Sixty Second overview of current offers:
The primary news of the past month is hotel reward category assignment changes for Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and Carlson goldpoints.
The vast majority of hotel shifts are among each program’s lowest hotel categories, particularly categories 1, 2, and 3 to higher reward categories.
Fast-Track Elite Status Offers are Everywhere
Hilton HHonors has an instant Silver elite offer for Mileage Plus Premier members. The promotion offers Gold elite after 4 stays within 90 days of promotion registration. Perhaps there will be a sweep to remove ineligible members, but for now you can enroll and your HHonors status should be instantly upgraded to Silver elite.
[Expired] IHG Priority Club has a Platinum elite offer with five nights.
[Expired] Marriott Rewards Air China offer for Gold elite through February 2012 with 12 nights in 90 days.
Accor A-Club instant Gold elite. Enter promotion code: CMBANKACLUB
These are targeted offers that appear to allow open registration for any member. Be thankful if you get free or fast-track status, but accept the fact that a future sweep of enrollees might remove you from the ranks of elite at a later date if you are not part of the targeted class.
Loyalty Traveler ranks the consumer value of hotel loyalty promotions on a Five Key Scale.
Five Keys = one of the best hotel loyalty promotions of the year.
Four Keys = high value rebate on the cost of hotel stays.
Three Keys = good value hotel loyalty promotion or rate offer
Two Keys = a bonus value if you play, but not necessarily worth going out of your way.
One Key = There is limited or no value. You are likely paying more than the bonus value.
Rate discounts and loyalty program bonuses are two types of hotel chain incentives to consider when booking travel.
Rankings are subjective and subject to change. Your specific travel pattern may result in some promotions ranking more favorably for you. When assigning a key rank I take into consideration the following factors and probably more:
- The opportunity for significantly high-value return on hotel spend in terms of future hotel rebate in free nights and discounted hotel nights.
- Current loyalty program promotions and offers from other hotel chains.
- Past loyalty program offers and rates for the specific hotel chain and loyalty program.
- Current economic conditions in the hotel location and travel industry.
HELP SHEET #4 - March 11, 2011
Offers marked with an asterisk (*) were added since last update February 7.
Hotel Brands: Sofitel, Pullman, M Gallery, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Adagio, All Seasons, Thalassa Spa.
Motel 6 is the primary Accor Hotels brand in USA, however, extremely limited A-Club hotel loyalty program participation.
Accor Hotels is the largest chain of hotel brands globally outside of the USA. A|Club hotel members are available in many locations where you will likely only find a Best Western or no other major hotel brand.
Accor A|Club Instant Gold Elite – link. Check the Promotional Code box and enter CMBANKACLUB
Accor A|Club Global Promotion Offers List – link (This link allows searches by continent region)
Hotel Brand Tiers: Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier
Best Western Free night after 3 stays from Feb 6 – April 11, 2011. This promotion also offers 6,500 bonus points for stays at two of three BW brands including BW, BW Plus and BW Premier. 10 guests who stay at all three brands will receive 650,000 bonus points. 4-Key offer from Best Western.
Best Western International Offers webpage link. The link provides a variety of promotions internationally for Best Western hotels.
Best Western Rewards Elite Status Match Offer (February 19, 2010) This offer is ongoing and still available. Best Western is a particularly useful loyalty program when traveling outside the USA. Best Western and Accor A-Club have more hotels outside the USA than all the other major hotel programs combined including Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Starwood.
Program Change for Elites: Elite members earn 250 bonus points for stays in US/Canada or a welcome snack. (Aug 3, 2010)
Best Western Brand Tiers Change – Best Western is designating about 25% of the chain’s higher quality hotels in the 4,000+ hotel chain as Best Western Plus (about 800 hotels) and Best Western Premier (about 100 hotels).
Hotel Brands: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza
* Country Inn & Suites $30 Amazon card and 3,000 points for two-night stays March 2-April 30. Promotion code = GETSPRING. 2-key offer. Loyalty Traveler March 2.
Club Carlson new loyalty program replaces goldpoints plus on March 31.
These Loyalty Traveler posts describe changes with Club Carlson:
* Club Carlson Hotel Reward Category Analysis (Feb 28) This post shows the number of hotels in each category and changes from 2010 level for different global regions.
* Club Med resort credit for goldpoints. $100, $250 and $500 credit. Loyalty Traveler analysis March 10.
Goldpoints Plus program change – elite members earn 2,000 points for online booking. All general goldpoints members earn 1,000 points for online booking. This will change to add 3,000 points for Club Carlson Concierge elite April 2011. (LT post July 18)
Hotel Brands: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, Ascend Collection.
Hotel Reward Partners: Preferred Hotels Group, Barcelo Resorts
* $50 Gas Card or 8,000 points for two stays March 3 – May 4. Earn bonus two times if registered or five times if Platinum or Diamond elite. Loyalty Traveler post (March 1). 3-key offer.
Refer-a-Friend promotion – Choice Privileges members who refer a new member receive 500 points after new member’s first stay and the new member receives 500 bonus points after first stay. Loyalty traveler post Jan 31.
Choice Privileges Program Changes for Elite Members effective January 1, 2011:
These are truly program enhancements for elites.
- Platinum elite qualification = 20 nights in a calendar year (formerly 25 nights).
- Diamond elite bonus increased to 50% base points (formerly 40%).
Reward night booking window extended for Choice Privileges elite members:
- Gold = 50 days (formerly 40 days)
- Platinum = 75 days (formerly 60 days)
- Diamond = 100 days (formerly 90 days)
Nordic Choice Club hotel loyalty program covers 140 Choice hotels in Scandinavia and Baltic regions of Europe. Choice Privileges members currently do not earn points for hotel stays in Scandinavia, although hotel stays are available for points. Nordic Choice Club offers points and benefits for hotels in this region. Choice Privileges members planning frequent travel in Scandinavia may want to compare the benefits of Nordic Choice Club to Choice Privileges. (LT post Sep 9)
* [Deal Gone] There was a mistake offer on February 24 on LivingSocial.com discount site for Fairmont San Francisco $2,000 Presidential Suite with added benefit of Fairmont President’s Club top level Platinum elite for a lifetime. The price dropped if four people joined together and one person got free package if three friends bought. Cost was split at $1,500 each. There were 115 buyers. Loyalty Traveler wrote about this sale Feb 25 after it was shut down and the aftermath when the mistake offer had been recognized. 5-key offer.
Four Seasons Special Offers website link
Global Hotel Alliance – GHA Discovery – Hotel loyalty program alliance for 12 independent hotel brands including Kempinski, Omni Hotels, Pan Pacific, First Hotels, Mirvac, Anantara Resorts, Tivoli Hotels, The Doyle Collection, Marco Polo Hotels, Park Royal, The Leela Palaces, Shaza Hotels.
Overview of GHA Discovery, elite membership benefits and local experiences, Loyalty Traveler post January 30.
Hotel Brands: Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria Collection, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Home2Suites.
Home2Suites opens first hotel of Hilton’s new extended stay brand in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Hilton Hawaii Just Go With It Sweepstakes – One free entry for a chance to win a $31,000 trip for 4 persons and 9 nights in Hawaii + $15,000 + 1,000,000 HHonors points. Additional entry for every hotel night stayed. Sweepstakes ends March 31, 2011. (LT post Jan 19)
Jan 3 – March 31 Hilton HHonors Q1 Main Promotion
* Hilton Spring Sale for hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa with Breakfast package rates. Book by April 7 for hotel stays from March 18 – June 30. Prepaid, nonrefundable. Must book 7 days in advance. These are good prices, but check Marriott sale for 3rd night free in Europe with breakfast, comparable rates, and flexible cancellation policy without penalty. Loyalty traveler post March 9.
2011-Q1 extended stay offer is double points for two-night stays, triple points for three nights, and quadruple points on stays four or more nights. Stay one night and you have no promotion bonus points. Nearly 10% of Hilton properties opted out of this offer. Check the non-participating hotels list carefully.
HHonors Q1 2011 Promotion Key Rank:
- 4-key promotion for three nights and longer stays.
- 3-key for two night stays.
- 1-key = no bonus points for one-night stays.
Jan 3 – March 31 Hilton HHonors – Delta SkyMiles (promotion registration link)
The Q1 2x to 4x points offer is combinable with Delta SkyMiles 1,000 miles per one-night stay; 1,500 miles for two-night stays and 2,000 miles for three nights or longer. There is no earning limit for points or miles. There also does not appear to be a list of excluded properties for bonus SkyMiles promotion. (Loyalty Traveler post Jan 4)
HHonors Point Stretcher Rewards posted for hotels through May 2011. Point Stretchers require 40% fewer points than standard HHonors rewards. Use the drop-down menu to see participating hotels in different Hilton brands. This is the largest set of hotels I recall in several years offering Point Stretcher discount reward dates. (Loyalty Traveler post Dec 3)
HHonors Comprehensive Reward Charts – Members have difficulty locating the various reward charts on the Hilton HHonors sites, particularly VIP Rewards and Waldorf-Astoria rates. This Loyalty Traveler post places all the HHonors reward charts in one post. (LT post Sep 13, 2010)
Cheaper Hilton Reward nights using Priority Club points – this Loyalty Traveler analysis developed from the Priority Club Anywhere Challenge. Hotels Anywhere allows Priority Club members to spend points for hotels in other chains. My study shows there are numerous Hilton Hotels requiring fewer Priority Club points than Hilton HHonors charges its members in HHonors points for the same reward. (LT post Sep 17)
HHonors Program change: Gold and Diamond members receive complimentary internet at all Hilton Worldwide hotels beginning September 1, 2010. (Hilton – Aug 2 press release)
Hotel Brands: Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Resorts, Andaz, Hyatt Summerfield Suites
* Hyatt Spring Promotion – April 1 – June 30. This 4-Key offer is 10,000 points after 5 nights and 5,000 points for every two nights thereafter, up to a maximum 60,000 bonus points after 25 nights. LT post March 7. 4-key offer.
Hyatt regional G Bonus Offers – There are several regional bonus offers for 2,000 points at hotels across the U.S. and around the world. These seem to be the main points bonuses during this period between major Gold Passport promotions. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 28.
* Update on Hyatt Property Specific Bonuses: Jeff Zidell Hyatt VP, told me on March 8 the ‘property level bonus’ program is being evaluated and reinvented. We will probably only see regional hotel bonus offers until July. Specific property level bonuses that typically offered 1,000 to 2,000 points in G1, G2, and G3 offers may be gone for good. We’ll see.
Hotel rate discount promotion: 3 nights for price of 2 in Europe, Africa and Middle East from Jan 1 – March 31, 2011 when payment is American Express credit card. Note: Stay credit is earned on these rates, but Diamond suite upgrade certificates are not permitted. (LT post Jan 15)
Hyatt Gold Passport Program Change – No elite status matches will be given for elite membership in another hotel program. Elite status trial offer is at the discretion of individual hotel properties.
Hotel Brands: InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo
* Through May 15 – Spring Break Promotion for 7,500 points on two-night stays at more than 100 hotels in Florida, California, Texas, Hawaii, Mexico and Costa Rica. IHG Spring Break Promotion Code = ISGSB. Loyalty Traveler post (Feb 13) 2-key offer.
* Priority Club PointBreaks through April 30, 2011 are probably the best hotel loyalty program reward night value available at 5,000 points for a free night. Many of the hotels are discounted 80% from their normal 25,000 points for a reward night. The current list had 107 hotels when posted Feb 28. There were three InterContinental Hotels. Loyalty Traveler post Feb 28. 5-key offer.
* Priority Club Dining Program – Shoot for 5,000: Earn 1,000 Priority Club points for every $100 in dining program spend through March 31. Loyalty Traveler post: Feb 20. 3-key offer.
Priority Club Any Hotel Anywhere American Express gift cards increased in price.
New Price for Any Hotel, Anywhere Cards Loyalty Traveler post Jan 25.
- $100 = 33,000 points (formerly 29,000)
- $125 = 39,000 points (formerly 34,000)
- $150 = 45,000 points (formerly 39,000)
- $200 = 60,000 points (formerly 49,000)
- $250 = 72,000 points (formerly 59,000)
5-key offer IHG Priority Club Instant Platinum Elite status and a $25 gift card after 5 nights within 90 days. (Nov 15). Update: The offer page has changed since this was initially posted two months ago on LT blog. Now the offer page says you must call Priority Club to enroll.
3-key offer IHG $100 checked bags rebate for 2-night weekend IHG stay January 1 – April 30 within 3 days of flight. (LT Jan 11)
3-key offer IHG Sweetheart Deal – $100 Visa card rebate for a three-day or longer stay at any IHG hotel worldwide within 90 days of 2011 wedding in U.S. or Canada. (LT Jan 11)
2-key offer Feb 1 – April 30, Priority Club 3,000 bonus points or 1,000 bonus miles every three nights. Maximum 30,000 bonus points or 10,000 bonus miles. (LT post Jan 21)
Points & Cash Program Change: Priority Club Points & Cash Reward nights increased the cost of 5,000 Priority Club points to $40 from $30. The cost to buy 10,000 points remains unchanged at $60. Loyalty Traveler post (Nov 19)
Cheaper Hilton Reward nights using Priority Club points – Hotels Anywhere allows Priority Club members to spend points for hotels in other chains. My study shows there are numerous Hilton Hotels requiring fewer Priority Club points than Hilton HHonors charges its members in HHonors points. (LT post Sep 17)
IHG Friend & Family Hotel Rates (Steve Sickel). Steve Sickel is senior Vice President Relationship Marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group. During the hotel recession of 2009 he offered this link to FlyerTalk members for booking discount friends and family rates. This link is still active. And we are all friends of Steve’s. Here is a FlyerTalk thread discussing this rate deal. The link in Steve Sickel’s name leads to the offer page for a voucher to complete. Some guests mention the hotel wants the completed voucher at check-in. These rates do not qualify for points or stay credit. One of the best features of this offer is the ability to book high category rooms at steep discount.
Program Change: Ambassador Annual Membership Fee Increased from $150 to $200 as of July 1, 2010. You can also buy Ambassador membership for 32,000 Priority Club Rewards points (formerly 24,000). Renewal fee is still $100.
Priority Club Points Exchange Value and Points.com – Loyalty traveler research (Jan 20) into the exchange value of Priority Club points into airline miles through Points.com
Kimpton Hotels – InTouch
Loyalty Traveler posted an outline of Kimpton’s InTouch program showing how 21 stays in 2011 can potentially earn 7 free nights at any Kimpton Hotel. (LT post Jan 11)
Leaders Club Rewards program changes: Membership fees for Leaders Club Rewards dropped to $100 annual for Access level. Access membership includes complimentary breakfast for two each day of stay and free internet. Unlimited membership is $1,200 annually. Loyalty traveler post Feb 3.
Hotel Brands: Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, Edition, Autograph Collection, Marriott Vacation Club
* Marriott Hotels Europe 3rd Night Free Special offer rate with breakfast March 6 – May 30. Promotion code = C9E and look for rate description “European Spring 3 for 2, American Breakfast Daily”. 170 hotels participating in Europe. Stay three nights Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday. Loyalty Traveler March 10. 3 to 4 key offer depending on location and rate.
* Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Assignment Changes for 2011 (Loyalty Traveler March 2)
* Marriott Rewards PointSavers – there were about 55 hotels posted on this list on March 11. Many of the hotels in U.S. expire March 31. There should be a new set of hotels added in next few weeks. PointSavers reduce the points cost of a free night by one hotel category. For example, category 5 hotel requires only 20,000 points per night. 5th night free applies to PointSavers rate. Loyalty traveler post Jan 26.
Marriott Rewards Elite Buy Back with Points – you can buy back 2010 elite level for 2011 using points through April 1, 2011. You can only buy the level of elite you had for 2010.
- Platinum elite = 40,000 points
- Gold Elite = 25,000 points
- Silver elite = 7,500 points Loyalty Traveler post Feb 1.
Marriott Points Redemption Strategy using $1,000 in Marriott Cheques. This post explains how Marriott elite members may buy $1,000 Marriott Cheques for 135,000 points. You can then pay for hotel stays and earn points and elite credit on paid stays you actually purchased indirectly with points. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 27.
5-Key Promotion: Register by April 30, 2011: Marriott Rewards Instant Gold Elite for 90 days with Air China special offer. Retain Gold elite through February 2012 after 12 nights within 90 days of registration. My Loyalty Traveler advice is sign up sooner, rather than later since this offer can be pulled anytime. Sign up for free Air China membership, then apply for Marriott Rewards Gold (normally requires 50 nights in calendar year). Loyalty Traveler post Nov 22.
4-key promotion – Marriott MegaBonus (Feb 1 – April 30, 2011) various targeted offers with the basic offer being one free night after two stays. Limit of two free nights during promotion. Free night valid only for Category 1 to category 4 hotels. This offer does not require Visa payment like fall MegaBonus)
Active Marriott Rewards members may receive bonus points offers based on total nights stayed. There are several variations mentioned by members on FlyerTalk for 25,000 to 50,000 bonus points. Loyalty Traveler post Dec 27.
Marriott MegaMiles (Feb 1 – April 30, 2011) triple miles beginning with second stay with a choice of 26 airline frequent flyer programs. Note: You must set your Marriott Rewards earning preference to miles to see this offer on Marriott website. (LT post Jan 10)
Marriott Rewards Elite Rollover Nights extended for 2011. This is the third year Marriott Rewards offers elite rollover nights for elite qualifying nights over your earned elite membership. For example: Silver elite requires 10 nights in calendar year and Gold elite takes 50 nights. Stay 25 nights in 2011 and the 15 nights above Silver elite rollover to 2012 membership year. You will have earned Silver elite for 2013 from your 15 extra nights in 2011 rolled over to 2012. Confused? Don’t worry. This is a great benefit for elite members. (Loyalty Traveler 5-key offer. LT post Dec 23.)
Program change – Free internet worldwide for Gold and Platinum Marriott Rewards members beginning January 2011. This expands the complimentary internet benefit offered to elites for hotel stays in the Americas since May 2010.
1-Key offer – Marriott Rewards Instant Redemption Awards (March 24, 2010)
Preferred Hotels Group – I Prefer
I Prefer and Preferred Hotels Group special offers page.
Red Lion Hotels – 44 hotels in western U.S.
5-key offer: Earn 5,000 bonus points per stay through March 31. Free night is only 10,000 points for any Red Lion so this promotion is effectively a free night after every two stays. Loyalty Traveler post Feb 1.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty program launching Sep 15 (LT post Sep 14)
Reward Changes in new Ritz-Carlton Reward Tiers (LT post Sep 15)
Ritz-Carlton rewards Hotel + Air Packages Analysis (LT post Sep 16)
Starwood Hotels brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Four Points, element, aloft.
* Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel Category reward assignment changes for 2011 took effect on March 1. My LT post (Feb 22) has a list ordered by city, state and country for changes.
Starwood Hotels data on number of hotels in each brand and average rates by brand and global region. Loyalty traveler post Feb 4.
Jan 3 – April 15, 2011 SPG ‘Great Weeks, Grand Weekends’ offers double points + 500 points per night for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Registration is required by March 31 and retroactively applies to all eligible stays for promotion period. (Loyalty Traveler ranking = 2-key offer for Mon-Wed; 3 key for Thur-Sun). Promotion registration link. Loyalty Traveler post Dec 15.
Starwood hotels Website Enhancement – Website now allows comparison of four different rate types side-by-side for hotels in one location including promotion rates, AAA, breakfast rates, senior, government and reward nights. Loyalty Traveler post Nov 23.
SPG Peak Season Rates Return for 2011. Category 5, 6 and 7 hotels relaunch peak season dates and a calendar of dates and participating hotels is posted here. Book by January 9 to lock in lower rates for your hotel stays. Loyalty traveler post Dec 6.
Starwood Hotels Policy Change: Sheraton Hotel Club Lounges will be open 7 days a week in 2011.
Starwood Preferred Guest – American Express credit card changes effective October 14, 2010. The annual fee is increasing to $65 from $45 for renewals beginning Oct 14. Benefit changes include 5 elite nights and 2 elite stays credit each year. This will have no effect for members who qualify on stays. The SPG50 certificate will be discontinued in favor of a 3rd night free offer at Sheraton Hotels. Loyalty traveler post (August 24); Sheraton 3rd Night Free Analysis (Nov 12)
3-key promotion SPG link: Pay Your Birthyear Rate -This promotion has been extended through 2011. Rates can be an incredible 5-key savings or no savings depending on the hotel and your birthyear. LT post 4/28/2009
3-key discount rates Starwood Hotel Rate Discount Codes for Multiple Night Stays
These offers are for rate discounts on stays of 2 to 6 nights. Third night free tends to be one of the best discount rates. Important to check other rates (AAA, Senior, Special Offers) as these discounts are generally based on the Best Available Rate (BAR) and may not be the lowest overall rate for some hotels.
Stash Hotel Rewards
Voila Hotel Rewards
Loyalty Traveler profiled Voila Hotels program in light of the recent signing of two New York former Starwood W Hotels as the initial hotel members in the USA for this international loyalty program for 250 independent hotels.
* 2,500 points for every two-nights, up to maximum 10,000 bonus points after 8 nights at Voila hotel properties February 25 – May 31, 2011. Loyalty Traveler post March 3.
* 50% off reward nights through March 31 at participating Voila hotels. Loyalty Traveler post March 3.
Brands: Wyndham, Wingate, Hawthorn Suites, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Baymont Suites, Microtel, Knights Inn.
Wyndham Rewards – Spring 2011 Promotion for up to 4 x points or miles Feb 3 – April 30.
- 2x points or miles on 2nd stay.
- 3x points or miles on 3rd stay.
- 4x points or miles on 4th stay.
Loyalty Traveler Research Articles
Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards and the Value of Hotel Points
Hotel Rewards Credit Cards Comparison of Benefits (September 1)
Hotel Credit Cards Comparison by Value of Points (September 2)
Hotel Points to Airline Miles Conversion Tables
The Value of Points
Hotel Market Segments and Hotel Brand Profiles based on JD Power 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study
Hotel Rates Survey for USA States, Cities, and Average Hotel Rates Worldwide
Hotels.com 2010-Q2 – Global Hotel Price Index – This is a great resource for finding where hotel rates are high and low around the world. There are tables of USA average hotel rates by state and major cities. (Sep 14)