I feel compelled to issue a reality check based on the overwhelming pitch by bloggers for Starwood Preferred Guest being the primary program to consider when transferring hotel points for the US Airways points-to-miles 50% bonus from March 11-31, 2012.

Several travel blogs over the past 24 hours have discussed the US Airways hotel points transfer bonus promotion and most of the commentary suggests no other hotel program is worth considering besides SPG to get the best miles value from your hotel points. Read More…

Choice Hotels recently changed its Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) policy to offer a free night for approved claims in addition to matching the lower competing rate.

Choice Hotels are located all over the United States and in 30 countries globally with over 6,100 franchised hotels. Choice Privileges announced last month it has 5,000 hotels in the USA. That number of hotels in the USA alone available for Choice Privileges points earn and burn exceeds the number of hotels globally for any other loyalty program except Wyndham Rewards (over 7,000 hotels).

Choice Hotels consists of 11 hotel brands in the economy to upscale market segments.

Read More…

Last week IHG announced that 77 extended stay hotels owned by Hospitality Properties Trust and managed by IHG will be part of a $165 million renovation project to be completed by September 2012. The first phase of the project has already been completed with new kitchen and bath designs at 26 Candlewood Suites hotels in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix.

A total of 58 Candlewood Suites and 19 Staybridge Suites are scheduled to be renovated.

All of the renovated hotels will use components of new schemes designed in conjunction with graduate students at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), one of the nation’s top interior design schools. Staybridge Suites hotels will offer one of two schemes: the “Vista” scheme, which focuses on fresh color, blending blue, green and terra-cotta shades; or a refreshed version of an existing brand scheme, “Chocolate,” with components of the SCAD designs in the kitchens and bathrooms. The Staybridge Suites hotels will also feature the brand’s Outdoor Living Room, a place where guests can relax and interact alfresco surrounded by amenities such as comfortable outdoor all-weather furniture, fire pits, grills and music. The Gathering Table, a bar-height, granite-topped island surrounded by stools that encourages guest interaction during breakfast and evening Social receptions, will also be added to the Great Room area.

Candlewood Suites hotels will feature elements of the “Nest” scheme, a light, clean and refreshing design with earthy green hues. The focus of renovations at Candlewood Suites properties has been kitchens, bathrooms, case goods, lighting, artwork, new flat-screen televisions, updates to the reception area and new exterior paint.

Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites are the extended-stay brands of IHG. These are also the two brands that only earn 5 points per dollar with Priority Club. All other IHG brands earn 10 points per dollar, except for 2,000 points per stay for InterContinental hotels outside of the Americas. Priority Club changed InterContinental Hotels earn rate to 10 points per dollar as of February 15, 2012 for properties in USA, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean.

There are currently 180 Staybridge Suites and more than 280 Candlewood Suites in North America. These renovations impact about 10% of Staybridge Suites and 20% of Candlewood Suites hotels.

Will this motivate the other hotels in these brands to renovate?

Here are photos from a Candlewood Suites stay in Las Vegas last April. The room was spacious and came with a kitchen and a bedroom with a second TV. There was plenty of space to work on my computer. A flat-screen TV would certainly be an improvement.

Las Vegas-1 080

Las Vegas-1 089

Las Vegas-1 079

I see the sweatshirt in this April 2011 photo that I lost somewhere in Canada about six weeks later.

Accor A|Club has a global sale at more than 1,200 hotels for 3 night stays on bookings through April 9 for stays completed by April 15, 2012. These are prepaid, nonrefundable rates based on the Best Available Rate (BAR) which is the unrestricted flexible cancellation rate.

The 3rd night free rate is based on discounting each night’s BAR rate by 33.33%.

This sale is happening in four global regions and each region has its own specific booking terms and site. A|Club members had one week advance booking window beginning March 6 in some regions. In Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas the general public can begin booking these rates on March 13. In Asia Pacific region the sale began February 22 and includes an additional discount for Accor Advantage Plus members:

Accor Advantage Plus members receive their 10% discount on the ‘“3 = 2” Special offer rate’.

These rates earn A|Club points.

Europe 3 = 2.

Asia Pacific 3 = 2.

South America – North America 3=2.

Africa – Middle East 3=2.

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