While I’d like to arrange a house swap everywhere I go, sometimes this isn’t possible. It can be difficult to find a swap for exact dates to a specific location if you can’t be flexible, and some destinations (Belize for instance) just don’t have many people participating in home exchange. In addition, if you want to wander around seeing different places, home exchange might not work. For all these reasons I collect hotel points on a variety of programs.

I’m still a novice at the hotel point collection, but I follow some of blogs that offer tips on how to get points by signing up for credit cards and which hotels are offering good deals for redemption. For instance, I recently took advantage of a brief offer by the Melia hotel group in Europe which gave me points for signing up for their rewards program sufficient for a free night in a nice hotel. They happen to have tons of hotels in Spain. So, with our upcoming trip to Spain, and knowing we’d spend the last two nights in Madrid, it was a quick and easy task for my wife and I to both sign up and get these two nights free.

On a recent trip to Florida we mostly stayed in hotels using points. I left a few nights without booking because we weren’t entirely sure how long we’d want to spend in the Everglades. Having hotel points to use gave us the flexibility to decide last minute to spend a night in Key Largo (avoiding a very long drive back after a day exploring the Keys) without worrying about how much we’d spend on a hotel in the Keys.

If you want to read more about hotel points and rewards programs, this is not the website for that, but check out the links at the bottom of the page for the blogs I follow to keep up on the latest offers and deals.