The first day of 2014 Daily Getaways deals on Monday, May 19 are sets of Wyndham Rewards points for $6.00 per 1,000 points or $5.40 per 1,000 points when paying with American Express. This post explains why I think buying Wyndham Rewards points are a decent deal and why there will be far less competition to buy these points through Daily Getaways in 2014 compared to the past three years.

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U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways returns May 19-June 20, 2014. A preview of 2014 offers will post May 12, 2014. Daily Getaways are daily travel package offers where one travel company is featured each weekday (Mon-Fri)for a flash sale. Hotel loyalty points, airline discounts, car rental discounts and Las Vegas packages are common in the 25 days of sales.

These annual sales have allowed me to pick up hundreds of thousands of hotel points in Wyndham, Choice, Hyatt, IHG, Club Carlson and Best Western. Marriott typically offers discount gift cards and Hilton HHonors has high levels of points for sale.

In 2013, I purchased 152,000 Choice Privileges points for $579.60. These points are one of my primary strategies for budget travel in Norway on my trip in September. Most of the 85 Choice brand hotels in Norway are 16,000 points per reward night for Clarion Collection, Quality and Comfort Inn hotels. Many of these hotels are $200 per night and several are ranked as the #1 hotel for the location on TripAdvisor.

My purchase of Choice Privileges points in 2013 means I can stay at hotels in Norway for about $60 per night. Using my $600 in Choice points will save over $1,000 on published hotel rates in Norway.

Wyndham Rewards at $5.40 per 1,000 points

My purchase of 60,000 Wyndham points for $324 in 2013 Daily Getaways let me book a 5-night stay in New York City for $70 per night at the Wyndham New Yorker when the hotel was listed at 14,000 points per night last week. The hotel went up to 50,000 points in what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to my posting about the 14,000 points rate. The hotel has now floated back down to 30,000 points per night.

Wyndham New Yorker 30K

Wyndham New Yorker reward rates change in a New York minute. I booked this hotel for five nights at 14,000 points per night last week on the morning of March 5. the reward rate increased to 50,000 points on the evening of March 5 and is now back down to 30,000 points today. I figured the 14,000 points rate was a mistake last week and the hotel should have been priced at 30,000 points per night. Room rates were near $1,200 after tax. I am saving over $800 on the published rate for this stay and 80,000 points on the reward rate now posted for the hotel.

Other sample rates for hotel points in 2013 Daily Getaways.

Hyatt Gold Passport – great price at $10 per 1,000 points, but very few packages offered and difficult to buy.

  • 24,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $260 ($234 with 10% Amex discount). 100 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 30,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $330 ($297 with 10% Amex discount). 35 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 36,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $415 ($373.50 with 10% Amex discount). 15 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 69,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $775 ($697.50 with 10% Amex discount). 15 available, maximum purchase = 1.

Best Western Rewards – These points did not sell out and were available for about one month after Daily Getaways ended. Hilton HHonors and IHG Rewards Club also did not sell out in 2013 on the day of the sale.

  • 10,000 Best Western Rewards points = $67 ($60.30 with 10% Amex discount). Maximum purchase = 5 for 50,000 points.

$60 for 10,000 points is not that great a deal when hotel rewards can be up to 36,000 points per night. Yesterday I studied Best Western hotel room rates and reward rates for Norway.

Norway BW Skei

Best Western Skei, Norway sits deep inland at the edge of a fjord in Norway’s fjord country.

  • 1,199 NOK = $201 USD
  • 20,000 points = $120.60 in Daily Getaways 2013

Most of the Best Western hotels I have checked in Norway have rates around $200 per night or 20,000 points. Buying Best Western Rewards points during Daily Getaways reduces the cost of a night to $120. I might be buying some more points this year for a couple of Best Western hotel reward nights in Norway.

Choice Privileges – Last summer I purchased Choice Privileges points on hopes that I was going to Europe in autumn 2013. Dozens of Choice hotels across Europe, even central Paris and London, dropped reward night rates to 8,000 points per night. Choice points were under $4 per 1,000 points in 2013 Daily Getaways meaning a week in Paris cost less $32 per night at one of the dozen Choice Hotels in the city. Those October plans to Europe fell through.

My current plan is to focus on Choice Hotels in Norway for my September 2014 trip where there are 85 hotels to choose from and most have reward nights at 16,000 points per night. $64 per hotel night is a bargain in Norway and all hotels provide a free breakfast and several Choice hotels I checked serve a complimentary light evening meal too. The food component on its own is a $64 value in Norway’s economy.

Loyalty Traveler Choice Hotel Points on Daily Getaways (June 27, 2013)

  • 20,000 points = $102 ($91.80 with American Express payment). 190 sets available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 32,000 points = $134 ($120.60 with American Express payment). 660 sets available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 36,000 points = $156 ($140.40 with American Express payment). 795 available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 40,000 points = $166 ($149.40 with American Express payment). Purchase price is $3.74 or $4.15 per 1,000 points. 325 sets available, maximum purchase = 2. 

It was possible to stay 10 nights in Paris and/or London in September-November 2013 for under $300 with 80,000 Choice Privileges points. Currently most hotels in Paris are priced at 25,000 points.

Choice Privileges only allows international reward bookings within 60 days of arrival, except for high elite members. Choice Privileges also has seasonal pricing on reward nights which changes about every 10 weeks.

Clarion Collection Hotel Opera Pavillon, Paris, France
  • Feb 1, 2014 – Apr 15, 2014:  25000/room
  • Apr 16, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014:  25000/room

The next posted periods for Choice Rewards will likely run from July 1 – September 15 and September 16-November 30.

In 2013, the season Sep 16-Nov 30 saw the majority of Choice Hotels in Europe drop to 8,000 points per night. No guarantee we will see these low reward rates in 2014, but they have occurred at some season each year for the past few years.

Club Carlson

50,000 Club Carlson Points = $194 ($174.60 with Amex card)

  • Available: 142
  • Max quantity: 2

100,000 Club Carlson Points = $385 ($346.50 with Amex card)

  • Available: 71
  • Max quantity: 2

Club Carlson points are particularly good value for Club Carlson Visa card members who get one free night on reward stays. 100,000 Club Carlson points could buy 4 nights at some of the top hotels in the Radisson chain for $87 per night if that same price is offered in 2014.

Hilton HHonors was selling 150,000 points for $742.50 (American Express rate). Those packages did not sell out in 2013.

Marriott sold gift cards in different denominations at 20% off. A $100 gift card cost $80.

 

My Strategy: Bank Hotel Points during Daily Getaways

Since 2011, buying points in the U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways has been one of my primary strategies for acquiring hotel loyalty points. I don’t want to spend dozens of nights in economy and midscale hotels to earn points in chains like Best Western, Choice and Wyndham. Buying them outright and banking the points until a good hotel reward stay opportunity comes along is something that has saved me thousands of dollars in hotel rates over the past three years.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Wyndham New Yorker is now priced at 50,000 points per reward night. The Tier 4 free night reward did not last too long after my Loyalty Traveler post this morning.

Wyndham New Yorker 50K

The hotel went from Tier 4 at 14,000 points this morning to Tier 9 at 50,000 points per reward night this evening.

Wyndham Rewards 9 Tiers

I hope you were able to take advantage of the low reward rate today while it lasted.

Loyalty Traveler post: Wyndham New Yorker at 14,000 points per reward night (Deal Gone).

This hotel deal did not get much traction in social media today, even at 14,000 Wyndham Rewards points.

Thank you Wyndham Rewards. You enticed me to return to New York City for a 5-day visit and I look forward to experiencing the Wyndham New Yorker hotel stay and Manhattan again.

 

Deal Gone: Wyndham New Yorker changed reward night price from 14,000 points to 50,000 points per night within 10 hours of this post. Now that reward rate seems too high at the top level. Hope this post helped you score a deal. —

Wyndham New Yorker is the latest hotel to join the Wyndham brand and is now the largest hotel of the 170 Wyndham hotels worldwide in the brand with 1,083 rooms. The hotel is located at Eighth Avenue and 34th street in Midtown Manhattan.

The 40-story hotel building is the fourth Wyndham Hotel in Manhattan along with Wyndham Midtown 45, Wyndham Garden Chinatown and Wyndham Garden Manhattan Chelsea West.

Wyndham New Yorker cat 4

I normally have little interest in visiting New York, but with Wyndham Rewards points to burn and finding the Wyndham New Yorker at 14,000 points per night, I booked five nights in May 2014 to get a taste of the Big Apple one more time.

New Yorker Award

Classic Metro Queen Room on Floor 19 or above at 14,000 points.

Yeah, that’s right. Wyndham New Yorker at 14,000 points per reward night.

Wyndham New Yorker rates

Published rates starting at $200 to $250 before tax ($230 to $290 after tax) make Wyndham Rewards points quite valuable for reward nights at 14,000 points for the Wyndham New Yorker.

Don’t be surprised if there is another unannounced change to Wyndham Reward hotel category for this hotel after today’s post.

TripAdvisor New Yorker Hotel Reviews

New Yorker TripAdvisor

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Update: Wyndham Rewards is selling points with 20% bonus during March 2014. Normal rate is $11 per 1,000 points.

$143 buys 14,950 points. $264 buys 28,800 points. $385 buys 42,000 points to bring the room rate down to $129 per reward night.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Wyndham Rewards is offering 5,000 bonus points per stay at 79 Wyndham and Wyndham Garden hotels in the USA and Canada from February 12 through May 14, 2014. There is no limit to the number of times this bonus may be earned, which makes this offer different from most Wyndham Rewards promotions that tend to be capped at two to four stays.

Wyndham Rewards promotion registration is required.

Alabama

Arizona

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This post summarizes dozens of hotel loyalty promotion offers in the major hotel chains for the month of February 2014.

Le Club Accorhotels – 5x points for first stay in 2014. Must book hotel by February 18.

This Accor promotion offers 5x base points for a member’s first stay in 2014 when booked by February 18, 2014. Loyalty Traveler post: Le Club Accorhotels 5x Anniversary Points (Feb 3, 2014).

Le Club Accorhotels 1 Million Points sweepstakes for stays by March 16, 2014. Each week has a winner for 25,000 points. All hotel guests worldwide who are residents of USA/DC and Canada (exc. Quebec) are eligible.

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Best Western Rewards – Online Booking Bonus Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

1,500 bonus points per stay for reservations booked online. Registration required. Elite members earn an additional 500 bonus points for 2,000 bonus points per stay booked online. Loyalty traveler post Feb 3: Best Western online booking bonus 1,500 or 2,000 points per stay Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

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Club Carlson38,000 Points after three nights. Jan 6-April 13, 2014.

Note: Nights do not need to be consecutive.  Loyalty Traveler post Jan 6, 2014.

100,000 Points Twitter Sweepstakes Jan 6-March 31, 2014.

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Wyndham Rewards has an offer for double points on four stays over the next six weeks. Seems kind of like kicking sand in the face of frequent flyers who saw the points-to-miles exchange rate for Wyndham Rewards cut in half on January 31.

Members will earn 20 points per dollar for paid stays through the groundhog promotion. Stays must be completed by March 21 to be eligible for double points.

Register for the “Groundhog Day” promotion at www.wyndhamrewards.com/groundhog or by calling 866-996-7937. In addition to earning double points for their stays, members who stay using their Wyndham Rewards Visa(R) card will receive an extra 500 point bonus per stay.

Wyndham Groundhog

Cute image for Wyndham Rewards Groundhog promotion.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

This post looks at how different hotel loyalty programs stack up for points-to-miles exchange rates now that Wyndham Rewards devalued its program.

Wyndham Rewards for many years offered the best points-to-miles transfer rate with 1000 Wyndham points exchanging into 400 miles, currently with 19 airline partners including all the major US-based carriers like United, Delta, American, US Airways, Alaska Airlines and Southwest.

Without any advance notice to members, the exchange rate was changed on Friday January 31, 2014 to a 5:1 rate where 1,000 Wyndham Rewards points exchanges into 200 frequent flyer miles.

Wyndham Rewards points-to-miles exchange rate was cut in half across the board with all airline partners.

Wyndham Rewards miles cut

Comparing Points-to-Miles Exchange Rates across hotel loyalty programs

The change in Wyndham Rewards follows the loyalty program changes in 2013 reducing the exchange rate of points-to-miles in Club Carlson and Marriott Rewards. Club Carlson gutted its exchange rate in 2013. Marriott Rewards was a slight devaluation in comparison to Club Carlson and Wyndham Rewards.

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Hotel elite status has significant monetary value if you frequent hotels regularly and want better room choices and complimentary benefits received as an elite loyalty member. Be a smart shopper and the cost of loyalty does not necessarily mean paying more for loyalty program hotels.

There are several types of travelers, so there is no “best” hotel loyalty program. There is a good argument I can make for elite membership in any of the largest ten global hotel loyalty programs.

Your hotel market segment (average price and price range of hotel rooms booked), travel geography, and hotel needs during your stays are major factors in choosing a hotel program.

In January 2014 Loyalty Traveler examines major hotel loyalty programs with a general overview of the hotel chain, loyalty program structure, elite benefits and award stay free nights and discounts.

Hotel Loyalty Programs

  1. Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
  2. Best Western Hotels – Best Western Rewards
  3. Carlson Rezidor Hotels – Club Carlson
  4. Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges
  5. Fairmont Hotels – Fairmont President’s Club
  6. Hilton Worldwide – Hilton HHonors
  7. Hyatt Hotels – Hyatt Gold Passport
  8. InterContinental Hotels Group – IHG Rewards Club
  9. Kimpton Hotels – Kimpton InTouch
  10. La Quinta Inns & Suites – La Quinta Returns
  11. Marriott International – Marriott Rewards
  12. Preferred Hotel Group – I Prefer
  13. Ritz-Carlton Hotels (Marriott) – Ritz Carlton Rewards
  14. Starwood Hotels – Starwood Preferred Guest
  15. Wyndham Worldwide – Wyndham Rewards

Hotel elite status benefits make the hotel experience more rewarding at the time of the stay and with elite bonus points on stays and sometimes promotional opportunities for discount hotel nights and exclusive gifts and events.

There is no doubt that elite benefits are becoming more valuable in several programs for many top elite hotel loyalty members. But, the loyalty commitment bar is getting higher and spending 60 to 100 nights per year in hotels is not the kind of lifestyle most travelers have or desire.

When money is the primary factor limiting your hotel travel, then hotel loyalty programs can be strategically used to maximize free nights. There are opportunities each year to earn free hotel nights through points and promotions to get a return of investment close to what you spend.

Averaging $2,000 in added hotel stay benefits and free hotel rooms on $2,000 in hotel spend is something I have been doing for more than a decade. Can I still accomplish this rate of return on my hotel spend in 2014?

The hotel loyalty program world is changing and has changed in 2014. Another look at these major chain hotel loyalty programs in January 2014 will reveal some facts, some changes and some values you may find useful for your travels this year.

This is an introductory post on Hotel Loyalty 2014. I will add links to the hotel chains and programs above as articles are published this month.

Hotel Kämp, Starwood Luxury Collection, Helsinki, Finland (March 2013) in a historic full suite using SPG Suite Night Award certificate on Cash & Points award stay. SPG Platinum elite members with 50 nights receive 10 Suite Night Award certificates annually. Link to my Hotel Kämp review.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

On a recent road trip to Las Vegas I hit the jackpot twice without even gambling. I received one free night on a $125 rate at Holiday Inn Express on the way to Vegas and a $149 Marriott Courtyard room was adjusted to $71 for a hotel on the drive home. Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) policies from the major hotel chains offer a route to room rate discounts. This year alone, I have saved thousands of dollars with Best Rate Guarantee claims and these discount hotel stays qualify for loyalty promotions, unless the hotel stay is entirely free.

The basic idea for hotel chain Best Rate Guarantee policies is to assure the consumer the room rate shown on the hotel chain’s own websites will not be higher than rates found on other competitive online travel agency (OTA) websites like Expedia and Travelocity. Direct bookings through the hotel chain’s own channels drive more revenue to the hotel rather than to a competitor online travel agency taking 10% to 30% of the room rate from the hotel chain.

The truth though is occasionally rates on the hotel chain website are higher than rates on a competitive OTA site. This is why purposely looking for Best Rate Guarantee eligible claims can be an effective rate discount strategy for travelers.

Finding potential BRG claims does not require much time using a search strategy. I check Kayak.com and filter hotels in a city by hotel brand like ‘All Marriott brands’ or ‘All Hyatt brands’. In a second window I check the hotel chain’s website for rate discrepancies with the OTA rates. There is little downside to seeking Best Rate Guarantee claims as long as you avoid booking prepaid, nonrefundable rates. Simply cancel the hotel booking if the claim is denied.

The rate on the hotel chain competitor site must be publicly available and instantly bookable. The hotel, room type and stay dates must be the same and cancellation policies somewhat similar. The room rate difference must be at least $1 or 1% with most programs.

Starwood and Hyatt allow consumers to apply for a Best Rate Guarantee claim prior to booking a confirmed hotel reservation on their website. The other major hotel chains require the guest to file a BRG claim within 24 hours of making a confirmed reservation through the hotel chain’s own channels.

Who continues looking at hotel rates during the 24 hours after you booked a hotel reservation? This is precisely why I look for room rate discrepancies as part of my hotel reservation planning before I book any rooms.

Best Rate Guarantee policies of the major hotel chains:

Best Western gives a $100 gift card and matches lower rate. Online claim form must be submitted within 24 hours of making Best Western reservation and at least 48 hours before hotel’s published check-in time on arrival date . Only one $100 gift card every 30 days. Other approved claims only match lower rate. Best Western Hotels BRG link.

Choice Hotels gives first night free and matches the lower rate. Online claim form must be submitted within 24 hours of the booking and at least 72 hours prior to a 6 pm arrival on the first day of the booking. Free Night Limit: one (1) free night per name on the booking and/or household for any thirty day period between booking check-in dates. Choice BRG T&C link.

Club Carlson gives 25% off the lower rate. Submit online claim form within 24 hours of the Carlson website booking and at least 48 hours prior to arrival date. Club Carlson BRG link.

Hilton Worldwide gives $50 cash back and matches lower rate. Submit claim within 24 hours of reservation and at least 24 hours before hotel arrival. Hilton BRG T&C link.

Hyatt Hotels reduces lower rate found by 20%. Claims are handled in real time over the phone. This eliminates one of the major reasons Best Rate Guarantee claims fail with other hotel chains when the OTA rate changes in the 24 hours before a customer service agent validates the lower rate. Hyatt Hotels Best Rate Guarantee T&C link.

InterContinental Hotels Group gives first night free and matches the lower rate for additional nights. Claim must be submitted within 24 hours of IHG reservation. Once a claim has been approved, any IHG hotel within 50 miles is not eligible for another BRG free night claim within the same seven-day period. IHG BRG T&C link.

Marriott International reduces lower rate found by 25%. Must submit claim within 24 hours of making reservation through Marriott and 24 hours before standard hotel check-in time. Marriott International BRG T&C link.

Starwood Hotels gives choice of 10% discount on lower rate found or 2,000 Starpoints and match lower rate. Must submit claim prior to or within 24 hours of Starwood website reservation and 24 hours before standard hotel check-in time (48 hours for non-English Starwood websites). Starwood Hotels BRG T&C link.

Wyndham Hotels gives 10% discount on lower rate. Submit claim within 24 hours of reservation and at least 48 hours before hotel arrival. Guarantee applies only to reservations made for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts hotels in the United States, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, and EMEA (excluding Germany and Switzerland). Wyndham Hotels BRG T&C link.

Hotel room rates hit record highs in 2013. Best Rate Guarantee claims can take some of the room rate sting out of hotel stays.

*This article originally appeared in InsideFyer December 2013 issue.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

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