Summer 2012 seemed like it might leave us thirsty for points and free nights after the deluge of hotel loyalty high value bonuses over the past three summers since 2009. Then April showers brought May bouquets of bonus points and free night suitors from a variety of hotel loyalty programs.
The Hotel Summer Dating Game
#1 on my list for great summer hotel stay value are one night stands with three different Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group brands. Radisson and Radisson Blu are like cousins, one brand is sort of downhome country folk, quintessential American in the form of a hotel and the Blu kin is bred from a more sophisticated family and tends to dress better in modern European ways.
Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago bar area
Radisson Big Night Giveaway promotion offers 50,000 points for one night at any Radisson or Radisson Blu Hotel worldwide, nearly 500 hotels globally. There are some urban gems with Radisson Hotels around the world and there are some basic 3-star hotels in the brand, mostly in the USA.
Club Carlson 50,000 points redeemed for hotel stays will range in value from $200 to $500 for most hotel redemptions if you use points with purpose.
Hotel stays at six different category levels require a different level of points per night:
(1) 9,000; (2) 15,000; (3) 28,000; (4) 38,000; (5) 44,000; and 6) 50,000
Points + Cash stays requiring 5,000 to 15,000 points and a cash copay are another reward stay option that also counts as an eligible stay for earning these three summer stay bonuses.
Club Carlson – Radisson Big Night Giveaway May 15-July 15, 2012. Club Carlson repeats the late-2011 promotion letting the first 100,000 members to register earn 50,000 bonus points after staying one night at a Radisson worldwide. RadissonBigNightGiveaway.com.
Club Carlson – Country Inns & Suites Big Night Giveaway May 15-July 15, 2012. First 35,000 members to register beginning May 15 earn 44,000 points after staying one night in a Country Inn & Suites. This promotion has already exceeded 35,000 registrants and remaining registrants will receive only 15,000 points for a stay by July 15, 2012. SOGOCountry.com
Club Carlson – Park Inn Big Night Giveaway May 22-July 22, 2012. First 20,000 members to register beginning May 22 earn 44,000 points after staying one night in a Park Inn. ParkInnOnePlusOne.com
Combine Club Carlson Points between accounts
One of the best benefits of Club Carlson is the ability to combine points between any two member accounts with no fee. This allows me with elite status to earn the bonus points and my wife without elite status to earn the bonus points. Together we might each have a balance of about 150,000 points after we each complete our three stays.
Radisson (assume $100 rate) = 1,000 online booking bonus; 2,000 points for $100 base rate; 50,000 bonus points = 53,000 points.
Country Inn (assume $75 rate) = 1,000 online booking bonus; 1,500 points for $100 base rate; 44,000 bonus points = 46,500 points.
Park Inn (assume $75 rate) = 1,000 online booking bonus; 1,500 points for $100 base rate; 44,000 bonus points = 46,500 points.
Total points after 3 nights = 146,000 points.
For about $250 each to pay for 3 nights I earn 146,000 points and my wife earns 146,000 points.
I can move her points into my account and have 292,000 points.
292,000 points is enough for 10 nights at Club Carlson category-3 hotels after only 6 paid nights for $500. Radisson Hotel Branson Missouri can place you near the live concert events. Category 3 hotels with Club Carlson can take you many places around Europe, especially Germany with 14 category-3 hotels.
These points are enough for 7 nights at category-4 hotelslike Radisson Hotel Mall of America Bloomington, MN where there will also be a new-build Radisson Blu hotel opening in the next year. Radisson Hotel Hyannis, Massachusetts is another category-4 hotel.
International travel is where free nights on points at category-5 or category-6hotels can really be a savings in places like Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm where there are several choices of Radisson Blu city center hotels at 44,000 or 50,000 points per night.
Marriott Free Night Summer Bonus
#2 on my summer travel list is Marriott’s Summer Bonus June 1-August 31, 2012 for one free night certificate at a category 1-4 hotel for every two stays. This bonus may be earned three times for three free night certificates. The free night certificate is valid for one year from date of issuance.
Marriott has over 2,500 hotels globally out of 3,800 hotels in category 1 to 4 so finding a hotel to redeem a free night should not be hard over the course of the year.
I generally use $100 as an average hotel rate when calculating the cost to earn bonuses. Some Marriott brand hotels can be found for under $75 all-in after tax, and even some upper upscale hotels can be found for around $100 during low travel periods.
This promotion should allow you to get back at least 50% of your hotel spend in free nights if you plan cheap qualifying stays.
JW Marriott Chicago Executive Lounge – category-7 hotel reward
Best Western Free Night Certificate after 3 Stays June 17 –August 19.
#3 for summer travel value is a Best Western offer coming in the next couple of weeks for a free night voucher after three stays. Best Western Free night voucher expires Jan. 13, 2013. Maximum one free night certificate. This promotion is not yet publicly available for registration, but should come up in the next week or so after the current promotion ends June 3.
This Best Western offer is not as lucrative as Club Carlson and Marriott Rewards. Club Carlson bonus can be earned with one night. Marriott bonus can be earned with two hotel nights in different stays. Best Western takes a minimum of three nights.
The reason I like Best Western is this hotel is for road travelers. If you like National Parks, then you will likely discover Best Western is one of the best hotel brands for having properties near National Parks where few other branded hotels are located.
Also the Best Western free night certificate is valid for any Best Western hotel in the world. There are over 4,000 Best Western hotels globally and many of these hotels are in major cities and some resort areas. This is potentially a 36,000 points free night reward at the top end hotels. That is like earning a nice average of 12,000 bonus points per stay.
The disadvantage is the limited redemption period for the free night certificate. Earning this free night voucher near the end of the promotion will leave you with less than five months for redemption.
Best Western Snowcap Lodge, Cle Elum, Washington
Summer Travel Rebates
My objective is to earn a high value rebate for as many of my hotel stays as I can target. Three nights at Carlson Hotels, two nights at Marriott hotels and three nights at Best Western hotels can provide vouchers and points for 5 to 10 free hotel nights over the next year.
My summer travel in 2012 is going to pay for several of my hotel stays over the next year. I haven’t set my dates yet, but I know there are plenty of options wherever I go with Club Carlson, Marriott Rewards and Best Western Rewards providing high value rebate opportunities these next three months.
Summer 2012 is a good season to be a loyalty traveler.