Along with the airlines, you can sign up with a hotel chain’s rewards program for you to earn points for each qualifying stay.  Below are a few trips to help you maximize a hotel rewards program and earn free hotel stays faster!
Sign-Up:  You don’t earn if you’re not on the program.  There is no fee to be a part of a hotel reward’s program.  Simply go on-line and sign-up.    Plus, you’ll receive special offers via email typically not available to the general public.
Credit Card Affiliation:  Most hotel chains offer a credit card affiliation letting you earn points faster by simply charging on their card. Initially, there is no annual fee for the card and most will give you a free hotel stay just for signing up.  Be wary after a year and determine if the annual fee is worth the free hotel stay.  Make sure that if you renew the card with the annual fee, the hotel chain gives you either an additional free stay or enough points qualifying for a free stay.
Airline Affiliation:  Several hotel chains align themselves with airline partners.  So if you stay at a particular hotel, you’ll also earn additional points if you fly with a particular airline. 
Rental Car Affiliation:  Same thing applies with rental car chains.  Marriott hotels, for example, aligns itself with Hertz.  So after you’ve finished booking your hotel stay, you’ll be asked if you need a rental car and Hertz information will come up for you to book as well.
Email Offers:  Pay attention to email offers as you may get better rates on your hotel stay while earning points at the same time.  Also, an offer may ask you to opt-in for a special timeframe.  For example, earn triple points if you book a hotel stay for a specific period of time. This may be a good time to switch to their brand of hotel than let’s say another that you may have already booked due to the triple points value you will earn.
Retail Affiliation:  A hotel chains network affiliation may be quite extensive extending to various retail stores offering everything from clothing, flowers and other products and services.  If you like to shop on-line, than it may be worth buying products and services from this particular hotel brand.