Feb052018

Opportunistic traveler for hotels in Europe

Four developments in the past week have influenced my travel decisions for trips over the next six months. My trip planning moved into high speed to take advantage of high value hotel loyalty promotions and low reward night rates in Europe.

1. IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks changed from all 5,000 points per night hotels to 5,000; 10,000 and 15,000 points.

IHG PointBreaks influenced my ticketing decision by placing Kiev, Ukraine high up on my destination list. Transiting through London is more affordable too with two central London hotels originally on the list posted last week. Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth is still available today for bookings at 15,000 points per night through April 30.

Loyalty Traveler – IHG PointBreaks Jan 29-Apr 30, 2018 complete list 203 hotels (Jan 29, 2018).

Loyalty Traveler – Only 15 of 203 IHG PointBreaks Hotels booked out in 48 hours (Jan 31, 2018).

2. Club Carlson reward category changes at 124 hotels on March 1, 2018.

Club Carlson has more hotels worldwide dropping in reward category than rising on March 1, 2018. Problem for me are several hotels rising in cost for reward nights from 9,000 and 15,000 points per night are in European cities where I like the hotel reward rates at their current category.

Last year I changed Club Carlson hotel reservations in Berlin and Latvia for bookings I made using 4-for-2 weekend rates at Radisson Blu hotels. My rates were significant discounts for cities I booked before 4-for-2 rates were abruptly dropped as a booking option from Club Carlson on Jan 30, 2017.

This year I am planning another spin through the Baltics to take advantage of another great Club Carlson deal going away March 1, 2018.

Park Inn Kaunas, Lithuania and Radisson Blu Klaipeda are rising from category 1 and 2 respectively to 2 and 3. This increases the points award night for Park Inn Kaunas from 9,000 to 15,000 and Radisson Blu Klaipeda from 15,000 to 28,000 points.

Kaunas for 3 nights rises from 27,000 to 45,000 and Klaipeda for 3 nights from 45,000 to 84,000 points. Club Carlson points regular price = $7/1,000 points to buy points.

I value Club Carlson points at $3.50 to $4.50 per 1,000 since these are price range for buying Club Carlson points during special offers.

6 nights in Lithuania hotels during summer 2018 staying is 72,000 points, if we book the stay in February 2018.

Loyalty Traveler – Park Inn Kaunas Lithuania is Club Carlson Category 1 gem (April 19, 2017).

Loyalty Traveler – Carefree Alus in Kaunas, Lithuania (May 13, 2017).

Loyalty Traveler – Radisson Blu Klaipeda, Lithuania Club Carlson Category 2 reward stay (April 22, 2017).

Loyalty Traveler – Sculpture in Klaipeda, Lithuania (July 9, 2017).

Lithuania and Estonia have four Club Carlson hotels rising in award night category March 1, 2018.

3. Hilton Honors 80% bonus points on points purchase through March 16, 2018.

Hilton Honors launched an 80% bonus points offer when buying 10,000 to 80,000 points at the regular $10 per 1,000 points price by March 16, 2018.

My plans for hotel stays this spring in Romania are still intact to take advantage of Hilton brand hotels at 5,000 and 10,000 points per reward night.

Hilton Buy Points 80%

The sale price at 80% bonus points is $5.56 per 1,000 points. $250 buys 45,000 Hilton points.

Loyalty Traveler – Hilton Honors Points Unlimited Jan 1-Apr 30 promotion potential for $5 hotel nights (Dec 20, 2017).

Loyalty Traveler – Travel Planning Romania $1,200 to 1,500 for 15 days (Oct 27, 2018).

Loyalty Traveler – Romania Hilton and Wyndham 19 hotels mapped with reward rates (Sep 14, 2017).

$250 buys 7 reward nights at Hilton brand hotels in Transylvania, Romania for cities like Cluj Napoca (10K), Sibiu (10K) and Sighisoara (5K).

 

4. Wyndham complete 2 Stays by July 1 to earn 15,000 bonus points.

Wyndham Rewards calls it their biggest promotion ever. Earn 15,000 points after two stays at any of 8,000+ Wyndham brand hotel worldwide. This is a good promotion offer.

Wyndham 15K 2 stays by June30

I have been using Wyndham Rewards points regularly since the program adopted GoFast rates in 2015. I generally get around $70 to $100 room rate discount per 3,000 points I redeem for Wyndham Rewards GoFast reward nights.

Wyndham Rewards 15,000 points for two Masterpass paid stays by Oct 31, 2017 (Aug 10, 2017).

Wyndham Visa Checkout 3 stays earn 15,000 points Nov 1-Feb 28, 2018 (Nov 4, 2017)

Wyndham brand GoFast stays using points was already part of my travel plans for Amsterdam and Romania. The ability to earn bonus points on 2 stays improves the value of paying for a Ramada in Romania rather than redeem points for a GoFast reward rate.

This is the third installment of consecutive 15,000 points promotions from Wyndham Rewards. Wyndham Rewards has offered 45,000 bonus points for as few as 7 hotel nights over the past six months.

London, Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are places where my hotel loyalty points can be redeemed for great value. I am an opportunistic traveler. I see good value redemption opportunities all around Europe for 2018.

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 BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. For Club Carlson hotels, how do you get the 4 nights-for the price of 2 – deal that you mentioned. BTW, agree that Klaipeda & Kaunas are both good properties

  2. Khokon,

    The 4-for-2 rates for Club Carlson Gold+ elites was eliminated without official, public advance notice by Carlson Hotels and that rate type is no longer available for additional bookings. In otherwise, it was an opportunity but is now dead.

  3. I stayed at the Hilton Sibiu and Hampton Cluj-Napoca, and also walked by the Doubletree Sighisoara but didn’t stay there. Don’t waste your time with the Hampton unless your plans take you to Cluj-Napoca anyways. If you have gold/diamond with Hilton, spend as much time as you can in Sibiu and do a day trip or two to Sighisoara. The Hilton Sibiu is the best Hilton bargain in the world, IMO.

  4. @bc – Cluj-Napoca is my likely landing point in Romania with low cost Wizz flights from Malmo and Skavsta, Sweden or London. I have my eye on the Ramada there where I can get a better deal with Wyndham GoFast rates.

    Sibiu seems to be the place with most cultural events for the area.

  5. Redweek.com is a great source to “rent” someone elses timeshare at often an incredible rate. Weve used this source throughout the US and beyond. Perfect for traveling with kids when a kitchen, multiple baths and bedrooms can make or break a family trip.

  6. Per raggiungere Kaunas ci sono due autostrade principali: l’autostrada A1 Vilnius – Kaunas – Klaipeda, che è un collegamento tra la capitale Vilnius e Klaipeda Seaport, e la Via Baltica (strada E67) che conduce alla Polonia e fa da collegamento tra i paesi nordici e l’Europa centrale e occidentale. Nonostante la sua vicinanza con la multiculturale Vilnius, Kaunas ha uno stile notevolmente differente, è puramente lituana, con una percentuale di abitanti appartenenti di altre etnie pari al solo 8%. Mentre Vilnius ha alle spalle una lunga storia di centro amministrativo ed accademico Kaunas nel suo passato ha il commercio: da qui il detto che Vilnius sia la Regina della Lituania e Kaunas il suo Principe mercante.

  7. Italian to English Google Translate:

    To reach Kaunas there are two main highways: the A1 Vilnius – Kaunas – Klaipeda highway, which is a connection between the capital Vilnius and Klaipeda Seaport, and the Via Baltica (road E67) that leads to Poland and serves as a link between the countries northern and central and western Europe. Despite its proximity to the multicultural Vilnius, Kaunas has a considerably different style, is purely Lithuanian, with a percentage of inhabitants belonging to other ethnic groups equal to only 8%. While Vilnius has a long history of administrative and academic center in its past, Kaunas has commerce: hence the saying that Vilnius is the Queen of Lithuania and Kaunas is its merchant Prince.

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