Of the 1,400 travelers surveyed for “What Comes With Loyalty,” a report on the importance of hotel loyalty programs by U.S. News & World Report on behalf of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, 98 percent said earning free points was their primary reason for participating in a loyalty program.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS MATTER. That is the finding of a recent survey of 1,400 travelers by U.S. News & World Report on behalf of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. The report, “What Comes With Loyalty,” says 97 percent of the respondents said a brand’s loyalty program plays a significant role in choosing a hotel.

A substantial majority, 98 percent, of respondents indicated that they have used earned points to book hotel stays. Another 39 percent said earning free points was their primary reason for participating in a loyalty program. Also, 74 percent said the fact that their Best Western Rewards points do not expire was a key factor in their decision to book with that brand. The survey found 54 percent of respondents were very satisfied with the treatment they received at hotels where they are loyalty program members.

“The top hotel loyalty programs make it easy for customers to understand the many dimensions of their loyalty programs, including promotions, unique perks and how easily they can reach the next status level,” said Jada Graves, managing editor of U.S. News & World Report’s BrandFuse. “The results of this survey demonstrate that travelers continue to want tangible benefits in return for their loyalty.”

The respondents had traveled within the last calendar year, with 34 percent having two to three hotel stays and 16 percent having seven to 10 hotel stays. Also, 73 percent participate in a hotel loyalty program mostly or exclusively for leisure travel.

The study, commissioned by Best Western Hotels & Resorts and conducted by U.S. News & World Report’s marketing and business intelligence teams, also found travelers want loyalty programs with points that never expire, instant awards and satisfactory treatment from the hotels where they stay.