How far in advance can you book a hotel room?
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
How early can you make a hotel reservation? And how far in advance should you make a hotel reservation?
The answer to these questions is an unsatisfying one: It depends.
If you’re paying with cash, you likely won’t want to book a nonrefundable rate too far in advance. Instead, you’ll usually want to book a flexible rate. By doing so, you’ll ensure that if your plans change, you won’t lose anything. However, if you’re booking for a trip that begins in just a few days, you may feel comfortable booking a nonrefundable rate.
If you’re redeeming hotel points, you may need to contend with limited award availability. In particular, during peak season, at hotels popular with award travelers and at hotels that only offer a limited selection of rooms bookable with points, you may not find any available award nights. For this reason, it’s best to book your reservation as far in advance as possible. If you see availability, pounce on it.
On the other hand, some prominent hotels in popular destinations like Bora Bora may be almost impossible to book far in advance with points. Instead, for some properties, your best bet might be to book last minute. After all, availability tends to appear just a week or two in advance at some aspirational hotels bookable with points.
It’s also worth mentioning that hotel points are usually more flexible than cash. Booking a room with points almost always reserves a fully refundable rate. If you decide not to go, simply cancel your room and you should get all your points back. However, some hotels have less generous cancellation policies than others, especially if you’re booking a room during peak dates.
Now, let’s look at 11 popular hotel chains to see how far in advance you can book a stay.
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Rewards program: Accor Live Limitless. Accor has over 5,100 hotels worldwide with 43 unique brands, but you’d never guess it from traveling the U.S. Accor isn’t a key player in the U.S. as most of its properties are in Europe. Accor hotels are generally upscale, and it sure knows how to do five-star resorts.
How early you can book: Book Accor hotels up to 405 days in advance.
Rewards program: Airbnb doesn’t have its own loyalty program (though we’ve been waiting for one since 2018). Airbnb does partner with other loyalty programs, though, so you can earn airline miles on your next Airbnb stay.
How early you can book: Once you click on a listing, the booking calendar will allow you to reserve a room up to three years in advance. However, many hosts do not allow dates this far into the future. You’ll have to check your desired property.
Rewards program: Best Western Rewards. With your rewards, you can book free stays with 18 different brands, each with a unique vibe. Best Western isn’t known for luxury, but it actually has a collection of terrific mid-tier and upscale properties within a few of its brands, such as WorldHotels and BW Premier.
How early you can book: Book Best Western hotels up to 350 days in advance.
Rewards program: Choice Privileges. Choice may not have the most enticing 12 hotel brands, but there’s likely a property in a town near you. What Choice lacks in flair, it makes up for in ubiquity. Choice hotels are known to be an excellent choice when visiting Scandinavia, as the hotels in this region often have prohibitive cash prices but reasonable award rates.
How early you can book: Book Choice hotels up to 350 days before your stay using cash and up to 100 days before your stay using points.
Rewards program: Radisson Rewards. Radisson has nine different brands under its umbrella. Its presence is scarce in most of the U.S. — we recommend only investing in this loyalty program if you travel on the East Coast or throughout Europe.
How early you can book: You can book Radisson hotels up to 730 days in advance when using cash and up to 270 days in advance when using rewards.
Rewards program: Hilton Honors. Hilton has over 6,500 hotels in 119 countries spread out over 18 different brands. Hilton offers some of the most aspirational hotels in the world, such as the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui. But, the Hilton portfolio also has plenty of roadside hotels that are great for road warriors.
How early you can book: Book Hilton hotels up to 365 days in advance.
Rewards program: World of Hyatt. Hyatt has 15 different hotel brands, not including its partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World and its recent absorption of Apple Leisure Group, a collection of all-inclusive properties all over the Caribbean, Mexico and U.S. Hyatt operates more than 1,000 hotels across 69 countries.
How early you can book: Book Hyatt hotels up to 395 days in advance.
InterContinental Hotels Group
Rewards program: IHG Rewards. IHG offers 18 different brands with more than 6,000 hotels. IHG is another hotel chain that’s especially worth investing in if you find yourself in more rural areas and aren’t looking for a glitzy five-star vacation. However, IHG is starting to enter the luxury travel market with Six Senses, Mr & Mrs Smith and its new Vignette Collection.
How early you can book: Book IHG hotels up to 350 days in advance.
Rewards programs: Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, with over 7,000 properties and 30 different brands to suit any travel style. Marriott offers plenty of unique luxury hotels.
How early you can book: Book Marriott hotels up to 355 days in advance.
Omni Hotels & Resorts
Rewards program: Select Guest. Although Omni isn’t the biggest brand, it specializes in luxury. You’ll find its 50 properties around the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
How early you can book: Book Omni hotels up to 350 days in advance.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Rewards program: Wyndham Rewards. Wyndham operates 21 different brands, from the bottom-of-the-bucket Super 8 to the rather pleasant Wyndham Grand. Admittedly, many Wyndham hotels are the kind you might prefer to skip — but you will never want for options.
How early you can book: Book Wyndham hotels up to 365 days in advance.
In many cases, you can book a hotel room further in advance than you can reserve airfare. If you don’t like waiting until the last minute to jump on a great travel deal, booking a year out rather than a month out can save you anxiety, hassle and potentially a little bit of money.
Featured image of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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