How to get free breakfast at hotels

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Hotels that offer free breakfast can make travel considerably more convenient and affordable. Not only is it nice to wake up in your hotel and get a quick bite before you depart, but not paying for breakfast can easily help you save $40 or more for a family of four.

Some hotels with free breakfast offer this benefit as part of their nightly rate, or as an add-on option you can choose when you book your stay. However, everyone who travels knows that free hotel breakfasts are not created equal. While some brands include a basic continental breakfast with baked goods and juice, others might go as far as offering a hot breakfast menu or even a breakfast buffet with hot items like waffles, omelets and biscuits and gravy.

Due to COVID-19, however, many hotels have modified their free breakfast options to focus on grab-and-go options like packaged baked goods and premade breakfast sandwiches. At the end of the day, free breakfast is better than no breakfast, but what you’ll actually receive can vary quite a bit.

Hotels where breakfast is free

If you are traveling around the United States and you want to score free breakfast for most mornings of your trip, it can help to focus on booking specific brands of hotels. Here are some of the top hotel brands that include a free breakfast benefit at most of their locations:

Best Western

By and large, Best Western properties all offer complimentary breakfast to their guests. This includes Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier hotel options. Like with other hotel brands, however, not all locations participate.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels tend to include free breakfast in their nightly rate, and you can expect this free meal when you stay in the following hotels:

Comfort Inn
Comfort Suites
EconoLodge
MainStay Suites
Quality Inn
Sleep Inn
Hilton

While not all locations participate, various Hilton brand properties offer free breakfast. These include:

Canopy
Embassy Suites
Hampton Inn
Home2Suites
Homewood Suites
Hyatt

If you’re a World of Hyatt member and you book your hotel stay directly through the Hyatt website, you can get free breakfast with the following hotel brands:

Hyatt Place
Hyatt House
Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva
Miraval
IHG

Regardless of how you book your room, the following IHG hotel brands offer free breakfast with each nightly stay:

Holiday Inn Express
Staybridge Suites

Also, be aware that kids ages 11 and under eat free with paid adults at Holiday Inn properties. This includes breakfast, as well as lunch or dinner.

Marriott

Marriott boasts having more than 2,500 hotels that offer free breakfast in the United States alone. Brands that offer free breakfast for all guests include:

Element
Fairfield Inn and Suites
Residence Inn
Springhill Suites
TownePlace Suites
Radisson

Country Inn & Suites offers free breakfast for all of its guests. Free breakfast with other brands can vary and may depend on the room you book, so make sure to check for this benefit when you compare your options.

Wyndham

Wyndham includes an array of family-friendly hotel brands that offer free breakfast. Properties with free hotel breakfast include:

Baymont by Wyndham
Days Inn
Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
Howard Johnson
La Quinta by Wyndham
Microtel by Wyndham
Super 8
TraveLodge by Wyndham
Wingate by Wyndham
Other ways to get free hotel breakfast

The easiest way to score free breakfast is to book a stay with a hotel that provides this meal to all of its guests. However, there are other ways to get free hotel breakfast, which are outlined below.

Earn elite status with a hotel brand

If you travel often enough to be able to reach elite status with your favorite hotel brand, it’s possible you’ll secure free breakfast or executive lounge access with breakfast and snacks each time you stay. This can depend a lot on the type of elite status you have, as well as the specific hotel brands you stay with the most.

If you have World of Hyatt Globalist status, for example, you’ll get club access or free breakfast in locations where this benefit is available. On the other hand, Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members both get free continental breakfast at participating hotels.

With the Marriott Bonvoy program, you’ll get lounge access once you’re a Platinum Elite member or higher. Platinum members and higher may also be able to pick free breakfast as a welcome amenity, although the ultimate benefit could wind up coming in the form of a specific amount in food and beverage credit for each night of your stay.

Pick up the right hotel credit card

While most hotel credit cards do not give automatic elite status that can afford you a free breakfast benefit, there’s one notable exception — the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. This card comes with automatic Hilton Diamond status, which qualifies you for executive lounge access and free breakfast at participating properties.

Utilize a portal that includes free breakfast

Finally, check whether you have the option to book your hotel stay through a portal that offers free breakfast and other benefits. If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, you could book your hotel stay through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which includes daily breakfast for two people, a room upgrade based on availability, free Wi-Fi, guaranteed late checkout and more.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, on the other hand, you can check out the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection from Chase. Properties in this portal offer guests daily breakfast for two, a special benefit unique to each property, free Wi-Fi, a room upgrade based on availability and more.

Just be sure that you compare pricing in these portals with pricing elsewhere on the web (including directly with hotel websites) to make sure you’re not overpaying for added benefits, like the potential for an upgrade and free breakfast. Luxury travel portals affiliated with credit cards can offer competitive rates when compared to what you would pay to book direct, but not always. If your goal is getting truly “free” breakfast, then you should run the numbers and compare.

The bottom line

Getting free breakfast can make travel much more convenient, and the benefits only compound when you’re traveling with family in tow.

Before you book your next vacation, look for ways to score free breakfast and other perks that make travel both more comfortable and affordable. Some benefits come automatically when you pick up a hotel credit card, but you may be able to access others just by shopping around.

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