Travel Tuesday Top 10: Ways To Get Free Breakfast At Hotels

by on July 24, 2012 · 25 comments

in American Express, Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood, Top 10, Visa

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…especially when you’ve got a packed travel schedule of busy days. Often breakfast is the meal travelers skip most at hotels thanks to a lack of options and overpriced menus. However, many hotels and loyalty programs offer their members a variety of perks including free breakfast. Here are some ways you can start your day right at your hotel of choice.

Andaz Shanghai room service breakfast – complimentary for Hyatt Diamonds.

1. Hyatt: Hyatt provides Hyatt Diamond members access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge which has a complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. However, for hotels without lounges, Diamond members get even luckier, since they then receive daily complimentary full breakfast – though this benefit can vary wildly. Generally you can order whatever you want from the hotel restaurant, and some hotels will even let you get room service. Some hotels like the Andaz Wall Street will give you a certain dollar amount per stay (like $50) and others are really generous, like the Andaz West Hollywood where a Diamond member’s entire bill is  comped up to four people. Usually the benefit is only good for the number of people registered to your room, so if you are using points, always put 2 people since it won’t change the rate.

Westin Dublin buffet breakfast – SPG Platinum members can upgrade to the full buffet for only 5 Euros. 

2. Starwood: Starwood recently announced new SPG Elite Benefits this year. SPG Platinum members can now choose to have continental breakfast as their Platinum amenity instead of bonus Starpoints or local amenities. SPG Platinum members automatically receive club access at Sheraton and Westin Hotels with club lounges. If there isn’t a club lounge at the property, then these guests can choose the continental breakfast choice as their Platinum amenity at check-in. An SPG Platinum member plus one additional guest staying on the reservation can start each day with juice, coffee, pastries, cereal, and yogurt when they choose the continental breakfast amenity. There is an interesting Flyertalk Thread about how specific properties are honoring this benefit. Some hotels such as the W Los Angeles-Westwood only provide a $12.50 breakfast credit per day for up to two guests, while others are including entire buffet breakfasts. However, those that only include the continental breakfast may offer a buy-up option to the full hot buffet as well.

Executive Lounge at the Hilton New York. 

3. Hilton: With Hilton, depending on your status and if you receive an upgrade, you may be eligible for breakfast. Hilton HHonors Gold guests will be granted complimentary access to the Executive Floor Lounge only if they receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor. However, Hilton Diamond HHonors guests, will always receive complimentary access to the Executive Floor Lounge, even if they are not staying on the Executive Floor. Hilton Gold guests can either choose 1,000 bonus points at check-in or complimentary continental breakfast for two daily. Hilton Diamond Members will receive complimentary continental breakfast for themselves and up to one additional registered hotel guest daily in addition to the 1,000 bonus points and Executive Floor access.

Griffin Club Lounge at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge features a chef-prepared breakfast buffet.

4.  Marriott: Marriott offers their Gold and Platinum members breakfast in the form of the club lounge spread or at the hotel restaurant if there is no lounge. Gold and Platinum Rewards members receive complimentary continental breakfast in the Concierge/Executive/Club Lounge at participating JW Marriott Hotels, the Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels and Marriott Hotels & Resorts. If the hotel doesn’t have a Concierge/Executive/Club Lounge, then these guests can enjoy complimentary continental breakfast on their weekday stays. However, outside the U.S. and Canada, Gold and Platinum Rewards members are entitled to continental breakfast 7 days a week. Marriott stands behind their breakfast benefit by offering $100 USD as compensation in the event that this guarantee is not met.

Breakfast at the Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas is included for guests booking through Fine Hotels and Resorts.

5. American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts: American Express Platinum cardmembers enjoy special amenities when staying at any of the 700+ hotel partners around the world. Amenities include a complimentary room upgrade, daily continental breakfast for two, 4pm late checkout and a unique amenity that varies at each property. While this only specifies a continental breakfast many hotels will provide a breakfast credit where you can order anything and they will just credit your account a set amount. Then there are reports of other properties where you can order whatever you want for breakfast and the whole bill will be taken off. Booking through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts portal also usually confers a $100 food or resort credit, which is in addition to the breakfast benefit.

Bianca Restaurant at the Delano Hotel Miami, a Visa Signature property.

6. Visa Signature Hotels: When you book through Visa Signature Hotels, you and one guest will receive complimentary continental breakfast for the length of your stay. If the hotel does not offer continental breakfast, they will offer another dining or other benefit of equal value. In addition, during your hotel stay you will receive one $25 voucher (sometimes more–for instance on a recent stay at the Public Hotel in Chicago, I got a $100 food and beverage credit) good for food and beverage within the hotel. Visa Signature cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase SapphireBritish Airways Visa, the Hyatt card, the Marriott Rewards Premier and Marriott Rewards cards, the Southwest Plus card, Bank of America’s Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines cards,Capital One Venture,  Citi Hilton HHonorsUS Bank FlexPerksCiti AAdvantage Visa Signature, and many more, so chances are you’re carrying at least one of them in your wallet.

Club lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul serves daily continental breakfast.

7. Ritz-Carlton: As part of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa, one of the benefits is that cardholders receive three upgrades annually to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level on paid stays of up to seven nights each. While many of the club lounges will offer a hot breakfast buffet, all feature an array of typical morning fare of cereal, pastries, and fresh fruit. In addition to breakfast, small sandwiches and salads are served at lunch and afternoon tea. In the evening there is cocktails and pre-dinner snacks, cordials and chocolates. On top of the breakfast benefit, cardholders also receive $100 in hotel dining credit for each stay of two nights or more which can be used toward food and beverage, spa treatments and more.

Embassy Suites offers all guests a cooked-to-order breakfast. 

8. Stay at brands that include breakfast: Embassy Suites offers guests a free cooked-to-order breakfast with every stay. Guests are usually presented with a variety of hot and cold items including custom omelets, pancakes, sausage and bacon, fruit, pastries and cereals, and hot and cold beverages. Holiday Inn Express also provides a complimentary buffet breakfast for all guests which includes scrambled eggs, cheese omelets, bacon and sausage, biscuits, sticky-sweet cinnamon rolls, an assortment of fresh fruits, yogurt, and breakfast cereals and breads and pancakes. Hyatt Place has their new morning skillet which is free to all guests. This breakfast benefit includes hot breakfast sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, cinnamon French toast, and steel-cut oatmeal.

Palm Court at the Fairmont Plaza.

9. Get the Fairmont Credit Card: Not only do consumers who open a Chase Fairmont credit card get two free nights at any Fairmont in the world (a potentially huge value) after they make $1,000 in purchases within 3 months, but those free nights also include complimentary breakfast for two. Not only are the free room certificates a great value since some Fairmonts like the Plaza and partner properties including the Raffles Le Royal Monceau in Paris can cost over $1,000 per night, but breakfast at these high-end properties for two people can run well over $100.

10. Club Carlson: Club Carlson guests who stay 30 times a year or 75 nights are called Concierge members and receive one complimentary continental breakfast per night of that member’s stay. Continental breakfast offerings will vary by hotel but may include an assortment of cereals, breads, fresh fruit, juices, coffee, tea and milk and may be provided via buffet or menu in the hotel restaurant as determined by the participating Radisson, Park Inn, or Park Plaza hotel. Complimentary continental breakfast is not available through room service.

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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  • The Deal Mommy

    I just got free breakfast at the Radisson Blu Boulogne in Paris as a Gold Club Carlson, and it was even on a weekend extend rate of 95 Euro a night!

  • guest

    If you book with Visa Signature Hotels, will your stay earn points and count towards elite status at the particular chain you stay at?

  • Jettyboy

    What about Virtuoso?

  • BobChi

    Since I rarely achieve status, I rarely get free breakfasts at places where that’s a factor, which coincides with most hotels where I stay for reward nights, naturally. When I’m paying on my own, I’m usually at an independent property or mid-range chain, and quite often breakfast is included or available for a reasonable price, as generally are things like free parking and WiFi.

  • THEsocalledfan

    TPG, I have an AXON stay coming up in Hawaii for 4 nights at 145,000. Since I am gold, will I be able to get the breakfast even on an awards stay like this at a Hilton Resort?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- your status benefits still work on award stays. Enjoy Hawaii!

  • thepointsguy

    Indeed- if this was a top 11 list, I’d have it listed! :-)

  • thepointsguy

    Generally no- you need to book directly with the hotel chain to get points/status.

  • thepointsguy

    Nice! I stayed at the Radisson Blu CDG recently and it was a dump! Didn’t even inquire about breakfast

  • Will

    If you book through FHR can you still use your upgrade at Ritz Carlton thus getting 2x hotel credit for dining?

  • AceTracer

    One of the many reasons why I love staying at hostels (for which you can usually book a private room). You almost always get free breakfast, and sometimes free dinners too. It’s probably my favorite part, because that’s when you get to meet other people and talk about your travels and such. The free wifi and other free activities is fun too.

    I’ve said this before, but it’s funny how the more money you pay, the less you get and the more you remove yourself from that which you came to see.

  • elabut

    I would find it difficult to obtain status at most hotel chains. One benefit of staying at the cheaper chains is that breakfast is included.

  • Jery123

    For any of the hotels and cards that mentioned, are you able to enjoy a free breakfast if you are not staying at the hotel (eg. Can I go to the Hyatt across the street from my office to get a free breakfast every day before work?)

  • Points

    I don’t think the Fairmont free night certs work at Raffles properties. I’d love to be wrong though.

  • Davis

    Just a heads up – the Fairmont breakfast benefit is just 4 $25 coupons (1 per person for two days). So, isn’t really enough to swing a nice breakfast for 2 each day…

  • elle

    The Freedom card is also a Visa Signature

  • Iqdragon

    What also gets you free breakfast: is simply being nice at check in! I ask every single time and most of the time it works! No status, no extra cost, nada

  • Longjohnsilver

    That just because you happened to stay in hotels like embassy suite or residence inn where free breakfast is offered to every guest…

  • Donmishori

    Actually, it needs to be pointed out that rarely do these breakfasts constitute real food, with the exception of — sometimes — fresh fruit and coffee. The rest: powdered chemicals, coloring and flavoring in various configurations: make believe eggs, mystery sausage “patties” with painted on grill marks, cereal (corn and chemicals). Anyway, point is, hard to get that excited about a benefit where coffee and apples are all that are real.

  • Hobo13

    Tip #8 is classic. It probably should be #1.

  • Melissa C

    TPG: Regarding #6 for all VISA signature cards….. I have a trip coming up at the Hyatt using my 2 free night stays from the VISA signature chase Hyatt CC…. How do I go about getting the free complimentary breakfast while I’m there? When I check in, do I let them know I have the hyatt visa signature card? Thanks for the advice!

  • LA Travel Guy

    Correct, and from what I’ve heard, you can NOT use them at the Plaza in NY.

  • Audreyu8

    TPG, I have platinum status for Hyatt and my husband is diamond. I still have 2 free nights from my Hyatt. Would we still be entitled to diamond benefits when I check in with my husband? Thanks!

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  • wonker

    Hotel “expert” Donmishori obviously has never been to a hotel more exclusive than a super 8 as many of the hotels in this story offer fresh or cooked to order meals with fresh ingredients, and huge spreads of fresh fruit, baked goods, and other great stuff. So before you comment on a hotel why don’t you stay there first?

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