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Can I Earn Points for Hotel Stays If Someone Else Checks in?

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TPG reader Jeff sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel points:

“On an upcoming trip, my wife will arrive at our hotel 10 hours before me. Can I still make the reservation and earn points for our stay with Marriott?”

Award travel is a great multi-player game, and a lot of opportunities open up when you use a coordinated strategy for earning and redeeming rewards. Of course, it’s important to sort out both expenses and rewards equitably when you travel together, and that can bring up logistical questions like this one from Jeff. Fortunately, having another guest check in before you generally won’t affect whether you earn points for your stay.

To earn points with Marriott Rewards during hotel stays, you have to meet a few requirements. First, the room must be booked under your name and member number (if you’re trying to earn points for multiple rooms, at least one of them must be registered in your name). Second, you have to pay for the room, though this is open to some interpretation — mostly you just need to authorize payment; you don’t necessarily have to foot the bill. Finally, you have to actually stay in the room.

There’s no rule that you have to be the first one to check in — hotels are used to accommodating guests who stay in a single room, but arrive at different times. Jeff just needs to add his wife’s name to the reservation, and she’ll be able to check in and access the room whenever she gets there. She’ll likely be asked to provide a credit card, but the payment shouldn’t be processed until you leave, so the card can be swapped out anytime for one that offers a better return or other benefits.

Rewards will be sent to the account on file, so you can still earn points and elite credits by using your own member number to make the reservation. It’s worth checking with the front desk to make sure everything is squared away, though that can happen any time after you arrive (like later in the evening when it’s quiet).

Your guest
Anyone on the reservation should be able to check in and enjoy the amenities upon arrival. Image courtesy of the JW Marriott Scottsdale.

Having another guest check in should be easy if you’re arriving just a few hours later, though in my experience you don’t even have to arrive on the same day. The rules say you shouldn’t receive points or elite credits for nights when you’re not actually at the hotel, but in practice there’s some flexibility. If you arrive one or two days into a week-long trip (or leave early), there’s a good chance you’ll be credited for the full stay. Of course, it depends on the property, and even the mood of whoever is working the front desk, so don’t bank on it.

For more on the nuances of hotel loyalty programs, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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