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Free points are my favorite kind, so I cherish an opportunity to build my balances without breaking the wallet- unless it takes up a lot of my time. Topguest is a way to get free points just by using social media sites Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Gowalla and Instagram.
The whole concept is that hotels want to encourage you to “check-in” at their partners, because when you do that it brings awareness of their brand to your social network. After so many check-ins, some of your friends might be like “Why is Johnny checking into the Intercontinental so much- maybe I need to check that place out for after work drinks”. This social media presence can mean real revenue generation for hotels, so they pay Topguest to administer this program that encourages people to include hotel check-ins as part of their social media discussion.

The hotel brands currently supported are: Hilton, Wyndham, Priority Club, Choice, Caesars, Best Western, Kimpton, Voila, Thompson and the only airline participating is Virgin America.

Just for signing up for the free service you can get 50 free Hilton, Best Western points and Priority Club and 25 Elevate points. (If you don’t have a Hilton (link) or Best Western (link) account you can get 500 free points for signing up through the links. Once you sign up you add your loyalty program numbers and then associate your relevant social media accounts. Once everything is entered and linked, you will automatically get credited points each time you complete the criteria for each brand. Generally, all you need to do is check-in or share a photo from the hotel brand.(Full list of qualifying activity for each participating brand).

For example, Priority Club will give you 50 Priority Club points for sharing your location or a photo at an Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn hotel. You can check in once per day, so if you did this every day of the year you’d end up with 18,250 points, which is worth about $110. Priority Club also runs 5,000 point per night “PointBreaks” hotels, so technically your Topguest haul could get you at least 3 free hotel nights per year. Not too bad since it only takes about 10 seconds to load up your app and check-in to a property. 10 seconds x 365 days in the year = about 60 minutes of work. I don’t know about you, but $110 an hour isn’t a bad return!

However, there are some rules. The biggest one being that you technically need to be at the location. However, Topguest knows that not all GPS based location devices function properly, so there is a pretty big threshold- so if you live/work close to a participating hotel brand, you should be able to check-in without physically stepping onto the property, but just understand that’s technically against the rules, so don’t be upset if you don’t get the points.

“You represent and warrant that you are actually at a location by sharing a check-in at a place with Topguest. Topguest reserves the right to refuse to give rewards for checkins that Topguest, at its sole discretion, determines to be fraudulent or otherwise inauthentic.”

This rule also leaves open the door for them to shut you down if you get out of control and sign up for every program and check in every day. You might get away with it for a while, but I wouldn’t expect it to last. I’d choose a couple programs and just focus on them.

In general, Topguest isn’t going to get you tons of free flights and hotel stays, its not a bad way to pad your accounts. Beyond the time it takes to check-in, you are also giving up tons of valuable personal information, which then Topguest most likely sells to third parties. In my opinion, it’s worth it since I live close to Intercontinental’s and it won’t require me much effort to rack up thousands of points, however this won’t work for people who don’t live near any participating hotel, because Topguest does require you to enable location-based features on your smart phone so they know where you are checking in from (this won’t work if you use Foursquare on a computer).

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Gogibbs20

    Can you check in and get points at more then 1 location a day??? such as Choice and Priority thru Top guest.

  • Langan

    Yes, i have not received any this month (October), but i typically check into a Crowne Plaza and Double Tree in the same day.

  • Lpatron

    Some people on FT have said the Firefox plug-in Foursquarefox allows check-in thru the computer – http://foursquarefox.com/

    When I use Foursquare on my phone I need to be within one mile for Topguest to count it.

  • http://twitter.com/classycoolsam Sam Ault

    I am a Hilton Honrs guy and I walk past a Hampton and Hilton hotel twice a day. Also use Hilton when I travel so I just need to tweet whenever I walk in the builing? At lease thats my plan. These points and can add up fast and free is for me!

  • Mel Bashore

    Great! Thanks for the tip. I am in a Holiday Inn about 3x week! Easy points :)

  • Brent

    If your iPhone is jailbroken, you can download an app that can fake your GPS location. I’m sure if you go hog wild they will deny you the points, but if you pick 5-6 in a general location I’m sure it would go unnoticed.

  • http://www.noelrunkle.com Noel

    Now that I work across the street from a DoubleTree, this is going to be great. I hope I become mayor!

  • Cindy

    Unless something changed recently (which is possible), only doubletree counts for checkins. Also beware – topguest has been freezing accounts for fake checkins.

  • Jenny

    When checking-in on FourSquare, the app does not show the number of points you will receive, is that right? Also, how long does it take for the points to post? Thanks!

  • bitachu

    i’ve been doing it for the last two months…its been working out well.but lately my foursquare app has been having some issues…still not bad..especially if you work nearby….just remember that your stopping by the hotel for drinks everyday..

  • Anonymous

    doubletree & hampton only. no hilton.

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    Thanks for this reminder to sign up… The Virgin American 25 point sign-up bonus just renewed my account for another 18 months!

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    Thanks for this reminder to sign up… The Virgin American 25 point sign-up bonus just renewed my account for another 18 months!

  • Mama Claire

    So you’re once again suggesting people to do unethical things to get points. This time, not actually spending any time or activity inside the hotel and check in to get points????? WHOA! But then again, people have come to expect this kind of sleaze from you. I’ve reported this to my gay son, who works at Hilton’s marketing department, to further investigate.

  • Anonymous

    Lock me up and take me away!

  • JNYC

    Is this still working? I’m not getting more points lately.

  • Bill

    I’m wondering the same thing. I just recently signed up but nothing is coming through. I’m not sure if I’m doing it right.

  • pkast79

    I have been using Foursquare to check in to Holiday Inn, Doubletree and Best Western everyday for the last one month. First couple of weeks I used to check in when I drive by the properties ( My commute is via Disneyland in CA, lots of Hotels there) but recently have been checking in sitting at home after I get back from work. The hotels are in 2 miles radius and getting points were a breeze I thought. But I got an email from TopGuest 2 days ago for suspicious activity. The email said, frequency and speed of check ins are not in the spirit of the TG program.
    So my suggestion is you can check in to 2-3 hotels but do it if you are at or really close to the property and do it at different times of the day

  • http://www.facebook.com/marisaroth Marisa Roth

    my Hilton is working but not Priority Club – anyone having the same issues?

  • Jesse

    Any info on another app like this as TopGuest has been bought out/shut down? http://www.switchfly.com/social

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