Priority Club’s 2011 kickoff promotion is the same promotion offered for Q1-2009. Earn 3,000 bonus points for every three nights; up to 30,000 bonus points for 30 nights for hotel stays from February 1 to April 30, 2011.
Miles earners can choose 1,000 miles every 3 nights instead of points; up to 10,000 bonus miles. This is actually the better earning value if you regularly convert points into miles with Priority Club. Points-to-miles exchange in Priority Club is a fixed rate of 10,000 points = 2,000 miles, so this offer for 1,000 miles every 3 nights is equivalent to earning 5,000 Priority Club points. Miles are the better bonus, if you do not need points.
Loyalty Traveler Analysis
3,000 bonus points after 3 nights works out to just 1,000 bonus points per night. This is equivalent to $300 in bonus base spend per 3 nights. That is the same promotional value as last year’s 2010 Q1 offer for 1,000 points per night, up to 20 nights, and an overall relatively low promotional bonus value.
Comparison of Priority Club 2011 Q1 with other current hotel program offers:
Best Western Rewards – 3 stays = 1 free night at any Best Western in U.S., Canada or Caribbean
- 36,000 points value if free night used at the highest reward category hotel = $3,600 base points spend equivalent or $1,200 per stay. And remember a stay can be just one hotel night.
Marriott Rewards – Two stays = 1 free night at Category 1-4 hotel.
- Category 4 reward night is 20,000 points value.
- 20,000 points = $2,000 hotel base spend.
- $1,000 hotel base spend per Marriott stay can mean $1,000 base points equivalent value for 1 night.
Starwood Preferred Guest – Double Points + 500 points per night on Thursday-Sunday nights.
- $100 Thursday night stay earns $100 base points (double points) + $250 base points equivalent (500 points for Thursday night) = $350 base points equivalent for one night.
Priority Club Rewards – 3,000 bonus points every 3rd night.
- 3,000 bonus points = $300 hotel base spend. The only real advantage to this offer compared to others is for the person with extended stays during the work week. Best Western and Marriott bonuses are based on stays so the bonus is much harder to earn if you have 4 or 5 night stays. SPG is better, but only if you stay on weekends. It is certainly easier to find a cheap IHG hotel compared to a cheap Starwood.
Hotel Loyalty Programs 2011 Q1 Promotion Value scaled to Base Points Equivalent Value (BPEV)
BPEV = the amount of hotel spend required to earn the same number of base points being given as a promotion bonus. BPEV provides a method for comparing the value of promotions in different loyalty programs using a similar scale correlated to the program’s base points earn rate.
Best Western = $3,600 BPEV for 3 stays ($1,200 BPEV per stay). Assume your free night can be used at a 36,000 points reward hotel with a rate of $200.
Marriott Rewards = $2,000 BPEV for 2 stays ($1,000 BPEV per stay). Assume your free night is at a Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel worth about $200.
Starwood Preferred Guest = $350 BPEV for one $100 paid weekend night. A 3-night stay (Thu-Sun) would earn the equivalent in bonus points of $1,050 BPEV for one stay. The SPG member would still be about 500 points shy of a 3,000 points category 2 reward weekend night or a category 3 Cash & Points night. 2,500 SPG points are worth about $100 if redeemed for good value.
Priority Club Rewards = $300 BPEV for 3 nights. 3,000 bonus points is about 20% of the 15,000 points needed for most Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels or Candlewood Suites. The new PointBreaks list will be coming out any day now for February and March hotel stays. PointBreaks hotels are only 5,000 points per night and will give the best points redemption value.
Placing 2011 in Recent History Context
The Priority Club 2010 Q1 offer last year was 1,000 points every night – up to 20,000 points after 20 nights. This year’s deal has a higher bonus threshold at 30,000 points, but limits earning bonus points to every three nights. I find that more restrictive and open to leaving points on the table if you find yourself at 4 or 8 nights or something in between multiples of 3 nights at the end of the promotion.
Priority Club’s 2010 offer also included the choice to earn 200 bonus miles every night instead of points. That worked out to be the same rate Priority Club points convert to miles (10,000 points = 2,000 miles). The current 2011-Q1 offer of 1,000 miles every 3 nights is better than the 2010 Q1 miles offer.
My point in showing the 2010 Q1 offer is to place the current offer in the context of the hotel industry occupancy and room rate recovery underway across the industry. Virtually every hotel loyalty program has a weaker offer at the present time compared to their 2010 Q1 promotion with the notable exceptions of Best Western Rewards and Marriott Rewards.
But don’t be discouraged yet for 2011. The offers in 2010 Q1 were among the lowest value bonus offers of the year and then Q2 2010 spread free nights galore across the hotel loyalty world.
I do not anticipate a repeat of 2010 free night promotions this spring 2011, however, the slow winter season in North America and Europe tend to have the weakest offers of the loyalty program year and the surge in mid-year travelers tends to get the promotions rolling as competition heats up for frequent guests.
In the meantime, free nights are currently being offered through Best Western and Marriott. Take advantage of these high-value offers now. There is no guarantee we will see any more free night offers in 2011.
For the interim you may want to check this thread for other Priority Club bonus offers that will certainly add some additional points to your IHG stays.
Loyalty Traveler Milestone – on a personal note – I noticed this is my 1000th Loyalty Traveler blog post since January 2008. Happy Anniversary Loyalty Traveler.