The Shores Resort and Spa is one of 81 independent properties in 63 cities that has signed up for a new online hotel loyalty program.

Guests now can earn points for every dollar they spend on lodging for a future stay, similar to the program offered by chains and travel websites, such as Expedia and Travelocity.

The service, known as Stash Hotel Rewards, started in May. The properties include boutiques, as well as spas and resorts. All properties have ratings of three stars and above, based on the program’s assessment of the hotel’s services, amenities, reputation and location.

David Rijos, general manager at the Shores, said being part of the group levels the playing field when guests are considering where to stay.

“Now our guests have the ability to use points toward hotel stays here and at other like properties,” Rijos said Friday in a telephone interview.

Furthermore, he said, it gives his property, which is the area’s only four-diamond, independent hotel the opportunity to tie in with other high-end products.

Guest will receive five points for every dollar that they spend on a hotel stay, he said. “There are no blackout dates.”

The rewards program hopes to have 250 properties signed up by the end of the year and as many as 450 participating hotels by the end of 2011,  according to Jeff Low, Stash CEO.

The program was more than a year in the making, said Low, a former executive with Expedia.

The launch of Stash comes within a week of two other travel websites from Expedia alumni—Room 777 and Travelpost.

Low came up with the idea based on his own experience when traveling,  he said Friday in a telephone interview. He often chose the small,  boutique hotels but missed the opportunity to earn reward points.

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