Hotel Changing Flags or Is Reflagged – What Happens to Paid/Award Reservations?

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When hotel changes flags or is reflagged, it is rebranded as other chain hotel, or the hotel is becoming independent non-affiliated hotel. This happens numerous times per year at all chains. Both the individual hotel in question and the chain are often contractually not allowed to inform about possible change before it actually happens or at most couple of weeks prior.

Here’s what you need to consider if you are holding a paid or award reservation at a hotel that is changing flags/reflagged.

Status benefits

The status benefits that you might have had with the original brand no longer apply. If the hotel is reflagged under other global brand with which you have status with, there is no necessarily change i.e. Starwood affiliated hotel moves to Hilton chain and you have Hilton Gold/Diamond status.

Reservation

If you no longer wish to stay at the hotel, you should work with the hotel and request them to cancel the reservation without any cancellation fees. You can always argue that the reason why you chose them in the first place was the affiliation with the previous global brand, and that the change thus is significant.

Prepaid Reservation

This could be bit trickier as the hotel already has your money, but they tend to be flexible if you decide to cancel. You need to work this out with the property. If the reservation department is inflexible, I would escalate the issue all the way to the General Manager of the hotel.

Award Reservation

This is somewhat trickier and there are really two different ways how these are normally handled:

1. Your award reservation is honored, but you won’t receive any possible status related benefits.

2. Your award reservation is canceled, but the chain is trying to accommodate you at their other nearby property. If the number of required points is higher, this is usually waived.

Conclusion

Normally the first sign, that something is going on, is when your reservation disappears from your upcoming reservations display. You might also get a call from the customer service regarding the award reservation you have.

Personally, I do care about the miles and points and the benefits that I receive from the programs that I participate to i.e. suite upgrades, club access, early & late checkouts. I really have hard time staying at hotels, where I don’t get any of these benefits.

You have to consider all the options on hand and proactively suggest options that suit you best. Hotels and chains are normally very eager to work with you to find an acceptable solution for both parties in a situation like this.

July Hotel Promotions Update: Accor Hotels, Best Western, Carlson Hotels, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

There are number of very good hotel promotions going on at the moment. Club Carlson has better than free night promotions in each of their four different brands. Marriott Rewards has their summer Mega Bonus for extra points or free night certificates. Best Western is offering a free night certificate after three stays.

Le Club Accorhotels

There are no current promotion for Accor. Sign up for our email alerts to be notified when they launch a new global promo.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Rewards is offering a free night certificate after three stays. This promotion started on June 17th and ends on August 19th. You can only earn ONE free night certificate.

Best Western Rewards Summer Bonus Offer SUM12 – Free Night Voucher After Three Stays

best-western-aeroplan-offer

The alternate promo is 2000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles per stay for up to three stays. The bonus is 1750 miles per stay.

Best Western Rewards Aeroplan Bonus Offer – 2000 Miles Per Stay for up to 3 Stays

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Carlson has come up with the most exciting summer promotion this year. You can register for four different promotions and earn enough points for a free night and then some from each one of them. You only need to register and try out each of their different brands once.

You can get 50000 bonus Club Carlson points by registering for their Big Night Giveaway and have a stay at any Radisson or Radisson Blu property worldwide

radisson-big-night-giveaway

Radisson Big Night Giveaway Promotion Is Now Live

Then there is the Country Inns & Suites version of this promotion. You can get 44000 bonus Club Carlson points by registering for their Stay 1 Get 1-promotion and staying a night at any of their Country Inns & Suites.

club-carlson-country-inn-suites

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Stay 1 Get 1 Promotion – 44000 Club Carlson Bonus Points

And Club Carlson’s third promotion is for the Park Inn-brand. You will get 44000 bonus points after registering for their Stay One Get One-promotion and staying at any of the Park Inn locations by July 22nd.

club-carlson-park-inn-stay-1-get-1-sign-up

Club Carlson Park Inn by Radisson Promotion Get 44K Bonus Points for a Stay

The newest of the four is the promotion for the Park Plaza-brand. You can get 50000 bonus points after a paid stay. You need to register and watch the video first.

club-carlson-park-plaza

Club Carlson Park Plaza Ultimate Night Giveaway – Earn 50K Bonus Points

If you are new to the Club Carlson, you can read about the various status levels with the program and the status match opportunities:

Club Carlson Red, Silver, Gold, & Concierge Status Levels Explained

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

Choice is offering 8000 Choice Privileges points for every two stays that you can redeem for $50 gift cards with number of retailers. Note that the definition of a stay is TWO nights at select Choice properties.

choice-summer-promo

Choice Hotels Summer Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn $50 Gift Card

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s 3rd quarter promotion is for double points for weekday stays and triple points for weekend ones. Please note that the number of properties that have opted out of this promo is rather long.

hilton-hhonors-3q-2012

Hilton HHonors 3rd Quarter “Triple Your Trip” 2012 Double or Triple Points Promotion

You can also get 2000 bonus Hilton HHonors points for your first Home2 Suites stay.

You can read about getting a status match with Hilton HHonors:

Hilton HHonors Gold & Diamond Status Match & Challenge & Fast Track Offer

Hilton HHonors Gold VIP Fast Track Offer Through MVP Program. Gold Status After Four Stays or Nine Nights During 90 period

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

Hyatt also offers status matches/trials. You can read more about them here:

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match – Hyatt Diamond Trial Challenge As Of 2012

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

Last week, I wrote about eight Priority Club bonuses that one should sign up for. These were offers that were emailed to a number of Priority Club members and are supposedly “targeted”. With Priority Club these targeted offers are open for anybody, however.

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

These started on July 1st and end on September 30th, 2012. You should sign up for an offer that you know that you can achieve

Priority Club Summer Promotion 1000 Bonus Points Per Night

You can get 1000 bonus Priority Club points per night (capped at 20K) for stays until September 3rd.

15K Bonus Points + Gold Status for 6 InterContinental Nights

This is a nice bonus points promotion for InterContinental stays in the Americas.  You need to get the stays in by the end of July, 2012.

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Summer Bonus of up to 20K Priority Club Bonus Points

You will get 1000 bonus Priority Club bonus points per nights + 250 points per stay for booking online. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer

You can get a $75 prepaid MasterCard after a rebate for a two night weekend stay. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

5K/10K/15K Bonus Points for 3/5/6 InterContinental Nights

This promotion cannot be combined with the 15K Bonus + Gold after 6 stays. This offer is valid until the end of July, 2012.

$50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stay

This is similar to the weekend offer, but is valid for weekday stays. This offer is valid until August 2nd, 2012.

2000 Bonus Points for Priority Club Surveys

You can get couple of thousand bonus points for completing bunch of short quizzes.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott summer promotion started on June 1st and is valid until August 31st. You needed to register by June 30th. There are number of variations of the offer.

Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

Marriott also has a MegaMiles promotion from July 1st to October 31st, 2012 for triple airline miles with selected airlines. Note that you need to change your earning from points to miles before you can sign up for this.

marriott-megamiles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

Marriott also offers status matches or taste of Platinum/Gold. You can read more about the procedures of getting one here:

Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Status Match – Taste of Platinum & Gold Challenge

If you haven’t been targeted to any of the promotions or you would like to change to another one, you can follow the instructions to get the promotion fixed for you.

Changing Targeted Marriott Promotions

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Ritz-Carlton has exciting Extraordinary Returns promotion starting on July 15th and ends on October 15th, 2012. You can get 30000 bonus points for a stay of 4 days or longer.

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Ritz-Carlton Rewards Extraordinary Returns – 30000 Bonus Points for a Four Night Stay

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion on May 1st that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leakmy ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011. Note that you needed to choose what you would like to earn and when by June 30th, 2012.

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Starwood doesn’t offer straight status matches, but they can offer you a challenge:

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better. Both of these promotions are ending on July 8th, 2012.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

Starwood Capital Selling Four Hotels to Katara to Be Managed by Hyatt

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There was an interesting news piece that I came across yesterday. Starwood Capital (not Starwood Hotels as some news sources were referring the seller) was selling four hotels to Katara Hospitality, a Qatari hospitality company, and these hotels are supposedly going to be managed by Hyatt per the unnamed sources.

reuters-katara

The hotels in question are Martinez on the Cote d’Azur, Concorde Lafayette, l’Hotel du Louvre in Paris, and Le Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice, according to a French newspaper Le Figaro.

martinez

This is a very interesting development that would bring nice properties under the  Hyatt umbrella. You would likely to be able to earn and burn Hyatt Gold Passport points eventually too.

Hyatt Website Problems Continue – Double Points Withdrawn for Award Stays

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Hyatt has one of the most unstable hotel websites that I have ever used to book hotels. It can be down for several hours midweek for “scheduled” maintenance.

The only problem is not the instability of the site, but also the functionality. I have had the website to withdrawn points twice for award stays multiple times. It is easy to catch this when there are two deductions on the account history, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the points are withdrawn twice, but there is only one line on the account activity. Last time I noticed this only, because I thought that the balance quite didn’t seem right.

Don’t miss out on any important information about Hyatt Gold Passport program. Like LoyaltyLobby on Facebook.

This is probably not a problem if you only have a small number of points in your account. When you have hundreds of thousands or millions, like some of my friends have, it is not as easy to spot a double deduction of points.

Here’s what have been happening with my account. I made a reservation for the Grand Hyatt Jakarta for the Friday night. When the website prompted for a credit card to confirm it, I just double clicked the field and it was populated with the Amex number that I had inputted previously. Apparently there is something wrong with the syntax because I got the following screen next:

hyatt-problem

When I go back and correct the card number manually, I then get the confirmation number.

hyatt-problem-confirmation

When I go back and check my account balance, you can see that Hyatt has now withdrawn the number of points required TWICE for this.

hyatt-problem-confirmation-double-points-withdrawn

As I posted above, I have had this happen in the past when there has only been one line, although the points were withdrawn twice. When I have called the Gold Passport they were able to see this on their internal systems and correct the double withdrawal of points.

Buy Hyatt Gold Passport Points & Get 30% Bonus

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Hyatt Gold Passport has just launched a summer promotion for buying points. You will get 30% bonus for buying Hyatt Gold Passport points between June 20th and August 31st, 2012. The maximum number of points that you can purchase is 40K for $960. With the bonus the total number of points that you will get for $960 is 52K. In essence you are paying 1.85 cents per point.

hyatt-gold-passport-buy-points-summer-2012

Hyatt had a similar promotion back in January.

Don’t miss out on any Hyatt Gold Passport promotions. Follow LoyaltyLobby on Twitter.

Does it make sense to buy Hyatt Gold Passport points at 1.85 cents per points? In most cases the definite answer is it does not. But, as always, there are some exceptions to the rule.  Back in January my case was Park Hyatt Sydney where buying points and then using them for “free” nights would have made sense. Not sure if the situation has changed since January with this specific property.

hyatt-gold-passport-buy-points-summer-2012-price

hyatt-gold-passport-buy-points-summer-2012-price-final

The other good example is Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, where I have been few times. I don’t like the location of this hotel that is inconvenient unless you are visiting the nearby companies. My personal favorite of the international hotels in Sao Paulo is the Marriott chain’s Renaissance that is located in the Jardins district of the city.

The paid rates at Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo are really high. Currently the price is around $500 per night.

grand-hyatt-saopaulo-paid-rates

You can also use Hyatt Stay Certificates to pay for your stay. You can cut your price to $249 per night by going this route.

grand-hyatt-saopaulo-stay-certificates

hyatt-stay-certificates-saopaulo

Surprisingly the hotel is only 8000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night. If you buy the points during this sale, your nightly cost would be down to $148. That is a very good deal for Sao Paulo at the present as the Brazil’s economy is overheated.

grand-hyatt-saopaulo-points

One thing to remember is that you won’t earn stay or night credits for stays paid using points or stay certificates. You do earn points for the incidentals during the stay. These stays do not qualify for any possible bonuses that the Hyatt is running. My advise for those that need a stay credit is to pay for the first night and then use points or certificates for the subsequent nights.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer available for purchases made between June 20 to August 31, 2012 inclusive. Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of individual transactions. Offer only available when points are purchased for the purchaser’s account. Offer not valid for transactions gifting points. Offer may be withdrawn or changed without notice. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible for the promotion.

Price includes all applicable fees. GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents. This transaction is completed by Points.com and will be billed as “Points Purchase Hyatt.” Purchased points are not refundable and transactions are non-reversible. Purchased points are applicable toward all Hyatt Gold Passport awards. Points purchased using this option will post within 24 hours. Purchased points do not count toward Hyatt Gold Passport elite membership tiers. All Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions apply.

Hyatt June Edition of the 48 Hour Sale – C48JUN

Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels from the end of June to September. The promotional dates for individual properties vary.

hyatt-c48jun

Sometimes it is actually better to book an AAA rate that might include some extras like a complimentary breakfast. AAA rates are also normally not prepaid and cancellable.

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday June 19th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday June 20th Central Daylight Time, for travel between Sunday July 1, 2012 and Sunday September 30, 2012  at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48JUN when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa 50% Off

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There is currently a great offer until the end of this year for Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways frequent fliers (free to join). You can get 50% off of the Hyatt Daily Rate. This is the lowest rate that I have seen for this property after they stopped accepting the Hyatt stay certificates.

I visited this beautiful property back in August and wrote a piece about it, as I also did about the Male city. I also did a piece how to get a great deal using those now discontinued stay certificates or points packages that include dinner as well.

park-hyatt-maldives-daily-rate

The rates using the Qatar Airways and the promotional code PHMQA are same as the rate using the Etihad code. Note that the Qatar offer is set to end on November 30th, 2012. Who knows whether it will be extended? The rate rules that you can find on Qatar’s web page for this offer are bit different than those on Hyatt.com under rate rules for this rate plan. You can also earn double Qmiles, although I would recommend collecting Hyatt Gold Passport points instead.

park-hyatt-maldives-qatar-airways

For the Etihad offer you need to use promotional code PHMEY1. This offer has the same rates as the Qatar one, but is valid until the end of the year.

park-hyatt-maldives-etihad-airways

 

Both of these offer exceptional value for Park Hyatt Maldives. Of course getting to Maldives is bit pricey and you need to fork some cash for the internal flights as well. But it is most definitely worth it.

Here are the rate details for both offers

Qatar Airways

Rate Description:
Reduced rate for Qatar Airlines Loyalty Card holders:Tax Excluded: -Booking window: 01MAR12-01MAY12 -Stay dates: 15MAR12-30NOV12 -Guest must present Qatar Airlines Loyalty Card upon check in and choose miles for their stay.

Etihad Airways

Rate Description:
ETIHAD AIRLINES SPECIAL OFFER Reduced Rate:Tax Excluded: GUEST MUST CHOOSE MILES FOR THEIR STAY AND PROVIDE VALID ETIHAD LOYALTY CARD UPON CHECK-IN. – Valid 07DEC11-31DEC12

The additional charges are same for both:

Additional Charges:
6.000 Percent tax
10.000 Percent service charge
Bed Tax: 8 United States Dollars Per Person Per Night USD Other Charges   Cancellation Policy:
Cancel 2-14day 100percent Within 2 Days Full Penalty

Deposit Policy:
Deposit Required By June 13, 2012. Deposit By Credit Card Required. 1 Night(S) Deposit Will Be Charged To Credit Card.

Succesfully Complete Hyatt Diamond Trial and Diamond Status is Valid Until 2014

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Back in March, I wrote about a piece about Hyatt’s Diamond Trial. You can access the post for complete information about the status match here. Just to give you an update. I just received an email from a reader who had confirmed with Hyatt that, if you signed up after May 31st and successfully complete it, the Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status will be valid until February 2014.

You can bring down the cost of doing this by taking advantage of airline related bonuses that the Hyatt is offering this summer.

My Hotel Award Dilemma for Doha Qatar

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I have been to Doha few times in the past when flying on Qatar Airways. The city is an easy stop for a longish transfer of less than 24 hours or for a short stopover. Normally there are only a handful of people at the luggage claim as most of the passengers are on transit. The immigration has always been a breeze. Airport is close to the city center and the taxi fares are cheap

It is not the most exciting city in the Middle East, but there is enough to do for a couple of days.

I have checked out the W, InterContinental (old one), and the Sheraton hotels on my previous trips. There are new hotels popping up almost every few weeks and decided to try something else this time around. The headline prices for hotels in Doha seem to start at $200++.

When there isn’t a stellar promotion around, I tend to check both the paid options and award options for quite a few chains. Preferably, I would have liked to have a stay at any of the three Club Carlson brands that are giving away points enough for a free night (see the promotions here, here, and here). Unfortunately there are no Club Carlson properties in Doha.

So, I decided to check Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham options for Doha and eventually settled for Points & Money option with the Hilton.

Hilton HHonors

doha-hilton-price

There was four options for Hilton; pay 820 QAR, use 40K HH points, Points & Money option of 20K HH and 254 QAR, or use the last free night certificate from the Hilton’s promo last year.

Hyatt Gold Passport

The Grand Hyatt in Doha is located close to the sports world complex and now burned Villagio mall. The location is horrible if you are planning to do sightseeing in Doha.

doha-hyatt-paid

doha-hyatt-points

With Hyatt there are basically two options, pay the 1000 QAR or use 15K Hyatt Gold Passport points. There is a nice promotion going on with the Hyatt for the airline points, but not worth paying the premium for this hotel, however.

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club

There are two InterContinental hotels in Doha. The old one, where I have stayed at previously, and the new one that is located in the city center, and is very close to the nice City Center mall.

doha-ic-old

doha-ic-city

Both were in the 900 QAR range and would require 40K PC for the old and 30K PC for the new one. Hotels had points and money option available as well.

Marriott Rewards

To my surprise Marriott had the greatest number of properties in Doha and they would have been the best deal using points.

doha-marriott-1

doha-marriott-2

The Renaissance and Courtyard hotels are both collocated at the City Center mall that I was referring earlier. You have direct access, at least from the Courtyard, to the mall itself. The number of points require for the Renaissance is 15K and for the Courtyard 10K. I think that both of these present exceptional point redemption value. Then there is the older Marriott that is located close to the airport. It also requires rather modest number of points (15K) considering the going rates of 950 QAR at this hotel.

There are also two Ritz-Carlton properties that are Tier 1 point wise in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards. I probably wouldn’t use points at these two properties, but could considering using a free night certificate that the Ritz-Carlton was giving on their last promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest

There are three Starwood properties in Doha, and I have previously stayed at the W hotel right after it opened few years ago and at the Sheraton Doha Resort late last fall. I like the location of both of these hotels. There is a brand new St Regis in Doha as well, but the location of that hotel is disadvantageous.

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The Sheraton Doha Resort (category 6) is absolutely horrible value point wise. It would require 20K SPG and didn’t have any cash & points available.

doha-spg-w

The W is category 5 hotel and would have had a price tag of 999 QAR for last night. The number of SPG points required for a free night would have been somewhat reasonable 12K, but the Cash & Points at 4800 points + 90 USD for the night is a great deal for Doha.

doha-spg-st-regis

The St Regis had the highest price at 1400 QAR and category 6 award level. Neither 20K SPG or 8K SPG + 150 USD would had represented any value for me.

Wyndham Rewards

I haven’t stayed too much at the Wyndham family for hotels. Last time when I stayed at the Ramada in Colombo, I later found out that I would not earn any points. This was not clearly presented on the website, but was rather hidden in the terms and conditions of the rewards program. You won’t earn any points for stays in Sri Lanka and number of other countries.

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doha-wyndham-ramada-price-1

doha-wyndham-ramada

Wyndham family would have had three options in Doha; two Ramada properties and one Wyndham. All these are located in the old city center of the Doha and are quite close to the airport.

doha-wyndham-wyndham-price

The cheaper Ramada property would have required 15K points and the more expensive 30K points.

Conclusion

It pays to be part of number of frequent guest programs as not all the chains has coverage in all cities or offer reasonable point based pricing.

On this trip I decided to check out the new Hilton in Doha and use Hilton’s Points & Money awards. I am going to be back next week for a night as well and have decided to stay at one of the Marriott Rewards properties as they are offering exceptionally good redemption value for Doha.

Sometimes SPG’s categories seem to be somewhat unreasonable as is the case in Doha. Both the old Sheraton and the brand new St Regis are very expensive to use points. The best Starwood option is the W that is still category 5 hotel.

Why Hotel Websites (Hilton, Hyatt & InterContinental) Are So Unstable?

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When you are trying to make a booking around noon EST and there is a message about a “scheduled” maintenance, you can be 100% sure that there is nothing “scheduled” about it.

Yesterday, for the first time, all these three websites were down simultaneously when I was trying to make some reservations, check prices, and make sure that points/stays had posted correctly.

Hotels are trying to make their very best to channel as many bookings through their websites as possible. The main reason is that travel agents typically get a 10% commission of the room revenue, and websites like Expedia have much higher margins on their prepaid rooms.

Quite often only the bookings made through hotel chains own channels are eligible for stay/night credits and points, unlike with the airlines, where it doesn’t really matter whether you book on the Expedia’s of the world or the airlines own websites. I have always preferred online booking sites like Expedia over the airlines ones i.e. United.com.

This is the reason why it is imperative that the sites are actually up and running. Quite often I make bookings for the same day arrival, and I really don’t want to deal with the phone reservations. Hyatt has probably lost more than 10 stays from me alone in the past 14 months due to the non-functioning website that has these outages several times throughout the week. Sometimes, I have been able to make a reservation using the mobile site when the main site has been out.

I was somewhat surprised that yesterday

InterContinental Hotels Group was down:

down-ihg

Hilton was down:

down-hilton

Hyatt was down:

down-hyatt

Are all these hotel companies buying the infrastructure from the same vendors? Having non-functioning websites at this day and age is totally unacceptable.

Hyatt May Edition of the 48 Hour Sale May 15th to 16th – C48MAY

Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels from the end of May to August. The promotional dates for individual properties vary.

hyatt-48-may

Sometimes it is actually better to book an AAA rate that might include some extras like a complimentary breakfast. AAA rates are also normally not prepaid and cancellable.

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday May 15th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday May 16th Central Daylight Time, for travel between Friday May 25, 2012 and Saturday August 25, 2012 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48MAY when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved

May Hotel Promotions Update: Accor Hotels, Best Western, Carlson Hotels, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

Both Hyatt and Starwood had their new promotions starting at the beginning of May. Carlson Hotels, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton don’t currently have promotions going on. I will continue to patronize Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group due to their current promos and will probably max out the Hyatt’s airline related promotions as well. Personally I am very underwhelmed about the SPG’s summer promotion of 2012.

Accorhotels – Le Club

Accorhotels is offering triple points for weekend stays until June 10th, but these need to be booked by May 10th, 2012. Also there is an offer for 500 Le Club Accorhotels points for playing a game on their Facebook page (no Facebook account needed).

Le Club Accorhotels 500 Points for Free & Triple Points For Stays Including Weekend Night

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There is another offer for 1000 Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan miles for a stay by May 31st, 2012. You can earn this only once.

Le Club Accorhotels Offer of 1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

Best Western Rewards

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Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card started on April 15th and ends on June 3rd. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

You can get a Gold status with Club Carlson by being a Rezidor shareholder.

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

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Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

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Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

Currently there are six different one time Priority Club bonus points offer that you should sign up for.

Six Priority Club Promotions to Sign Up For (UPDATE)

Then IHG has teamed up with Visa to offer you 1000 Priority Club bonus points for registering your Visa card + an additional 5000 points for using the same card to pay for a stay by July 31st, 2012.

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Priority Club Rewards On the Go – 1000 Bonus Points for Signing up + 5000 Bonus Points After a Stay

You can earn 2000 Priority Club bonus points for just signing up for three different Priority Club programs (no purchase required).

Priority Club Shopping Bonus – Receive 1000 Priority Club Points for Signup Up & Registering Your Credit Card + 500 Points Dining Bonus + 500 Points Sailing Bonus

Priority Club is offering 5K/10K/15K bonus points for 3/5/6 nights at InterContinental hotels in the Americas and the Caribbean by the June 30th, 2012.

InterContinental Offer for 5K/10K/15K Bonus Priority Club Points for 3/5/6 Nights

Marriott Rewards

Marriott’s nest promotion starts on June 1st, 2012 and has the usual number of different variations.

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Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood just launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leak, my ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011.

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SPG Nice Choice Promotion Finally Launched

Starwood seems to be promoting their Sheraton brand hard these days. There are three different promotions for Sheraton stays going on.

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

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Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

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Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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This promotion starts on May 1st and end of August 30th, 2012. You will receive the normal number of miles or points for the first stay, triple bonus for stays 2 and 3, and quadruple miles or points for the stays 4 to 11.

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Please note that this promotion is NOT based on nights but rather on stays. You will receive the same number of miles or points regardless how many nights you stay. The promotion is capped at 11 stays.

The cumulative maximum number of points that you would earn by having 11 stays on Air China’s and China Eastern’s programs would be 39200. By crediting 11 stays to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards would earn you 29400 points. In all other programs the cumulative number of points after 11 stays would be the grand total of 24500 miles/points.

This promotion quite frankly works for me. Most of my stays are for one night. Getting 2500 miles for a one night stay is a rather good deal. Maybe I will finally set my foot to Hyatt property this year.

Air China – Phoenix Miles

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Air France-KLM Flying Blue

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ANA Mileage Club

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American Airlines AAdvantage

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British Airways Executive Club

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China Eastern

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Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

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Etihad Guest

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Lufthansa Miles & More

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Qatar Airways – Privilege Club

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Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

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United Airlines – Mileage Plus

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Here are the promotional terms and conditions of the United offer, but they are basically identical for each of these airlines.

More stays means 5X more miles and even more rewards

ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to participate in the Hyatt Summer Airline Promotion (“Promotion”), you must be a member of Hyatt Gold Passport and a member of United MileagePlus.

HOW TO REGISTER: Between April 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Promotion Period”), you can register for Promotion via hyatt.com/UNITEDSUM12A or by calling 1-800-228-3360 and requesting enrollment code UA12S. You must register in advance for stays to qualify. Stays completed before registration are not eligible. You only need to register once.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: After registering for the Promotion, complete two (2) or more stays at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place® , Hyatt House™ or Hyatt Residence Club™ hotel and resort worldwide between May 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Stay Period”) and request United MileagePlus miles for each Eligible Stay. You must provide your United MileagePlus member number at check-in for each Eligible Stay. For each Eligible Stay during the Stay Period, you will earn the award miles as summarized in the chart below. A Eligible Stay is a stay at a participating hotel during the Stay Period with at least one (1) Eligible Night during the stay and request United MileagePlus miles for each stay. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Night” is defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort at an Eligible Rate when choosing United MileagePlus miles as the method of loyalty reward upon check-in at a participating Hyatt property and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights do not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for the room they physically occupy, regardless of the number of paid rooms. Only stays that occur after registration for Promotion will be counted as Eligible Stays.

Hyatt Gold Passport 90 Day Platinum Trial for Visa Signature Cardholders

The time is running out on the Hyatt’s 90 day Platinum trial for Visa signature cardholders. The last day to register for this offer is May 11th, 2012.

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If you complete 8 nights during the 90 day period, the Hyatt will grant you the Platinum status beyond the 90 day period. It doesn’t hurt to sign up even if you do not have plans to stay at Hyatt. You never know when you might end up staying at Hyatt.

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There are some valuable benefits that come with the Platinum status like free internet access worldwide and 2PM check out. You will also receive 15% bonus on points and preferred room. Maybe you end up liking Hyatt a lot and will go for the Diamond status?

Here are the frequently asked questions by Hyatt:

What are the promotional dates?
March 29, 2011 through May 11, 2012

Can anyone participate in this promotion?
Y
es, as long as they are a Gold Passport member, have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature consumer card, and register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com

What if I am not a Gold Passport member and I want to participate?
Individuals may join the Hyatt Gold Passport program by visiting www.GoldPassport.com or by calling 1-800-228-3360, and then they may register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com. You must be a Gold Passport member and have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card to participate.

What if I do not have a Visa Signature card and I want to participate?
Individuals may apply for a Visa Signature card at www.visa.com/visasignature. You must have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card and be a Gold Passport member to participate.

Who is eligible to participate in this promotion?
This offer is open to all Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S.-issued card who are enrolled in Hyatt Gold Passport and register for the promotion.

Do I have a Visa Signature card?
Visa Signature cards has the words “Visa Signature” on the front of the card. If a your are not sure if you have a Visa Signature card, they may enter your 16-digit card number at visasignature.hyatt.com and attempt to register for the promotion. Numbers that are not Visa Signature cards will display an error message.

Are there any other methods to register for this promotion?
No, your Visa Signature card and Gold Passport account information must be verified through the website www.visasignature.hyatt.com.

Are all hotels participating in this promotion?
Yes, all hotels and resorts in the Hyatt Worldwide portfolio will be participating in the promotion. There are no non-participating properties.

Is this promotion only for our U.S. Gold Passport members?
This promotion is open only to Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S. issued card. The Platinum status, however, applies to any worldwide Hyatt property.

If my stay begins before the promotion start date but includes nights within the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. check in March 25 and check out March 31)
Unfortunately, this offer does not apply for any stays that began prior to signing up for the promotion. You will receive Platinum status benefits beginning with your first stay after you have registered for the promotion.

If my stay begins before the promotion end date but includes nights after the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. register on April 2nd, check in June 29th and check out July 2nd)
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking out, your stay will count towards the offer. A “stay” is defined as the total number of consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, whether or not a guest checks out and checks back in again.

If I check into the hotel prior to registering for the promotion, can I still receive my Platinum benefits?
A Gold Passport member must register for the promotion prior to checking in for their hotel stay in order to receive the on-property Platinum benefits. However, if you register during your stay and check-out using your Visa Signature card, then you will receive benefits that would apply after check-out from the property, i.e. the 15% bonus points.

If I made reservations prior to the promotion start date, but the reservation dates are within the promotional period, can I register and participate in the offer?
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking in and use your Visa Signature card upon checking out your stay will qualify for the offer.

How secure is the landing page since I am entering my full 16-digit credit card?
The page is very secure. The 16-digit verification process transmits your information securely with highly effective industry standard level of encryption (SSL).The card number entry is encrypted and only the last four digits of the cardholder’s account number are displayed. The cardholder is also instructed to enter the two words displayed on the screen (varies) as an added layer of security.

When can I expect my Gold Passport Platinum Membership materials?
If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program and 2) have never stayed at Hyatt prior to signing up for the promotion, and 3) don’t stay at a Hyatt property during the trial Platinum period, you will not receive any materials until your first eligible stay after the promo period ends, in which you will receive your Gold Passport Kit. If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program at the time in which you sign up for the promotion and 2) you stay at a Hyatt property after signing up for the promotion, but not enough to earn on-going Platinum status, at the end of the trial Platinum period you will receive a letter thanking you for your participation in the promotion and a Gold Passport Kit. If you achieve on-going Platinum status during the trial Platinum period, you will receive a Platinum Welcome Kit as soon as you achieve the on-going Platinum status. Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive the kit in the mail.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

You must be an active Hyatt Gold Passport member in order to participate in this offer. Hyatt Gold Passport Members must register by May 11, 2012 with their valid U.S.-issued Visa Signature card at www.Hyatt.com/visasignature. Registration through any other source will not qualify for this offer. Once registered, Visa Signature cardholders will receive Platinum status for 90 days beginning with the day of registration. To maintain Platinum membership through February 2013, member must complete eight (8) eligible nights at any Hyatt worldwide within 90 days of enrollment. Platinum 15% point bonus will be awarded for all eligible stays during 90-day trial membership period when member chooses points for their stay.  If you qualify to retain Platinum status through February 2013, you will receive a new membership card, valid through February 2013, within 3-4 weeks of qualifying. Membership benefits will be available to you when you present your membership card at check-in. Limit one trial tier offer per member. Hyatt Gold Passport will track all eligible nights for which a Hyatt Gold Passport account number is provided. An eligible night is defined as a single night at any Hyatt in which an eligible rate is paid. For the purposes of this promotion, an “Eligible Rate” shall be defined as any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to rates found on Hyatt.com, the Hyatt Daily Rate, Volume Account Rates, AAA and Senior Citizen rates. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Third Party Internet Rates (examples include priceline.com, hotels.com, Expedia, and Travelocity), traditional wholesale rates (examples include GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contract is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time). Back-to-back stays at a single Hyatt are considered one stay.

Offer available only to qualifying U.S.-issued Visa Signature cardholders and is not transferable. For more details of Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership and to join, click here. Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership benefits are subject to availability and may vary at each hotel. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this offer at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised, or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Hyatt Gold Passport membership, earning of points and redemption of points are subject to Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions available at Goldpassport.com. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

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