Why you should always check AAA rates

Today is checkout day for the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs for the final day of the Boarding Area blogger conference hosted by Randy Petersen and the House of Miles.

I was looking for a hotel tonight in Colorado and checking Denver rates.


Sheraton Denver Tech Center:

  • BAR = $179
  • AAA = $69

This is the largest AAA discount I ever recall seeing.

While that hotel rate looks tempting, the Sheraton DTC hotel is one I have stayed at before and I did not have great things to say in my previous reviews. As I recall, the walls were paper thin and carried sound from room to room.

Going Upscale

While a bit more expensive, the rates for Starwood Hotels in Beaver Creek (near Vail) are truly deals right now.

Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas, Beaver Creek, Colorado

  • AAA = $116
  • 12,000 Starpoints (SPG category 5)

This looks like the right time to be heading for the mountains and a nice resort.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. I always hesitate to book with AAA cupon codes because I dont know if I would earn the points. I mean, not only on SPG, but on all the hotels.
    Do you know if you earn points when using the AAA discount?
    In this particular situation it doesn´t matter, because you get a huge discount applied, but in most cases the discount is not that big

  2. Same here. Close to 300K Marriott points, almost all accrued at AAA discounted rates.

  3. I’ve also seen AAA rates that are not only cheaper but also include free food, wine, or other benefits, which I would pick even if the rate was the same or slightly higher.

  4. @Lucas – AAA rates always earn hotel points. I don’t recall ever seeing a AAA rate that did not earn points. It would be rare for a AAA rate not to count for a hotel bonus points promotion (unless the bonus requires booking a specific rate type).

  5. Looking forward to your reports en route to Monterey. By the way, is this how you have earned your Starwood Plat status for 10 years, low cost single stays out west while touring around?

  6. I always get points for AAA stays. Sometimes there is a terrific AAA breakfast included rate, but the smaller savings do add up.

  7. I used to be asked a lot by Hilton to prove my AAA membership by showing my card but that stopped when I made HHonors Gold.

  8. If you are a points hound you do have to watch you rates… IHG often has a cut off rate at which they provide PC points. The thing is… you don’t know what that rate is until after you stay and your points are/are not posted.

    My experience is rarely is an AAA rate lover than the regular rate… but it does happen

  9. Standard practice is AAA rate is at least 10% off the Best Available Rate (BAR). Lower rates might be available through IHG regular rates, but those are generally prepaid nonrefundable rates..

  10. @Carl – I have earned my SPG elite status nearly every year with low cost one-night stays, primarily in California and Colorado. My total nights were less than 20% more than my total stays prior to award stays counting for elite. I have redeemed several 5th night free awards over the years, but not since SPG started counting award stays for elite status. I am only SPG Gold currently. I actually stopped at 23 stays for 2012. I need one more year of SPG Platinum for SPG lifetime qualification and more than 100 nights.

  11. @Grant – True that AAA rates are sometimes higher than other rates, however, the normal rates are often prepaid and nonrefundable. Most of the time the AAA rate will be the best deal, sometimes the senior rate will be the best deal and sometimes there is a huge savings on a prepaid, nonrefundable rate.

  12. @Lucas—you earn points and all promo stays for status or points using AAA discount. Special rates rely on a different code so you cant use AAA for those promo rates.

    @Grant….sometimes AAA rates arent available at certain hotels (usually downtown heavy business traveler locations). These same hotels it is possible that AAA rate can be higher than the BAR online. sometimes that are online only rates or they are a prepay nonrefundable rate.

    Same is true for those who travel using state/federal govt travel rates. They earn points and promos but the rates may not be available on all nights and can be higher than the best available on some dates.

    Some hotels/chains will ask for verification of your AAA rate card for the promo because any nonmember could easily use that special rate code.

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