day cancellation policy. And at this time, you cannot earn rewards or elite-qualifying credits on paid stays.

If you want a vacation rental in Europe, Wyndham has two partners that may be helpful. Cottages.UK offers a selection of, you guessed it, cottages in the United Kingdom. And Landal offers a selection of rentals in resort parks focused on outdoor activities.

If you want a more traditional cancellation policy, you can also rent Wyndham timeshares directly from Wyndham’s website. The same pricing applies.

Bluegreen Vacations Using Choice Privileges Rewards Points

Choice Privileges Rewards allows you to book vacation rentals as well. Partnering with Bluegreen Vacations, you can redeem points for spacious accommodations in popular family vacation destinations throughout the U.S. Your timeshare rental typically includes separate sleeping and living areas as well as full kitchens, dining areas and fully-appointed baths. Public areas can include resort-style pools, family dining venues and other amenities.

Bluegreen Vacation properties can be booked online like any other award and can be a great value. For example, at some locations you might find a two-bedroom suite with living room, dining room and kitchen for 20,000 points per night—barely more than what you’d redeem for a Quality Inn down the street.

One downside to this partnership is that it’s relatively limited. There are only a handful of properties nationwide. However, many of them line up with places that many travelers seek out anyway: Orlando, Williamsburg, Cape Cod and more.

Consider Timeshare and Extended-Stay Brands

Other hotel loyalty programs don’t have specific vacation rental options but may still have properties that fit your needs. You’ll find timeshare-style condos at brands including Holiday Inn Vacations, Marriott Vacation Club or Hilton Grand Vacations or units with multiple bedrooms, separate living rooms and a kitchen at extended-stay brands such as Homewood Suites. Additionally, individual properties might have cabanas, villas, suites or other more spacious accommodations.

While these aren’t exactly the same as a vacation rental, they might be a reasonable substitute when you need space without a standalone house. As a bonus, you can stick with loyalty programs you’re already familiar with. That could allow you to redeem a balance you’ve already accumulated or earn points toward future stays.

Using Credit Card Travel Credits

Some credit cards include annual statement credits toward travel-related purchases. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides up to $300 in annual statement credits to offset travel purchases charged to the card. Vacation rentals—assuming they code as travel, which most do—count as eligible purchases.

If your credit card doesn’t include statement credits toward general travel purchases, you may still be able to redeem rewards toward your vacation rental. Many credit cards allow you to redeem points for gift cards. In some cases, Airbnb is an easy option. These redemptions typically yield 1 cent per point which can put it on par with cash-back rewards.

Earn Extra Points Through Shopping Portals

Travelers staying at vacation rentals rather than standard hotels tend to stay longer since units are set up to be comfortable for a week or more. But a longer trip may mean costs add up if you’re paying cash. Make sure you’re earning rewards on your stay—Airbnb and Vrbo included—by beginning your purchase at a shopping portal.

The ability to earn cash back or points for the money spent on your overnight stays might not sound notable, but every little bit helps. In some cases, you’ll earn more than redeemable points. Some programs may count these points toward elite qualification or earned bonuses like a companion pass, essentially letting you double dip on rewards and benefits.

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Bottom Line

Booking your next vacation at a home, villa or condo doesn’t have to mean straying from your favorite hotel brand. With these options, you can earn or redeem points, enjoy extra space and take advantage of the consistency that international brands strive to offer.

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