Flying is certainly not the only area where servicemembers get benefits while travelling; there are many hotels at which we get discounts and perks as well!

 

Most of the major chains in the US and abroad offer military or governmental rates, which are (usually) discounted from their daily rate. You don’t need to be on official military travel to take advantage of these rates, you just need to have a military ID.

 

Below, I’ve listed the major hotel chains and their military policies. If I’ve missed any glaring ones, please update us in the comments section so I can edit this post. In no particular order:
marriott_logo

Marriott - They offer standard gov’t/military rates to those with active duty military IDs, federal gov’t employees, and Canadian active duty. These rates do not apply to retirees or dependents. For more detail, check out at this link.
Hilton-Hotels-logo2

Hilton - Like Marriott, they offer stand gov’t/military rates with active duty IDs. For more detail, check out this link.
ihg

IHG, the parent company for Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and others, offers military discounts, even when on leisure travel. In addition, IHG has been taking over Army lodging in their IHG PAL program, currently having locations on 39 bases nationwide. Check out this link to get a map or list of their locations or book a stay.
hyatt

Hyatt - There is no chain-wide military policy that I can find. Apparently each Hyatt offers different military discounts; it is based on that particular hotel’s policy. I would call ahead to the hotel I’m staying at to find out their military discount rate. For instance, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando offers a military discount, but you’d have to call ahead to find out about it.
best western 159 logo

Best Western – Offers a standard gov’t/military rate discount. For more detail, check out this link.
xspg-preferred-guest.jpg.pagespeed.ic.vzRboMuRnp

SPG – Starwood hotels include the Westin, W, Sheraton, St Regis, etc. They offer active duty servicemembers standard government/military rates.  Details here.
carlson_logo_mobile

Club Carlson - The loyalty program of hotels such as Radisson, Park Inn, Park Plaza, and Country Inns & Suites, offers standard gov’t/military discount. For more detail, check out this link.
LaQuinta

La Quinta – when you join La Quinta Returns Military Rewards, you get a bunch of really nice perks, probably more than any other hotel chain, including status. They include:

 

You’ll get:

 

  • 12% off our low Best Available Rates with your Military discount
  • “Instant” La Quinta Returns Gold status with Military recognition
  • 2,000 Bonus Points after your first stay as a Military Rewards member*
  • 20% More Points For Your Stays
  • Free Room Upgrade Certificates
  • Express Check-In … and more

choicehotels-new

Choice Hotels - This chain includes Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, etc., and has a standard discount rate for gov’t/military leisure travel. However, they also have the Choice Privileges Armed Services program, which includes:

 

NEW! We established the Choice Privileges Armed Services program that allows active duty or reserve military members, retired military, National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and eligible spouses/dependants to join our Choice Privileges rewards program at the Elite Gold level.**

 

Choice Privileges Armed Services members will receive:

  • Points at over 5,000 Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotels
  • 10% point bonus on all stays
  • Exclusive customer service and reservations phone numbers
  • Exclusive Elite member offers and in-hotel benefits

 

Like La Quinta, you get status at their Gold level, which is pretty cool. Details here.
Wyndham-timeshare-309

Wyndham - Includes hotels like Wingate, Day’s Inn, Travelodge, etc., has a standard gov’t/military discount. Details here.

 

In addition, there are a bunch of other ways to save on lodging. Militaryrates gives a long list of independent hotels that offer military discounts.

 

If you’re going to a place without many US-based chains, a good place to check for discounted hotels would be the base MWR.
veterans advantage

Finally, Veterans Advantage is a membership program for military members, which offers members discounts on travel. COL has written extensively on them. They have deeper discounts on Wyndham, Choice, Kimpton, and Red Roof, as well as having a dedicated 24 hour line to help with hotel bookings. Check out the details here.

Posted by glenn | 12 Comments

12 Responses to “Guide to military hotel benefits”

  1. Kelly says:

    As a retired military family we have found Hilton to be awesome in offering us special rates. We have seen some great discounts for military and it includes retirees…we are getting ready to head to Phoenix as a stop over on a trip to Hawaii and Hilton is offering awesome rates for us.

    If we see a military rate and it doesn’t clarify whether we can get it as a retired family, we call the hotel direct and ask.

    We have also done this with Hyatt quite a few times. The places we have traveled have said as long as we have a military ID they will honor the rate.

    Years ago we used to use Marriott for all our travel. One time we took a last minute trip to Virginia Beach. I called Marriott on the road and asked for military rates (we were active duty). They booked us at a Springhill Suites at the beach. When we got there the hotel refused to honor the military rate. They said it had to be for official military travel with a government credit card. The reps at the 800# even called the hotel and they refused to budge. We ended up going down 3 hotels to a Courtyard and they were happy to offer us the military rate. It was very frustrating and took hours to fix. It just left us with a bad feeling about Marriott. We remember when they used to do more for military families.

    Since that time we have used SPG, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, Wyndham and they have been wonderful about providing us discounts as a retired military family.

  2. Scott M. says:

    I, too, have found Marriott to be spotty in their availability. I am a retired reservist, but have found that many hotels from most chains are not that picky about your retiree category. Where the greater challenge lies is in finding a hotel that offers room availability at the gov’t/military rate; I have a couple of cities that I travel to regularly that have several Marriott properties with almost never a room available at the government/military rate-but many rooms available at the “Best available rate”. I have started staying more frequently at Hilton properties as a result.

  3. Gene says:

    I don’t see anything on the IHG page that says IHG offers government rates for leisure travel. From my experience, almost all IHG properties do allow use of government rates for leisure travel; however, some explicitly prohibit this (eg, the two ICs in San Francisco). If you can point me to language that says otherwise, I would love to take a printout of it with me to the ICs in SF!

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  5. Jerry says:

    I’ll echo Kelly’s comments about the availability of some fantastic rates from Hilton–I’ve stayed at three different properties in the Washington DC area, all of which had fantastic rates for “Military families”–they threw in breakfast on two separate occasions.

  6. Jerry says:

    Also, for those of you who have not stayed at an Omni property before–

    http://www.omnihotels.com/external/fed-rooms

    Their “Select Guest” program is actually really interesting–while Omni hotels aren’t as major market, I always try to stay at them while on government travel (when I can) because of the quality of their “local experiences.” High quality and highly recommended.

  7. Andy says:

    @all – On the forums I read, I’ve read really good things about Hilton, SPG, IHG, Best Western and La Quinta, and I’ve heard not great things about Marriott, in terms of military discounts and perks. I don’t have nearly enough stays at any chain to say any of this with authority. However, my go to chains are SPG, IHG, and maybe later this year, Hyatts. I have Hilton Gold from my Amex Plat (which unfortunately is no longer a card feature), but I don’t accumulate their points because they’re so devalued. And I don’t anticipate getting Marriott points either. I’ve enjoyed all my Best Western stays as well.

  8. Harry says:

    Hello Glenn and Andy. Reserve ER doc from the NYC area here. I’ve exchanged emails with both of you over the past few years. Your blog is terrific and is a wonderful source of helpful and pertinent and lucrative information. The major critique is that you do not accurately distinguish between Reserve and Active Duty perks and benefits. As “The Military Frequent Flyer” and considering all that Reserve personnel have done in the recent past with many many mobilizations to Iraq and Afghanistan, you should write for all of us, Reserve and Active Duty. At the least you should accurately delineate parks and benefits which are available only to Active Duty and those which are available to all. Certainly this would involve additional research. If your interest is limited to Active Duty FF perks then perhaps you should change the name of the blog to “The Active Duty Military Frequent Flyer”.

    Along those lines, you make reference to “active duty military IDs” and “active duty IDs”. Please note that a CAC card issued to a reservist is identical to a CAC card issued to an active duty”ist”. The appearance and printing on a military CAC card makes it impossible to determine if the holder is in the active reserve (vice the inactive reserve) or on active duty. And of course you should always be accurate in your writing.

    Specifically, you write (above): “Marriott – They offer standard gov’t/military rates to those with active duty military IDs…” whereas the links state “U.S. Military Personnel” and “Official Government/Military Travel Orders/Proof of Official Duty Status (some hotels may require travel orders in addition to another form of ID)” and “U.S. Military ID card issued to U.S. Military Personnel on Official Travel
    Common Access Card (CAC) issued to U.S. Federal Government civilian employees and U.S. Military Personnel on Official Travel (excludes CAC cards issued to contractors and retired military) Before you book your next stay at a Marriott hotel, please review the Government and Military Per Diem Rate Qualification Guidelines. Other rates apply for Government and Military leisure travel.” While I’m unsure if there is such an animal as a “U.S. Military ID card issued to U.S. Military Personnel on Official Travel” or a “Common Access Card (CAC) issued to …U.S. Military Personnel on Official Travel” Marriot makes no mention of “Active Duty” vs “Reserve”. Furthermore, the interpretation of Marriott’s webpages is that their “Federal, State, and Local Government rates” apply to those on official travel only. Undoubtedly many of us have booked and paid Government rates for leisure or non-government-business travel but their website states otherwise.

    You also write (above): “Hilton – Like Marriott, they offer stand gov’t/military rates with active duty IDs.” and that link states: “Is ID required to get the government rate?” and “Yes. You will be required to show your valid government identification upon check-in at the hotel.” Again, no mention on the hotel’s webpages of “Active Duty” vs “Reserve”.

    You write (above): “SPG – Starwood hotels include the Westin, W, Sheraton, St Regis, etc. They offer active duty servicemembers standard government/military rates.” and that link indicates nothing about “Active Duty” vs “Reserve” or any sort of ID or CAC card.

    Please consider Active Reservists, who hold an identical CAC card to yours and many of whom have more time in the deserts than many Active Dutyists, as you write in the future.

    (On a personal note for Andy, I just got back from 2 weeks in the ER at Naval Hospital Yokosuka. If you’re looking for relaxed duty after residency then it’s a good choice. If you’re looking to maintain and enhance your knowledge and skills then it’s probably not the place to be.)

    Thank you gentlemen, please keep up the good work.
    V/R,

    • glenn says:

      @ Harry – Thanks for your encouragement of our blog. We just quote what the various companies state on their webpage regarding their rules. They do not always understand the difference, especially amongst the various flavors of Reservist. In the Army, you can be TPU, IMA, or IRR. While the ID for “active” Reservists (the first two categories) look the same as Active Duty, the IRR ones do not. Every time I have had a company list “Active Duty”, I have shown them my CAC and had no problem. DO NOT tell them “Hey, I’m just a Reservist, is that OK?” Each company seems to have a different level of scrutiny as Chase has proven much more difficult than Citi, for example. Our advice is to just keep trying.

  9. Harry says:

    (Geez, I sure wish the paragraph breaks in my comments above had been maintained!)

  10. Andy says:

    @Harry – your comments are appreciated, as before, I’ll have to distinguish my comments.

    On a separate note, I heard that about Yokosuka…do you have any experience at NH Okinawa’s ER? Any NH ERs that are an animal house, that would help me keep up my Philadelphia-area skills?

  11. Harry says:

    COL, I agree completely. I used to feel slightly “guilty” when using my CAC card to take advantage of benefits available to “active duty military”, slightly being the operative word as I did still take advantage of those benefits. After my mobilization whatever guilt I did have has completely vanished. Navy has IRR also and I believe they do not get CAC cards, they get ID cards similar to the old laminated variable-color-depending-on-status cards. SELRES (Selected Reserve), the drilling active reserve, get CAC cards. I believe there may be a couple of other levels of Navy Reserve, not my area of expertise. Thanks again. V/R,

    LCDR, check six, I mean check your email regarding Navy ERs. V/R,

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