You can score major savings on your next trip by staying at a hotel that offers free breakfast – and dinner. Here’s the list of hotels and rewards credit cards that give you access to free meals.
Many hotels offer complimentary breakfast, but some include free dinner as an additional guest perk. A rewards credit card can also be useful in enjoying free meals.
And in the COVID-19 era, many hotel chains have modified their breakfast offerings to reflect guidance provided by the CDC and the National Restaurant Association. Dining rooms might be closed in some hotels, and buffet and self-serve options might be limited in some locations. At the same time, prepackaged or pre-plated breakfast meals are increasingly becoming the norm in some hotels.
As you prep for your next trip, here’s how to unlock free eats at hotels and increase rewards.
See related: Best hotel credit cards
Free breakfast and dinner at hotels: A quick guide
Which hotels offer free breakfast and dinner?
More hotels are jumping on the free breakfast bandwagon these days, but free dinner is a bit more selective.
These are the hotels that offer free breakfast and dinner:
- Best Western offers free breakfast. It also offers free light dinner and cocktails offered Monday through Friday at select Best Western Navigator Plus locations.
- Canopy by Hilton offers free breakfast buffet. Complimentary breakfast bags can also be delivered to your room.
- Comfort Inn and Suites offers free hot breakfast buffet. Complimentary breakfast bags are also available. Free dinner is available at select locations.
- Country Inn and Suites offers free hot breakfast buffet. Free dinner is also available at select locations.
- Embassy Suites offers free made-to-order breakfast. The hotel also offers complimentary snacks and beverages at the nightly evening reception.
- Fairfield Inn and Suites offers free hot breakfast buffet.
- Hampton Inn and Suites offers free hot breakfast and breakfast bags. Free dinner Monday through Thursday is also available at select locations.
- Holiday Inn offers free hot breakfast at Holiday Inn Express locations. Free dinner is also available the night of arrival at Holiday Inn locations.
- Homewood Suites offers free hot breakfast. Free beverages and appetizers are available Monday through Thursday evenings.
- La Quinta Inn and Suites offers free breakfast. Free dinner is available at select locations.
- Residence Inn offers free hot breakfast. Free cocktails and dining are available Monday through Wednesday evenings.
- SpringHill Suites offers free breakfast. Free drinks and light dinner fare are also available.
- Staybridge Suites offers free breakfast. Free dinner is available Tuesday through Thursday evenings.
- Wingate by Wyndham offers free breakfast.
Dining policies may be property-specific
When in doubt about whether a hotel offers free dinner, drinks or snacks in the evening, ask at the front desk if they offer those amenities, says Jessica van Dop DeJesus, a travel expert at DiningTraveler.com.
Free cocktails, finger foods or full dinner may be more common at extended stay hotels, luxury properties or smaller boutique brands.
DeJesus favors Kimpton Hotels, a boutique brand owned by IHG, because it offers free wine and appetizers to guests at a daily happy hour.
Breakfast and dinner availability can vary widely within a brand’s family of properties.
- All Sonesta ES Suites locations offer complimentary breakfast daily, says Sonesta representative Lorie Juliano, along with an evening social three nights per week. However, complimentary meals aren’t available at Sonesta’s full-service brands, Royal Sonesta and Sonesta Hotels & Resorts.
- At Holiday Inn Express, you can enjoy a free breakfast buffet daily, but complimentary dinner is only available at Holiday Inn locations. This benefit applies to the evening of your arrival only.
See related: Can we safely return to sleeping in hotels?
Hotel loyalty programs can offer dining freebies
Joining a hotel loyalty program can yield dining benefits, but you may need to reach a certain status in the program before you can take advantage of free meals.
With the Hilton Honors program, for instance, complimentary continental breakfast is available for Gold and Diamond members.
According to a Hilton Honors representative, you’ll also need Gold or Diamond status to receive a food and beverage credit at Hilton’s luxury properties, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
A co-branded hotel credit card can help you gain elite status in hotel loyalty programs faster by:
- Offering an automatic status upgrade for new accounts. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card grants you Hilton Honors Gold status when you are approved for the card.
- Other cards that offer an automatic status upgrade include IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, World of Hyatt Credit Card and U.S. Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature.
- Offering annual bonuses toward elite status. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card offers automatic Silver Elite status on your account anniversary each year and Gold Status when you spend $35,000 or more with your card annually.
If you’re joining a hotel loyalty program to get free dining benefits, read the rules carefully. Some programs might offer complimentary breakfast only to members who book directly or who have elite status.
Remember to take advantage of the program’s other perks, too, such as free Wi-Fi, room upgrades and a welcome gift at check-in, says Ahmed Bhuiyan, who runs the travel blog yourTripGuru. “For example, if you’re part of the Marriott Rewards loyalty program and have elite status, you get late checkout.”
Don’t overlook rewards card, frequent flyer dining benefits
Your rewards credit card can also get you an invitation to free dinner.
Bhuiyan, for example, favors The Platinum Card® from American Express due to its Fine Hotel and Resorts program.
“If you book a participating hotel, you’re able to get perks like a $100 experience credit*, which in many cases covers a free lunch or dinner,” he says. In addition, the program includes complimentary daily breakfast for two people.
Frequent flyer membership and airline credit cards can help you land free meals as well.
DeJesus uses the United Explorer Card for travel, but as an added member benefit, she gets daily complimentary breakfast for two at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.
“What you’ll find is that many properties have free continental breakfast,” says Riemer, so you can choose the continental option and “get both the food and the points.”
*Current hotel offer for The Platinum Card from American Express: up to $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card (minimum two-night stay required).
Consider a room upgrade to save on dining
Upgrading your stay can open even more free dining avenues. DeJesus recommends looking into hotels that offer club room access.
“Usually, club rooms offer complimentary breakfast and light snacks and drinks,” says DeJesus. Some of the hotel brands she recommends for club room bookings include Grand Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental.
If you’re planning an upgrade, do the math on how much you’ll have to pay in points or cash. If the points redemption value is too low, you might want to pay for the upgrade in cash and keep your points for a future redemption with a higher value.