Say, if an academic program has already registered for my hotel stay and paid for it.

Then can I count the nights I've spent in the hotel for a hotel awards program?

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    Depends... What hotel? What frequent stay program? Did the conference negotiate a special rate, or did they just pay the regular "rack" rate? – Gagravarr Jul 9 '12 at 14:11

In almost all cases the answer is "Yes".

It doesn't matter who makes the booking, or who pays for it - as long as your "number" is attached to the booking (which you can do at check-in if it hasn't already been done) then you will get points/miles/etc.

However, there are exceptions. Although most rates do earn points - even corporate rates - occasionally hotels will have specific deals that explicitly exclude earning points for a specific rate. For example, most (all?) of the "Family and Friends" rates that are available with some hotels do not earn points. Stays paid for with points (rather than money) generally do not earn additional points.

The best plan is just to make sure that your number is attached to the booking at check-in, and then keep an eye on your point balance. If you get the points - great! If you don't, you can follow-up with them and find out why - and if they tell you that it was a non-earning rate then you'll have your answer!

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    Just to add that I always attach my number to a booking, as With many you get a number of benifits anyway. For example with Ihg you get free internet, newspaper, and in some a welcome drink. So it's always worth associating the booking with you membership / reward card, even if you don't pay. – Martin Jevon Aug 14 '14 at 23:35
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    The key circumstance in which points cannot be applied for most hotel programs is if the booking is done with a discount broker like Priceline or Orbitz. In these cases, you are often SOL. That said, if you have status with the hotel chain in question, it's worth giving them your membership info at check in regardless, as you'll often receive the perks to which you are entitled that way n – LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 15 '14 at 0:53

I was in a very similar situation with a Marriott group hotel a few years ago in Portland where I was not paying for the hotel, but a conference was (through an educational program). I did attach my number to the hotel room, but did not earn points or "nights stayed" credits. I reported it and ended up receiving credit for one night, but didn't ever get any points. They told me that even though my number was attached to the stay, it didn't matter since I didn't pay.

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