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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when you’re traveling, it’s the meal you’re most likely to have at your hotel. Nothing beats the convenience of walking to the hotel restaurant or ordering room service when your stomach grumbles first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, that convenience can cost you a lot—sometimes to the tune of over $50 per person.
The good news is that you don’t have to add hundreds of dollars to your travel budget to afford this luxury. Here are four ways to get complimentary breakfast at hotels in the US and abroad:
Book a Hotel That Offers Free Breakfast
At some budget hotels, complimentary breakfast comes standard for all guests. These hotels offer some of the cheapest rates to start with, so complimentary breakfast is a bonus. Nearly every major hotel chain has one or more brands where this perk comes standard. Here’s a round-up of these hotels:
Choice Hotel Brands
- Clarion Pointe
- Comfort Suites
- Econo Lodge
- MainStay Suites
- Quality Inn
- Sleep Inn
- Hyatt House
- Hyatt Place (this will vary by property)
- Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts (must book through Hyatt and include your WoH member number)
- Embassy Suites by Hilton
- Hampton by Hilton
- Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
- Avid Hotels
- Holiday Inn Express
- Staybridge Suites
- Element Hotels
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- Springhill Suites by Marriott
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
- Baymont Inn & Suites
- Days Inn
- Hawthorn Suites
- Howard Johnson
- La Quinta Inn & Suites
- Microtel Inn & Suites
- super 8
- Wingate by Wyndham
Leverage Elite Status
Every major hotel loyalty program offers free breakfast to elite members. Earning elite status doesn’t have to take much effort at all. Sometimes you can even skip the stay qualifications entirely with the right hotel credit card in hand.
Hilton is the easiest loyalty program to get elite status with. All you need is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card* to earn automatic Gold elite status, which comes with free continental breakfast abroad or daily food and beverage credit (US hotels only). The card has a $95 annual fee, which is well worth it if you stay just three or more nights at a Hilton hotel every year.
Earning elite status with Hyatt and Marriott is more challenging, but possible through credit card spending. Marriott offers Platinum elites a welcome gift choice of free breakfast, points or another amenity. Platinum status requires 50 nights per calendar year. You can get there faster with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Terms apply), which offers 15 elite night credits annually.
Hyatt offers free breakfast to top-tier Globalist members, which requires 60,000 points, 20 events or 100,000 base points per year. The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with five elite night credits annually, plus the ability to earn two additional nights for every $5,000 spent. So you could spend your way to top-tier Hyatt status with $140,000 in annual spending.
Meanwhile, the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card earns five elite nights for every $10,000 spent. You would need to spend $120,000 annually to earn top-tier Globalist status. Before putting such large amounts of spending on your Hyatt card, consider whether the benefits you’re earning (points, elite status) are worth the flexibility you’re giving up by channeling your spending on a flexible rewards card.
Book With Visa Signature/Infinite or Amex FHR/Hotel Collection
You don’t have to be a top-tier elite to get free breakfast at hotels. Nor do you have to pay a higher rate for the privilege. By booking your stay with the right portal, you can get free breakfast without any surcharge.
Visa Signature and Infinite Hotels and American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR) offer free breakfast at participating hotels, while The Hotel Collection offers a $100 credit you can apply towards breakfast. The rates on these portals are often the same as on hotel websites. Note that FHR properties are exclusively available for The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply) and Centurion® Card from American Express*whereas The Hotel Collection is available to these cards plus American Express® Gold Card (Terms apply) and American Express® Business Gold Card (Terms apply).
Sometimes you’ll even get a third or fourth night free, along with resort credits and benefits typically reserved for elite members: Early and late check-out, space-available room upgrades and more.
Book a Club Room or Suite
Many mid-tier hotels offer executive lounges where guests can enjoy free breakfast, afternoon tea, evening appetizers and drinks. These spreads get pretty elaborate abroad, consisting of full-blown meals with plenty of hot options. Stateside, you can expect a more pared-down selection, consisting of continental breakfast and packaged snacks.
Club lounges are usually reserved for top-tier elites or guests who book qualifying rooms. These include club rooms and suites, although you’ll want to confirm this with the hotel in advance. Sometimes club rooms cost an extra $50 per night and in addition to lounge access, you get a nicer room on a higher floor.
Some hotel chains even let you redeem points for a club room. Hyatt charges just 3,000 points per night for a club room upgrade. If you value Hyatt points at a minimum of 1.5 cents each, redeeming points for a club room is worth it if you’re getting at least $45 in breakfast benefits.
Receiving breakfast without any upcharge can be massively valuable, especially on longer stays. Not only will you save money on breakfast, but you’ll have the convenience of enjoying it on-site. Hunting down a reasonable breakfast spot early in the morning when you’re jet-lagged is never ideal. You’ll have one less meal to factor into your budget, leaving you more money to splurge in other areas of travel.