Evaluating 2015 Q1 hotel promotions with $1000 spend is my take on a comparative analysis of the major promotions across several hotel chains.
People who travel frequently on company expense accounts might look at Hyatt’s offer and think 20 nights for 65,000 bonus points is brilliant. They may knock that out in the next three weeks of work travel.
I look at 15 nights to earn 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points by April 30 and think that is at least $1,500 in hotel spend and I get two free nights at a category 6 hotel (20,000 points per reward night) or three free nights at a category 4 hotel (15,000 points per reward night). Those can be valuable free nights in certain locations. But, 15 nights for 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $1,000 in hotel stays is a difficult achievement.
This post looks at the advantages of the different hotel promotions this quarter to evaluate what kinds of travel favor which kind of promotion.
Evaluating 2015 Q1 hotel promotions with $1000 spend
#1 Club Carlson 30,000 bonus points for 3-night stays Jan 12-March 29, 2015
My top pick for best promotion bonus: Club Carlson Extend Your Stay 30,000 bonus points for 3-night stay. Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson Jan 12 to March 29, 2015 stays earn 15K for 2 nights, 30K for 3 nights (January 5, 2015).
Promotion Favors hotel stays of 2 or 3 nights. 3 nights is best earning rate.
Club Carlson is my top pick for big points with little spend for extended stays. Club Carlson has a simple global offer of 15,000 bonus points on 2-night stays and 30,000 bonus points on 3-night stays.
I favor Club Carlson due to being a Club Carlson Visa card member with the benefit of Gold elite and one free reward night for any reward stay of two or more nights.
Assuming an average $100 per night Carlson brand hotel room in Radisson, Park Inn or Country Inns & Suites means I can get three 3-night stays for 90,000 bonus points and earn 37 points/$1 in hotel spend. Assume $1,000 in hotel spend and that is 37,000 points + 90,000 bonus points after 9 hotel nights. 127,000 Club Carlson points can buy 8 two-night reward stays at category 2 hotels. My preference is to aim for 50,000 points hotels in major tourist destinations like Paris, London, Vienna and Sydney where 50,000 points buys a two-night reward stay at a hotel that normally averages $300 per night hotel rates. Club Carlson points buy more nights than most other hotel program points. I’ll be in Copenhagen in July and a two-night stay at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen will be a good use of points.
Two nights at Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen is priced at $577 or 50,000 points. My $1,000 in Club Carlson spend can earn 127,000 points. Those points cover a 2-night stay in Copenhagen upon airport arrival and before departure for our international trip.
Club Carlson has a solid offer.
#2 Choice Privileges Triple Points December 29 to February 18, 2015
Promotion favors: any traveler who spends. This offer can be earned at $40 per night hotels or $400 per night hotels. Length of stay not a factor.
Loyalty Traveler – Choice Privileges Triple Points Dec 29-February 18, 2015 (Dec 29, 2014)
Admittedly, I will probably not put much effort into this offer, but I think it is a fantastic points earning offer you can earn for economy and midscale hotel stays in brands from Rodeway Inn to Clarion, Comfort Inn and Quality Inn.
Choice Privileges Triple Points means 30 points/$1 on hotel stays at six hotel brands, including Ascend Collection, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Cambria Suites and Sleep Inn.
Choice Hotels has four other extended stay and economy brands with MainStay, Suburban, Rodeway Inn and Econolodge. These four brands normally earn 50% points at 5 points/$1 and will earn 15 points/$1 during triple points promotion.
$1,000 in hotel spend can earn 30,000 points. This can be 2 nights at many hotels with a $600 total value. Choice Privileges is spend based so spending enough to earn 16,000 points is sufficient for wide choice of free night hotels. This can be earned with $534 in hotel spend making this offer one of the best earning promotions for low spenders.
You’ll want to go for the higher earning points brands. Finding a hotel under $60 per night in winter season in the USA is easy with these brands. There are 6,000 hotels to choose from, most in Comfort Inn and Quality Inn. Even Monterey, my home town tourist spot has low rates.
No Concern about length of stay with Choice Hotels triple points. This offer is based on hotel spend, so you earn 30 points/$1 for one-night stays or seven-night stays.
Value of Choice Privileges points – 20,000 points will buy a mid-priced hotel in the USA, whereas 20,000 points can be a $500 per night hotel in Europe and select places.
Hotel loyalty aficionados are turned off by the limited booking window with Choice Privileges points. USA members can only redeem points within 30 days of stay, unless you have elite status for an earlier booking window.
The advantage of this regional system for USA members is we can book international hotels in Europe at 60 days before stay, while Europeans are limited by the same 30-day window for hotel points reward stays in their home region of Europe. Availability for reward stays in Europe is good for USA members who have one month head start on Europeans for choice hotels.
#3 IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights January 1 – April 30, 2015
Loyalty Traveler – Loyalty Traveler – Our IHG Set Your Sights tasks for 50000 points Jan 1-Apr 30, 2015
This is a targeted offer and your personal tasks will determine how this offer ranks to other hotel promotions. My wife’s tasks for 50,000 points can be completed with 3 nights, including two stays at a Holiday Inn and one of those stays being a 2-night weekend stay. My tasks for 50,000 points can be completed with 6 nights including two 2-night weekend stays and two 1-night stays at Crowne Plaza hotels. Some members received tasks that require many more nights. IHG Rewards Club tends to favor members who stay less frequently with easier to reach tasks.
This promotion favors low spenders who will benefit from a high earning promotion for 50,000 points for 3 to 6 nights.
I view IHG Set Your Sights as a 100,000 bonus points offer we can earn with 9 paid hotel nights. This fits in my $1,000 spend scenario. 50,000 points is the reward rate for the highest level IHG hotels. There is also the possibility of finding PointBreaks hotels at 5,000 points per night for great redemption value. Personally, I look at the 50,000 points as free high-end hotel nights for places like London and San Francisco.
Loyalty Traveler – IHG PointBreaks Nov 24 to Feb 28, 2015 by State and Country (Nov 21, 2014)
#4 Marriott Rewards MegaBonus February 1 to April 30, 2015 + West Coast 2K bonus per weekend night Jan 2 to March 28
Loyalty Traveler – Marriott MegaBonus offers for Feb 1 to April 30, 2015 (Dec 19, 2014)
Loyalty Traveler - Marriott Big Bonus Payout Western USA 2,000 points per night January 2 to March 28, 2015 (Jan 10, 2015)
Promotion favors: Weekend stays of one or two nights.
Marriott Rewards MegaBonus did not seem too lucrative to me and I received one of the better targeted offers at 3,000 bonus points per stay, for stays 2 to 9 during the promotion period.
Then, a second offer for 2,000 points per weekend night at West Coast hotels. Northern California is well represented and rates are far lower on weekends around the San Francisco Bay Area hotels. Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah also have hotels offering 2,000 bonus points per night for Friday, Saturday or Sunday night stays.
One night stays can earn 5,000 bonus points per stay for 8 of 9 hotel stays. That is 40,000 bonus points and another 10,000 in regular points. 50,000 points can be one night at the top of the line category 8 (40,000 per night) or category 9 (45,000 per night) Marriott. There are 60 of 85 Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 available for 30,000 to 50,000 points per night.
50,000 points can buy 3 to 5 nights at low category 2 and 3 hotels.
Marriott Rewards has 767 hotels at the category 2 reward level for 10,000 points per night. There are 971 hotels at category 3 reward level for 15,000 points per night.
Marriott offers a good value promotion if you find hotels to combine MegaBonus with another hotel specific bonus. There are hundreds of hotels with Marriott Rewards bonus points offers.
#5 Hyatt Gold Passport Stay More Play More January 15 to April 30, 2015
Another targeted offer with many members getting low earning offers and others getting high earning offers.
Promotion favors hotel guests who can stay 10 to 25 nights by April 30, 2015. This is an expensive promotion to fulfill based on the high number of nights needed for the best bonus offers.
- 2,000 bonus points after next stay.
- 5,000 bonus points after 2 stays
- 10 nights for 20,000 points
- 20 nights for 50,000 bonus points in intervals with 5 nights = 5,000; 10 nights = 15,000; 15 nights = 30,000 points.
- 5 nights = 5,000 bonus points; 10 nights = 15,000; 15 Nights = 30,000 points; 20 Nights + 15,000 Points = 45,000 bonus points;
25 Nights + 20,000 Points = 65,000.
10 nights earning 15,000 or 20,000 points is sufficient for one free night at a category 4 hotel for 15,000 points or category 5 hotel at 20,000 points. Many of these hotels will have $300 per night rates.
$1,000 in spend for ten nights earns one free upper tier or up to four nights at Hyatt Gold Passport category 1 hotels at 5,000 points per night. $1,000 in spend earns another 5,000 base points. You might find it difficult to get ten Hyatt nights for $1,000.
#6 SPG Double Play January 5 to April 15
Loyalty Traveler – SPG Double Play Jan 5 to April 15, 2015 is double weak (Dec 30, 2014)
- 2-night stay earns 2 bonus points per dollar.
- Earn 1,000 bonus points every 5 nights, up to 4,000 points maximum during promotion after 20 nights.
Promotion favors die-hard SPG loyalists who prefer the Starwood Hotels over lucrative hotel promotion bonuses. You need to have 2-night stays to really get any value. On single night stays, you can earn a maximum 4,000 points after 20 nights.
$1,000 in spend for two 5-night stays might earn 4,000 to 5,000 points with the double points offer and 2,000 bonus points for 10 nights if you are a base member or Gold/Platinum elite.
The actual bonus points above what is normally earned by an SPG member is only 4,000 bonus points after 10 nights. This is a miserable earning bonus limited to SPG members who make 2-night or longer stays.
Personally, I’ll be looking for better hotel stay spend bonuses available with the other major hotel programs.
This is only 6,000 to 8,000 SPG points after $1,000 in spend and will buy one night at a mid-category hotel.
# 7 Hilton Double Up Double Points Nov 1 to January 31, 2015
Hilton will likely announce a new promotion for 2015 Q1 this week. The current offer of double points runs through January 31. Double points means 25 points/$1, and more for elite and credit card members. The catch is the double points does not start until second stay.
Loyalty Traveler – Register for Hilton HHonors Double Up Double Points Nov 1 to Jan 31, 2015 (October 31, 2014)
After first stay, which should be a one-night stay to kickstart the bonus, assume $900 in spend at double points whether multiple stays or an extended stay. This promotion can earn maybe 25,000 to 30,000 points after $1,000 in spend. That is one night at a mid-category hotel.
Hilton comes up low in my ranking, although it is a very flexible earning promotion good for single night stays or extended stay after you get the first qualifying stay finished to begin earning double points.