Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elites who have requalified for 2011 Platinum status will receive one extra bonus point per dollar in spend from October 1 through December 31, 2010.  Promotion registration is required by December 30, 2010. Stays prior to registration will not earn the extra Starpoint. Four Starpoints promotion terms and conditions.

The extra bonus point for SPG Platinum only applies to stays after the member has requalified in 2010 for 2011 platinum elite status. This promotion is a small incentive for Starwood loyalists who reach 25 stays or 50 nights well before the end of the year.

This offer is combinable with the SPG Every Night Counts double/triple points promotion.

Platinum members who have requalified for 2011 Platinum elite will receive at least 6 points per dollar from the combination of double points and the platinum extra point for Starwood stays during the overlapping promotion dates.

SPG Gold and Platinum elite members normally receive 2 base points and 1 bonus point for 3 points per dollar in Starwood Hotel spend.

Platinum elite Starpoints earning potential is 10 points/$1 from October 1-December 15, 2010

  • 2 base points/$1
  • 1 elite bonus point/$1
  • 2 bonus points/$1 (Every Night Counts double points bonus for 1-9 nights; Sep 8-Dec 15)
  • 1 platinum elite bonus point (Oct. 1-Dec 31; platinums who have already requalified for 2011 platinum)
  • 2 bonus points/$1 (Every Night Counts triple points bonus for 10+ nights; Sep 8-Dec 15)
  • 2 bonus points/$1 (SPG American Express payment)

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Westin is promoting the healthy benefits of taking a vacation from work with its “Travel and Be Well” Sweepstakes.

200 prizes of 48,000 points will be awarded to SPG members who pledge to take a vacation before the end of the year.

Entries will be accepted between September 15 and October 15, 2010. Restricted to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C. and Canada, excluding Quebec.

The prizes are advertised as a four-night stay at a Westin Hotel in the U.S., Canada or the Caribbean. The drawing will be held October 18, 2010. Points must be used within 12 months of deposit in your account. I am not clear from the promotion rules if they will really restrict the use of the 48,000 points to Westin Hotels.

The sweepstakes is simple enough to enter.

My minor complaint about the vacation promotion information webpage is the article “The Importance of Vacations” from by Elizabeth Scott, M.S. provides no link to her original article.  She references several other travel articles in the text on the page but there are no links embedded in the Westin promotion copy. The article link I included above takes you to the page with links to the other articles she references.

Westin Travel and Be Well Sweepstakes

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The good news for Marriott Rewards members is the one-night rate has gone down for all but three Ritz-Carlton hotels. The bad news is the new Ritz-Carlton hotel reward tiers have increased the cost for the majority of hotel rewards on multiple night stays compared to the old Ritz-Carlton hotel partner rewards available through Marriott Rewards.

Ritz Carlton Hotel rewards changed to a five tier system of hotels today.

Yesterday, before the changes, the partner hotel rewards for Ritz-Carlton Hotels only used two tiers. Hotels formerly in Tier 1 are now in the new Tiers 1 and 2 with the exception of Ritz Carlton Sanya China, a beach resort and Abama Golf & Spa Resort in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain both going from Tier 1 in the old chart to Tier 3 in the new rewards chart. Seven night stays at these two hotels have increased by 71% in points cost.

Award cost changes for two hotels in Spain rising from old Tier 1 to new Tier 3.

The good news is the cost of hotels in the new Tier 1 have dropped for reward stays of one to six nights. The bad news is the hotels in the new Tier 2 have gone up in cost for any stay longer than one night.

Ritz-Carlton Hotels formerly in Tier 2 yesterday are now redistributed in the new Tiers 3, 4, and 5. The good news is hotels in the old Tier 2 Marriott Rewards now in the new Ritz-Carlton Rewards Tier 3 have only increased in cost for 7-night stays compared to the former reward cost.

There are also at least 5 hotels that were Tier 2 in the old rewards chart and are now in Tier 1 or Tier 2 in the new rewards. You will find much cheaper rewards now for Ritz Carlton Doha, Qatar and RC Shenzhen, China in the new Tier 1.


Ritz Carlton Bahrain, Ritz Carlton Istanbul and Ritz Carlton Osaka in the new Tier 2 were in the old tier 2.



The Tier 1 and Tier 3 hotels are the best points deals in this new system compared to the old rewards.

Here is the list of current tiers for Ritz-Carlton Hotels from the Marriott Rewards site. I added the former Tier 1 or Tier 2 designation in parentheses next to each hotel. Unfortunately I did not copy the old Ritz Carlton Hotels tier list yesterday, so I am working off a list from six months ago. If anyone has a recent copy of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Ritz-Carlton hotels before the changes, please send me a copy. The old tiers information is now gone from the Marriott Rewards site.

Ritz Carlton Hotel Reward Tiers

Tier 1    30,000 points per night  (20 hotels)


Tier 2   40,000 points per night  (26 hotels)


Tier 3   50,000 points per night  (18 hotels)


Tier 4    60,000 points per night  (7 hotels)


Tier 5    70,000 points per night  (1 hotel)


How long do you think the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park will remain the lone hotel in Tier 5? 

Here is the complete list of Ritz-Carlton Hotels globally and organized by geographic region, including hotels that are not participating in Ritz Carlton Rewards.

Below are tables showing the impact of the new Ritz-Carlton Hotel reward tiers today compared to the former Marriott Rewards partner hotel rewards for Ritz-Carlton discontinued on September 14, 2010.

Points Effect for New Ritz Carlton Hotel Stay Rewards


Links: Ritz Carlton Rewards new tiers and points cost for reward stays.

PointSavers for Ritz-Carlton reward stays reduce the nightly cost by 10,000 points per night and are eligible for 5th night free reward stays.


Ritz-Carlton Hotels partner hotel rewards old chart (discontinued September 14, 2010) provided lower per night point rates for longer stays:


Loyalty Traveler related post: Ritz Carlton Rewards Loyalty Program Launching Sep 15 

Barbara De Lollis,  Hotel Check-In, USA Today Sep 13, 2010 Marriott Customers can now earn Ritz-Carlton points for free stays, experiences

Ritz Carlton will launch its own loyalty program September 15, 2010. Marriott Rewards will be a partner program with many reciprocal benefits for members of each program.

Marriott Rewards members will earn 10 points or 2 airline miles per $1 on room rate only for Ritz Carlton Hotel stays. This is the same earning rate currently for Marriott full-service brands, however, the lack of points for incidental spend is a drawback.

Advance notice of some details were provided this morning to readers of member forums and FlyerTalk. The real advance notice was published yesterday evening, as “Ritz Carlton Bows to Recession, Adds Rewards” in this Wall Street Journal article. 

There were several questions from FlyerTalkers about how the two programs will be integrated for purposes of elite credit and benefits and participating properties. Marriott Concierge posted some advance release additional details on FlyerTalk this morning:

-All Ritz-Carlton Hotels will be participating in Marriott Rewards with the exception of the following: 

  • Bulgari Bali
  • Bulgari Milan
  • Hotel Ritz Lisbon
  • Hotel Ritz London
  • Hotel Ritz Madrid
  • New Orleans Iberville Suites
  • The Ritz Hotel Paris
  • Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
  • Ritz-Carlton Residences
  • The Abaco Club
  • Millennia Singapore
  • Krabi (Phulay Bay) 

A complete list of all properties participating in Marriott Rewards will be available tomorrow with the official launch of the new landing page on I will be sure to provide this link once the page is live tomorrow. 

-This is the first point-earning program associated with The Ritz-Carlton. As noted, this extension of the Marriott Rewards program will apply credit for all stays made as of the official launch date of September 15, 2010. 

-Members earn both Marriott Rewards points and elite night credits at all participating Marriott Rewards properties, now including The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and EDITION. 

-A chart of elite membership benefits at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels by membership level will be available tomorrow upon launch of the new landing page on 

-Gold and Platinum benefits at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels worldwide will include free HSIA beginning September 15, 2010. All other brands noted in yesterday’s announcement will participate beginning January, 2011. 

-PointSavers Rewards will be offered at up to a 33% points discount off Hotel Rewards at participating Ritz-Carlton Hotels. PointSavers Rewards are available for limited time periods and participation and availability of PointSavers Rewards are at the discretion of the hotel. Members can redeem their points for PointSavers Rewards at participating Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Information detailing the points required for PointSavers Rewards at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels will be available tomorrow with the official launch of the new landing page on 

-The Club Lounge and Club levels at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels are different from those at a full-service Marriott property – Club Lounge access is not offered as an Elite benefit. Similarly, breakfast and other amenities are different from those of Marriott’s full-service properties. Marriott Rewards member benefits vary by brand, and this includes The Ritz-Carlton participating properties. A chart of elite membership benefits at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels by membership level will be available tomorrow upon launch of the new landing page on 

Thank you, 

Andrew and the Marriott Concierge Team 


This was the first hotel news item I saw this morning when I opened up to see Gary’s post on View from the Wing. My first thought was this could mean the end of the great reward table for Ritz-Carlton Hotel stays available through Marriott Rewards. 

While the Marriott Concierge post above states PointSavers will still be offered to Marriott Rewards members for Ritz-Carlton stays, my question is: Will we have the same great reward options currently available for 5- and 7-night Ritz-Carlton reward stays?

Marriott Rewards Ritz Carlton Partner Hotel Rewards 9-14-10

More details tomorrow when the website goes live.

Consumers should remember that hotel affordability across the world has not been this good since 2004.” – David Roche, President Hotel Price Index is a good report for the frequent guest to gauge global hotel prices and price changes over the past year. There are many tables and graphs for the reader accompanied with some insightful commentary that coincides with industry forecasts from other sources I’ve read this summer.

The survey provides travel destination indicators like Bali, Indonesia. Hotel prices have gone through the roof year-over-year – up 57% from $129 per night 2009-Q2 to $203 per night 2010-Q2 in the wake of ”Eat, Pray, Love” fascination with this location. A flood of tourism dollars is a good sort of tsunami for the region, but rapidly inflated prices steer me to better value locations for my travels.

Bargain destinations like Ireland and Portugal may be the better choice for a budget vacation.  Eastern Europe is giving out great value for travel dollars.

The Hotel Price Index preface notes by David Roche, President of, indicate hotel room rates have shown a global rise, about 2% year-over-year for the first time since 2007.  

Asia is recovering most rapidly. Singapore and Bali aid that growth.

Much of North America, Europe and the Middle East are sitting at hotel rates common to 2004. David Roche points to corporate travel picking up more in North America than in Europe in 2010.

And staycations seem here to stay. Recession travel. There are tables showing the average room rates for the 50 states and major cities. Hotel Price Index survey

  1. Global price changes in the first half of 2010
    By region
  2. Price changes in global destinations
    Prices across the world’s top cities
    Most expensive destinations
    Highest price rises and falls
  3. U.S. hotel prices by state
  4. U.S. hotel prices by city
  5. Caribbean and Latin American destinations
  6. European city destinations
  7. Prices paid at home and away
  8. Where to go for $150 or $100 per night
  9. Average room prices by star rating
  10. Luxury for less
  11. Travel habits
    Top U.S. destinations for U.S. travelers
    Top overseas destinations for U.S. travelers
    Top U.S. destinations for travelers from overseas


I particularly like the sections “Where to Go for $150 and $100 per night” and “Average room prices by star rating”. Cities where I can expect to find a 4-star hotel for $150 per night is the kind of information I find valuable for travel planning.

Average Room Prices by Star Rating” table shows a European vacation can be upscale and significantly cheaper if you stay in hotels in countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. 4-star hotels may be half the rate in cities around these countries compared to Paris, Rome and London.

I look most closely at the spread between the 3-star, 4-star and 5-star room rates. In Europe I particularly prefer the 4-star rating due to several experiences in unacceptable 3-star hotels. I am looking for a place where there is a low spread in room rates between 4-star and 3-star hotels and a high spread between 4-star and 5-star.  A place like Amsterdam shows a 4-star hotel is on average $36 more than a 3-star hotel. The rate difference is a high $72 to move up to 5-star room rates. This is a good example of a city where the step up to 4-star is half the cost compared to the step up from 4-star to 5-star rates.

15 cities with the best 5-star value is another great table for cities where a luxury hotel is still available for under $200 per night. Las Vegas is the only cheap hotel destination in the USA.

New York City just blows my mind with its room rates. $150 per night doesn’t even buy a 2-star hotel room. $300 is the average room rate for a 4-star hotel. When I wrote about the InterContinental Hotel New York Times Square yesterday all I could think is how I could save $500 to $600 per night on this luxury hotel by using 40,000 points. Loyalty points are a great investment travel plan if you have need for NYC hotel rooms and you are paying your own bill.

There are several Starwood resorts in Portugal on my bucket list and  I see Cash & Points awards at 4,000 points + $60 for a hotel like the Convento de Espinheiro, Evora. Provided the right SPG promotion I might even go for 149€ per night. My frequent flyer accounts call to me – redeem.

Marriott Concierge announced on FlyerTalk today that beginning January 2011 all Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members will receive free internet worldwide. Gold and Platinum elites have received free internet in the Americas region at JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance and Autograph Collection hotels since May 7, 2010 .

Internet access is already complimentary for all guests at Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites and Edition brand hotels.

The official announcement will be posted here on September 15, 2010.

The new InterContinental New York Times Square has an opening special offer for 10,000 bonus points with a two-night stay by October 31, 2010.

Rate categories IKP10 (Sun-Thu weekdays) or IKPWK (Fri-Sat weekend) are required.

I had difficulty finding room availability any weekend when using the 10,000 bonus points special rate.

I did not find any 10,000 bonus points rate that was worth the extra cost compared to AAA rate.

InterContinental New York Times Square

  • Wednesday, September 15 – Friday, September 17
  • IKP10 Rate = $569 (King Bed Sky View Room); $656 per night after tax
  • AAA rate = $512.10 (King Bed Sky View Room); $591 per night after tax.

10,000 bonus points will cost an extra $130 for this two-night stay. You can buy 10,000 points from Priority Club for less.

This is a 1-key promotion. You are likely to pay more in a higher rate than the points are worth.

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The HHonors website fails to provide easy to find links to the HHonors reward charts. Here are the various HHonors reward charts with website links.

Hilton HHonors made major changes to its standard and VIP reward charts with the January 15, 2010 hotel category changes when about 83% of the 3,500 or so hotels in HHonors increased by one hotel reward category.

Hilton HHonors Standard Rewards Chart

link to HHonors reward charts

Hilton HHonors VIP Rewards Chart

HHonors VIP elite members (Silver, Gold, Diamond) have access to discounted rewards. The discount is a fixed rate for HHonors category 4, 5, 6 and 7 hotels.

4-nights VIP reward = 15% discount on standard nightly reward rate (HHonors is only program to discount 4-night stays)

5-nights VIP reward = 20% discount on standard nightly reward rate  (Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest also give a 20% points discount on 5-night rewards.)

6-nights or longer VIP reward = 25% discount on standard nightly reward rate (biggest standard discount for hotel loyalty programs)

link to HHonors VIP Rewards charts

Note on HHonors Category 3 hotel VIP rewards: Since category 3 uses same VIP rewards as category 4 hotels, there is a smaller discount when VIP rewards are used for category 3 hotels.

Category 3 hotels are shown as being the same VIP reward cost as Category 4 hotels. This actually changed in 2011 even though the chart was never changed to give the standard discount rate of 15% points on 4-night stays, 20% on 5-nights and 25% on 6 nights or more.

Category 3 VIP reward cost

  • 25,000 points = Standard Reward rate
  • 85,000 points = VIP 4-night reward
  • 100,000 points = VIP 5-night reward
  • 112,500 points = VIP 6-night reward.
  • 18,750 points per night (25% discount) for 7 or more nights.


American Express AXON Rewards

(HHonors American Express card members have complimentary HHonors Silver VIP elite membership.)

Loyalty Traveler Chart for HHonors American Express AXON Rewards

The net effect of category shift in 2010 (category 6 hotels moving up to category 7 hotels) is zero for American Express card members. The AXON6 in 2009 cost 145,000 points. These same hotels are almost all category 7 hotels in 2010 and the AXON7 in 2010 still costs 145,000 points.

Hilton HHonors Point Stretcher Reward Chart

HHonors Point Stretcher rewards give a 40% discount on the standard reward rate. This reward option had faded out over the past couple of years and these rewards were unavailable for much of the past year. In September 2010 the participating hotels in the Point Stretcher reward list was the largest selection of hotels I recall seeing in several years with several hundred hotels.

link to HHonors reward charts

Hilton HHonors Waldorf Astoria Collection Rewards Chart

Waldorf Astoria Collection is Hilton’s fast growing luxury brand. There are currently 23 WAC properties. Most of these hotels use the same reward chart. Waldorf Astoria Park City, Utah; Beach House, Maldives; and Grand Wailea use different reward charts.

Las Casitas are WAC villas associated with the El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. I am not sure where these fall in the 2010 reward chart. In 2009 the rates were listed as 125,000 points per night (2-bedroom ocean view); 150,000 points per night for 3-bedroom garden view and 180,000 points per night for 3-bedroom villa ocean view.

London Syon Park is opening in December 2010 adjacent to a historic manor house estate.

Qasr al Sharq in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is a Waldorf Astoria Hotel not shown in these reward charts. This hotel was listed at 120,000 points per night for a junior suite and 160,000 points per night for an executive suite in the 2009 charts and in this 2008 InsideFlyer article, however, I can’t find a current link to reward nights. Anyone else know?

The Waldorf Astoria Reward Codes and Points (links go to hotel site pages)

  1.  Arizona Biltmore | Phoenix, Arizona
  2.  Boca Beach Club, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Boca Raton, Florida
  3.  Boca Raton Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Boca Raton, Florida
  4.  Casa Marina Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Key West, Florida
  5.  Edgewater Beach Hotel | Naples, Florida
  6.  El Conquistador Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Fajardo, Puerto Rico
  7.  El San Juan Hotel & Casino, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | San Juan, Puerto Rico
  8.  La Quinta Resort & Club | La Quinta, California (Palm Springs area)
  9.  Naples Grande Beach Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Naples, Florida
  10.  Rome Cavalieri | Rome, Italy
  11.  The Bentley, London | London, UK
  12.  The Boulders Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Scottsdale, Arizona
  13. The Reach Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | Key West, Florida
  14.  The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans, The Waldorf Astoria Collection | New Orleans, Louisiana
  15.  The Waldorf=Astoria® | New York, New York
  16. Trianon Palace Versailles, Waldorf Astoria Collection | Versailles, France
  17. Waldorf Astoria Orlando | Orlando, Florida
  18. Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund  | Shanghai, China

link to HHonors reward charts

19. Waldorf Astoria Park City | Park City, Utah

20. The Beach House Maldives, Manafaru Island, Maldives

link to HHonors reward charts

21. Grand Wailea, Waldorf Astoria Collection | Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Waldorf Astoria Collection VIP Rewards

When the HHonors changes were first announced in October 2009 there was a link to the WAC rewards. The url for that page is still listed on the HHonors site, but now loads a blank page. Here is what the chart looked like before.

Group A should be the main group of hotels shown as #1-18 above. The VIP Reward discount for Waldorf Astoria Collection hotels is still 15% on 4-night VIP Rewards; 20% on 5-night rewards; 25% on 6-night or longer (up to 14 nights) rewards.

Group B was the Dakota Mountain Lodge in 2009, renamed in 2010 as the Waldorf Astoria Park City. The Beach House Maldives should also be in group B.

Group C was the Grand Wailea and the Bentley London in the original list. It looks like the Bentley London reduced its rates for 2010 and is now a Group A property.

High season dates need to be checked for each hotel. I do not see this information posted on HHonors or hotel pages.

Again, this WAC chart is from a Hilton webpage posted in October 2009 regarding the 2010 changes. The page was removed from the Hilton site and there does not appear to be a current link to a  Waldorf Astoria Collection VIP Rewards chart.


Hilton Grand Vacations Club

Hilton has a feature similar to Hyatt with the option to use reward nights for stays in timeshare resort rentals for less cost than a typical hotel reward. These Vacation Club properties are often located adjacent to hotel properties.

Hilton HHonors Standard/Point Stretcher/WAC/Vacation Club Reward Charts link

Hilton HHonors VIP Rewards chart link

Hilton HHonors Standard Hotel Rewards (only shows single night rate)

Hilton HHonors All-Inclusive Resorts (two resorts in Costa Rica and two in Egypt)

Hilton HHonors Reward Categories (HHonors requires search of specific hotels by country, and in the US the list can be narrowed down by state. Highly inefficient search engine compared to Hyatt, Marriott and SPG which allow all hotels globally in any specific category to be displayed in one list.)

Four Seasons hotels in California have a promotion with Gowalla, the location based mobile service. Check in with Four Seasons “Best of California” concierge recommendations on Gowalla during a stay of two or more days at any of six California Four Seasons hotels. When guests “check-in” at three different Four Seasons concierge recommended sites on Gowalla during their Four Seasons stay, the guest is eligible for a $100 dining or spa credit at the hotel.

This promotion runs through November 19, 2010.

Participating California Four Seasons Hotels:

Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, East Palo Alto, California

Last September 2009 A|Club celebrated its first birthday as a hotel loyalty club program. There was a big party with free gifts. Party crashers from around the world ravaged Accor A|Club’s first birthday celebration last year by coming to the party and walking away with a 40€/$60USD A|Club gift without bothering to stick around Accor Hotels and give the guest of honor anything in return.

In September 2009 A|Club celebrated its first birthday by giving new member enrollees a 2,000 points bonus. The points were immediately deposited into the new member’s account. The new member then could immediately redeem 2,000 points for a 40€/$60USD A-Club gift voucher good at thousands of A|Club hotels worldwide. My wife even received a 500 points birthday bonus when her birthday came around a couple of weeks later in September and she was suddenly A|Club Silver elite for having accumulated 2,500 points.

A|Club party organizers have come up with a more subdued celebration this year. New members this year will receive 1,000 bonus points upon completion of first hotel stay by December 19, 2010.

This year’s 2010 party requires existing members to enter information by September 19, 2010 and build a three part birthday cake online based on the individual’s selection of Accor and A|Club prize choices.

356 winners will be chosen in 12 random drawings from among the entrants for those prizes. The drawings will occur October 22, 2010.

a)      Bonus points (25 gifts) – up to 100,000 bonus points (5 prizes); double points for stays in one month (10 prizes – winner must choose month for points doubling within six months of prize); triple points for stays in two weeks (10 prizes).

b)      A|Club advantages (215 gifts) – status upgrade (200 winners will be promoted to next higher elite status in A|Club); double airline miles for points (5 winners will be allowed to receive double miles for up to 10,000 A|Club points into 20,000 miles); 10 A|Club vouchers (400€/$600USD) valid for six months. 

c)       Win a free weekend for two in the region of the world you choose (116 gifts)

  1. North America (9 prizes)
  2. South America (19 prizes)
  3. Asia (14 prizes)
  4. Europe (58 prizes)
  5. Middle East/Africa (11 prizes)
  6. Pacific region (5 prizes)  

Accor Hotels is the largest hotel chain in Europe by far. Anyone planning to spend much time in Europe, particularly France, should seriously look at A|Club and possibly A|Club Favorite Guest, a paid membership loyalty program with room rate discounts and other benefits.

Accor Hotels have triple the rooms at around 250,000 rooms in Europe than the second place hotel chain (Best Western 87,000 rooms) and third place (InterContinental Hotels Group 86,000 rooms).

Accor Hotels A|Club Elite Benefits

Related Loyalty Traveler Post: Sep 13, 2009 – A|Club program

A|Club 2010 2nd Birthday Party Game

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