Posted by Ric Garrido

Greenville, South Carolina is not a place I have ever been, but I did analyze hotel rates and award values across Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG and SPG for that location in February 2010.

Recent announcements of hotel award category changes in 2013 had me thinking about plotting the same hotels I analyzed in February 2010 to see what changes have happened to hotel awards in Greenville, SC over the last three years.

The results actually surprised me.

Room rates in June 2013 are generally quite a bit higher than room rates were in February 2010. The seasonal month of June versus February likely accounts for some of the higher rates and the fact that February 2010 was deep in the hotel recession.

The city of Greenville in upstate South Carolina is located halfway between Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina on Interstate 85. Here is a comparison of hotel rates and reward categories for Greenville, SC. I picked Greenville, SC at random without any idea of how the numbers would play out for the hotel chains.

All the major chains have properties in Greenville allowing for a cross-comparison of rates and reward category for free nights among the different hotel chains of Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Starwood Hotels.

Greenville, SC Hotel Rate and Award Analysis

  • Hilton HHonors = 7 hotels (3 hotels went up one award category)
  • Marriott Rewards = 7 hotels (1 hotel went up one award category from 3 to 4)
  • IHG Priority Club = 6 hotels (3 hotels went down 5,000 points in award category)
  • Hyatt Gold Passport = 2 hotels (1 hotel went from category 1 to 2).
  • Starwood Preferred Guest = 1 hotel (no category change)

Update 2/26: After reading Gary Leff’s post analyzing hotel spend to earn a free night, I decided to change the table in this post to show base spend needed to earn a free night rather than value per 1,000 points. The formula is the same, but hotel spend is easier to understand. Gary does a good job comparing the general cost of awards between programs. My point in showing one specific city to compare hotels is location is the way travelers generally make hotel comparisons.

 

 

The basic rule for redemption value per 1,000 points is the higher rate will create a higher redemption value. There is a need to keep redemption values in line with published rates. Hyatt Regency Greenville is an example of an excellent redemption value to book a $199 rate for 5,000 points at this category 1 hotel.

Marriott has two category 1 hotels in the Greenville area that are high value redemptions for points.

Three IHG hotels in Greenville actually dropped in award cost with Priority Club changes making them more competitive to other chains while most IHG hotels in major cities like New York went to higher award cost reducing the competitiveness of Priority Club in those locations. I will do a similar analysis for NYC hotels to chart changes from 2009 to 2013.

In 2010 I noted that Priority Club was not competitive in Greenville, SC whereas a previous analysis for New York rates Priority Club highly. The recent changes to Priority Club has addressed some of those issues with the new 9 category award chart.

Here is an excerpt from my 2010 Greenville hotel award analysis piece:

I like to determine the relative value of hotel points. Most hotel loyalty program members have an idea of the approximate value of points in their primary hotel loyalty program. My question is how do hotel rewards in different programs compare to each other?

After ten years of loyalty points and miles analysis, I have found that the primary variables in determining the value of hotel points come down to two factors.

1. What is the member’s ability to earn points?

  • This factor has a number of variables such as hotel stay pattern, hotel spend, loyalty promotions, elite status, credit card earning, and partner earning.

2. Where will hotel points be redeemed?

  • Bora Bora, Bali, Charleston, SC, or Cleveland, OH makes quite a difference in the value of hotel redemptions. In general, a member will get more value in terms of dollars saved when redeeming for low category hotels vs. resort and major city locations.

 

How does one compare hotel rewards for Marriott, Hilton, and other hotel programs?

Here is my analysis using a scaled hotel reward value comparison. I adjusted the value of 1,000 hotel points across the different hotel chains of Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Starwood.

Here is my Hotel Reward Scaled Value chart I used to create an equivalent scale for 1,000 hotel points across the five hotel chain loyalty programs for Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Starwood.

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To compare Marriott Greenville, Hilton Greenville and Hyatt Regency Greenville I adjust the redemption value for these hotels by the earn rate factor:

Marriott Greenville = $189.00 or 20,000 points = $9.45/1,000 points.

Hilton Greenville = $130.00 or 30,000 points = $4.33/1,000 points x 1.5 = $6.50 adjusted value.

Hyatt Regency Greenville = $199.00 or 5,000 points = $39.00/1,000 points / 2 = $19.50 adjusted value.

Adjusting the redemption value using the earn rate factor shows Hyatt is the best value ($19.50 per 1,000 points) relative to the other two hotels with Marriott ($9.45/1,000) next and Hilton ($6.50/1,000) as the lowest redemption value.

Overall, hotel awards in Greenville, SC have not changed too much over the past three years, although many of the hotels did show higher rates in this sample.

6 Responses

  1. I have family that recently moved to Greenville and have visited once or twice. It is a nice downtown, and an up and coming area with great outdoors/nature preservation and connection. It really is the gem between a bigger city like Charlotte (1-1.5 hr drive), and a depressed area like Spartanburg. Michelin, BMW, and other international companies have a large presence there, and a lot of french/german families. With Southwest starting service to the GSP airport, expect even more traffic.

    Comment by Noah Kimmel on February 25th, 2013 at 11:15 am
  2. I ahve an issue with the data. There may be something going on locally at the time you were looking which is the reason for the higher rates at some hotels.

    Its 30 miles from Clemson. Is there something going on with Clemson? Not Commencement but something else? Clemson may not have all the hotels to support an event so people stay in Greenville.

    Is therer some sort of fair or outdoor festival in the area the weekend you picked to compare? A meeting or conveention at the hotel??? Every industry has conferneces or training meetings across state or regional.

    The first weekend in June looks like its the second weekend of the basebal NCAA baseball tournament where Clemson could be a host school for it (certainty if its a top 8 ranked school).

  3. I would really recommend the Hyatt Greenville downtown. I just stayed last weekend and as a diamond they upgraded me to a main street king. I got free breakfast and parking was only 6 dollars per day. I decided to take the 1,000 point amenity, so my net point outlay was 9,000 points for a room that with tax would cost well over $500 for 2 nights. Not quite as good as some (Old)SPG gems in Asheville and Savannah, but not to bad. Downtown is pretty night with lots of restaurants, shops, theaters and a nice park with falls. The hotel is finishing renovations, but it is pretty nice- especially for 5,000 hyatt points a night.

  4. I don’t get it. What’s the point?

  5. @Dan – the room rates are not really the point of this post. The date selected is a random weekday and special events in an area should affect most hotels equally.

    @Jorge – We can talk about the huge devaluation of hotel loyalty programs, but when it comes to comparing the cost of awards in different loyalty programs using an actual location is what matters.

    These are the award rates at the various hotels in June 2013 for Greenville, SC.

    What I see is Priority Club has reduced the cost of reward nights over the past three years and Hilton has raised the cost.

    The redemption value per 1,000 points is a relative scale. I probably should use the spend required for earning base points as an easier scale to read.

    For example:

    Greenville Marriott = 20,000 points = $2,000 hotel spend to earn 20,000 base points.

    Hilton Greenville = 30,000 points = $2,000 spend for Points & Points earner.

    Hyatt Regency Greenville = 5,000 points = $1,000 base spend.

    HIX Greenville Downtown = 25,000 points = $2,500 spend.

    I was quickly playing around with my 2010 data and I did not update the methodology I used back then with the scaled values, but it is actually quite similar to using base earning from hotel spend.

  6. raising and lowering is meaningless without more details.What is the market driven rate?

    If the hotel was a newly opened one when it was built during the real estate boom they are going to set their prices higherthan market and have it at a higher category for promos.

    At the same time you have an older hotel that went through remodeling and thus raised their value.

    The bigger issue in comparison is looking at similar hotels located in the same area…are they at the same price and award value? If not the question is why?

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