After a family vacation and a whirlwind week at CES, I haven’t had the time to catch up some things I’ve wanted to. The first hotel promotions of 2015 are out and I was interested to spend a few minutes on each evaluating where the best value was. Here’s a breakdown of promotions from IHG, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood:
This promotion follows in the tracks of some other variable promotions IHG has had in the past year or so, like The Big Win. While I’m a fan of creativity, I still haven’t participated in one of these. This is the offer I got (I suspect there are variable offers as in the past, so you’ll have to login to see your specific offer:
I checked for the cheapest hotels in my area to get a sense of how cheaply I could do this promo. I could hit all of the requirements for $227.13 with a 2-night stay on a weekend and another one-night stay on a weekend later on.
That works out to roughly .45 cents per point. That’s cheaper than you can buy IHG points for, but I generally value IHG points at about half a cent, so not much of a value here. Assuming half cent a piece, you’d be paying $227.13 for points worth about $250. Unless you’ve got a specific reservation coming up that you’re saving for at an expensive property, this is a pass.
At a bare minimum, make sure you login and see if you get the 500 points to download the app. That’s easy. Overall, I don’t see this as specifically rewarding unless you had the stays already planned for weekends. I wouldn’t be planning a mattress run to max this out.
Hyatt Gold Passport:
There are a few different versions of this promotion. Milepoint members have reported the following:
- 2,000 points after your first stay
- 20,000 points after 10 nights
- Up to 50,000 points after 20 nights
- Up to 65,000 points after 25 nights
The last offer is the one I received. Here are the exact details:
I don’t have 25 nights planned during the promo period so it’s unlikely I’ll max it out. 25 nights is a lot over roughly 105 days, certainly more than I’d like to be away from my family on business. I’ll likely hit 15 nights and maybe stretch to 20. I value Hyatt Gold Passport points at about 1.8 cents a piece, so that makes the 15 night tier worth about $500 in Gold Passport points to me.
With the rise in occupancy at hotels promotions have gotten progressively less lucrative. While Marriott’s MegaBonus wasn’t the most rewarding promotion back in the heyday, it’s really taken something of a fall. MegaBonus used to resemble a stay X nights earn 1 free night formula. Marriott usually restricted the free nights won to a lower category property but it still represented a good opportunity for folks to leverage free nights without a lot of spending. Free nights seem to be a thing of the past across the industry. In their place, Marriott offered me the following:
I’ve always found it a bit ironic that Marriott Rewards chooses stays as the metric to rewards folks when they don’t have a path to elite status via stays, just nights. This promotion offers 2,500 points for every paid stay after the first stay. This strikes me as a pretty weak promotion, but it is a little exploitable if you put in the effort under the right circumstances. It’s probably been almost a decade since I “hotel hopped”, but there was a time where I would switch hotels each night on a business trip if it meant scoring lucrative benefits. Here, if you were staying in a city with multiple Marriott properties (not hard to find those with so many Marriotts in the US) you could generate an extra 2,500 points every time you complete 2 1-night stays. Unless you can exploit the promo this way, I don’t think it makes sense to move business for this promo.
Starwood Preferred Guest:
SPG’s promo has two components, running from January 5th to April 15th, 2015. First, you’ll earn double Starpoints on all stays of two nights or more. Plus, you can earn an additional 1,000 Starpoints for every 5 nights you stay, up to a total of 4,000 bonus points.
As usual (and, a feature I find truly annoying) there are properties who have opted out of the promo. Now, it’s less properties than last year’s fall promo, but it’s still over 100 properties excluded, including about 60 in the US.
You can find a full list of properties not participating here.
Bottom Line, To Be Continued…..
There’s nothing earth shattering amongst these promotions. There’s upside for folks who already had stays planned with these chains, and maybe a narrow choice if you have the ability to move a dozen nights back and forth amongst these chains. I generally focus my business on Hyatt and Starwood, so I’ll do a bit of math comparison for a future post.
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