Mar182010

Country Inn & Suites 3rd night Free is Truly a Free Night

Country Inn & Suites is running a Spring Vacation Get-away promotion for a third night free when you pay for two nights at participating hotels in the US and Canada between March 1 and May 15. In addition to the free night, each hotel stay is eligible for a Carlson Hotels goldpoints plus bonus of 3,000 points. This is one of the best third night free offers I have seen and definitely worth looking into if you need a 3-night hotel stay and a Country Inn & Suites is an option for your location and hotel market segment. Country Inn & Suites Third Night Free promotion link.

A Typical Third Night Free Offer and Why Country Inn & Suites Offer is Atypical

Starwood Hotels and several other hotel chains regularly offer third night free promotions. Third night free promotions generally imply a rate reduction of 33% on a three night stay. The problem is the rate used for the third night free offer often results in a discount much less than 33%.

Here is an example of the typical offer:

Hotel Gotcha offers a third night free rate.

The rate is $150 per night for the 3rd night free promotion. You pay for two nights and the cost for three nights is $300. You get the third night free. The 3rd night free rate is usually a prepaid, nonrefundable rate.

But, when you go and check other rates for Hotel Gotcha you find the AAA rate is only $109 per night. Three nights is regularly $327 and you can cancel up to the day of arrival in case your plans change. So while you are saving 33% on a $450 hotel stay with the third night free promotional rate, the actual room rate you could have otherwise booked was really only $327. Your actual savings is only $27 and not the $150. The 33% discount turns out to be an overall 8% discount rate.

Country Inn & Suites Third Night Free Offer

My searches of Country Inn & Suites hotel rates revealed some interesting features of this promotion.

First, the 3rd night free is truly the 3rd night free. Typically for promotions of this type the rates for the three nights are averaged and 33% is taken off the three night average rate. And typically the room rate is quite a bit higher than the otherwise lowest available rate so the 33% discount is much less as shown for Hotel Gotcha above.

A few participating Country Inn & Suites hotels are specifically listed as offering 33% off each night of a three night stay. This type of 3rd night free discount only applies to ten hotels of 500 Country Inn & Suites properties.

Here is how the Country Inn & Suites third night free works at most hotels.

There are two Country Inn & Suites in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area of California. Hotels in Silicon Valley typically run high rates from Sunday through Thursday nights, often more than double the room rates available for a Friday or Saturday night weekend.

Country Inn & Suites, Sunnyvale, CA

One bedroom Junior Suite, 3-night stay, Friday, March 26 – Monday, March 29

  • Friday, March 26 = $119
  • Saturday, March 27 = $106
  • Sunday, Sunday March 28 = $170  (free)

Despite the third night rate being $170 and $64 higher than the previous night, the three night rate is not a discount on the three night average rate. 

Instead, it is truly the third night free.

The three night rate is reduced from the regular total rate of $395 to just $225 for the two paid nights. An average room rate of $75 for three nights is a 43% discount on the regular nightly rate and exceeds the 33% discount implied in a third night free offer.

Checking other rates shows this $75 per night average rate with the 3rd night free offer is a huge discount for a junior suite compared to the otherwise lowest rate using AAA at $120.90 per night. 

The flip side of the third night free offer is a Thursday, Friday, Saturday night stay (March 25-28) at this hotel results in paying the high priced Thursday room rate and receiving the lowest priced Saturday night free.

  • Thursday, March 25 = $173
  • Friday, March 26 = $119
  • Saturday, March 27 = $106  (free)

Average nightly rate is $97.33.  The discount on the regular rate of $398 for three nights is now only a 27% savings.

The Country Inn & Suites third night free promotional rate can be leveraged to your advantage to maximize the discount by choosing your three night stay to coincide with the third night being the highest rate night. 

Two other two interesting points about this offer:

Suites and specialty rooms are available at some Country Inns & Suites hotels using this offer.

Hotels I checked showed a cancellation policy up to date of arrival. This is a no-brainer consumer friendly cancellation policy since the typical third night free offer is a prepaid nonrefundable rate.

Check this Country Inn & Suites offer out. You may find your extended hotel stays over the next two months are quite a bit cheaper than you had anticipated.

As you rack up those 15 points per dollar spent at Country Inns, along with an online booking bonus, and the 3,000 points per 3-night stay bonus, you may find yourself in the market for a 25% or 50% discount on award nights through goldpoints plus from April 1 through May 31, 2010. Save 25% on award nights at Country Inn & Suites or Park Inn hotels worldwide. Save 50% on award nights at Radisson, Radisson Blu, Regent, and Park Plaza hotels worldwide.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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