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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.

hyatt-summer-promo

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.

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Here’s the monthly hotel promotions wrap up.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card won’t start before April 15th. 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

best-western-spring-promo

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

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.

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

choise-hotels-march-promo

Hilton HHonors

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?

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

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

The following promotion expires at the end of this month. You can get a free night certificate after five night resort stay or two after ten. You can also do two give night resort stays.

 ‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s promo that expires at the end of April is for up to 44000 extra Hyatt Gold Passport points after 16 nights.

Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

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

Double points or miles end on April 30th.

Double Points or Miles – 2X More

intercontinental-hotels-group-1q-2012-promotion-double-points-or-miles

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

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.

Three Priority Club Points Promotions That You Should Sign Up For

One is for 1000 bonus points per stay for 90 days after registering (this is the most lucrative if you have number of paid stays), another one is for 3000 bonus points after a stay, and the third one is for 1500 welcome back bonus.

There is a forth one that I have yet written about. It is 1500 Priority Club points after a stay. The promotional code for that one is 5109. I tested it last week when I was staying at an IHG property. It posted without a problem.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has two promotions running until the end of April. MegaMiles and MegaBonus.

Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

marriott-rewards-spring-2012-megabonus

MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

You can get two free night certs after four stays. This promotion expires on April 15th.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

ritz-carlton-rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood promotion Better by the night is expiring on April 8th. We don’t have information about their next move.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

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

spg-1000-bonus-points-sheraton-club

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

spg-sheraton-1000-bonus

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-stay-2-get-2

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

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

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UPDATE: If you signed up for the challenge after May 31st and successfully complete it, your Hyatt Gold Passport status will be valid until the end of February 2014.

Hyatt has a nice little program, and I have been a Diamond member since 2004. The program has grown significantly since 2004 mainly by Hyatt acquiring both Amerisuites, which were later converted to Hyatt Places, and Summerfield Suites, that became Hyatt Houses. Both of these acquisitions were a way for Hyatt to enter the limited service market i.e. Hilton’s Hampton Inn.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss any valuable program information and promotions that Hyatt Gold Passport offers.

How to get matched to Hyatt Diamond status?

Hyatt ended doing direct status matched back in 2010. Since then Hyatt has started to do challenges called Hyatt Diamond Trial. You can probably still get a direct match, but you need to do it through a hotels sales department, and it is probably quite a hassle.

 Do you have any of the following statuses?

– Hilton Gold (you can get one easily using this or this) & Hilton Diamond

– SPG Platinum

– Marriott Gold & Platinum

– Priority Club Platinum

Hyatt may match others as well, but it could be worth printing your stay history that shows significant stay activity.

You will be awarded a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Trial, which is in fact a full-fledged Diamond status for 60 days. You will get all the Diamond level benefits during this 60 day period including the four Diamond Suite Awards that are valid up to 7 days each. You can use these to upgrade any paid stay (eligible rate) to a suite at a property that is not on the exclusion list, and has confirmable suite inventory available at the time of request. You need to do the request over the phone as the website is incapable of processing these.

Timing of the Diamond Trial

If you request your Diamond trial now and complete the required number of nights (12), your Hyatt Diamond status will be valid until February 2013. You need to complete the required 25 stays or 50 nights before end of this year to qualify for Diamond status all the way until 2014.

It might be better idea to start the Diamond challenge/trial in the second half of 2012. If nothing has changed, your status should then be valid until February 2014 after doing the required 12 nights in 60 days. Unfortunately I am not aware of the exact cut-off date for this.

Process of requesting the Diamond Challenge/Trial

Do you have a Hyatt Gold Passport account set up? If not it is probably best to set it up online first. Then you need to call (this would be my choice) or send an email request to the service center using the online web form.

You should then receive a following reply within 24 hours:

Thank you for contacting Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service. I
appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Regarding your inquiry, currently a Diamond Trial Offer is available.
You will receive trial Diamond membership for 60 days with proof of top
tier status with one of our competitors program.  However, you must
complete 12 nights in 60 days to maintain Diamond tier through February
of 2013.  You will also receive 1000 bonus points on your first six
eligible nights within 60 days, up to a maximum of 6000 bonus points.

Please note this offer can only be made one time and can not be extended
beyond the 60 day period.

Please note the list of competitors that Hyatt Gold Passport will match:

Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
Priority Club Platinum

Please email or mail a statement of your account activity with a
competitor to us for processing at:

PO Box 27089
Omaha, NE 68127-0089

To find more details on our exclusive Diamond status please visit us
online at:
http://goldpassport.hyatt.com/gp/benefits/membership_diamond.jsp

I appreciate your support of Hyatt and the Gold Passport program. Please
let me know if I may assist you further.

Sincerely,

XX XX
Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service

You can mail the requested documents to the above mentioned address or email them to goldpassport@hyatt.com.

They should process the documents within 24 hours and you can then immediately see the updated status by logging in to your Hyatt Gold Passport account.

Note that theoretically this is only once in a lifetime (or program account). You should probably do it if you plan on staying with Hyatt to experience the Hyatt Diamond treatment. As a bonus you will also receive 1000 bonus Gold Passport points for first six of your eligible night during this period.

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US Airways has been very predictable of running continuous promotions for buying, gifting, transferring, or converting, money or points to Dividend miles. Their latest offer is 50% bonus for points conversions from number of hotel programs. US Airways run identical offer last year.

Please note that according to the Terms and conditions you can only earn the conversion bonus ONCE.

us-airways-conversion-offer

The beauty of Dividend miles program are the rather generous routing rules, competitive award chart, ability to earn and burn on all Star Alliance carriers and then some, and these continuous offers from Dividend miles.

Essentially, US Airways is selling miles at a reasonable rate that enables the travelers like you and me to experience international business and first class at a fraction of the cost.

But, as always when you are dealing with award space, you need to be flexible and often book either well in advance or at a very last minute. I tend to typically do the latter. When airlines realize that they have unsold business and first class inventory, they often dump it to the award inventory few days before.

There are some drawbacks with US Airways Dividend miles as well. You will end up paying some fees unless you are top tier on their program. There is a booking fee (up to $50) as these cannot be booked on the web, and a quick ticketing fee ($75) if you book less than 21 days in advance. There are no fuel surcharges, however. The US Airways may not be the most stable of the airlines, and there has been some chatter lately of some changes to come. I would do a transfer or buy miles without hesitation, if I know how I would spend them in the next 6 to 12 months.

Look at the conversion partners

The conversion partners this time are Best Western, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest, Wyndham Rewards, and La Quinta.

us-airways-conversion-offer-partners

I am only concentrating on Club Carlson, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest conversion possibilities. I don’t believe that the other options provide too much value unless you just need to top off your Dividend Miles account for small number of miles.

Club Carlson

club-carlson-us-airways

This is very straightforward offer. 100K Club Carlson points would transfer with the 50% conversion bonus to 27K Dividend Miles.

Hyatt Gold Passport

I don’t think that this is a good use of Hyatt Gold Passport points, but this is the last opportunity to transfer them to US Airways and earn the conversion bonus. You cannot earn Dividend Miles or transfer Gold Passport points to Dividend Miles after March 15th, 2012. Hyatt announced their discontinuance of this and some other airline partnerships on February 23rd.

hyatt-gold-passport-us-conversion

50K Hyatt Gold Passport points would become 37.5K Dividend Miles after Hyatt’s and US Airways’ conversion bonuses. It is actually not that shabby at all.

Marriott Rewards

I transferred close to a million Marriott Rewards points when AA was running somewhat similar conversion bonus before their partnership with Marriott Rewards ended. It was the major push to take me over 2 million lifetime miles in AA’s program and granting me a lifetime AA Platinum status.

us-airways-marriott-packages

The key here is to use Marriott Rewards points for travel packages that have a miles component as well. You can get a seven night award category 1 to 5 Marriott Rewards property and 120K (180K with conversion bonus) US Airways Dividend Miles for 270K Marriott Rewards points.  This is what I did few years ago with AA. The hotel part of this is valid for a year. I was, however, able to extend them by an additional year, but it is no longer possible. There aren’t that many interesting cat 1 to 5 in North America, but there are quite a few in Asia.

Starwood Preferred Guest

This is my favorite hotel program when it comes to transferring points to partners. Starwood has a nice list of partner airlines where you can dump points when needed.

us-airways-starwood-conversion

For every 20K Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a 5K miles bonus from Starwood. With the US conversion bonus 20K Starpoints becomes 37.5K Dividend Miles. Note that you can transfer only 60K Starpoints per day to US Airways if you want to maximize the bonuses. This would be 112.5K Dividend Miles.

Here are the Terms and Conditions of this offer that can also be found here.

Eligibility: Offer void where prohibited by law. No registration required. Only miles converted with an activity (‘eligible activity date’) date between March 11, 2012 and March 31, 2012 will earn a bonus. Earning bonus miles: Bonus miles are in addition to Dividend Miles awarded by hotel partners for points conversions. Only hotel points that are converted into Dividend Miles from March 11, 2012 – March 31, 2012 are eligible. Hotel bonus miles do not count towards Preferred status. Bonus miles will post 6-8 weeks from date of the eligible activity date. Dividend Miles members will earn only one bonus when they transfer hotel points into Dividend Miles during the promotion. Dividend Miles members will earn a 50% bonus. Eligible activity date: Eligible activity date is based on the date the qualifying partner records the mileage transaction, and not necessarily the date on which the transaction occurred. US Airways assumes no responsibility for how qualifying partners record activity dates. Check with the applicable partner to confirm policies and procedures for recording activity dates. The last date that activity from a qualifying partner can be received by US Airways for bonus miles consideration is April 10, 2012, regardless of the eligible activity date for such activity. General terms: All US Airways Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply. You may opt out of US Airways emails at any time. US Airways is not responsible for the quality or delivery of goods and/or services provided by Dividend Miles partners. All Dividend Miles partner terms and conditions apply. Partner offers are subject to change without notice. Hotel transfers (points to miles conversions) are subject to terms and conditions as stipulated in your agreement with your hotel program.

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Hyatt, Marriott and now also Starwood has realized that giving out a lifetime status after meeting some pretty tough revenue, number of nights, and number of years in the program could be an important part to make members stick with the chain long term.

I have already independently written about Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood requirements. Currently neither InterContinental Hotels Group (Priority Club/Ambassador) nor Hilton offer a lifetime incentive for their members.

My preference in easiness of achieving the top tier lifetime status in these three programs is as following:

1. Starwood Lifetime Platinum

Requires only 500 nights (now all nights count including cash & points/award) + 10 years of Platinum membership

This is in my opinion the easiest. The night requirement is not onerous. The only “real” requirement is the fact that you need to have Platinum status for 10 years. These years do not need to be continuous, but other years do not count for lifetime Platinum.

2. Marriott Lifetime Platinum

Requires 2 million points, 1000 nights & 12 years as a Marriott Rewards member.

The biggest hurdle is the number of night’s requirement, although all the nights count including the ones from credit card + possible meeting ones.

The 2 million point’s requirement might sound high, but in reality it is not considering how many points you will earn from the stays including all the status based bonuses, Megabonus promotions, and points from the credit card spend.

You need to have been at least ones a Platinum member during your membership of the program.

3. Hyatt Lifetime Diamond

This can be the easiest or hardest depending how much you spend. The requirement is one million base points. These are NOT the lifetime points that you can see in your account, but only points that are from eligible revenue before any additional bonuses. It translates to $200K in Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points. If you have credited some of the stays to airline miles, none of those count for this lifetime status.

The only other requirement is the requirement of having been a Gold Passport member for 10 years. There is no need to ever have a status with Hyatt.

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0 Comments

It is time for a March hotel promotions update. This is the first time I will include the Choice Privileges in this update as well. In the future you will most likely see Accor and Best Western promotions as well. There are so many different promotions going on that there is, for sure, something for everyone.

I am working on the Two Days of Happy Starwood promotion that is about to end. Will probably have quite a few InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton stays next. Both have very good promotions going on.

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. This promotion is valid until March 16th, 2012. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.

club-carlson-triple-points

Club Carlson “Triple Points – Faster Nights” Promotion – Triple Gold Points Worldwide

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

Choice has a promotion starting on March 8th for 8000 points for every two stays. On some brands you need two nights for a stay.

choise-hotels-march-promo

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

Hilton HHonors

Hilton has the most promotions running that you can combine together. 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 choose one of these airline promotions as your double dip earnings partner. My personal favorite still is BMI that would earn 1k per night and up to three nights regardless of the Hilton brand. Please note that all these airline related bonuses are scheduled to end on March 31st.

hilton-hhonors-emirates-promo

Triple ANA and Double Emirates Miles for Hilton Stays Until March 31st

Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

Earn 2012 Bonus Delta SkyMiles per Two Night Hilton Stay

The British Airways promotion shows 1500 bonus Avios, but what has been posting to members is 1000. If you don’t get the correct amount,  I would suggest that you write to Hilton and reference their own promotional page for this offer.

hilton-hhonors-avios-campaign

Hilton HHonors With British Airways Offering 1500 Bonus Avios Per Stay Until March 31st, 2012

These are the two main promotions for the time. More Points promotion for extra points for each nights and more for weekend stays, and free night certificates for longer resort stays.

Hilton HHonors 1st Quarter 2012 “More Points” Promotion

‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

You can earn up to 44K extra points for 16 stays during the promotional period. That is extra 2750 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

Hyatt Announced Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

The first promotion for double points starting from your second stay and the 5/7/15 stays for 5K/10K/15K bonus points are combinable. The first one runs until the end of April and the second until the end of March. Note that you need to choose the bonus after 5, 7, or 15 stays. If you don’t meet the threshold, you won’t get the associate bonus.

Priority Club 1st Quarter 2012 Promotion Announced – Double Points or Miles – 2X More

Priority Club Bonus Points Promo for 1st Quarter 2012

Marriott Rewards / Ritz-Carton Rewards

Remember that you can have only Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. You cannot have both. You can, however, switch between accounts as often as you wish just by calling the rewards customer service.

ritz-carlton-rewards

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

Note that you can only register for the MegaBonus or MegaMiles promotion. There are number of different MegaBonus thresholds. Pick up the ones that fits you best, and call the Marriott Rewards customer service if you need to switch your targeted promotion to something else.

Marriott Rewards Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer

Earn Up To 50000 Virgin America Elevate Bonus Points During Marriott’s MegaMiles Promotion

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood has two different promotions that are both exclusive. The Better By the Night is valid in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The list of non-participating properties is rather long. Note that this is NOT valid in the Asia-Pacific region that has their own promotion. The Two Days of Happy end of March 15th.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

‘Two Days of Happy’ – Stay 5 Nights Get One Free Night Certificate – Stay 9 Nights Get Two Free Night Certificates – 4MCFN

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

spg-1000-bonus-points-sheraton-club

Starwood Offering 1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

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Marriott just released a list of hotels that are moving up and down in award categories in 2012. According to the release 100 hotels are moving down (I counted 97) and 526 are moving up (I counted 516). In percentage terms 3% are moving down and 14% are moving up. The rest are staying at the current category level. Marriott also has four Ritz-Carlton moving from Ritz-Carlton Category 4 to 3, two moving from category 2 to 3, and another two from 3 to 4.

marriott-rewards-category-changes

Starwood released their category changes on February 16th. They had 13% moving down and 17% moving up. InterContinental Hotels Group announced on January 3rd that 25% of their hotels are moving up and 20% are moving down. They didn’t, however, provide a list of actual hotels moving in categories due to “competitive” reasons.

marriott-properties-moving-down-per-category

The vast majority of Marriott Rewards hotels are still in categories 1 – 4. I would argue, however, that the hotels that me and you would actually like to stay at are in categories 5 and higher.

marriott-properties-moving-up-per-category

You have until March 15th to book the hotels that are moving up in categories at the old point levels. You can download the PDF file that Marriott made public about the changes here. [click to continue…]

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2 Comments

Marriott has had their lifetime elite status program for quite some time. Hyatt introduced it couple of years ago and Starwood at the beginning of this month. The lifetime status can come handy, when your high level of travel drops i.e. change in jobs or retirement. I haven’t made any of the lifetime hotel statuses yet, but I am a lifetime Star Alliance Gold through United and Platinum with American Airlines.

marriott-rewards

Here are the requirements for Silver, Gold, and Platinum lifetime elite status with Marriott:

Silver

– Member of the program minimum of 12 years

– Number of Marriott Rewards points earned 1.2 million

– Number of Marriot nights 600

– Must have qualified as a Silver member at least once during the program membership

Gold

– Member of the program minimum of 12 years

– Number of Marriott Rewards points earned 1.6 million

– Number of Marriot nights 800

– Must have qualified as a Gold member at least once during the program membership

Platinum

– Member of the program minimum of 12 years

– Number of Marriott Rewards points earned 2 million

– Number of Marriot nights 1000

– Must have qualified as a Platinum member at least once during the program membership

Marriott actually lowered the requirements for the lifetime status few years back. The requirements for the Silver used to be 600 nights and 1.5 million points, 800 nights and 2 million points for the Gold, and 1000 nights and 3 million points for the Platinum.

The requirements for the lifetime Gold and Platinum statuses are quite difficult to achieve. You need to have spent lots of nights in Marriott family of hotels to have achieved both the number of points and nights required. What helps here, however, is that Marriott counts the points earned from ALL sources towards the lifetime requirement. You can earn Marriott points from various hotel promotions, credit cards spend, through their online mall etc. The Marriott branded credit card also gives you a 15 night credit every year.

You need to call the Marriott Rewards customer service to find out the number of points you have earned during your program membership. You can find the number of nights by logging into your Marriott Rewards account and have a look at Nights Earned. It will show the current and lifetime totals.

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7 Comments

Marriott has run this promotion yearly, where you can buy back the elite status you had the previous year, but lost due to not enough stays. As always the promotion runs from February 1st to April 2nd.

marriott-elite-buy-back-promotion

40000 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Platinum status

25000 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Gold status

7500 Marriott Rewards points to buy back Silver status

You can only buy back the elite status that you had the previous year. If you were Gold in 2011, you cannot buy back Platinum in 2012. You can buy Marriott Rewards points up to 50K per year in increments of 1000 points at $12.50 per 1000 points.

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

1. I would only buy back Platinum, if I had high number of planned stays at international properties where Platinum treatment is superior to that in the United States. Although suites are not officially part of the Platinum upgrades, you can get them regularly at international properties. Also the welcome amenity of bottle of wine and a cheese plate is quite common.

2. Buying back Gold status is easier choice. I would most likely do it because then you would be eligible for concierge floor upgrades and lounge access/breakfast.

3. Buying back Silver? Nah. Just get the Marriott Rewards credit card and you will get the Silver status automatically.

Another suggestion for keeping the 2011 status.

Marriott Rewards is known for not downgrading their elite members automatically even when you haven’t had enough stays. If you did get downgraded, it doesn’t hurt to give them a call or send an email and plead your case. You might be positively surprised.