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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.

ritz-carlton-extraordinary-returns_0

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

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Marriott Rewards has teamed up with US Airways and is offering 2000 bonus Dividend Miles per stay for up to 5 stays from May 15th to September 30th, 2012. The reservations need to be booked by June 30th and this promotion is valid at participating Marriot, JW Marriott and Renaissance hotels in United States, Canada, and Mexico.

marriott-rewards-us-airways

If you have an existing Marriott Rewards account, you need to register for this promotion and change your earnings method from points to US Airways Dividend miles. New members just need to sign up for the Marriott Rewards using the link on the promotional page.

Marriott also has their Summer MegaBonus for free night certificates or bonus points. Also, MegaMiles promotion for triple airline miles is starting on July 1st.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

Offer valid May 15, 2012 through September 30, 2012. Reservation must be made by June 30, 2012. Enrollment and registration with Marriott Rewards® is required to be eligible for this promotion.  US Airways® Dividend Miles members must be members of Marriott Rewards and indicate US Airways as their earning preference in order to qualify for this offer. A maximum of 2,000 bonus miles can be earned per stay and a maximum of 10,000 bonus miles can be earned with this promotion. Miles earned on all qualifying charges at participating JW Marriott,® Renaissance® Hotels and Marriott® Hotels & Resorts.  Members electing to earn Marriott Rewards points are not eligible for this promotion. Please allow six to eight weeks after promotion ends for bonus miles to be posted to your US Airways Dividend Miles account. A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent in the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity. Your preferred airline/miles program reserves the right to change program rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers at any time without notice. Any such changes may affect your ability to use the awards or mileage credits that you have accumulated. All program terms and conditions of your preferred airline/miles program apply.  All Marriott Rewards terms and conditions apply. See MarriottRewards.com or call 800-249-0800 for complete Marriott Rewards terms and conditions.
This Marriott Rewards promotional offer is valid for qualifying stays you personally make at participating JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels and Marriott Hotels & Resorts located in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For a complete listing, visithttp://joinmarriottrewards.com/usairways/properties.aspx.

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One way to save few bucks on Marriott family of hotel stays is to use gift cards that you buy prior to your stay from Marriott. There is typically an offer during the end of the year for discounts and extra miles for gift cards purchases.

You can use Marriott gift cards to settle your bill at all Marriott family of hotels locations. You cannot use them, however, to guarantee your stay or for authorization purposes. You can pay your stay when you check in and then leave a smaller hold by a credit card, and settle your incidentals again using the gift card when checking out.

Right now there are two ways to save if you need to purchase Marriott Gift Cards

1. TopCashBack is offering 5% cashback for Marriott gift card purchases. You need to sign up for the service and make the purchase using the link from TopCashBack. Then couple of months later you will receive the rebate by PayPal. (For full disclosure purposes I will get a $10 referral credit if you sign up using the embedded link)

marriott-topcashback

2. You can currently buy Marriott gift cards and earn TWO Delta SkyMiles per dollar for up to $5K in gift card purchases.

marriott-delta

Personally, I would rake 5% cashback over 2 SkyMiles per dollar loaded, but individual circumstances may vary of course. You could have recently purchases Marriott gift cards up to 21% discount during the Daily Getaways. I don’t think that we are going to see a very good offer before the holiday period at the end of the year.

Here are the terms and conditions of the Delta SkyMiles offer:

Delta SkyMiles Promotion Terms & Conditions

Marriott GiftCards, purchased in $250 increments earn 500 bonus SkyMiles, $500 increments earn 1,000 bonus SkyMiles or $1,000 increments earn 2,000 bonus SkyMiles allowing a maximum of 10,000 bonus SkyMiles to be awarded per Delta SkyMiles member during promotional period. Delta SkyMiles will be awarded to the account number specified during purchase. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. This is an online promotion only and not valid on Marriott GiftCards purchased on property, via 3rd parties or 1 800 813 GIFT. Shipping and handling fees apply. Promotion is valid June 3, 2012 through September 2, 2012 only.

The Marriott GiftCard can be used for all purchases and services charged to a Marriott guest room folio. If you are not a registered hotel guest and are planning to use this card at a spa, restaurant, retail store, or other outlet, please confirm in advance that the Marriott GiftCard is accepted. The Marriott Gift Card cannot be used to guarantee a room reservation or pay in advance, but may be used as payment at check-out. Gift Card purchases earning Delta SkyMiles are not eligible for return or refund. Marriott Rewards points will not be earned with the purchase of the GiftCards. While supplies last.

Please allow four to six weeks after date of purchase for points to post to your Delta SkyMiles account. Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice. All Delta SkyMiles Program Rules apply. All Marriott Rewards rules and regulations apply.

See full Marriott Rewards Terms and Conditions

See full Marriott GiftCard Terms and Conditions

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Last year, I fell short on my Marriott stays to qualify for a Platinum status. Starwood had their excellent summer promotion and, as a result, I spent most of my summer and fall months at their properties. Marriott offered the Buy Back Elite status, but I decided not to take part of that offer.

Marriott’s summer 2012 promotion just started on June 1st. There are quite a few different options from free night certificates to bonus points. Not sure why, but I wasn’t targeted to ANY of the promotions. My preference would have been the three free night certificates after six stays. I wrote a piece about changing the targeted Marriott promotions by contacting them by phone, email, or via FlyerTalk.

marriott-copy-of-email

On June 4th I sent a very brief email to Marriott to sign me up for the Taste of Platinum-challenge and for the free night certificate version of the summer promotion.

marriott-reply

It took Marriott less than 48 hours to get back to me, and sign me up for the Taste of Platinum and for the summer Marriott promotion that I preferred. As a result, I will have a night at a Marriott property here in Bangkok later tonight.

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You can earn triple airline miles for your Marriott family of hotels stays from July 1st to October 31st, 2012 with participating airlines. If you are a points collector you need to change your preference to miles, before you can start earning triple miles.

marriott-megamiles

There is no need to register for this promotion as long as you have miles and preferred airline partner selected in your Marriott Rewards profile. The number of miles you earn is dependent of the hotel brand. You can read more about earning miles on Marriott’s website here.

Thing to keep in mind is that you will probably do better if you just continue to earn points, participate to the close to quarterly MegaBonuses, and then later redeem for Marriott Travel Packages.

Here’s the list of participating airline partners:

Aeroflot
Air Berlin
Air Canada (Aeroplan)
Air China
Air France/KLM
Alaska Airlines
Alitalia
ANA
Asiana
Avianca-TACA
Avios
British Airways
Cathay Pacific
China Eastern
China Southern
Delta
Frontier
Gol/Varig
Hawaiian
Japan Airlines
Jet Airways
JetBlue
Kingfisher Airlines
LAN
Lufthansa
Qatar
Singapore Airlines
Southwest
TAP Portugal
United Airlines
US Airways
Virgin America
Virgin Atlantic

Here are the Terms and conditions of this promotion: [click to continue…]

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There are currently promotions going on with number of chains. My personal choice for the June are the three Club Carlson promotions, Marriott’s promotion of a free night for every two stays capped at three free nights, and the InterContinental Hotels Group due to number of stackable promotions. The very confusing SPG promotions is going on depending what is the earning period that you will choose (no need to choose until the end of this month). Hyatt’s airline related bonuses are very good as well.

Sign up for our free daily blog updates by email, so that you don’t miss any valuable information about airlines and hotels.

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.

There was a promo for triple points for stays until June 10th that include a weekend night. You had to book these by May 10th, however.

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

The offer for complimentary Le Club Accorhotels Platinum status is still up:

Accor A|Club / Le Club Accorhotels Platinum Status for New Accounts

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Rewards is offering a free night certificate after three stays. This promotion starts 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

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

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

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

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 second quarter promotion of Double Points or Miles is coming to an end on June 30th.

hilton-hhonors-double-points-2nd-q-2012

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

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

hilton-home-2-suites-bonus-offer

Hilton Home2 Suites Bonus Offer – 2000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for First Stay

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?

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

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

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-summer-promo

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.

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

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

Priority Club Summer Promotion 1000 Bonus Points Per Night

You can get a $75 Vacation Pay MasterCard after a rebate for every weekend stay of 2 nights or longer.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer – Stay Two Weekend Nights Get $75 Pre-Paid MasterCard

Then there is a $50 rebate for two nights or longer weeknight stays.

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Offering $50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stays

There is an offer for a free digital camera for 6 stays in the Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotels in the UK.

Priority Club Olympics Offer – Stay 6 Nights at Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express Hotels in the UK Get a Panasonics Limited Edition Digital Camera + Enter to Win Olympics Tickets + 1000 Priority Club Bonus Points Per Stay

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

marriott-summer-promotion-3-free-nights

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

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

There are no current promotional offers from Ritz-Carlton.

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 need to choose what you would like to earn and when by June 30th, 2012.

spg-nice-choice-o

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

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.

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

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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.

doha-spg-sheraton

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.

doha-wyndham-ramada-price-2

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.

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Aeroplan is offering bonus for transfers in from number of loyalty programs excluding US based Amex cards. There doesn’t seem to be a requirement to register for this promotion in advance.

aeroplan-transfer-offer-2012

The bonus is 20% for transfers at 5K, 20K, and 50K levels, 25% at 100K, and 26.7% bonus at 150K.

aeroplan-bonus-miles

My favorite program to transfer out is Starwood Preferred Guest. For transferring 80K SPG would eventually become 125K Aeroplan miles. SPG gives a 5K bonus for every 20K transferred so 80K transfer would actually be 100K when it hits the Aeroplan account. This then gets the additional 25% promotional Aeroplan bump.

Aeroplan used to be one of the favorites Star Alliance programs to redeem international business and first class flights. Award chart adjustment and starting to charge YQ’s (fuel surcharges) for number of redemption partners have made the program less attractive as of late. But if you have some miles sitting on your Aeroplan account and would need to top it, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Here is the list of eligible transfer partners:

CIBC Aventura®World MasterCard™ Card, CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa™, CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite™, CIBC Aventura® MasterCard™ Card, American Express Membership Rewards – Canada, BankAmericard® Power Rewards® credit card, Diners Club® Club Rewards®, Starwood Preferred Guest®, Hilton HHonors™, Marriott Rewards, Wyndham Rewards®, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges®, Coast Rewards, Club CarlsonSM, Le Club Accorhotels (Accor hotels), Golden Circle Award, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Points.com

Please note that while Membership Rewards® points from U.S. American Express Cardmember accounts may be converted into Aeroplan Miles, their conversion is not eligible for the bonus promotion.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Maximum 40,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles can be earned per Aeroplan Member. Bonus offer valid only on conversions made between May 21 and June 18, 2012 (11:59 EST). Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be issued by Aeroplan as follows: 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is between 5,000 and 9,999 Aeroplan Miles; OR 2,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is between 10,000 and 19,999 Aeroplan Miles; OR 4,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is between 20,000 and 49,999 Aeroplan Miles; OR 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is between 50,000 and 99,999 Aeroplan Miles; OR 25,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is between 100,000 and 149,999 Aeroplan Miles; OR 40,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be deposited into the member’s account when the total Aeroplan Miles earned by converting points from any combination of eligible partners programs during the promotion period is 150,000 or more Aeroplan Miles. Conversion of Membership Rewards® points from U.S. American Express Cardmember accounts into Aeroplan Miles are not eligible for this promotion. POINTS.com: Aeroplan Miles procured via a Trade transaction with another member on Points.com are not eligible towards the conversion bonus threshold. BONUS MILE CREDITING: Bonus miles are credited 7-10 days following successful receipt by Aeroplan of a conversion transaction from the partner. Note that some partners may take up to 2 weeks to submit point-to-mile conversions to Aeroplan. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Marriott tend to run their bigger promotions three times a year. Their winter Megabonus just ended, and the next one is starting at the beginning of June.

Marriott has one bonus offer that is available for their “base” members that sometimes is better than what is offered to their elites.

During the Marriott’s summer promotion the best offer is probably the free night certificate after every two stays for up to three certificates. These are capped at category 4 properties that are sometimes hard to find in the popular US destinations. I tend to use them in Asia and in the Middle East, where you can find very good properties even at category 4 or lower.

What to do if you like to switch the promotion?

If you like to switch the targeted promotions, there are few ways to do it. You might get shown down on your first try, so it doesn’t hurt to try again.

1. Call Marriott Rewards customer service number and tell them the offer that you would prefer to be signed up for.

There is no need to lie, but I prefer to say that a colleague of mine got offered a promotion that I wasn’t, and if they could switch mine to it.

2. Send an email to Marriott Concierge

You can use the following email address to send your request: marriott.concierge@marriott.com. Remember to include your account info and the promotions that you would like to sign up for.

3. Send a private message to the Marriott Concierge through FlyerTalk

Companies hate when they get negative publicity on FlyerTalk. You can also reach the Marriott Concierge by signing up for a FlyerTalk account and then sending them a request through a private message. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/members/marriott-concierge.html

How changing the promotion works?

These customer service people cannot change the promotion that you were originally targeted for, but they can notate your account that you were switched to another promotion. Then, once the promotion is over, they need to manually post the certificates or points to your account, and possibly remove what you have earned from the promotion that you were originally targeted for.

My advice would be to do it electronically so that you have a form of proof that this actually took place. If you decide to do it over the phone, make sure that you write down the name of the person and the date and time of the call.

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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

le-club-accorhotels-triple-points

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

best-western-spring-promo

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.

choise-hotels-march-promo

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.

hilton-hhonors-double-points-2nd-q-2012

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.

priority-club-rewards-on-the-go

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.

marriott-summer-promotion-3-free-nights

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.

spg-nice-choice-o

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

wyndham-reward-spring-2012-non-north-america

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

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The details of the Marriott summer promotion have now merged. As usually there are various offers based on your Marriott stays history for bonus points or free night certificates. The promotion starts on June 1st and ends of August 31st, 2012. You need to register for the promotion by June 30th, 2012. If you are an active Marriott Rewards member, you can find out the promotion that you are signed up for by singing to your Marriott Rewards account and going to the Promotion Central.

marriott-summer-promotion-3-free-nights

The default promotion for new Marriott Reward accounts is the free night certificate one.

Here are the different variations of the offer:

1. Max 3 free night certificates. One free night certificate up to category four for every two paid stays.

2. Maximum of 40000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 25 paid nights. 20000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 15 nights, an additional 10000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, and another 10000 bonus points after 25 nights.

3. Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 4 different brands. 2500 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 2 different Marriott brands, an additional 2500 bonus points after staying at 3 different Marriott brands, and additional 10000 bonus points after staying at 4 different Marriott brands.

4. Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after 3 weekend stays. You will earn 5000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points after one weekend stay, an additional 5000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after your second weekend stay, and an additional 5000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after third weekend stay.

It is still unclear at the moment, if there is a separate promotion for those that collect airline miles. As always, you can switch the promotion that you are signed up for automatically by calling the Marriott Rewards customer service. They will manually notate your account and will issue the points or free night certificates at the end of the promotional period.

This is the first time that the free night certificates are valid for 12 months after their issuance. Previously they have been valid only for 6 months.

Which promotion to sign up for?

It depends of your goal. For my personal purposes, the stay 6 times get 3 free nights certificates for up to category 4 is the obvious choice. Just to note that the free night certificate promo is based on STAYS and not on nights.

If you do not have use for free night certificates that are only valid for category 4, then you need to choose one of the other three options.

For those that have 25 nights or more during the June 1st to August 31st time frame, the maximum of 40000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points is the obvious choice. You can use the points the anyway you like i.e. travel packages, and the points never expire.

If you don’t like the free night certificates but don’t quite have the minimum of 15 nights that would be required for the nights based promotion, your choice is then one of the other two promotions. One is based on the number of Marriott family of hotels brands you stay, and the other is based on number of weekend stays.

Maximum of 3 Free Nights terms and conditions

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn one (1) free night award at a category 1-4 hotel after every second paid stay made between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • Maximum three (3) free night awards earned with this promotion per member.
  • A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • An earned free night award can be redeemed for a future stay at participating Marriott Rewards category 1-4 properties for one (1) free night. Free night award will expire one (1) year after the date of issuance.
  • An earned free night award is good for one (1) single or double occupancy standard room only and includes the cost of the hotel room and applicable room taxes only.
  • An earned free night award will be added to the member’s account within 3-5 business days after the second qualifying stay.
  • Awards are not transferable and may not be given as a gift.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com  or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

 Maximum of 40000 Marriott Rewards bonus points terms and conditions

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 20,000 bonus points after 15 paid nights, an additional 10,000 bonus points after 20 paid nights, plus an additional 10,000 bonus points after 25 paid nights—up to a maximum of 40,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

Maximum of 15000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after staying at 4 different Marriott brands

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 2,500 bonus points after staying at two (2) different Marriott hotel brands, an additional 2,500 bonus points after staying at three (3) different brands, and an additional 10,000 bonus points after staying at four (4) different brands—up to a maximum of 15,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at participating Marriott properties.
  • Bonus points will be awarded in one lump sum 3-5 weeks after the conclusion of the promotion.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

Maximum of 15000 bonus Marriott Rewards bonus points after 3 weekend stays

  • Registration is required.
  • Marriott Rewards® members who register for this promotion by June 30, 2012, will earn 5,000 bonus points after one (1) weekend stay, an additional 5,000 bonus points after two (2) weekend stays, and an additional 5,000 bonus points after three (3) weekend stays—up to a maximum of 15,000 bonus points—between June 1, 2012, and August 31, 2012, at a participating Marriott property.
  • A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
  • A ‘weekend’ is defined as any stay including a Friday and/or Saturday night.
  • Only one room per hotel is counted toward a member’s nights or stay.
  • This offer is not transferable.
  • Nights spent while redeeming an award are not eligible for credit, and MVCI owner-occupied weeks are not eligible for credit.
  • Members electing to earn miles are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Offer valid at participating hotels within the following participating brands, including JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott® and Marriott Vacation Club®.
  • Stays at our exclusive luxury partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achieving your bonus.
  • All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply.
  • Visit MarriottRewardsBonus.com or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) for complete details.

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British Airways is offering a 25% conversion bonus for transfers from hotel programs to BA’s Avios. This offer is valid from transfer made from 20th of April to June 20th, 2012. You can stack this offer with possible transfer bonuses from hotel programs i.e. 20K SPG transferred to BA would become 25K BA + additional 25% conversion bonus from BA.

ba-avios-25-conversion-bonus

Please note that you need to be logged in to your Executive Club account in order to see the offer details.

This transfer bonus applies for conversions from Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, Carlson, Starwood, Shangri-La, Hyatt, and Accor programs.

British Airways revamped their program last year. Long haul redemptions became rather expensive using Avios, and you have to bear in mind that BA collects “fake” fuel surcharges on most of its awards. Expect to pay in excess of $1K in YQ’s for C/F redemptions between Europe and the United States or vice versa. B

A’s program does have some bright spots as well. Short haul redemptions in economy are quite good value especially between expensive markets.

Here’s how transferring Starpoints from SPG’s program would work: [click to continue…]

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Please note that this night based challenge has now expired. I have a new post about the latest requirement of getting fast track to Silver/Gold/Platinum status with Marriott. You can access it here

You can get a temporarily match to Gold or Platinum status with Marriott rewards, and then you have at minimum three months to complete 12 nights for Gold or 18 nights for Platinum status depending which challenge you requested/were targeted for. The normal Gold status requirement is 50 nights and Platinum status 75 nights within a calendar year. Both Starwood and Hyatt have similar programs available. You can read about Starwood options here and Hyatt’s procedures here.

marriott-rewards-screen

Marriott uses somewhat interchangeably words Taste of Gold/Platinum, status match, and challenge when it comes to accelerating the status with the program.

The key is to start the challenge after the 1st of the month. If you start the taste of challenge on May 1st, you have only May, June, and July time to complete it. By starting May 5th you would have not only May, June, and July, but also August to complete it.

Marriott will give you an instant Gold or Platinum status for the duration of the taste of period and will extend it upon completion of the required number of nights.

It is somewhat ambiguous whether you can do challenges year after year, but I would definitely not count on it.

The best time to apply for a challenge would be right after beginning of next month. Then you would have the Gold or Platinum status until the end of August, 2012 and, if you successfully completed the challenge, the status would be valid until February 2014.

Then in 2014 you can probably do another Taste of Gold/Platinum or simply buy back the Gold/Platinum status for additional year. Marriott Rewards has offered every year a chance to buy back the previous status, if you have been downgraded. You can read more about the process on a recent piece that I wrote.

To request the taste of Gold/Platinum just send an email to rewards.procedures@marriott.com, marriott.concierge@marriott.com, or elite.member@Marriott.com. Alternatively you can send them a message through Marriott.com, or give them a call. If you get shot down by email, it doesn’t hurt to give them a call or vice versa.

Here’s a typical reply that you can expect:

The Platinum challenge requires that a member must stay 18 paid nights beginning with the date the upgrade is processed till the end of the promotional three month period and is a one-time offer.

Once the member has stayed 18 paid nights, the Platinum Elite status will be extended until February 2014.  To retain this status for all of 2014, the member would need to stay the qualifying number of nights during 2013.  The Silver Elite level requires 10 personal paid nights, the Gold Elite level requires 50 personal paid nights, and the Platinum Elite level requires 75 personal paid nights.

Should the member be unable to stay the 18 paid nights during this trial period, the member’s account would be returned to the member’s original status, and the member would need to stay the normal night requirements to regain this Platinum Elite level.

Elite nights earned through promotions that appear as non-stay nights in the member’s account do not qualify for this offer.

Have you experiences the Taste of Gold/Platinum program, status challenge, or status march with Marriott Rewards? When did you apply and how long were your status valid? Please leave a comment below.

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We now have the details of the deals for the first two weeks of the Discover America. These are brought by the US Travel Association and American Express. You can use any credit card to pay, but you will receive 10% discount if paid using American Express branded card.

discover-daily

Having a quick look there really aren’t any “deals” that I would need to participate in the first two weeks.

Here are three deals that are worth having a look:

daily-getaways-apri-9-13

1. Priority Club point packages on April 8th

InterContinental Group is selling 10K points for $67, 40K points for $267 & 25K points for $167. You can buy Priority Club points any day by doing cash + money redemption for $60 per 10K Priority Club points. Canceling the reservation doesn’t reverse the point transaction, however.

The benefit of buying Priority Club points through Discover America is that these points will count toward the elite qualification. You can make a Priority Club Platinum by buying 60K points.

2. Avis Chairman’s Club Membership for $1115

This can come handy if you are doing lot of airport rentals. This membership includes an airport drop off and delivery. This could truly be a timesaver. I was actually contemplating buying this membership the other year as I used to rent a lot from Avis.

discover-daily-marriott

3. Marriott Travel Cards at 20% Discount When Paid Using Amex

Marriott tends to run promotions for buying Marriott gift cards with number of airlines. You usually get a 10% discount or 10% premium and airline miles. When bought directly from Marriott, you do get the bonus points for buying the card using Marriott branded credit cards. If you buy it from Discover America, the purchase is not coded as Marriott and you lose the bonus points for Marriott purchases.

Marriott has sometimes run promotions that are tied to a type of credit card the bill is used to settle. Marriott Gift cards used to be Visa’s, but no longer. Just a thing to keep in mind.