Hotel promotions represent a decent bonus on trips you already have planned. As the economy has gotten better, the promos have gotten worse (no surprise). But, they still represent solid value, especially when you consider these points are available to you for business you already planned to give hotel chains.
Here’s a breakdown of what some of the major chains are offering this fall. As always, I think it’s a safe bet to register for as many of these as possible since you never know when plans change. It’s free, after all. Some of these promos are based on how many nights you book at a specific chain while others are based on stays. For example, if you checked in to a hotel for 3 nights consecutively, that would generally count as 3 nights and 1 stay.
Hyatt Gold Passport: New Possibilities
Hyatt’s fall promo is based on nights, not stays. The promotion runs from September 9th, 2013 until November 30th, 2013. It doesn’t include the December travel for Christmas and New Year vacations which will also make it a bit harder to max out.
This promo is a good fit for travelers like me that have multi-night stays. If you “mattress run” or hop from hotel to hotel when you travel to maximize benefits you won’t see any extra benefits here versus stay-based promotions that have been popular in the past.
My full post on the Hyatt promo is here.
IHG (Priority Club) Rewards: Big Win
IHG took a different tact than most of the hotel chains normally do this time. The promos are vastly different for individual members. IHG seems to be trying to target offers much more specifically to your past relationship with the brand.
Some people I know got offers that yield over 100,000 points if maxed out. Those goals didn’t seem easy to hit, but this will definitely depend on your traveling patterns. The promotion runs from September 1, 2013 to the end of 2013, so there’s plenty of time to achieve your goals if you’re interested. I was offered a total of 71,800 points if I maxed out my promo goals:
1 stay earns 1,000 bonus points
Stay at 2 different brands and earn 12,000 bonus points
Book 2 separate stays on the IHG website or mobile platform and earn 4,000 bonus points
Complete a survey for 100 bonus points
Stay in 2 different cities for 12,000 bonus points (limited but broad list of properties)
36,000 bonus points for completing all of the above.
All of my offers could be completed across 2 stays of a total of 5 nights. That means a bonus of over 14,000 points a night, which is very good by
Priority Club IHG standards.
But, not all points are created equal. A top category property with IHG requires a 50,000 point redemption, whereas Hyatt’s top category requires 22,000 points. In a real life example, the Intercontinental Times Square in Manhattan would cost you 50,000 IHG points whereas the Andaz 5th Avenue (Hyatt) would cost you 22,000.
I don’t consider this promotion a bad one. Rather, it is interesting, in that it’s not binary (stay X nights, get X points). It’s a great opportunity for IHG regulars, but you’ll need to login and see what your specific offers are.
Looking over other people’s offers, if you’re only going to have 2 hotel stays between now and the end of the year, this is likely the promo for you.
My full post on the IHG promo is here.
Marriott Rewards: Mega Bonus
The promo period is a long one, running from September 15, 2013 all the way to January 15, 2014. Since you only need 4 stays to max out this bonus (assuming you get the 2 free nights) it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve over the course of 4 months.
I’m not a huge fan of the Marriott program, but I think the 3 nights at a category 4 is likely a better deal for most people than 2 at a category 5. There aren’t a ton of premium properties in category 5, though you can judge for yourself by pulling up the full list here.
A couple of notes about the promo. First, the positive. Your free nights are valid for one year from the date you earn them. While I would always prefer to earn points so I can spend them any way I darn well please, giving customers a year to use up the nights is pretty reasonable.
On the down side, you can’t lump these nights into a 4-night award reservation and qualify for the Marriott benefit of a 5th night free on a 4-night award redemption.
For only 4 stays you pick up the equivalent of 50,000 Marriott Rewards points in 2 free nights. But, then you’re done for earning during the promo period. So, if you had a ton of stays, you might be better off with Starwood’s Take Two. For that matter, if you weren’t chasing status, you could drop 4 one-night stays on Marriott and then go hang out at some Starwood properties for Take Two.
You can see my full post on the Marriott promo here.
Starwood Preferred Guest: Take Two
From September 1st, 2013 until December 15, 2013 all SPG members will be able to earn double Starpoints at all participating properties.
There’s also a component to earn bonus points based on the total nights you stay during the promo period. You’ll earn 2500 bonus points for every 5 nights you stay, up to a total of 10,000 bonus points.
Unfortunately, almost 200 properties are NOT participating, of which over 70 are in the US.
On its own, the Starwood promotion is okay but not really enough to sway business. However, when you couple that with the stackable Aeroplan bonus (assuming you value Aeroplan points) it ramps up the total value you can get out of this promo.
My full post on the SPG promo is here.
All in all, the Marriott promo is good for those who only have a couple of stays planned during the promo period. For people with more stays, I’d focus on Hyatt first and foremost unless you collect Aeroplan points. That would make SPG a better fit for you. Even though I like the style of the IHG promo I just don’t see a ton of value there.
Hilton still has a promo going on for a few weeks so I don’t expect them to announce something until then, if they do.