Posted by Ric Garrido

April 2013 is a time of reassessment for many hotel loyalty program members. The sudden and dramatic changes to the structure of hotel rewards across five of the top ten global hotel loyalty programs in the first quarter of 2013 was an incredible amount of information to digest.

The changes in the opening months of 2013 comprise the biggest overall change in the hotel loyalty program industry over the past decade. 

Much of the work I will be doing in the next two months is assessing the impact on the value hotel reward stays with recent changes to hotel loyalty programs.

Most consumers do not stay in hotels frequently enough to experience the elite benefits of hotels as a hotel loyalty elite member. There have been positive changes in the past year for elite members in most programs.

The opportunity to redeem points for free hotel nights is the primary allure of hotel loyalty programs for the not-so-frequent guest.

Recent changes to hotel loyalty programs have changed this side of the loyalty question and the main issue to be determined through analysis of hotel reward value in 2013 is …

What is the value of hotel points?

2013 Hotel Loyalty Program Changes

IHG Rewards Club has changed its name, changed its entire hotel reward category system worldwide with brand rewards switching to a 9 category hotel rewards system from 10,000 to 50,000 points effective January 18, 2013.

Starwood Preferred Guest raises the price of Cash & Points awards by 20% more points and about that much in more cash per night.

SPG Program Changes: SPG hotel award category reassignment effective March 5, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: SPG award category reassignments March 5, 2013 (includes 266 hotels list)(Feb 22, 2013).

SPG Program Changes: SPG Cash & Points awards increase effective March 5, 2013.

Loyalty Traveler analytical posts on SPG Cash & Points award changes:

Wyndham Rewards makes major changes going to a structure using eight categories of hotel rewards for their global portfolio. IHG and Wyndham both changed to conform to the prevailing model of hotel loyalty programs using fixed category hotel rewards. Every hotel is assigned to one of the hotel reward categories and the cost per night is fixed by that hotel category. Program Changes: Wyndham Rewards restructures hotel awards globally to 8-tier award system effective March 14, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post Wyndham Rewards goes transparent and award changes not too bad in USA (Feb 28, 2013) and  Wyndham Rewards changes to 8 award tiers March 14, 2013 (Feb 19, 2013).

Another new feature of Wyndham Rewards is the announcement of Gold elite status points as a relatively weak elite component to the program. Wyndham Rewards adds weak Gold elite benefit.

Marriott Rewards added a new high-tier category 9 for 2013 hotel rewards. More than half the current category 4 hotels will move to category 5 hotel rewards.

Book those category 4 free night certificates now. Marriott Rewards hotel category changes do not go into effect until May 16, 2013.

Program Changes: Marriott Rewards May 16, 2013 hotel category reassignment: An Overview(Feb 13, 2013).

Ritz-Carlton Tier Changes May 16, 2013 mostly impact USA hotels (Feb 14, 2013).

Hilton HHonors changed from seven categories and Waldorf Astoria category to a global ten hotel reward categories from 5,000 to 95,000 points per reward night. Along with the change to ten reward categories is the introduction of seasonal reward rates. The effect is to make Hilton HHonors Reward Category somewhat arbitrary and variable. Hotels shift in reward cost by as many as four different reward levels for hotels assigned to category 7 in the category 1 to 10 system.

Program changes: Hilton HHonors hotel award category reassignment and seasonal award rates effective March 28, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: Hilton HHonors major award devaluation March 28, 2013(Feb 19, 2013).

Here are a series of articles examining the value of HHonors points for hotel stays in several cities:

 

April 2013 hotel loyalty promotions

Le Club Accorhotels - Accor Hotels offers a variety of global regional bonuses and rate discounts. The program tends to have regionalized rate and bonus points promotions. The links currently show dozens of bonus and rate discount offers around the world.

Le Club Accorhotels hotel loyalty program program is unique in that 2,000 points are redeemed for $60/40EUR hotel credit vouchers.

**** January 1-April 15 Triple Aeroplan Miles at Accor Hotels worldwide.

  • 1 Euro = 2 points earned at Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure hotels.
  • 1,000 EUR Accor hotel spend = 2,000 LeClub Accorhotels points
  • Standard points-to-miles conversion: 2 Accor points = 1 frequent flyer mile.
  • Aeroplan Triple Miles: 2 Accor points = 3 Aeroplan miles.
  • 2,000 points = 3,000 Aeroplan miles or USD$60 or 40 EUR hotel credit voucher.

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Best Western Rewards

***** Feb 11-April 14: Earn one free night after 3 Best Western hotel staysanywhere globally. Although you can earn the free night voucher with stays worldwide, the free night is only valid for US, Canada and Caribbean. Free night voucher expires June 30, 2012 so plan to use it quickly. Promotion registration required before first stay.

Best Western promotion link: www.bestwestern.com/spring

It is fairly easy to book three 1-night stays at different Best Western hotels or stay at one Best Western hotel on non-consecutive nights and earn the free night voucher for $200 to $250. Winter rates of $65 to $75 after tax can be found in many locations among the 2,000+ hotels in the USA. There are 4,100+ Best Western hotels globally.

There are Best Western hotels where the free night voucher can be worth $200 to $250 for one night in some resort areas and urban centers.

This promotion gets 5 stars, my highest value rating. This offer has the potential to pay back what you put into it and get four hotel nights in the process. Loyalty Traveler post: Best Western free night after 3 stays Feb 11-Apr 14, 2013(Jan 28, 2013)

Choice Privileges

**** Earn 8,000 points after two stays February 28 – May 15, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: Choice Privileges 8,000 points every two stays Feb 28-May 15, 2013

Think 8,000 points for a free night at many Choice brand hotels in Europe.

March 2013 Update: I am not seeing Choice Privileges discount award nights so far in 2013 for London or Paris center city hotels at the 8,000 points level like in 2012. There are still some 8,000 and 10,000 points hotels in the suburbs, but in 2012 there were many central city Choice hotels for 8,000 points. This Loyalty Traveler post shows the value of 8,000 Choice privileges points in Paris(March 26, 2012) was quite the hotel savings.

Choice Privileges Program Change: Barcelo Resorts partnership ended Dec 31, 2012. No more redemptions at Barcelo Resorts using Choice Privileges points. LT post Nov. 7: Choice Privileges redemption for Barcelo Resorts ends 12/31.

Nordic Choice Club loyalty program for Scandinavia and Baltic countries. Nordic Choice Hotels and Nordic Choice Club loyalty program(March 28, 2013).

Club Carlson

Double points (40 points/$1) at 28 select hotels in Europe (primarily France and Belgium) and Africafor two night stays from April 2 to May 10. Must register for promotion and book by May 10.

Hotel News: Country Inns & Suites to undergo redesign in 2013 with new logo and interior look. Loyalty Traveler post: Country Inn & Suites unveils new brand identity and design(March 22, 2013).

Credit Card Benefit: Club Carlson Visa by U.S. Bank launched December 1, 2012. This card is one to consider, if only for its awesome hotel award discount for last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more. Credit card members can book a 2-night award stay for the price of one award night for any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide. Loyalty Traveler post December 1, 2012: Up to 50 free award nights annually with Club Carlson Visa.

**** 3-Day Avis Rental earns 7,500 Club Carlson Points; valid through Dec 31, 2013.

Hilton HHonors

April 1-June 30, 2013 Q2 promotion: Daily Grand earns 1,000 bonus points per night Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 2,000 points per night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All hotels worldwide are participating. Loyalty Traveler post: HHonors 2013 Q-2 promo 1,000 or 2,000 points per night April 1- June 30(March 21, 2013)

Changes: Hilton HHonors hotel award category reassignment and seasonal award rates effective March 28, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: Hilton HHonors major award devaluation March 28, 2013(Feb 19, 2013).

HHonors Program Change: HHonors Elite Status Qualification Program Change effective January 1, 2013. LT post Dec 4, 2012 Hilton HHonors increases Gold and Diamond elite tier qualification in 2013.

HHonors Gold elite requirements as of January 1, 2013:

  • 20 stays, up from 16 stays.
  • 40 nights, up from 36 nights.
  • 75,000 base points ($7,500 in hotel spend), up from 60,000 base points.

HHonors Diamond elite requirements as of January 1, 2013:

  • 30 stays, up from 28 stays.
  • 60 nights, no change.
  • 120,000 base points ($12,000 in hotel spend), up from 100,000 base points ($10,000).

Hotels.com Welcome Rewards

Welcome Rewards loyalty programfor hotels.com has a standard earning rate of 1 free night for 10 paid nights. The free night has a value equal to the average rate paid for the 10 qualifying nights.

Hyatt Gold Passport

*** 3,000 bonus points every 3 nights, up to 45,000 bonus points March 1 – May 31, 2013. Hyatt Gold Passport Visa card members earn 20% additional bonus for 3,600 points every three nights. Loyalty Traveler post: Hyatt More Possibilities March 1–May 31 3,000 points every 3 nights (Feb 28) and Hyatt More Possibilities promo registration open and Freddies Voting(Feb 18, 2013).

Hyatt Hotel Category Reassignment: 17 hotels change award category in Hyatt Gold Passport effective February 7, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post December 22, 2012 – 17 Hyatt hotels change category Feb 7, 2013.

Hyatt Stay Certificates expand to 7 award tiers. Loyalty Traveler has two Jan 14 posts on the value of buying Hyatt Stay Certificates. Hyatt Stay Certificates for cheaper rates and Finding Hyatt Stay Certificate Availability Online.

Hyatt Visa Card Enhancements: Effective October 1, 2012

Hyatt Gold Passport members receive elite nights and stays credit upon reaching $20,000 and $40,000 annual spend thresholds.

  • Spend $20,000 = 2 stays and 5 nights elite credit toward Diamond status (new card feature as of October 1, 2012). Diamond status requires 25 stays or 50 nights in a Jan-Dec calendar year.
  • Spend $40,000 = 5 stays and 10 nights elite credit toward Diamond status (new card feature as of October 1, 2012). Note: the 5 stays and 10 nights is total elite credit including the $20,000 elite credit stays and nights.
  • Cardmembers earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets when purchased directly from the airline, and at car rental agencies (new card feature as of October 1, 2012).

Loyalty Traveler post October 9, 2012: Hyatt Visa big spenders get elite nights and stays credit as of Oct. 1, 2012.

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Challenge- Earn Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond elite status with 12 nights in 60 days (normally 25 stays or 50 nights in calendar year). As Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond for 2013 you receive 4 confirmed suite upgrades, each upgrade e-certificate good for stays up to 7 nights. Start the Gold Passport Diamond Challenge first and then get the credit card once you have Diamond status to get confirmed suite upgrades for your credit card free nights. FlyerTalk discussion threadon Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond challenge.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Priority Club Rewards

Priority Club PointBreaks through June 30, 2013.

Hotel Rate Discounts: Making London Affordable with IHG 2-for-1 rates (March 23, 2013)

Priority Club 2013-Q1 Night Bonuses January 7 – April 30, 2013.

Priority Club emails targeted quarterly nights bonus points offers. Sign up for only one offer and no changes allowed.

You may want to read this post first: Priority Club ‘Stay x Nights, Earn y Points’ for elites only(March 28, 2013).

Registration page for entering a Nights Bonus Points code.

  • 5,000 bonus points. Stay 2 Nights for 2,500 bonus points. Stay another 2 nights for 2,500 more points (Code 5521).
  • 5,000 bonus points. Stay 3 Night for 2,500 bonus points. Stay another 3 nights for 2,500 more points (Code 5528).
  • 10,000 bonus points. Stay 4 Nights for 5,000 bonus points. Stay another 4 nights for 5,000 more points (Code 3411). [my offer]
  • 15,000+ bonus points. Stay 5 Nights for 10,000 bonus points. Earn another 5,000 points for each additional set of 5 Nights. (Code 3414).
  • 20,000+ bonus points. Stay 10 Nights for 15,000 Bonus Points. Earn another 5,000 points for each additional set of 5 Nights. (Code 3415).
  • 25,000+ bonus points. Stay 15 Nights for 20,000 Bonus Points. Earn another 5,000 points for each additional set of 5 Nights. (Code 3416)

This FlyerTalk threadlists a set of other Priority Club bonus points promotion codes you may be able to earn from IHG hotel stays.

Priority Club restructured hotel award categories on January 18, 2012. The new system divides hotels into 9 award categories ranging from 10,000 points to 50,000 points.

Loyalty Traveler posts:

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Priority Club Rewards Elite Qualification changes for 2013

Priority Club restructured the way it counts points for elite qualification as of January 1, 2013. Points are now categorized as “elite qualifying points” and “non-elite qualifying points”. Priority Club Platinum elite by points is far harder in 2013 on only cheap hotel stays without making points package purchases for elite qualifying bonus points.

Non-elite qualifying points are all promotional and elite bonus points and purchased points through Points.com and points bought for Points & Cash reward stays. Loyalty Traveler post December 13, 2012 – Priority Club makes earning Platinum elite more difficult in 2013.

La Quinta Inns & Suites

Over 800 hotels earn 10 points/$1 and award nights range from 6,000 points to 24,000 points per night.

Looks like I need to update my profile of the La Quinta Returns program for 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: La Quinta Returns Loyalty Profile(April 12, 2011).

Marriott Rewards

March 18-April 14, 2013: “42” Baseball Stories earn 1,000 Marriott points and chance for 60,000 points at Marriott Rewards Insiders. Marriott Rewards Insiders 42 baseball story for 500 to 60,000 points(March 27, 2013)

Program News: Marriott Rewards 2013 hotel award category reassignment effective May 16, 2013.

Loyalty Traveler posts:

Marriott Rewards May 16, 2013 hotel category reassignment: An Overview(Feb 13, 2013).

Ritz-Carlton Tier Changes May 16, 2013 mostly impact USA hotels(Feb 14, 2013).

***** Marriott RewardsWinter MegaBonus 2013: February 1 – April 30, 2013. Earn one free night certificate at a category 1-4 hotel every two stays; maximum 3 free nights. Free night certificate is valid for 12 months from issuance. Some members may have been targeted with a different bonus points offer. Loyalty Traveler post December 21, 2012 – Four Marriott MegaBonus Offers Feb 1-Apr 30, 2013.

1. Stay 2 times, Get 1 CAT 1-4 Certificate (Maximum 3 free night certificates)

2. Stay 2 times, Get 1 CAT 1-5 Certificate (Maximum 2 free night certificates)

3. Stay 15 Nights Get 25,000 Points or Stay 20 Nights Get 40,000 Points

4. Stay 20 Nights Get 35,000 Points or Stay 25 Nights Get 50,000 Points

**** Marriott MegaMiles 2013: Double Miles with Marriott MegaMiles: February 1- April 30, 2013

Loyalty Traveler post: Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Feb 1-Apr 30, 2013(Jan 22, 2013)

Note to members: You must have your Marriott Rewards account earning preference set to miles in order to see Marriott Rewards miles promotions. You may not see MegaBonus points promotions for your account when your account is set to earn miles. And you may not see MegaMiles offers when you account is set to earn points.

Marriott Rewards lowers Lifetime Elite qualifications

Lifetime Milestones as of January 1, 2013

• Platinum Elite: 750 nights + 2 million points (25% fewer nights)

• Gold Elite: 500 nights + 1.6 million points (37.5% fewer nights)

• Silver Elite: 250 nights + 1.2 million points (58% fewer nights)

For more details, visit MarriottRewards.com/Lifetime. Loyalty Traveler post: Marriott Rewards lowers lifetime elite qualification Jan 1, 2013(Dec 18, 2012).

Marriott Rewards makes elite rollover nights permanent program benefit for 2013. Loyalty Traveler post December 20, 2012 – Marriott Rewards elite rollover nights permanent benefit for 2013.

Gaylord Resorts are Marriott International’s 14th brand. Loyalty Traveler post Oct 31, 2012: Gaylord Resorts are Marriott’s new 14th brand.

Starwood Preferred Guest

April 5-May 5, 2013: SPG Hear the Music $50 Ticketmaster credit for every 3 Starwood nights. $10 credit with Four Square checkin during eligible stays. No Ticketmaster credit limit. Loyalty Traveler post: SPG 3 nights = $50 TicketMaster credit April 5-May 5(April 8, 2013).

May 1-July 31, 2013: SPG DoubleTake Double Points(2 bonus points per $1). You can read promotion terms and register for a text message from SPG when registration opens.

SPG Program Changes: SPG hotel award category reassignment effective March 5, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post: SPG award category reassignments March 5, 2013 (includes 266 hotels list)(Feb 22, 2013).

SPG Program Changes: SPG Cash & Points awards increase effective March 5, 2013.

Loyalty Traveler analytical posts on SPG Cash & Points award changes:

** SPG Power Up earns 18,000 points after 20 nights January 15-April 15, 2013.

Earn 2,000 points after every four nights, up to 16 nights, and 10,000 bonus points after 20 nights. Seems to me like Hyatt and SPG are powering their way beyond promotion bonuses. This is a weak offer in my opinion.

Loyalty Traveler post: SPG Power Up: Earn 4K every 4 nights Jan 15-April 15(Jan 15, 2013).

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***** SPG allows members to receive elite stay and night credit for up to 3 rooms per stay when they are reserved and paid by the SPG member. Loyalty Traveler June 19, 2012 post on earning SPG elite credit for multiple rooms.

World Rainbow Hotels – GLBT.

World Rainbow Hotels Gay and Lesbian Friendly(March 27, 2013).

Wyndham Rewards

Program Changes: Wyndham Rewards restructures hotel awards globally to 8-tier award system effective March 14, 2013. Loyalty Traveler post Wyndham Rewards changes to 8 award tiers March 14, 2013(Feb 19, 2013).

 

 

Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Loyalty Traveler Destination Posts

March 2013 – Europe Ten Winter Days and Nights

Overview:

 

Trip Planning for Flight Award Ticket on American Airlines.

Zurich, Switzerland

Berlin, Germany

Oslo, Norway

Helsinki, Finland

London, United Kingdom

February 2013

Chicago, Illinois

January 2013

Monterey County/California

Las Vegas

December 2012

September 2012 was a travel month for me with trips to Manhattan-New York, Barcelona, Spain and a hosted Costa Brava tour (60 miles north of Barcelona) after the TBEX Europe conference in Girona, Spain.

SPG Amex Star trips and New York. Airfare, hotel stays were free courtesy of SPG Amex Stars gig. Thoughts are my own.

On my own in Barcelona, Spain and Travel Blog Exchange TBEX12 Europe, Girona, Spain with 4-day Costa Brava Tourism post-conference sponsored trip.

Barcelona

TBEX12 Girona, Spain and Costa Brava Tourism Board sponsored tour

More hotel promotion offers and loyalty program links

Accor Hotels Le Club Accorhotels

Hotel Brands: Sofitel, Pullman, M Gallery, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Adagio, All Seasons, Thalassa Spa.

Accor Hotels is globally the largest chain of hotel brands outside of the USA. Accor also has the largest proportion of hotels as non-participants in its loyalty program compared to all other major global hotel chains. Hotels in economy and budget hotel market segments do not participate in Accor’s hotel loyalty programs.

Accor A|Club Global Promotion Offers List – link (This link allows searches by continent region)

Accor Hotels A|Club bonus offers

Best Western HotelsBest Western Rewards

***** Elite Status Match: Best Western Rewards Elite Status Match Offer This offer is ongoing and still available. Best Western is a particularly useful loyalty program when traveling outside the USA. LT post Feb 19, 2010.

Facebook Fans: Best Western runs weekly promotions on its Facebook page. Any Best Western frequent guest should check out Best Western Facebookfor prize giveaways and contests. Best Western also has flash sales 12pm-4pm Eastern some weeks.

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Sign up for Best Western International email notices in your member account preferences to receive emails for flash sale links.

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Loyalty Traveler Research – Aspirational Best Western Hotels for Free Night Certificates (March 28, 2012)

Best Western Brand Tiers Change – Best Western in 2011 designated 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 (mostly outside USA).

Carlson HotelsClub Carlson

Hotel Brands: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza

Club Carlson online booking bonus – Club Carlson general members earn 1,000 bonus points for online booking. Silver and Gold elite members earn 2,000 bonus points for online booking. Concierge elite members earn 3,000 points. Club Carlson Benefits table link.

Club Carlson Gold Elite member exclusive 2-for-1 hotel weekend rates and 4-for-2 discount rates for Europe, Middle East and Africa. These rates earn points. Loyalty Traveler post: Club Carlson Gold Elite 2-for-1 weekend extend rates in EMEAFeb 27, 2013.

Club Carlson for Businessoffers small to medium businesses a special program for hotel rate discounts and a Club Carlson business account for earning additional points from employee hotel stays. Employees also maintain their own personal accounts and earn points normally as a Club Carlson member.

Loyalty TravelerOverview of Club Carlson loyalty program(Feb 23, 2012)

Loyalty TravelerClub Carlson Hotel Category Reassignment Analysis(May 20, 2012)

Club Med resort credit for goldpoints. $100, $250 and $500 credit. (March 10, 2011).

Choice HotelsChoice Privileges

Choice Hotels Brands: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, Ascend Collection.

Choice Privileges Hotel Reward Partners:
Preferred Hotels Group

Choice Hotels Best Rate Guarantee policy offers one free night for approved claims. Loyalty Traveler analysis March 12, 2012.

Loyalty Traveler ResearchChoice Privileges: Booking High Value Reward Nights in Europe (March 26, 2012)

Choice Privileges reward night cost analysis. Using a spreadsheet of 2010 reward cost, I calculated the percentage of hotels in various reward levels worldwide from 6,000 points to 40,000 points. This is the only breakdown of hotel reward tiers I have ever seen for Choice Hotels. Loyalty Traveler post May 1, 2011.

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, 2010). Update: Nordic Choice Hotels and Nordic Choice Club loyalty program(March 28, 2013).

Drury HotelsGold Key Club

Drury Hotels are the #1 rated midscale limited service hotel brand by J.D. Power Guest Satisfaction Survey six consecutive years including 2010 and 2011. This hotel brand is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and properties are primarily located in Midwest and South.

1,000 bonus points for enrollment in Drury Gold Key Club(ongoing).

Expedia.com – Expedia Rewards

Expedia’s loyalty program, Expedia Rewards, earns points for air, hotel and travel package bookings. This is a gamechanger for online travel agencies. Booking airfare through Expedia is a no brainer method for earning additional travel rebates since frequent flyer benefits are unaffected. Hotels are a different matter though since no hotel loyalty points with programs like SPG, Marriott, Hilton and most others are earned for Expedia bookings.

Expedia Rewards offers the ability to earn points when booking travel for other people like family members and friends. And Expedia vacation packages often allow a hotel night to be added for the same price as airfare alone; particularly when traveling to Las Vegas. Loyalty Traveler Analysis March 28, 2011.

Fairmont Hotels and Fairmont President’s Club

Fairmont Hotels has fewer than 100 upper-upscale and luxury hotels globally, but in many locations the Fairmont is the top rated hotel.

Tip: Sign up for Fairmont President’s Club to receive special monthly discount rates for Fairmont Hotels. These limited time sales can be significant rate savings.

Four Seasons Hotels

Four Seasons are the leading luxury hotel brand. This hotel chain is launching a hotel loyalty program in 2013.

Four Seasons Special Offers website link.

Global Hotel AllianceGHA Discovery

GHA Discovery is a hotel loyalty program alliance for 15 independent hotel brands including Omni Hotels, Pan Pacific, Kempinski Hotels, First Hotels, Anantara Resorts, Tivoli Hotels, The Doyle Collection, Marco Polo Hotels, Park Royal, The Leela Palaces, Shaza Hotels, Mokara Hotels & Spa, Mirvac Hotels, Tangram (Erbil, Iraq) and Lungarno Collection.

Accor Hotels bought Mirvacin May 2012. This might impact GHA membership in the future?

Overview of GHA Discovery, elite membership benefits and local experiences, Loyalty Traveler post January 30, 2011.

Hilton HotelsHilton HHonors

10 Hilton HHonors Hotel Brands: Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria Collection, Hampton Inn, and Home2Suites.

Hilton Worldwide by Numbersprovides data on the number of hotels in each Hilton brand and geographic distribution. LT post April 6, 2012.

Program Change: HHonors Diamond elite enhancement guarantees breakfast, room upgrade, executive lounge access and welcome amenity points. LT post Jan 26, 2012.

***** Elite Status Promotion: Hilton HHonors Gold elite fast-track for Carlson Wagonlit Travel customers. Earn HHonors Gold elite after four stays within 90 days of promotion registration. This offer has an end date of 12/31/2013 so might be best to wait until January 2013 to register for Gold elite through 2014. Loyalty Traveler post Sep 6, 2011.

***** Elite Status Promotion: HHonors Gold VIP elite after 4 stays or 9 nights in 90 days at U.S. hotels with Hilton HHonors MVP. Promotion registration required.

Redeem: FlyerTalk sticky thread on all different types of HHonors rewards.

Hotels.com Welcome Rewards

Earn a free night for every 10 nights in Welcome Rewards.

Hyatt HotelsHyatt Gold Passport

Hotel Brands: Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Resorts, Andaz, Hyatt House (AVIA and Hotel Sierra acquired Sep 1, 2011. Hotel Sierra and Hyatt Summerfield Suites were rebranded as Hyatt House in 2012.)

**** Earn Hyatt Gold Passport for dining and spa services as a non-guest at participating Hyatt Hotels. Loyalty Traveler post April 4, 2012.

Gold Passport Diamond Challenge- Most beneficial perhaps is to tie this offer into a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Challenge for 12 nights in 60 days (normally 25 stays or 50 nights in calendar year). As Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond for 2013 you also will receive 4 confirmed suite upgrades. Start the Gold Passport Diamond Challenge first and then get the credit card once you have Diamond status to get confirmed suite upgrades for your credit card free nights. FlyerTalk discussion threadon Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond challenge.

Gold Passport EnhancementDiamond members receive 50% bonus on Welcome Amenity pointsif points do not automatically post after stay. Loyalty Traveler post November 5, 2011.

InterContinental Hotels GroupPriority Club

Hotel Brands: InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo.

IHG Special Rate Offers

***** Europe Rate Discount through Dec 12, 2013 offer high discounts, but these rates do not earn Priority Club points.

IHG Friend & Family Hotel Rates Here is a FlyerTalk thread discussing this rate deal. 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.

IHG First Night Free Best Rate Guarantee new policy. LT post Sep 22, 2011.

IHG Priority Club Last Minute Reward Nights are posted on Tuesday, the week before the first full weekend of the calendar month. Hotels are only posted for three days and must be booked by Thursday prior to the Friday through Sunday first full weekend of the month. http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/10/02/priority-club-50-reward-nights-oct-5-7/

InterContinental Ambassador Accelerator - 20,000 points after 15 nights at InterContinental Hotels. Registration required.

Kimpton HotelsKimpton InTouch

Loyalty Traveler posted an outline of Kimpton’s InTouch programshowing how 21 stays in 2011 can potentially earn 7 free nights at any Kimpton Hotel. This strategy still works. (LT post Jan 11, 2011)

La Quinta HotelsLa Quinta Returns

La Quinta Inn is owned by Blackstone Group, the owner of Hilton Worldwide.

**** Using La Quinta points for Waldorf-Astoria luxury hotel staysLoyalty Traveler analysis March 19, 2012.

Hotel chain and hotel loyalty program overview by Loyalty Traveler April 12, 2011.

Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) – Leaders Club Rewards

LHW Hotel Special Offers link

Marriott HotelsMarriott Rewards

Hotel Brands: Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, Edition, Autograph Collection, Marriott Vacation Club, AC Hotels.

Note to Marriott Rewards members: You must have your Marriott Rewards account earning preference set to miles in order to see Marriott Rewards miles promotions.

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Marriott Rewards Program Enhancement: Platinum members receive free suite upgrades for hotels in Asia Pacific Region. Loyalty traveler post August 17, 2012.

Marriott Platinum Elite fast-track challenge. Loyalty Traveler post March 15, 2012describes the terms for a Marriott elite challenge.

Loyalty Traveler Opinion Piece: My Take on the Value of Marriott Rewards Points- (March 26, 2012)

Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Assignment Changes for 2012

Marriott Rewards PointSavers – 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 priced at category 4 rate. 5thnight free rewards rate also applies to PointSavers rate.

***** Marriott Rewards Elite Rollover Nights become permanent program feature for 2013. 2012 was the fourth year Marriott Rewards offered 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 2012 and the 15 nights above Silver elite rollover to 2013 membership year. You will have earned Silver elite for 2013 from your 15 extra nights in 2012 rolled over to 2013. Rollover nights from 2012 to 2013 are deducted from 2013 end-of-year total nights to determine rollover nights for 2014. And you only get rollover nights based on the status you held the year before. Gold elite in 2012 with end-of-year 40 nights will not receive any 2013 rollover nights since did not requalify as Gold elite. Confused? Don’t worry. This is a great benefit for eligible elite members. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 6, 2012 – Marriott Rewards extends Elite Rollover Nights for 2012 stays and Loyalty Traveler post December 20, 2012 – Marriott Rewards elite rollover nights permanent benefit for 2013.

Marriott Rewards Program Change: All Marriott Rewards members receive complimentary internet at Asia-Pacific region hotels. Loyalty Traveler post May 2, 2011.

Omni HotelsOmni Select Guest

Preferred Hotels & ResortsI Prefer

Hotel brands: Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Boutique, Summit Hotels & Resorts, Sterling Hotels, Sterling Design.

  • I Prefer benefits include complimentary internet, room upgrades and early check-in, late checkout.
  • Preferred Offers I Prefer and Preferred Hotels Group special offers page.
  • NOTE: Members of Choice Privileges and Red Lion R&R Club can use points in those programs for free nights at participating hotels within Preferred Hotels Group.

Red Lion Hotels – R&R Club (44 hotels in western U.S.)

Red Roof InnRediCard

Ritz-Carlton Rewards
(Marriott Rewards partner brand. You may only hold membership preference in either Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards, not both programs. Most Ritz-Carton Rewards promotions require the member to be RCR member as of the date the promotion is announced.)

Starwood HotelsStarwood Preferred Guest

Starwood Hotels brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Four Points, Element, Aloft.

*** SPG Restaurants and Bars – a new feature offers 10% to 20% discounts for dining and drinking at participating Starwood Hotel restaurants and bars. Loyalty Traveler post April 3, 2012.

SPG Program Changes effective March 1, 2012:

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SPG Gold members

· Hotel Stay Welcome Gift – Choose from Starpoints (up to 250 points/stay) or free internet or free beverage.

SPG Platinum members

· Hotel Stay Welcome Gift – Choose from Continental Breakfast for entire stay or Starpoints (up to 500/stay) or local gift.

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· 50+ nights Platinum members only – 10 Suite Night Awards.This is in addition to the existing and continuing policy of complimentary upgrades upon arrival for SPG Platinum elites that has been a long time competitive edge of Starwood preferred Guest.

· 75+ nights Platinum members only – Earn 4 points per dollar on hotel spend.Lower tier Platinum members earn 3 points/$1 on hotel spend.

· 75+ nights Platinum members only– Your24 check-in at any hour and maintain room for 24 hours. Check in at 9pm and the room is yours until 9pm 24 hours later.

· 100+ nights Platinum members only – Personal Starwood Hotels Ambassadorto help travel planning.

Ongoing Starwood Hotels & Resorts Rate Discounts:

**** Pay Your Birth Year Rate – This promotion has been extended through December 31, 2013. Rates can be an incredible 5-key savings or no savings depending on the hotel and your birthyear. LT post Jan 30, 2012 and SPG Pay Your Birth Year discount in 2013(Feb 8, 2013).

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**** Starwood Hotels Discount Rates for hotel stays 2 to 6 nights.

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**** Starwood Resorts Discount Rates for hotel stays 2 to 6 nights.

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These Starwood extended stay discount rates for 2 to 6 nights have been around for several years, but are not well advertised on Starwood site. Third Night Free tends to be the best discount rate. 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. Loyalty Traveler rate analysis Sep 21, 2011 – Better Know a Rate Z3H and Z3R and other extended stay promo codes.

**** BeattheTimer.com for discount Starwood rates in Europe, Middle East and Africa (Starwood EMEA Discounts at BeattheTimer.com).

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Starpicks discount rates for following three to six weeks post each Tuesday. Prepaid, nonrefundable and no changes. Must book by Friday each week.

SPG Member Benefit – Award Stays Earn SPG Elite Qualification Credit as of October 1, 2011. Loyalty Traveler analysis Sep 29, 2011.

***** SPG allows members to receive elite stay and night credit for up to 3 rooms per stay when they are reserved and paid by the SPG member. Loyalty Traveler June 19 post on earning SPG elite credit for multiple rooms.

Loyalty Traveler analysis of Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Direct Deposit program for Mileage Plus membersand others interested in earning miles rather than points from hotel stays. (August 4, 2011)

Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel Category reward assignment changes for 2012 took effect on March 1, 2012. 183 hotels went up and 138 went down. My LT post “Analysis of SPG Hotel Category Changes March 1, 2012” (Feb 21, 2012) has a list ordered by city, state and country for changes.

Stash Hotel Rewards

Stash Rewards is a three year old loyalty program for over 100 independent upscale hotels in the U.S. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 19, 2011.Hotel partners of Stash Rewards in Monterey and Washington D.C. are great choices for hotel travelers seeking independent hotels with loyalty benefits. Stash Rewards offers points for many high quality independent hotels that previously had no loyalty program affiliation.

Stash Hotel Specialsfor Bonus Points and Low Redemption Rate Hotels

Swissotel Hotels and ResortsSwissôtel Circle

Swissôtel Circle is the newly relaunched loyalty program for Swissotel Hotels and Resorts as of August 15, 2011. The Swissotel Circle loyalty program includes 30 Swissotel Hotels, Fairmont Hotels and Raffles. This Sep 9, 2011 Loyalty Traveler postis an overview of the hotel loyalty program, elite levels and benefits.

Voila Hotel Rewards

Loyalty Traveler profile of Voila Hotels programinternational loyalty program for 250 independent hotels.

Wyndham WorldwideWyndham Rewards

Wyndham Brands: Wyndham, Wingate, Hawthorn Suites, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Baymont Suites, Microtel, Knights Inn, Tryp, Dream, Night.

Feb 2013 Update: Wyndham Rewards changed their hotel award structure in February 2013 to eight tiers globally. Loyalty Traveler post: Wyndham Rewards changes to 8 award tiers March 14, 2013(Feb 19, 2013).

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Travelodge Canadais now participating in Wyndham Rewards.

Loyalty Traveler Research

Hotel Points to Airline Miles Conversion Tables (Some of these tables are certainly out of date now.)

Hotel Points Buy, Gift and Transfer Rules for major hotel loyalty programs. Loyalty Traveler post December 5, 2011.

Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

4 Responses

  1. this has got to the be longest blog post I’ve ever skimmed through- thanks for the insight on the current loyalty programs!

  2. I really need to add some webpages to Loyalty Traveler and break this up by hotel program, destinations, and research.

    Comment by Ric Garrido on April 9th, 2013 at 9:09 am
  3. Thank you for your comprehensive and timely analysis. I was able to score with IHG Nights Bonus Points and elite next stay bonus after reading your posts and using the links to register for these promotions. It earned me an extra 13,000 points alone. Thank you and keep it up.

  4. […] For a list of all hotel loy­alty pro­mo­tions run­ning in April 2013 (includ­ing Best West­ern, Choice Priv­i­leges, Club Carl­son, etc), you can read Loy­alty Traveler’s roundup of cur­rent hotel pro­mo­tions. […]

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