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Today’s reader question comes from Brooklyn on Facebook. Well, actually Brooklyn is a friend of my wife, and asked HER on Facebook, and I got passed the question second-hand 🙂
Anyways, Brooklyn asks:
[My husband] says that he can’t book a hotel room for the girls and I (using rewards points) unless he is physically there to check us in. Is that true?
Can I book a hotel for someone else?
It’s a great question and the good news is that the short answer is yes. Generally speaking – yes, you can book a hotel for someone else and the person that has the points does not have to be physically there to check-in. As with most things, the exact details depends on what hotel chain it is, the mood of the check-in agent and other circumstances
Generally speaking, there are 3 different ways that it’s handled
- Some hotels allow you to actually change the name of the person on the reservation
- Other hotels don’t allow you to change the name of the person on the reservation, but will allow you to add an additional guest, which should easily allow them to check in.
- The last category of hotels don’t allow either of those things, so you have to call the hotel up and let them know that someone else will be checking in. I’ve searched through several reports of this and not once did I see anyone report that this was a problem – in all cases I read the hotel was completely fine with it.
One other thing to think about is that if your name is on the reservation, you may be held liable for any charges / damages that any guests do while they’re at the hotel. In this case, it’s not an issue since it’s a husband and wife, but it’s something to keep in mind if you are reserving hotel nights for someone else.
How to book a hotel for someone else at each of the major chains
Book an IHG hotel for someone else
IHG is the Intercontinental Hotel Group and includes hotels like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Even and Hotel Indigo
IHG doesn’t allow you to change the name on the reservation, but does allow you to specify additional guests on the reservation.
Note that you have to specify at least 2 guests on the reservation for the Additional Guests section to show up. There’s also a section for Special Requests where you can optionally specify that your guest will be the one checking in.
Click here to book a hotel directly with IHG
Book a Hilton hotel for someone else
Hilton is similar to IHG in that you can specify an additional guest that can check in without you
This shows up even if your search is for just 1 adult. Again, there is room to make additional comments
Click here to book a hotel at Hilton
Booking a hotel for someone else at Marriott
Booking an award stay is also possible with Marriott, but has to be done over the phone. You can contact Marriott Rewards at 888-236-2427. This should handle any reservations at any of the Marriott brands, which include Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites and others.
Click here to book a hotel online at Marriott
Hyatt makes it super easy – you can actually change the name of the person staying ON the reservation itself.
The World of Hyatt terms and conditions actually expressly allow this as well.
A. The Award Reservation must be made by the Member who wishes to gift the award, but the Award Reservation must be made in the name of the person who will actually use the award (i.e., the recipient of the gifted award).
B. The recipient of the award must provide photo identification and a credit card or cash deposit for incidentals at check-in.
Click here to book a hotel at Hyatt
Starwood / SPG
You can also use your SPG points to book a hotel for someone else at Starwood hotels. Again, this can’t be done online so you’ll need to either call to make the reservation at 1-888-625-4988, or make the reservation online and then call to add your guest to the reservation.
This is covered in SPG’s terms and conditions (bolding mine)
- 3.1.c. SPG Awards are typically non-transferable, but certain SPG Awards may be given to a third party where an SPG Member makes the request at the time the SPG Award is issued. In the event that an SPG Award is given to a third party in accordance with the prior sentence, neither the SPG Member nor the third party will earn any Starpoints, Eligible Nights, or Eligible Stays in connection with such SPG Award. The guest using the SPG Award may be required at check-in to show proper identification and provide a credit card to the SPG Participating Hotel for incidental charges.
- 3.1.d. SPG Awards believed to have been bartered, sold, exchanged, or issued fraudulently, or issued to someone other than the eligible SPG Member, will be void and will not be honored.
I booked the Sheraton New York Times Square for a friend of mine over New Year’s Eve, which, by the way, was an awesome redemption value at 12,000 SPG points as the cash rate was over $600 / night!
She did have a bit of trouble checking in but that’s mostly because a) I forgot to call the hotel and tell them she’d be checking in and b) I was away from my phone when my friend texted me saying they needed to speak to me. In any case, they eventually managed to check in even without my help but I’m sure it would have been even easier had I been around to answer a quick phone call from the hotel
Click here to book a hotel with Starwood / SPG
Best Western does not allow you to modify the name of the guest staying, nor do they allow you to add an additional guest online. Their terms and conditions also do not mention whether you can do this (either positively or negatively), and Google was not helpful either.
If you have experience on whether you can book a Best Western hotel award stay for someone else, let me know in the comments
Click here to book a hotel with Best Western
Club Carlson was a much better deal before the removal of their lucrative “Bonus Award Night” feature, and then the category changes that mean over 200 hotels now cost MORE Club Carlson points.
Club Carlson (brands include Radisson, Park Inn, Country Inn and Suites among others) actually makes it super easy to book an award for someone else. When you go to put in the guest information, there is a radio button that lets you specify whether this reservation is for you or for someone else
Just choose “Another Guest” and put in your guest’s information.
(EDIT: A commenter pointed out that if you have the Club Carlson credit card or otherwise have status, you can just transfer the points to the other person (for free) and let them book the reservation themselves)
Click here to book a hotel with Club Carlson
Choice Hotels also allows you to book a hotel for someone else. Their terms and conditions state:
A member may redeem a reward night for an immediate family member (spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters). Immediate family members (spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters) can use the free night even if the member is not occupying the room.
When booking a reward night for someone other than yourself, be sure to ask the reservation agent to include the name of the guest in the notes field of the reservation. When booking a reward night through your online profile, be sure to include the name of the guest who will be staying in the room in the “Special Request” field.
Interestingly, when you reserve a room, the guest information IS modifiable as well. I would probably change it in both places just to be safe. As for who qualifies as an “immediate family member”, something tells me they aren’t checking birth certificates at the front desk 😀
Click here to book a hotel with Choice Hotels
What about elite status when I book an award for someone else?
Another thing people wonder about are elite status / benefits if you book a hotel for someone else. Generally speaking, if you have elite status and your name is on the reservation, your guest is likely to get your elite benefits. But it’s certainly not guaranteed.
On the flipside, if its your GUEST that has the elite benefits, they probably will NOT get their benefits unless they specifically call the hotel and let them know, or mention it at check-in. I’ve found most hotels to be pretty good with that if they know about it.
What about elite stay credit when I book a hotel for someone else?
Some chains offer elite stay credit even on an award stay. With those, that’s kind of a mixed bag as to whether you will actually get a stay credit if you are not physically there. If you have experience with this, let us know in the comments
So, circling back to the original question, the answer is yes, but how easy it will be depends on which hotel chain Brooklyn and her family are trying to stay with!