Beating Priceline with hotel loyalty programs in Denver

Beating Priceline with hotel loyalty programs in Denver shares how I paid $340 for hotels over the past three nights, yet I look at that as a better deal than I could have found with Priceline, Hotwire or Airbnb.

Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek was rebranded from Loews Denver in October 2013. Last year I stayed three nights at Hyatt Place Denver Creek a week after it opened on a best rate guarantee claim made against a $69 Grand Opening rate. The nightly rate was reduced to $54.  Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek (October 12, 2013).

This year I paid $103 at Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek for this past Sunday night; $118 after tax.


Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek

The value of the Hyatt hotel stay as a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member is 500 welcome points diamond amenity + 660 points for the rate (6.5 points/$1 with diamond bonus points). 1,160 points is about a $20 value.

The reason I chose to stay at Hyatt Place Cherry Creek rather than the Holiday Inn Cherry Creek for the same rate is the complimentary breakfast at Hyatt Place along with a Hyatt Gold Passport targeted promotion offer of 2,000 bonus points per stay on three stays between September 1 and November 30, 2014. Hyatt Gold Passport targeted offers Sep 1- Nov 30, 2014 (August 19, 2014). And I also earned a Hyatt mobile app booking bonus of 1,000 points.

Beating Priceline in Denver with hotel loyalty program benefits and promotions

This three night trip to Denver included hotel stays in three different chains: IHG; Hyatt and Hilton.

Stay 1: Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport 5,000 bonus points + Breakfast on $104 rate or $119 after tax. I value 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points at $30 to $35 + breakfast $20 value. 5,000 points are sufficient for a PointBreaks free reward night which generally gives a value of about $100 to $130. The IHG Into the Nights promotion means this hotel is one of two stays needed for a free hotel night at any IHG property worldwide for 2015 travel. Better than Priceline.

Stay 2: Hyatt Place Denver Cherry Creek $118 earned 4,160 points. I value Hyatt Gold Passport points at $20 per 1,000 points making 4,160 points for my stay a rebate value of $83. That reduces the net rate for this stay to $35.

I nearly always get reward nights with Hyatt offering more than $20 per 1,000 points value. The real value of points as a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member is the ability to book a Hyatt Points + Cash rate using 50% points with the ability to upgrade the stay using a Hyatt Diamond member suite upgrade certificate. 4,000 points + $55 is the price for a category 2 hotel reward like Hyatt Regency SFO. Hyatt Regency SFO at 1,000 points + $62.60 for $235 room night (Sep 4, 2014).

Stay 3: Hampton Inn Denver Downtown best rate guarantee claim based on $159 Hilton rate for Standard King compared to $132 for same room on An approved best rate guarantee claim earns a $50 American Express gift card. The adjusted rate after tax was $152 and after the rate dropped to $102 after the American Express rebate. $102 is quite a savings on the $182 after tax rate being charged buy Hilton for this room. That is a 44% discount which is the kind of discount I consider to be a great shopping day at Safeway.

Best part of the Hampton Inn stay was a complimentary upgrade as a Hilton HHonors Gold member to a bi-level suite which had published rates over $200 per night.

Hampton Inn Denver

I try and maintain an average hotel spend of $100 per night throughout the year. This is achieved through paying for hotel rooms and earning promotion bonuses when rates are low for places I visit and redeem points and free nights for expensive hotels when rates are higher than I want to pay and the redemption value of points meets the levels I seek when spending points.

Denver was all paid nights for this short trip. I spent $340 for three nights and the points I received will likely pay a minimum $180 in hotel stay redemptions and possibly more. This reduces my net cost to about $54 per night for three paid hotel nights.

Airbnb, Priceline and Hotwire are three low cost alternatives to chain hotels. In my experience, using hotel loyalty programs with careful consideration of the best promotional rebates and loyalty benefits allows me to keep my average hotel spend down to $100 per night after 60 to 70 hotel nights each year while nearly always staying at upscale and upper upscale hotels.


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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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. Ric – yours is one of the most underappreciated and best blogs on BA. I think your analysis is spot on for someone who has as many hotel nights as you do but personally, I have found myself doing decently well by just using Priceline Express and Hotwire (stopped bidding on Priceline when I realized the savings were not substantial when compared to Priceline Express with the repeated 10% off your next stay coupons they keep sending).

    Furthermore, booking all Priceline or Hotwire travel through Chase UR or Barclays Rewards Boost gives another few % back in miles/points.

    The trick for me has been keeping SPG Gold, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Platinum, and IHG Platinum just through a few credit cards and getting treated well even when I Priceline/Hotwire those brands.

  2. I agree if your one of the few who got a targeted offer, and, at the same time being diamond elite, you may possibly get a better deal the Priceline.

    However, for the typical traveller, this is not the case.

    Personally I find the targeted offers offensive, and dislike loyalty programs who offer a deal for someone, but not others. Another reason why using something like Hotwire works better as they don’t discriminate. Anyone who is willing to pay can get the deal.

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