Free hotel stays via Bonvoy Rewards

Driveway of hotel with snow on roof
Winter Wonderland at the Talisa resort.

Free/comped stays

Some influencers love the “free travel” showcased on their feeds.   However, the adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or expensive swag) rings true here.  Do certain people with an extremely high number of followers get offered free stays in hotels and resorts?  Absolutely.  Do they need to “work” during the stay?  Again, absolutely.  Hotels generally expect exposure in exchange for comped rooms.  This means that what should be a relaxing day of leisure essentially turns into a photo shoot.  I’ve previously mentioned that I have a “real” job which keeps me pretty busy.  I love testing new products and writing about them.  But arranging good quality photos is a chore.  When I’m up in the mountains, I would rather relax/ski/hike than worry about finding an “instagram husband” or other person to take a series of photos of me at whatever resort I happen to be at that day.

Rewards Cards and Programs

As savvy travelers know, rewards programs can provide a way to both relax and earn free hotel nights.  Last year, my friend Scott told me about the Marriott Rewards credit card.  There is a $95 annual fee, but that is easily offset by the free anniversary night.  Now that Marriott has combined/rebranded its loyalty programs with Starwood and the Ritz Carlton, the Marriott Rewards card has been rebranded as  the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.  The card’s annual fee is only $95, and still comes with a complimentary hotel night.  This worked well for me in December, when I wanted to join some friends at my favorite Vail property, the Hotel Talisa.  The Talisa, formerly known as the Cascades, became part of the Marriott family last year.  Room rates were upwards of $600 per night during the week that I wanted to stay.  However, I was able to use some of the Marriott rewards points that I earned when I opened the card, and essentially stay for free!  (Or for $95, depending on how you look at it).  This Bonvoy Boundless card is now your lowest-cost way to get your hands on some Marriott points and free nights. The card is currently offering a 100,000-point welcome bonus after $5,000 in spending in the first three months.

It’s a no brainer for me.  Earn a good living as a business and trademark attorney (work that I actually like!) and actually enjoy my leisure time, or work so hard to obtain more clout as an influencer, and hope and pray that a hotel will offer me a complimentary night, during which I have to post and photograph incessantly?

 

Disclosure:  this post contains references to a credit card that I use.  I may receive compensation when you click on links to that product.

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