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How far in advance can you book a hotel room?

Jan. 05, 2022
8 min read
Conrad Bora Bora pool overlooking the ocean and overwatervillas
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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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Accor

Mondrian Shoreditch London hotel, an Accor Live Limitless property (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: The award traveler's guide to Accor Live Limitless

Airbnb

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.

Related: Demystifying Airbnb fees: How to understand the final cost before booking

Best Western

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.

Related: Your ultimate guide to Best Western Rewards

Choice Hotels

The Ridgeline Hotel-Estes Park, Ascend Hotel Collection (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: Now live: Transfer Capital One miles to Choice Privileges

Radisson

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.

Related: It's tricky, but you can still use Radisson points for international travel — Here's how

Hilton Hotels

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.

Related: These are the most popular Hilton properties around the world for point redemptions

Hyatt Hotels

Park Hyatt St. Kitts (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: Plan ahead: The 50 most in-demand World of Hyatt hotels for point redemptions

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.

Related: The award traveler's guide to IHG Rewards

Marriott

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.

Related: Big changes ahead for Marriott as Bonvoy ditches its award chart; book your stays now

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Guest room with a city view at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport. (Photo courtesy of Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport)

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.

Related: A rooftop pool deck and harbor views lure visitors to Boston's new Omni hotel

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.

Related: Why I'm going to earn more Wyndham points this year

Bottom line

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 by The Conrad Bora Bora is an aspirational property for many travelers. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees