rewards programJoining a travel site’s rewards program only takes a few minutes and your willingness to share a few personal details, such as your name and email address. The process of signing up is rather simple: as soon as you create an account with a travel site and sign up with its rewards program (some automatically enroll you), you can start earning points on essentially anything you book through the site, whether it be flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, activities or bundle deals. In turn, once you’ve saved up enough points, they can be used to “pay” for part or all of an upcoming trip, such as a hotel stay, one of your flights or any other aspect you choose. Although the concept is simple, there is one rather hard part of travel sites’ rewards programs — choosing the one that will best suit your travel style. Here are a few criteria to help you decide which program is right for you.

Looking at your travel habits

Before you enroll in any travel sites’ rewards program, it’s important to take stock of how you travel. This means sorting out details like how often, how far, whether the trip is usually for business or leisure and which airlines or hotel brand you find yourself frequenting.

Evaluating your options

After you’ve evaluated your travel needs, you can determine the best option for you. If you’re a frequent traveler or you usually book through multiple travel sites, you may want to look into a travel rewards credit card, as they offer some top-notch rewards that can be redeemed for travel. Learn more about the rewards these cards offer by visiting our Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis. On the other hand, if you’d prefer not to open a credit card, a travel site’s rewards program is likely a good option for you, as it’ll provide points to travelers who show loyalty to its site. In some cases, you might be able to increase your rewards potential by booking travel through a site with a rewards program using your travel rewards credit card.

Determining the best travel site’s rewards program for you

Travel sites’ rewards programs are created so that travelers have the option to use the points or perks they earn to book a great vacation. That’s why, when deciding between travel sites’ rewards programs, it’s important to make sure you know which type of traveler you are. To help, we’ve detailed the best travel sites’ rewards programs for four of the most common travelers.

Best for families: Priceline

Travelers who are looking to earn points on family vacations are better off using a service that offers rewards based on their use of things like bundle packages or how often they book activities. Similarly, you’ll want a rewards program that offers points on things like restaurant reservations or tourist activities. The best travel site’s rewards program for this type of traveler is Priceline, which features a very straightforward approach to rewards. Once you’ve enrolled with its program, you’ll receive points every time you book through Priceline. Those points can then be used toward any future Priceline purchase you might make, including hotels, car rentals, flights vacation packages and cruises.

Best for frequent travelers: Expedia

One of the travel sites that rewards frequent travelers with more points and perks is Expedia. Its rewards program allows you to earn a status level (+blue, +silver or +gold), each with its own set of perks. All Expedia members will be able to earn points that can be redeemed for future travel as well as access to member deals, but those who travel the most will be able to reap the benefits of having gold status, which includes major perks like free amenities, discounts on VIP hotels, access to a customer service agent and discounts on bookings when they first become available.

Best for occasional travelers: Orbitz

Those who don’t travel quite as often can still enjoy a rewards program. Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t always travel for work but would like to take advantage of your paid time off and enjoy a vacation or two within a year’s time. A program like the one offered through Orbitz will likely be the best fit for you, as it allows you to gain one of three status levels — Silver, Gold or Platinum. The difference with each level of the program is the benefits that you’ll gain. Although every level of membership offers a few perks — for example, Silver members get a dedicated customer service line — users will have to build up to Gold or Platinum member status to reap the most generous rewards, which include access to their own customer service line and free Wi-Fi and free breakfast (when available). Platinum members will also enjoy TSA pre-enrollment, room upgrades at VIP hotels (when available) and reimbursement in Orbitz rewards for up to two checked bags.

Best for frequent hotel stays: Hotels.com

If you’re a frequent road-tripper or someone who enjoys regular hotel stays, using a program like the one offered by Hotels.com might be a good place to start. The concept is simple — travelers will earn one night each time they stay at a qualifying hotel, and after 10 nights, they can receive one night’s stay for free at a property of their choice. This is the perfect option for those who have a specific vacation spot in mind, as it doesn’t require users to travel too often in order to reap the benefits.

Signing up for a travel site’s rewards program is free, which means you can only benefit from being a member. Just as each travel site is built differently and angled toward a particular type of traveler, each rewards program will be better suited for one person over another. Visit our travel sites reviews to learn more about these programs and find the best site for booking your future travel plans.