Sounds like an incredible deal to get a $50 certificate and a free companion ticket for completing a single Friday or Saturday night stay at a Renaissance Hotel in the USA or Canada between June 18 and September 6, 2010. Stays must be booked between June 11 and July 23, 2010.
Is this the deal of summer?
Unlikely for the vast majority of travelers.
The $50 certificate is valid at any Renaissance Hotel worldwide, but requires a minimum two-night stay and the stay must be on a weekend consisting of two nights between Thursday and Sunday.
The certificate is a decent value. When used at an international hotel the US$50 value may be reduced due to potentially awful hotel exchange rates, but you can probably count on at least $40 to $45 equivalent value wherever you use the certificate in locations having room rates in a different currency.
Analysis of airline companion ticket voucher
The companion ticket voucher may provide some savings, but unlikely to save a great deal and the convoluted booking procedure may not be worth your time.
The companion ticket is processed through a company called CompanionBooking.com. This agency has been around for a few years and a quick Google search will list several results where you can read complaints about the availability of airline tickets.
CompanionBooking.com has the USA blocked into seven zones with select cities that can be seen on this webpage. Apparently there are 19 airlines who feed flights and fares with the company and they are available on a first come, first serve basis to customers. There are promotions from loads of companies, so this Renaissance offer is just one of the companies funneling customers (competitors for the ticket you desire) through CompanionBooking.com.
I was told that it actually takes about 6 weeks from the time a person receives a companion coupon to the ability to actually book a flight due to registration periods and whatever. The fine print states flights must be booked at least two weeks in advance so plan on about two months from the time of your stay to the first opportunity to actually fly on the coupon.
The Airline Companion Ticket Fares
I randomly picked San Francisco – New York to test a fare for August and the agent stated the fare listed at $637.80 + $69.90 for the paid ticket = $707.70. Then the companion also pays $69.90 in fees and taxes to bring the total to $777.60. There must be a $30 processing fee since the total for the paid and free ticket came out to $807.60.
$807.60 for two San Francisco-New York La Guardia tickets on Air Tran Airways for one-stop flights in mid-August 2010.
The fare listed on ATA for the same dates is $902.60 for this route on one-stop flights.
The companion certificate in this case saves $95.
But I can book the ATA tickets today online at $902.60. The Renaissance Hotel companion ticket offer sounds like I might have to wait until late July before I can try to book an August flight ticket. Who knows if the flights would still be available by then through CompanionBooking?
The $50 Renaissance voucher is a good rebate if you plan a future two-night weekend stay at a Renaissance hotel.
The airline companion voucher may offer a small savings, but you really need to consider if the hassle of going through an exclusive online travel agency to book your flight is worth the effort and your time. You can always use Hotwire and Priceline for crap shoot airfare savings on the fly.