World Traveller Class is British Airways branding for economy class. After flying American Airlines and United Airlines for my last two trips to Europe, flying British Airways was, without a doubt, the better experience. Perhaps the best measure for the quality of an aircraft is not the amenities and service of First Class and Business Class, but rather, how the vast majority of the passengers flying in economy class are serviced.

It never rains in California

This was my first flight on an A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. And I almost missed the flight.

It never rains in California, until I travel. I arrived to SFO Wednesday morning just as the skies opened up and the rain fell hard. My flight from SFO to LAX was delayed by almost two hours. I had 2 hours, 45 minutes transit time scheduled at LAX.

45 minutes might be sufficient at most international airports. Not LAX. Arriving at LAX on American Airlines required me to exit the terminal, take a shuttle bus around LAX to the Tom Bradley International Terminal and go through TSA screening again with my luggage. I begged passengers in line to allow me to cut in front and remarkably everyone agreed. Then I was bitched out by TSA for not taking the computer out of my bag. Oops.

Read More…

IHG Rewards Club launched ‘India Free Nights’ for residents of India and Nepal. Stay 3 nights at any of 21 IHG hotels in India and Nepal from November 17 to April 30, 2015 and earn one free night for any IHG hotel worldwide. There is a limit of three free nights per member that may be earned with this offer. Free nights expire December 31, 2015.

IHG Rewards Club India Free Nights promotion link.

Offer details:

  • You must be a member of IHG® Rewards Club and must register to qualify for this promotion
  • The three qualifying nights need not be consecutive, and can be spent at any IHG® hotel across India and Nepal
  • The offer is valid between 17 November 2014 and 30 April 2015
  • You can earn a maximum of three reward nights during this offer period to be redeemed before 31 December 2015.

This is a good value promotion for India and Nepal.

IHG India Free Nights

“India and Nepal Free Nights” Promotion Terms and Conditions

  • You must be an IHG® Rewards Club member residing in India and Nepal (“Member”) and must register your member number in advance to participate in “India Free Nights” (“Promotion”).
  • To join IHG® Rewards Club, visit www.ihgrewardsclub.com. Membership is free.
  • A Member who successfully registered and completes three (3) nights at any IHG® properties in India and Nepal will be awarded one (1) free night at any IHG® hotel globally subject to availability. Members can earn a maximum of up to 3 free nights for the promotion during the stay period between 17 November 2014 to 30 April 2015.
  • A registered Member who completes their 3 nights will be rewarded an IHG® Rewards Club free night into their member account within 7 working days of every qualified 3rd night stay completion. Free night counts towards Elite Status as per IHG® Rewards Club policies and is subjected to IHG® Rewards Club terms and conditions.
  • The qualified IHG® brands that count towards the promotion earning are InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Holiday Inn® and Holiday Inn Express®. The first stay can be counted towards earning free night as long as guests enroll and register for promotion before they check out from property.
  • A Stay is defined per IHG® Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions as one night or consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out (“Stay”). A Stay constitutes a “Qualifying Stay” when paying qualifying rates, which include most business and leisure rates.
  • Free Nights are not issued for Stays at the following reduced room rates (Non-Qualifying Room Rates or Non-Qualifying Stay): net wholesale individual and group rate, certain package rates, employee discount rate, friends and family rate, crew rate, special discounted contract rates, seasonal worker/crew rate, 50% travel club discount rate, travel industry discount rate, distressed passenger rate, IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, most rates booked through most third party web sites, complimentary hotel Stays and any other rates not defined as a Qualifying Room Rate at IHG’s sole discretion.
  • Only one room per member per Stay will be awarded the applicable Free Nights. No retroactive Free Nights will be awarded for Stays prior to Registration.
  • This Promotion is subject to standard IHG® Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditionsand earning structure, which can be obtained by visiting www.ihgrewardsclub.com.
  • This exclusive Promotion is valid and applies to the original recipient only. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to remove a member’s Free Night if fraudulent use of the Promotion is detected.
  • IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion/Offer at any time with or without notice. IHG® reserves the right of final interpretation of these Terms and Conditions.
    Free Night redemption
  • Free Nights earned are applicable only to the room nights and privileges specifically provided by this Promotion and supporting Offers at IHG’s discretion, and are not comparable with IHG® Rewards Club Reward Night (redeemed by points) or any other room nights.
  • Free Nights earned from Stays, as defined in the India Free Nights terms, completed during Registration must be claimed by 31 December 2015. Any Free Nights which have not been redeemed by 31 December 2015 will be forfeited.
  • Free Nights can be redeemed at any IHG® hotel property globally and may not be transferred. Rooms are subject to availability and may not be transferred.
  • A Free Night is valid only for one standard room night rate and applicable taxes not including breakfast, except at Holiday Inn Express, where breakfast is complimentary
  • Redemption is subject to availability of the rooms of hotels specially provided for this promotion.
  • Free Nights shall be redeemed on first-come and first-served basis. Redemptions must be made 24 hours in advance by logging in to the member account on www.ihgrewardsclub.com.
  • Cancellation or changes must be made 48 hours prior to 6 P.M. of arrival date. Any changes or cancellation after that will be deemed to be a no show, and the Free Night credit will be removed from member’s IHG® Rewards Club account.
  • Free Nights cannot be exchanged for cash or points and are not transferrable in the system to other members and guests.
  • IHG® reserves the right to remove a member’s Free Night reward if fraudulent use of the Offer is detected. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion/Offer at any time with or without notice. IHG® reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Hyatt Gift Card and Hyatt Check 10% discount through December 31, 2014. Loyalty Traveler – Hyatt Gift Cards 10% off and free shipping to come.

Hyatt eGift cards with free delivery are now available with a 10% discount on the purchase price.

Hyatt eGift card

Hyatt Gift Cards and Check Certificates FAQ

Hyatt Gift Card and Hyatt e-gift card terms and conditions

Use Promotion Code GPGIFT14 at checkout for 10% off on up to $2,000 in purchases.

Buy Hyatt Gift Cards and Certificates.

Hyatt Gift Cards-3

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

The most popular story today on SFGate.com is Report: Uber exec plots revenge on journalists, eliciting outrage. The story is about Emil Michael, Uber senior vice president of business, who allegedly said at a dinner last week, Uber could spend a million dollars and hire researchers and journalists to go after reporters critical of Uber in the media.

Read More…

Starwood Preferred Guest has a discount rate offer through December 31, 2014 for purchase of Starpoints. This sale offers a discount from 10% for buying 500 points and up to 9,500 points. The discount progresses to 15% at 10,000 points, then 20% off at 15,000 points, and 25% off Starpoints purchase for 20,000 points. The 25% discount reduces the purchase rate from $35.00 per 1,000 points to $26.25 per 1,000 points.

Buy Starpoints® for yourself or as a gift now through December 31, 2014, and get up to 25% off the regular price ($35 per 1,000 points).

• Get 10% off 500–9,500 Starpoints ($31.50 per 1,000 points)
• Get 15% off 10,000–14,500 Starpoints ($29.75 per 1,000 points)
• Get 20% off 15,000–19,500 Starpoints ($28.00 per 1,000 points)
• Get 25% off 20,000 Starpoints ($26.25 per 1,000 points)

Starpoints buy promo

A general rule is don’t buy points and miles without a purpose. This rate used to be a great deal for points, until the SPG Cash & Points increased by 20% last year. There are still plenty of opportunities to get $30 to $40 in redemption value per 1,000 Starpoints, especially with SPG Cash & Points awards like Category 4 hotels for 5,000 points + $75 when rates are $250+ per night.

element Frankfurt

274 EUR = $373 USD. 5,000 points in exchange for $298 in room rate is a redemption value near $60 per 1,000 points.

This is as good as SPG gets for a points purchase discount for buying SPG points. An SPG member can buy up to 20,000 Starpoints in a calendar year. That means you can buy 20,000 Starpoints for $525 in 2014 and you will be able to buy up to 20,000 more beginning in January 2015, if another discount rate or bonus points purchase offer comes around from SPG.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

This week’s Marriott eBreaks offer hotels in 25 states, Canada and Panama for discount rates from Thursday Nov 20 to Sunday Nov 23, 2014. If California is an indicator, then there are many more hotels participating this next weekend than in average weeks. Lots of hotels under $100 per night.

Marriott eBreaks 11-17

Alabama

Arizona

California

Connecticut

Florida

Illinois

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Missouri

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Texas

Virginia

Outside of U.S.

Canada

Panama

  • Rates are per night. Thursday requires a Friday night stay. Sunday requires a Saturday night stay.
  • Rates are valid for dates specified in email at advertised hotels only.
  • eBreaks rates are exclusive to customers who subscribe to the eBreaks program. Therefore, these rates do not qualify for Marriott’s Look No further Best Rates Guarantee.
  • A limited number of rooms are available and will be sold on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Advance bookings are required and must be guaranteed with a credit card.
  • Rates are offered Thursday through Sunday Some hotels only offer eBreaks rates Friday- Sunday. These hotels indicated with an asterisk ( * ) next to rates.
  • Rates are standard room, per night and based on single are double occupancy.
  • Rates are non-commissionable and not include taxes, fees, or other costs or gratuities.
  • Rates cannot be used in conjunction with other offers and/ or discounts.
  • Does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms.
  • Canadian cities are quoted in Canadian dollars and US cites are quoted in US dollars. All other destinations are quoted in currency listed.
  • Rates are eligible for Marriott Rewards Points and miles credit. Join Marriott Rewards for Free »

Here is a look at the price to fly First Class on Virgin America between JFK and SFO during the triple points Feel the Earn promotion October 6 to December 19, 2014.

Virgin America Feel the Earn First Class Deal

This is not a deal for most travelers. There is very good value in this promotion if you need to fly between San Francisco or Los Angeles and New York or Boston by December 19 and like First Class travel. Spend about $3,600 to $3,800 on First Class flights with Virgin America by December 19 and you will earn 50,000 Elevate points and Silver Elite status for 2015.

Virgin America’s Feel the Earn triple bonus points on First Class fares allows an Elevate member to earn 15 points per dollar. You will earn 50,000 Elevate points for $3,334 in base airfare spend ($300 to $400 in ticket taxes do not earn triple points).

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class round trip award tickets from Los Angeles or San Francisco to London Heathrow LHR are 50,000 Elevate points. Typical airfare for these flights is over $5,000 round trip. You will need to pay $910 in award fees.

Virgin America’s Feel the Earn is like a buy one and get one free. You can fly comfortably in first class across the USA while earning 50,000 Elevate points for an even more expensive international first class award ticket to London.

On top of bonus points is an additional promotion for 25,000 Elevate elite points with $3,000 in spend by December 19. Earning 20,000 points confers Virgin America Elevate Silver status. Benefits include one free checked bag, seat assignment at time of booking and 25% discount on one Main Cabin Select fare per year. Also, 25% bonus points for 6.25 points/$1 on airfare.

Airfare Rates JFK-SFO December 2014

Sample round trip Virgin America First Class airfare JFK-SFO for December 3 to December 6, 2014.

VX JFK-SFO-12-03-14 FC

JFK-SFO December 3, 2014

Nonstop flights

  • First Class  $1,105
  • Main Cabin Select $403   

SFO-JFK December 6, 2014

  • First Class  $1,105
  • Main Cabin Select  $403

Virgin America JFK-SFO First Class round trip fare = $2,208.20.

First Class base fare before tax = $2,027.90. This is the portion that earns 15 Elevate points per dollar.

$2,027 x 15 points/$1 = 30,405 Elevate points.

30,000 Elevate points buys one Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy round trip award SFO-LHR which can be $1,500+ round trip. 30,000 Elevate points is the cost for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class one way award between SFO/LAX and LHR which is about a $2,600 value.

50,000 Elevate points is the price for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class round trip award ticket which is typically $5,000+. You need $3,334 in Virgin America First Class travel by December 19 to earn 50,000 points with the Feel the Earn promotion.

Virgin America JFK-SFO Main Cabin Select Round Trip Fare = $804.20. 

Main Cabin Select base fare before tax = $721.86. This is portion of airfare that earns double points for 10 points/$1.

$721 x 10 points/$1 = 7,210 points.

Flying in Main Cabin Select will take $5,000 in airfare to earn 50,000 points.

Virgin America Elevate promotion “Feel the Earn” allows a flyer to earn a free First Class round trip ticket SFO or LAX to London on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class by flying around the USA in Virgin America First Class for under $4,000 to earn 50,000 Elevate points.

Related post: Fly Virgin America First Class for $3,334 and earn Virgin Atlantic London Upper Class award

Is it possible to fly Virgin America First Class between California and New York on one $3,334 paid fare and earn enough Virgin America Elevate points for one free Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flight between California and London?

Virgin America’s Elevate ‘Feel the Earn’ promotion makes it look possible. And you will earn Virgin America Elevate Silver elite status too.

This post looks at the Virgin America Elevate Feel the Earn promotion offer for 2x points on Main Cabin Select fares and 3x points on First Class fares for Virgin America flights from October 6 to December 19, 2014.

Virgin America Feel the Earn 3x

Virgin America Elevate First Class Triple Points promotion

3x First Class and 2x Main Cabin Select Points Oct 6 to Dec 19, 2014

Normal base earning for Virgin America Elevate is 5 points per $1 in airfare.

Virgin America First Class flights earn 15 points per dollar during the promotion period.

One of the major award chart value spots with Virgin America Elevate points is a round trip award on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 50,000 Elevate points. $3,334 spent on Virgin America First Class earns a round trip on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class.

Virgin America VS award chart

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class LAX-LHR round trip is around a $5,000 airfare or 50,000 Elevate points.

Are you in a position to fly around the USA on $3,334 in First Class airfare for a $5,000 award ticket? You do have to pay about $910 in award taxes to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from SFO to LHR round trip.

There will also be Silver elite benefits for your 2015 Virgin America flights.

In addition to triple and double miles, there is an additional elite points component offer from Virgin America Elevate ‘Feel the Earn’.

Virgin America Elite Bonus Points

Virgin America elite bonus

If you spend $3,000 on Virgin America flights, you earn 15,000 qualifying points at the rate of 5 base points per $1 spent on Virgin America fares. You will receive an additional 10,000 bonus points award.

Virgin America Elevate Silver Elite membership is earned with 20,000 qualifying points. $3,000 in spend by December 19 earns 25,000 qualifying points.

Elevate Silver members receive:

  • 25% bonus points (6.25 points per $1).
  • One free checked bag.
  • 25% off nonrefundable Main Cabin ticket (1 ticket per year).
  • Free seat selection at booking.
  • complimentary upgrades to main cabin select.

I wouldn’t suggest spending $3,000 for a First Class flight across the USA, except when it is a huge discount on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London.

Terms & Conditions:

* Please note: Only one registration is required to participate in this offer.

The typical earn for Elevate members is 5 points per $1 spent on the base fare. To qualify for this offer, guests must a) be enrolled in Elevate prior to registering for the offer, b) register for the offer prior to their travel date and c) correctly add their Elevate account number to their reservation prior to their first travel date. Any changes or cancellations might result in disqualification from the offer. All travel not normally eligible for earning reward points, including Elevate reward bookings, are excluded from this offer. Bonus Elevate points cannot be transferred between accounts and will only be earned if the member has entered their Elevate membership number in their booking. If the member has chosen to earn points or miles with a partner airline loyalty program, these flights will be excluded from this offer and no bonus points will be earned on your travel with Virgin America. This offer is not combinable with any other Virgin America earn promotions. If 2 offers are applicable for one guest the most generous points offer will be applied.

1 First Class triple points and Main Cabin Select Double Point:
In this offer, for First Class travel, you will earn 200% bonus points per $1 spent on the base fare for a total of 15 points per $1 spent on the base fare for all qualifying flights booked and flown between October 6, 2014 and December 19, 2014. For Main Cabin Select travel, you will earn 100% bonus points per $1 spent on the base fare, for a total of 10 points per $1 spent on the base fare for all qualifying flights booked and flown between October 6, 2014 and December 19, 2014. Qualifying flights can be made to any Virgin America destination in First Class (J, C, D Fare Classes) or Main Cabin Select (W, Q, Z Fare Classes) only. Complimentary upgrades made by Virgin America, or paid upgrades to First Class or Main Cabin Select within 24 hrs of departure do not qualify for this offer. Only tickets that are ticketed on a Virgin America prefix (‘VX’) and operated on Virgin America will qualify for this offer subject to these terms.

2 Earn up to 25,000 Bonus Points:
In this offer, you will earn a fixed amount of additional bonus points calculated according to the total base points (Qualifying Points) earned between the date of registration for the offer and December 19, 2014 (Offer Period). Qualifying Points includes all base points earned at the standard rate of 5 points per $1 spent on the base fare for Virgin America operated flights only, booked and flown between October 6 and December 19, 2014 in First Class, Main Cabin Select or Main Cabin. The Qualifying Points amount excludes any promotional or bonus points earned in addition to the base points, including but not limited to route-specific bonus offers, cabin-specific bonus offers, Elevate Gold or Silver Status bonus offers, and bonus points earned through this offer. Qualifying Points also excludes all points earned from Elevate program partners including but not limited to airline partners, the Virgin America Visa® credit card, rental car companies, hotels, and any other partners who offer the accrual of Elevate Points to Elevate members who use their benefits or services. The total bonus points awarded will be calculated according to the member’s Qualify Points earned during the Offer Period as detailed above, up to a maximum award of 25,000 bonus points. Bonus Points will be posted to the members account within 4 weeks after meeting each Qualifying Points threshold. Bonus points may be posted to member’s accounts in multiple, incremental transactions, but total points posted will not exceed the total bonus points amount earned according to highest Qualifying Points threshold reached by the member subject to these terms.

3 Bonus Elevate points awarded in this offer except the bonus points awarded for  triple points in First Class and Double points in Main Cabin Select will also qualify towards Elevate Gold or Elevate Silver status, and will be included in the member’s 2014 Membership Qualification Year status points balance. All other Elevate program terms and conditions apply, as detailed at https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/elevate-frequent-flyer/member-guide

4 Points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight-specific basis and are subject to change. Domestic reward bookings are subject to a security fee of $5.60 per segment, payable by credit card or Virgin America credit file. The Passenger Facility Charge and Segment Fees are waived for domestic reward bookings. For international reward bookings, Virgin America guests are responsible for the taxes and fees up to $150 per person incurred from international travel. These taxes and fees are subject to change at the discretion of each country’s government and also vary from country to country depending on the origin and destination. Reward redemptions for Partner Airline flights are subject to availability and capacity control. Partner Airlines may limit the number of reward seats available on any flight and may prohibit travel on certain days. Partner Airline reward flight redemptions do not include any applicable passenger taxes, fees, charges and surcharges, which may cost up to $2,000 and which will be charged to and payable by each guest. The amount of such fees is subject to change and are payable at the time of booking.

Virgin America ElevateFeel the Earn promotion registration.

My general finding is the hotel chains of Marriott, Carlson and Hyatt offer the best overall discount for approved best rate guarantee claims as room rate goes up and your stay extends to four or more nights.

This is the second article in a series looking at the effect length of stay and room rate has on the value of a hotel chain best rate guarantee.

I have had dozens of hotel best rate guarantee (BRG) claims approved over the past few years. Typically it is a hotel room rate around $100 to $120 on the hotel chain website and a $90 to $100 rate at some online travel agency for the same room. Most of my articles about best rate guarantee policies focus on what is and is not successful for a best rate guarantee claim when you find a lower rate at an online travel agency (OTA) like Expedia.com.

My first article, Which chain has best value hotel best rate guarantee?examined the paid rate for a hotel stay and the net rate discount when a $100 room at a hotel chain is approved based on a $90 competitive rate from an online travel agency. The data shows rebate offers like Hilton $50 American Express card, Best Western $100 Travel Card and Starwood Preferred Guest 2,000 points give a substantial value when you are able to find a $100 room rate discounted by just 10% to $90 at a competitor online travel agency. Choice and IHG will give first night free and that means totally free for a one night stay, with more than 50% off the rate being charged for the same room on the Choice or IHG websites on a two night stay.

The more nights you stay, the better Marriott, Carlson and Hyatt are at providing the deepest rate discount. This is due to their best rate guarantee policies offering a 20% (Hyatt) and 25% discount (Carlson, Marriott) on the lower OTA rate every night of your stay. Hilton’s policy of matching the lower rate and providing a $50 card has less value as you spend more money on the hotel stay. Same issue with 2,000 Starpoints or a $100 Best Western travel card. Even first night free might not offer as much savings on room rate when you are looking at four or more nights.

Read More…

This is a loyalty traveler research article on hotel best rate guarantee discount rates. Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claims shaved thousands of dollars off hotel rates for me over the past several years. I was thinking about different best rate guarantee policies and asked myself the question, ‘If there were potential best rate guarantee claims available in every chain for a $100 hotel chain rate compared to a $90 online travel agency rate, then which chain has the best value hotel best rate guarantee offering the deepest rate discount?”

This is the first time I have analyzed major hotel loyalty programs to examine the effect when a best rate guarantee claim is extended over multiple nights. I created three tables to show the effect of best rate guarantee claims for stays of 1 to 6 nights on a best rate guarantee approved claim room rate.

This article looks at best rate guarantee policies for nine hotel programs and examines the effect on total hotel stay cost when a 10% lower rate is found at an online travel agency (OTA) site like Expedia.com for a hotel that is priced at $100 on the hotel chain’s site.

Additional articles will look at a $200 hotel rate found for $180 or $160 at an OTA site to see the impact of a 10% and 20% lower OTA rate applied to a best rate guarantee claim across nine hotel chains. These are more realistic room rates for many cities like San Francisco and New York.

My specific question is which hotel chain’s rate adjustment offers the best value when a $100 hotel chain rate is approved for a best rate guarantee against a $90 rate on a competitor online travel agency?

Is a free night always a better value than a rate discount?

Assume a Marriott Courtyard and a Holiday Inn Express are $100 on the hotel chain sites and these hotels are $90 on Expedia.com for the same room.

  • Marriott take 25% off the $90 rate for a $67.50 room night.
  • IHG gives the first night free. A one night stay costs nothing. Each additional night is priced at lower $90 rate.

Obviously, IHG is the better value compared to Marriott with a free night on a one night stay.

What happens when you stay four nights on a best rate guarantee? How does Marriott’s $67.50 rate over four nights compare to IHG first night free and $90 rate for the remaining three nights?

To answer this question I created a table for nine major hotel chains showing the net rate when a $100 hotel room is available for $90 and the lower rate is approved through a Best Rate Guarantee claim.

BRG table 100 rate

[click table to enlarge]

Cells highlighted in yellow show a net discount of 30% or more. The table assumes the hotel website offered a $100 room rate and a best rate guarantee claim was approved for a $90 rate available from an online travel agency like Hotels.com.

The table shows that most programs (7 of 9 hotel chains) offer a deep discount of 32.5% to 60% for two night stays, but as you stay more nights, say five nights, the programs offering a 30% or greater discount on the original $500 rate drops to only three hotel chains with Marriott, Carlson and Best Western. Stay six nights and the best discounts are Marriott, Carlson and Hyatt requiring the least money out of pocket. The common feature of best rate guarantee claims with Carlson, Hyatt and Marriott is a set 20% or 25% off the lower rate found.

The data reveal that the best value best rate guarantee depends on the number of nights you stay and the adjusted room rate you pay. Staying more nights favors programs with a set percentage discount like Marriott and Carlson. Staying one or two nights on a relatively low $90 per night rate favors programs like IHG and Choice with one free night or Best Western and Hilton with a set cash rebate.

Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claim rate adjustments based on $90 approved rate. [adjusted hotel rate for approved $90 BRG rate]

Best Western = match lower rate + $100 Best Western Travel Card (only valid for BW hotels) [$90 rate per night + $100 BW card for future hotel stay]

Choice Hotels = first night free + match lower rate. [1st night free and $90 for additional nights]

Club Carlson = 25% off lower rate. [$67.50 per night]

Hilton = $50 American Express gift card (valid for anything). [$90 rate per night + $50 AmEx card for any spend purpose]

Hyatt = 20% off lower rate. [$72 per night]

InterContinental Hotels Group = first night free + match lower rate. [1st night free and $90 for additional nights]

Marriott = 25% off lower rate. [$67.50 per night]

Starwood = 10% off lower rate or 2,000 Starpoints + match lower rate.  [$90 rate per night + 2,000 points or $81 per night]

Wyndham = 10% off lower rate. [$81 per night]

 

One and Two Night Stays

On one or two night stays where the $100 hotel chain rate is adjusted for a best rate guarantee claim to a $90 base rate, 7 of 9 hotel chains offer at least a 30% discount on the original $100 room rate. Hyatt falls slightly below with a 28% discount.

For a one night stay, IHG and Choice offer the first night free on an approved best rate guarantee.

Perhaps Best Western is even better than one free night for a one night $90 hotel rate since paying the reduced rate of $90 earns Best Western Rewards points, promotion credit, elite credit and the $100 Best Western travel card. Your net rate is free with a $10 credit for your next Best Western hotel stay.

Three night stays see Hilton and Starwood drop out of the 30% discount BRG programs. Hilton gives a $50 credit per stay for an approved BRG. This means the more money you spend on the hotel stay, the less of a discount you get on the room rate. Starwood points I valued at 2,000 Starpoints = $50 rebate value. My table shows the net rate paid is the same for both Hilton and Starwood across the chart. 10% off the lower rate for a Starwood best rate guarantee offers little value on a low cost room. Hilton, Starwood and Wyndham are the least generous discounts for extended stays on low cost rooms.

Hotel Extended Stay?

Marriott, Carlson and Hyatt are best value Best Rate Guarantees

The table shows the more nights you stay, the better value you get from best rate guarantees that offer an additional room rate percentage discount.

Marriott and Carlson (25% off lower rate) and Hyatt (20% off) are the best programs for a best rate guarantee when you are staying five nights or more or you are paying higher room rates than the $90 approved rate used in the table.

At five and six nights, the total room rate paid and total discount for a $90 per night best rate claim looks like this across the chains:

Hotel chain rate = $500 for 5 nights at $100 per night.

$90 rate approved Best Rate Claim for 5 nights.

  1. Carlson = $337.50 for 32% discount on $500 rate.
  2. Marriott = $337.50 for 32% discount.
  3. Best Western = $450 + $100 travel card = $350 net for 30% discount.
  4. Choice = $360 for 28% discount.
  5. Hyatt = $360 for 28% discount.
  6. IHG = $360 for 28% discount.
  7. Hilton = $450 + $50 American Express card = $400 net for 20% discount.
  8. Starwood = $450 + 2,000 Starpoints = $400 net for 20% discount.
  9. Starwood = $405 for 19% discount (when choosing 10% discount rate instead of 2000 points)
  10. Wyndham = $405 for 19% discount.

Take note that the actual out of pocket payment for your hotel folio room rate ranges from $337.50 with Carlson and Marriott to $450 with Best Western, Hilton and Starwood (when taking 2,000 Starpoints rather 10% off).

Best Western and Starwood require future travel to get value from the card and points rebates. Hilton is essentially $400 out of pocket since you can pay your BRG hotel bill with the American Express $50 card rebate.

There is a shake-up in the order when you go to six or more hotel nights.

Hotel chain rate = $600 for 6 nights at $100 per night.

$90 rate approved Best Rate Claim for 6 nights.

The table in this post only shows five nights, but the trends are Hyatt maintains a 28% discount on the original $100 per night room rate while the discount percentage is going down for Best Western, Choice, Hilton, IHG and Starwood as more nights are stayed on the best rate guarantee adjusted nightly rate. This can mean a big difference if you are looking at a 6 or 7 night vacation stay with a BRG discount rate. At six nights, Hyatt’s 20% discount overtakes the free night value of Choice and IHG and the Best Western $100 gift card.

  1. Carlson = $405 for 32% discount on $600 rate.
  2. Marriott = $405 for 32% discount.
  3. Hyatt = $432 for 28% discount.
  4. Best Western = $540 + $100 travel card = $440 net for 27% discount.
  5. Choice = $450 for 25% discount.
  6. IHG = $450 for 25% discount.
  7. Starwood = $486 for 19% discount (when choosing 10% discount rate instead of 2000 points)
  8. Wyndham = $486 for 19% discount.
  9. Hilton = $540 + $50 American Express card = $490 net for 18% discount.
  10. Starwood = $540 + 2,000 Starpoints = $490 net for 18% discount.

Take note that Carlson and Marriott members are paying $405 out of pocket for 6 nights while Best Western, Hilton and Starwood members are paying $540 out of pocket for the same $90 hotel rate. Hilton sends a $50 American Express card with immediate value. Best Western gives $100 travel card, but only good for another Best Western. Starwood points have multiple uses like hotel stays or airline miles, but that is delayed compensation and you might be better off with $135 in your pocket.

Next Step

The data for the table in this post is based on a hotel chain asking $100 for a room and the same room is found for $90 on a site like Expedia. I picked these hotel rate numbers since they are most common for the type of best rate guarantee claims I typically file.

Many travelers frequent the $200 per night hotel market segment.

Hilton and Starwood offer a good value best rate guarantee when you get $50 in cash or points on a $90 room rate. That set BRG discount is not as significant when you are paying $180 per night on the best rate guarantee reduced rate.

The next post shows the same table using a $200 room that is priced 10% less at $180 on a competitor site like Travelocity.com for stays of one to five nights.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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