There are a number of solid options with points and free night certificates for temporary housing, such as those acquired from credit cards. See the hotel section here (III: 3) on recommended brands to look into. Figures below are often taken from a single sample, so typically numbers will vary from what you see below.
For more on hotel night certificates & points, go here.
One of the best ways to acquire points is to buy them. Here's more on that.
Another great way to acquire points is by acquiring credit cards as long as you don't have an issue with credit cards like so many do (i.e. overspending/carrying interest). For a free recommendation on what credit card to acquire to get your free or drastically reduced cost stay, you can email me your goals, monthly spending levels on credit cards (i.e. not your mortgage), what categories of merchants you spend at with the levels of spending appx. for each, credit score according to Experian.com (as long as above 700; if not it's best to boost credit before attempting to acquire rewards-centered cards) etc. at email@example.com . Please note that due to the volume of inquiries I give priority to friends and clients.
The below costs may vary over time so look at the websites for latest #'s. Any $ price below is typically on only 1 date checked.
Examples of solid options (standard rates in normal season 1 bedroom 1 night - keep in mind 5th night free options with Hilton (w/ status) & Marriott & 4th night with IHG w/ 1 of their newer cards) include:
A. Hyatt: Hyatt Place Chesapeake/Greenbrier for 5k points/night
D. Hilton: Hampton Inn & Suites Chesapeake-Square Mall 20k vs $126 on a Wed in May
A. Hilton: Hampton Inn Gloucester: 30k pts for 2 queen beds studio suite w/ sofabed, desk, microwave, mini-fridge, free breakfast, sleeps 5.
B. Choice: Quality Inn Gloucester offers above-average value per point at times, but is rated 3.5/5 on Tripadvisor
C. No options with IHG, Hyatt, Marriott, Radisson, Sonesta
A. Hyatt Place Hampton Convention Center for 8k points/night
B. IHG: Holiday Inn Express Hampton-Coliseum Central 14k points/night vs $132/night stay on a Tues in April w/ free breakfast, full kitchen, but no pets allowed
C. Radisson: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson While typically not a good choice, on peak dates it can be decent value per point as 28k if rates exceed $120.
E. Marriott has 3 category 3 hotels in Hampton, none of which typically offer great value per point
A. Choice Hotels: Comfort Suite Newport News Airport for 16k points/night (vs $120 on a Tuesday night in April) w/ free hot breakfast, fitness center, & airport shuttle
B. IHG: Holiday Inn Newport News-Hampton for 15k points/night (vs $131 on a Tuesday night in April) w/ airport shuttle, Kitchenette, Pets allowed
C. Marriott has 2 hotels, 1 category 4 & 1 category 3. Cat 3 Residence Inn Newport News Airport can offer good value per point while offering great accessibility to the interstate, spacious layouts, (up to 4 guests/room w points, up to 6 guests/room w/ option for 2 queens & a sofa bed, though not bookable directly w/ points) & full kitchens.
A. Marriott: SpringHill Suites Norfolk Old Dominion University - Category 3 - 17.5k points/night
B. Marriott: Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown - Category 3 - 17.5k points/night
C. Marriott: Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection doesn't have great long-term stay amenities, but has a 4.7/5 at the time of this writing and is often good value per point, and a category 4 hotel. My wife & I loved it, though we felt the food in the restaurant is hit or miss for lunch or dinner in part because they try to be so unique, while the service, room, & property were all great. This property is often eligible with 35k/night certificates, which is what we used.
D. Candlewood Suites Norfolk Airport - full kitchen, airport shuttle, pets allowed - 14k pts vs $121 on a Tuesday night in April
E. Hilton: If you're a Hilton Diamond member, Hilton Norfolk the Main can be a solid option (post Covid-19) at the higher end (50k pts/night) in light of their Empyrean Club including free breakfast & evening hors d'oeuvres.
No hotels & no options with AirBNB when I checked.
Check for options in Hampton, York County, & Newport News
Some more options available but see Chesapeake, Suffolk & Norfolk if not what you're looking for.
No options in Portsmouth with IHG, Hilton, & Hyatt, Sonesta
A. Hyatt House Richmond West is 8k/night, and the full kitchen of the kingsize bedroom isn't available for booking directly at the standard level, but even with minimal status like that from the credit card you might get an upgrade
B. Hyatt Place Richmond Airport, Hyatt Place Richmond/Arboretum, Hyatt Place Richmond/Innsbrook, & Hyatt Place Richmond/Chester are all available for 5k/night.
C. Choice Hotels: Comfort Inn South Chesterfield - Colonial Heights for 12k/nt
C. Choice Hotels: Comfort Suites Southpark for 12k/night
D. Choice Hotels: Preferred Hotels Collection: The Commonwealth - 35k/night
F. Marriott hotels are category 2-5 in the Richmond area. Category 2 level (10k-15k/nt) Residence Inn Richmond West/Midlothian & Residence Inn Short Pump at the Notch can be solid options for extended stays including full kitchens
A. My wife & I loved our stay at the Jefferson in Richmond. We used the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits available on the Amex Platinum & Amex Business Platinum, which provided us with an upgraded room, breakfast, and transportation to the Richmond airport, which was perfect since we were flying from there to Vail for our honeymoon.
It's also available for 45000 points per night via Choice Hotels points. Here's where to check options like that using Choice Hotels points.
A. Choice Hotels: Quality Inn & Suites for 8k/nt
D. Hilton Garden Inn Chesapeake/Suffolk - 30k v $209 on a Wed in May
A. Hyatt: Hyatt Place Virginia Beach Town Center for 8k points/night
B. Choice Hotels: Comfort Suites Beachfront for 30k/nt vs $296 in late Spring/Summer w/ 2 double beds
C. Marriott: Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront can be a good use of a 35k/nt certificate, often >$300 in the summer
D. Marriott: The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection can be a good use of a 50k/nt certificate in low season, though without some desired long-term stay amenities. It's the only Category 7 property in Hampton Roads/Richmond.
E. Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront can be a good use of a 50k/nt certificate in low season, though without some desired long-term stay amenities. My wife & I had a fantastic 5 night stay there using 5 50k/night certificates from a single sign up bonus.
H. No typically good value/pt & well-rated Radisson options.
A. Wyndham: Club Wyndham Kingsgate or Club Wyndham Governor's Green for 15k points/night
B. Choice Hotels: Rodeway Inn Historic for 8k points/night
C. Choice Hotels: Rodeway Inn & Suites 8k-10k points/night
F. Marriott's Manor Club at Ford's Colony has options with a full kitchen & multi-bedroom suites, but is typically better with $ than with points. At the category 5 level, 35k pts isn't worth it for a room if <$100, like it is here sometimes, because of the low value per point.
G. Choice Hotels: Bluegreen Parkside Williamsburg, Ascend Resort Collection is well rated & has 2 bedroom suites with a kitchen, living room, 2 person sofabed, 6 person occupancy, & washer-dryer suite (if you can get availability) for 30k/nt or 6k +$192/nt.
B. Marriott: Courtyard Newport News Yorktown is an option but while it's in a central location near the interstate with an airport shuttle & with rooms up to 2 queen beds in size it's without good value per point typically at category 3.
VA hotels outside of Hampton Roads
>1 hr away:
A. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Fredericksburg South (I-95), VA - $133 v 15k pts mid-week May.
B. My wife & I loved our stay at the Salamander in Middleburg, the #2 ranked hotel in Virginia according to US News & World Report, about an hour west of DC. It was one of our top 3 hotel experiences as of the time that we went. We stayed there using a 55,000 Choice Hotels Points per night for a 3-night stay with no additional fees. We got the points from a combination of a credit card sign up bonus and a points purchase. It's generally better to buy points during the annual Daily Getaways sale (assuming the points become available again for around half a cent a point like they have in the past) rather than getting the points via credit card sign up bonus as long as you have a solid cash travel budget. Alternatively, the points can be acquired for something like a 3-night stay from a single credit card sign-up bonus (i.e. the currently available as of 11/25/22 Citi Premier with the general spending plus the currently available 80,000 points associated with the signup bonus which can be converted to 168,000+ points [since Citi Thank You Rewards convert to Choice Hotels points at a 1:2 ratio) after spending $4k within 3 months). While technically it's better to buy the points in my opinion, getting the value per point that you can via transfer from Citi Premier to Choice, in this case, would be more than double the amount of the TPG valuations for Citi ThankYou Rewards (1.8 cents per point, which I believe is lower than it should be) since the value per Citi Premier Reward, in this case, was around 4.4 cents per point. Because points are at a flat rate there, it's best to go when $ costs are high. We went on Halloween weekend and saved over $3300 on a greater than $3600 stay (not including tips, food costs, etc., which we paid extra for).
Here's where to check options like that using Choice Hotels points.
>1 hr away NC:
Choice Hotels: Comfort Suites Chincoteague Island Bayfront Resort - 30k v $360 for 2 qeen beds, 2 person sofabed, balcony bay view.
It's generally best to aim for redemption values at or above the TPG valuations. For reference, here are the TPG valuations of the above points (& other points available for use in Hampton Roads) as of 4/27/21:
Best Western Rewards: $.006/pt
Hyatt (World of Hyatt): $017/pt
And the valuations of some transferable currencies for the above points:
Amex Membership Rewards: $.02/pt -> Hilton when 3x1 promo ($.018)
Capital One Miles: $.017/pt -> Wyndham ($.011) if solid Wyndham option available & no better source of Wyndham
Chase Ultimate Rewards: $.02/pt -> Hyatt ($.017)
One of my favorite flexible means of earning points and redeeming them is through Kayak's Open Table. Points are worth 2 cents toward a hotel stay. With redemptions though it's ideal for a 1-night stay since redemptions are capped at $80/booking. Here's a prime example of what appears to be a fantastic deal.
Earnings are capped at 10k pts per stay.
The website can be a bit glitchy though. Availability might disappear once you attempt booking. I wasn't able to book any one night options with the above property when checking at least a few dates.
If looking for things to do during your stay, I recommend checking the top options by city/county in Tripadvisor, such as: