Freebie hotels: Aussies named more travel savvy than Kiwis

  • hits 25 million Rewards members in its 25th year
  • Aussies more travel savvy than Kiwis
  • Sydney in top 10 destinations for travellers to spend free night
  • Travellers from Hong Kong, Seoul and L.A. named the most savvy travellers
  • Treehouses, castles and palaces – the most unusual lodgings travellers have stayed for free
  • Celebrated artist Jeremyville turns top savvy cities into an artistic masterpiece


SYDNEY – November 11, 2016 – Hands up, who would like a free night in a hotel?™, whose Rewards program allows travellers to collect ten nights and get one free*, has revealed that savvy travellers from Hong Kong beat the rest of the world when it came to snapping up a free night away.

The™ Rewards program has hit 25 million members this year, in the same year as the company celebrates its 25th birthday. The accommodation experts have looked back at the millions of free nights redeemed, to uncover who are the world’s savviest travellers.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Aussie travellers are not as savvy as we might have thought, with the first Australian city, Sydney, ranking only 7th behind cities in Japan and South Korea. Sydneysiders were the savviest in the country though, ahead of travellers in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, and Aussie travellers outranked their Kiwi counterparts with more free nights redeemed.

Holiday lovers based in Hong Kong, Seoul and Los Angeles topped the list, with New Yorkers coming in fourth and Texans from Houston completing the top five savviest cities list.

With a free hotel night up for grabs, more than one in eight travellers globally booked their hotel stay the very same day and usually opted for a 4 star property. A third booked up their beds on their smartphone – a growing trend for today’s on-the-go travellers.


Top 25 savviest travellers who have booked a free night come from:

1.       HONG KONG

2.       SEOUL

3.       LOS ANGELES

4.       NEW YORK

5.       HOUSTON

6.       SINGAPORE

7.       LONDON

8.       CHICAGO

9.       STOCKHOLM

10.   OSLO

11.   DALLAS



14.   PARIS

15.   MIAMI


17.   TOKYO

18.   DENVER

19.   SAN JOSE









Top destinations and hotel hotspots in Asia-Pacific region

The top five destinations in the APAC region where all global travellers visited were the tourist hubs of Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore, and Seoul, with Sydney coming in a close 9th.

When it came to the hotels themselves, the draw of spending a free night in a five star abode in the region’s glamour and gambling mecca was impossible to resist. Three of the top five hotels where free nights have been booked were in the APAC equivalent of Sin City, China’s Macao:

  1. Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central
  2. Galaxy Macao
  3. Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central
  4. Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
  5. Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo


Treehouses, properties and palaces

It wasn’t just hotels where free nights were spent, as hundreds of travellers opted for something a little quirkier and chose to stay in a castle, in a palace, or on a house boat – with one lucky adventurer even staying in a treehouse in Swedish Lapland!

Katie Junod, Loyalty Director of the Brand said: “To hit 25 million Rewards members in our 25th year is a great achievement and since the program launched, over 9 million free nights have been redeemed. With thousands of properties to choose from, we’ve also seen members venturing far and wide to enjoy their free night away, none more so than the savvy travellers from Hong Kong. If you’re looking for inspiration on where to spend your free night, follow our customers’ lead and try 24 hours in a riad in Morocco or a night in a picturesque castle in Prague!”

Introducing Hotelsville … Celebrated international artist Jeremyville captures the top 25 cities that are home to the world’s savviest travellers, who have booked the most free™ Rewards nights. One Night Wonders Study also conducted a One Night Wonders global study to find out if travellers could jump on a plane tomorrow for just one day, where they’d go and what they’d do.

Paris came out as the top dream destination, according to 29% of travellers, with New York (26%) and Tokyo (26%) following closely behind.

Travellers would splash the cash and pay on average AUD$972 to spend 24 hours in their desired destination. They’d also be prepared to travel 12 hours on average to get there and the ultimate stay would be in a beach house (47%), a castle (46%), a house boat (40%) or an underwater hotel (37%).

Fifty percent would choose a super luxurious 5 star hotel and 51% would take their partner to enjoy their one night experience. Travellers would cram as much into their 24 hour stay as possible, with 58% wanting to spend the whole time awake and sightseeing, 41% would eat all the local food in sight, 20% would party like there was no tomorrow and one in ten would live stream their entire trip.

The real dream though would be to arrive in style in a private jet (30%), automatically be able to speak the local lingo (31%), eat at the chef’s table of a Michelin star restaurant (33%), party with a celebrity (32%) and have a super power for the day (25%).


Notes to Editors

Data used is correct as of 23 October 2016 and analysis looks back at the last five years of the Rewards program, across all countries the program is run in globally.

Survey data used was conducted by One Poll in October 2016 on behalf of and is based on 2,596 respondents globally.

* Free night does not include taxes and fees. See here for full terms and conditions

** Price is based on average redemption value of free night from the past five years of the Rewards program