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SPG just announced their fall 2012 Better By The Night promotion. The promotion starts on October 1st and ends on December 20th, 2012. You will receive double Starpoints for stays of 1 to 2 days and triple Starpoints for stays of 3 nights or longer at properties that haven’t opted out.

spg-better-by-the-night

According to the terms and conditions the bonus Starpoints would post 2 to 4 weeks after your stay. Based on my personal experience with past Starwood promotions they will have a weekly sweep for bonus points.

Note that Starwood will only double or triple the BASE POINTS earned for your stay. Elite bonuses such as 50% bonus for Platinum members or 4th Starpoint for those that have stayed at more than 75 nights in 2011 or 2012 are not eligible for doubling or tripling.

It is unheard of Sarwood to announce a promotion more than five weeks before its starting date, but that is just what they did.

The registration for this promotion is not open yet and starts sometime in September. You need to register for the promotion by November 30th, 2012 and all the stays that are eligible for the promotion will get the bonus Starpoints from October 1st.

There are separate booking bonuses that I will cover on next post. Stawood has a list of frequently asked questions about this promotion here.

Conclusion

It is always nice to have continuous promotions. This promotion will work well for those that have stays at more expensive Starwood locations that haven’t opted out.

Just be careful to read carefully the list of properties that are not participating to this promotion as you won’t get double or triple bonus points for those stays. Properties pay for these bonus points and have an option to opt out. If they feel that the business is strong enough and that offering additional bonuses won’t bring in any more business, they feel no need to offer additional incentives for SPG members.

I will take the bonus points, but this promotion is not going to move any stays to SPG properties that I wouldn’t have done regardless.

Make sure that you have signed up for our blog email updated and follow us on Twitter and like on Facebook. I will always make a post when there is exciting SPG promotion or bonus point opportunity around.

Below is a list of hotels and resorts that are NOT participating in the Better by the Night promotion.

Australia

Lilianfels Resort, Blue Mountains
Echoes Resort, Blue Mountains

Austria

Four Points by Sheraton Panoramahaus Dornbirn

Bangladesh

The Westin Dhaka

Brazil

Sheraton Sao Paulo WTC Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Curitiba

Canada

The Westin Ottawa

China

The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing
Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel
Sheraton Dongguan Hotel
Sheraton Changsha Hotel
The Westin Guangzhou
Sheraton Urumqi Hotel
Sheraton Guangzhou Hotel
Aloft Beijing, Haidian
Sheraton Shunde Hotel
Le Méridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort & Spa
Aloft Nanhai, Foshan
Four Points by Sheraton Luohe
The Westin Pazhou

Colombia

Sheraton Bogota Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Medellin
Four Points by Sheraton Cali

Germany

Sheraton Munich Airport Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Munich Olympiapark
Four Points by Sheraton Munich Central
Le Méridien Munich
Sheraton Munich Westpark Hotel
The Westin Bellevue, Dresden
The Westin Grand Munich
The Westin Leipzig
Le Méridien Stuttgart
Sheraton Hanover Pelikan Hotel
Sheraton Munich Arabellapark Hotel

Greece

Sheraton Rhodes Resort

Hong Kong

Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers

Hungary

Le Méridien Budapest

India

ITC Maurya, New Delhi
The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi
ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad
ITC Sonar, Kolkata
Le Méridien Pune
The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa

Italy

Sheraton Firenze Hotel & Conference Center

Japan

Kobe Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers
The Westin Osaka
Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Tokyo

Jordan

Sheraton Amman Al Nabil Hotel & Towers

Kuwait

Sheraton Kuwait Hotel & Towers
Four Points by Sheraton Kuwait

Lebanon

Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun

Malaysia

Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort
Four Points by Sheraton Langkawi Resort

Pakistan

Sheraton Karachi Hotel

Russia

Sheraton Palace Hotel, Moscow

Saudia Arabia

Sheraton Jeddah Hotel
Sheraton Riyadh Hotel & Towers
Sheraton Dammam Hotel & Towers
Le Méridien Medina

Singapore

The St. Regis Singapore

South Korea

The Westin Chosun, Seoul
Sheraton Incheon Hotel

Taiwan

Sheraton Taipei Hotel
Le Méridien Taipei

Turkey

W Istanbul
Sheraton Istanbul Ataköy Hotel

United Arab Emirates

Le Méridien Abu Dhabi
Aloft Abu Dhabi
Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort
Grosvenor House, Dubai
Al Sondos Suites by Le Méridien
Le Méridien Dubai
Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Le Méridien Fairway

United Kingdom

The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel

United States

California
Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel
The Westin Palo Alto
Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Sheraton Sunnyvale Hotel
Sheraton Anaheim Hotel
Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs
The Westin Verasa Napa
Four Points by Sheraton San Jose Downtown

Colorado
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain

Florida
Walt Disney World Dolphin
Walt Disney World Swan
Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach
The Westin Tampa Bay

Georgia
The St. Regis Atlanta

Hawaii
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach
Sheraton Waikiki

Illinois
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago
The Westin Chicago River North
The Westin Chicago North Shore
W Chicago-Lakeshore
W Chicago-City Center
The Tremont Chicago Hotel at Magnificent Mile

Kentucky
Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel

Louisiana
Sheraton Metairie – New Orleans Hotel

Michigan
The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit

Minnesota
The Westin Edina Galleria

Missouri
Four Points by Sheraton Kansas City Airport

New Jersey
The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village

New York
The Manhattan at Times Square
W New York-Union Square
Le Parker Méridien New York
W New York

Pennsylvania
Sheraton Great Valley Hotel
Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

South Carolina
Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel

Tennessee
Four Points by Sheraton Knoxville Cumberland House Hotel

Texas
The Westin Galleria Houston
Aloft Las Colinas
The Westin Houston, Memorial City
Aloft Plano
W Austin
Aloft Frisco

Utah
Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel

Virginia
The Westin Washington Dulles Airport

Washington
The Westin Bellevue
Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center

Yemen

Sheraton Sana’a Hotel

These are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

Text Message Reminders: SPG® members who reside in the U.S. or U.K. can opt to receive a text message reminder to register for the promotion when the registration window opens. Submit keyword “BBTN” to 44264 in the U.S to opt in. Submit keyword “BBTN” to 447950080934 in the U.K. to opt in. Opted–in members will receive three text messages from Starwood for this campaign. One message will be sent right after opting in, asking you to respond with keyword “YES” to verify that you would like to receive the reminder text. Once you do so, you will also get a text confirming that you have been opted in. Then, when the promotion is live, you will get the reminder text with registration information. Message and data rates apply. Supported carriers in the U.S. are AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Nextel, Boost, U.S. Cellular and Alltel. Supported carriers in the U.K are Three, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Vodafone. If your mobile operator is not participating, you may not receive a reply to your message. To receive help information, text “BBTN HELP” to short code 44264 in the U.S or text “BBTN HELP” to 447950080934 located in the U.K. You may also opt out at any time by sending “BBTN STOP” to 44264 in the U.S. or by sending “BBTN STOP” to 447950080934 if located in the U.K. We will not share or use your mobile number for any other purpose. We will only use information you provide to transmit your text message.

Registration: Members must register online at spg.com/betterbythenight by November 30, 2012, midnight ET. Registered members can earn bonus Starpoints® with every eligible stay between October 1, 2012, and December 20, 2012 (the “promotion period”), at more than 1,000 participating properties. A list of non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/betterbythenight and is subject to change.

Earning: Registered members will earn double Starpoints on eligible one-or two-night stays at participating properties during the promotion period. Registered members will earn triple Starpoints on eligible stays of three or more nights at participating properties during the promotion period. Members who earn double Starpoints will earn an additional two Starpoints per eligible US$1 spent (for a total of four Starpoints per dollar). Members who earn triple Starpoints will earn an additional four Starpoints per eligible US$1 spent (for a total of six Starpoints per dollar). Elite-level extra Starpoint earnings and other bonuses will not be doubled or tripled. Only the base 2-Starpoints-per-dollar earnings are double or tripled. The triple Starpoints for stays of three consecutive nights or more are in lieu of, not in addition to, double Starpoints. There is no limit to the number of bonus Starpoints that can be earned during the promotion period.

Bonusing: Bonus Starpoints will post to the registered member’s account within 2–4 weeks after the qualifying stay posts.

Web/Mobile App Booking Bonuses: Registered members are eligible to receive 250 bonus Starpoints for completed stays during the promotion period that were booked through spg.com or any Starwood hotel-branded website, including mobile web pages. Registered members are eligible to earn 500 bonus Starpoints for completed stays (during the promotion period) that were booked through SPG’s mobile app for iPhone®. Bookings made prior to the promotion period are eligible, but only eligible stays consumed during the promotion period will receive bonuses. Registered members may earn a maximum of 500 bonus Starpoints per booking. Booking bonuses will post to the registered member’s account after the end of the promotion period. Booking bonuses are eligible at all properties that participate in the SPG program, regardless of whether the property is participating in the SPG Better by the Night promotion.

Eligible Stays: An eligible stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights paying an eligible rate in the same hotel regardless of the number of check-ins or checkouts that occur and post to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest®account. Eligible stays with at least one night in the earning period will receive a bonus. An eligible rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. A listing of SPG-participating hotels and resorts and a description of eligible stays and eligible rates can be found at spg.com under program terms and conditions. See Section 1.4 for the complete definition of eligible rates, but note that certain prepaid rooms where the booking is made through a third party (including but not limited to travelocity.com, expedia.com and orbitz.com) are not Eligible Rates and do not earn Starpoints or qualify toward promotional earnings.

Qualifications and Starwood Terms: All promotions are subject to the Starwood Preferred Guest program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at spg.com. Offer is applicable to individual members only and not to groups. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. To update your communication preferences or learn about our privacy practices, view our Privacy Statement on spg.com/privacy, or access our privacy information line by calling 1-877-782-0071 in the U.S. and Canada or +353-21-4930474 in all other countries. Starpoints, SPG, Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Element, Sheraton, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. Void where prohibited by law. ©2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All rights reserved.

iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

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Over the years, I have saved a lot by using Priceline for hotel bookings. As a matter of fact, Priceline got me hooked on hotel programs, when you were able to get a Hyatt hotel for $50 bucks and it would be a qualifying stay for both  promotional purposes and a stay credit as long as you had a minimal charge and used a MasterCard to settle the bill.

Those days are long gone, but there are still lots of opportunities to save on hotel stays using Priceline. I usually try first getting a decent deal by booking direct, but sometimes it just doesn’t produce the rates that I am happy to pay.

There are several websites that can provide tips and assistance on Priceline bookings. The two that provide the most information are BiddingForTravel (www.biddingfortravel.com) and BetterBidding (www.betterbidding.com). Both of these sites contain list of successful bids for various cities that bidders have successfully gotten on Priceline and other useful information about Priceline strategies etc.

My Bidding Experience for Vancouver BC

The other weekend I was in Vancouver. The rates at the downtown hotels were on the high side and I decided to give a Priceline a try.

First, I checked both the BetterBidding and BiddingForTravel to get an idea about the hotels that one might expect to receive and the price range. Both websites also provide a list and star rating of hotels that are available in each of the Priceline zones.

I was targeting a hotel in either of the two zones in downtown Vancouver. It didn’t matter if the hotel is in the downtown or entertainment district, but I needed something four stars according to the Priceline.

Priceline Zones

For Vancouver area Priceline has 11 different zones. These help with rebidding as only 4 of the zones has four star properties. I could rebid total of 8 times if I include the two downtown zones to get the best deal around.

You have to be very careful with the Priceline zones. Sometimes Priceline has a hotel that is exactly on the border of the zone.

Placing the First Bid

As always I want to get some cashback for my online purchases. There are several sites that offer cashback for Priceline. This time I decided to use TopCashBack that had 3% rebate for Priceline “Name Your Own Price” bookings.

Priceline is now offering three different kind of bookings; the traditional hotel booking that shows the name of the hotel and the price, the Name Your Own Price bidding, and Express Deals. You need to choose the “Name Your Own Price” tab for the best savings. I have not found the conventional prices on Priceline to be anything worthwhile, although I used them once for a Best Rate Guarantee with Marriott.

priceline-ll-1-name-your-own-price

When you choose the “Name Your Own Price”, you will be then presented with a “Lighbox” to enter the city and the dates.

priceline-ll-2-zone

I chose the Downtown Vancouver zone.

priceline-ll-3-star-level

Then you need to choose the star level of the hotel. I chose four stars. There is a box on the bottom next to the bid amount that “shows” the supposedly median price for a four star property in downtown Vancouver. Priceline basically just tries to get you to overbid. You can just completely disregard it.

priceline-ll-4-bid-amount

Based on the reports on both BetterBidding and BiddingForTravel, I decided to start at $76. There were fairly recent winning bids on the downtown zone for around $80 per night. The total price with the Priceline fees with this bid amount came to $95.30. The real tax rate in the Vancouver is 15.74%. The Priceline’s fee in this instance would have been in excess of $7.

priceline-ll-5-trip-protection-offer

You should always decline the “garbage” Trip Protection Offers that all the travel websites are offering. They are there to fatten their bottom line. You should, however, have comprehensive travel insurance.

priceline-ll-6-priceline-terms

It is good idea to familiarize yourself with the Priceline’s rules. Basically all these “Name Your Own Price” bookings are nonrefundable and noncancellable. Do NOT book through this service if your plans are not firm. I only use Priceline for same or next day bookings when I am already in the city. Then you need to fill out your credit card and address information.

priceline-ll-7-negotiating

You will then see a Priceline “negotiator” screen for few seconds while Priceline is trying to match hotel offers with the price that you bid.

priceline-ll-8-try-again-now

If your bid was not successful but  was close to a price that Priceline could offer, you are then presented an offer to up your bid to a certain amount, on this instance to $89, without having to choose any other options. You should always decline this offer as you can get the hotel at significantly less through the rebidding process.

priceline-ll-9-rebidding

As I pointed out earlier, there are numerous rebidding opportunities in the Vancouver area where there are no 4 star hotels offered by Priceline. I decided to up my bid by $1 at a time and just go through number of different zones.

priceline-ll-10-final-bid

After adding couple of different zones my bid had been upped to $79.

priceline-ll-11-working-on-your-request

This time I received a message that Priceline was working on my request. This is usually a sign that your offer has been accepted.

priceline-ll-12-winning-bid

My bid of $79 was accepted at the Renaissance Harbourside hotel. This suited me well because I am a Marriott Platinum member and the status benefits typically are extended to Priceline stays as well.

priceline-ll-13-renaissance

The lowest rate on Marriott website was 239 CAD for the night in question before the taxes.

How was my stay at the Renaissance?

It was not the most modern Marriott chain hotel and obviously they do have some sort of revenue problem if they need to dump rooms on Priceline for $79 per night during the height of the summer season.

I received probably the smallest room I have had so far this year, but all the Platinum benefits including welcome amenity and lounge access were extended. Cannot really complain considering the price I paid.

Conclusion

You should always keep in mind that there is an option of bidding hotel rooms through Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”. The savings are usually significant enough to put up with the bidding process and the time it requires.

Priceline works remarkably well in North America but not so in some other countries.

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Over the past eight years Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood hotels have been my home. When traveling, I have hard time staying at other brands due to benefits associated with the top tier statuses I have.

renaissance-club-benefits

Right now, I am here in Bangkok that has great number of very good hotels that are not associated with any of the five chains mentioned above, but I have very hard time trying any of them and here is why.

1. Upgrades

If I stick to any of the hotels, where I tend to stay here, I am almost always guaranteed a suite upgrade i.e. Renaissance, JW Marriott, InterContinental, Royal Orchid Sheraton, Plaza Athenee, Le Meridien, Westin, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, St Regis etc.  I have learned to bypass the Hilton properties here in Bangkok, where their elite treatment is the minimum required by the Hilton HHonors.

2. Lounge access

When traveling in the United States, I could care less about the lounge access, but here in Asia the lounges are actually worth something; the breakfast spread tend to be quite good, you often have afternoon tea and evening cocktails with some substantial food offerings as well.

3. Breakfast

I am not normally a breakfast person, but you can easily turn them into an early lunch like I did this morning. Quite a few of the hotels let you choose whether you prefer to have the breakfast in the lounge or in the hotel restaurant.

4. Early Check In/Late Check Out

Most of the chains guarantee you a 4PM check out that comes handy if you have a flight out in the evening. Hotels tend to charge a half day rate for late check outs if you are not an elite member.

5. Problem resolution

Few times a year the hotel stay doesn’t just go as smoothly as one would expect. It is just reassuring to know that the chain will back up their service promise even when the specific hotel has dropped the ball. I end up lodging a complaint four/five times a year and typically have resolution in couple of days if not sooner.

6. Points/Free Nights/Promotions

If you plan your hotel stays around the numerous promotions, it is rather easy to rack up lots of points and/or free night certificates. I essentially consider these as a rebate of the price I pay. For the most part the hotel chains are interchangeable for me. I can stay at a Marriott or Starwood property, but the chain that offers a better value proposition when points/promotions are factored in, gets my business.

When I don’t care about the benefits?

Sometimes I am arriving very late and then leaving very early in the morning. Unless there is a stellar promotion from one of the chains, I could practically care less about the hotel/brand as long as they have working and free wireless internet and the bed is comfortable. I might even use Priceline to get a rock bottom price for the night.

Conclusion

Having a top tier status with one or more of the global hotel chains can make your traveling a smoother if you take advantage of the associated benefits. I would love to try more independent hotels but the benefits package that I receive from the international chains if hard to beat.

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There are number of bonus points opportunities with number of hotel chains at the moment. Remember that you need to register for most of these promotions before your stay for the the bonus points/miles to post..

Le Club Accorhotels

There are current no global promotions for Le Club members. You can, however, earn 500 Air Canada Aeroplan or Delta Air Lines SkyMiles for singing up for Le Club membership.

le-club-accorhotels-aeroplan

Sign Up For Le Club Accorhotels Membership And Get 500 Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

accorhotels-delta

Le Club Accorhotels & Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Promotion – Get 500 Mile For Signing Up

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

Best Western is also offering 1000 bonus points for stays in South America. You need to stay at least two different Best Western properties to be eligible for this.

Best Western Bonus Points Offer For South America 1000 Bonus Points

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

The Big Night Giveaway promotions for Radisson/Radisson Blu, Country Inn & Suites, and Park Inn are now over. The Park Plaza version of this promotion is valid until August 28th, however. The 50K bonus point version is oversubscribed, but they have an offer for 15K bonus points for a stay up for now

club-carlson-park-plaza-stay-one-get-one

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

Radisson has an offer for Europe, Middle East and Africa for 3rd night free + 2000 bonus points when paid by American Express. This is valid until September 30th, 2012. There is a separate offer for double points at selected Club Carlson properties.

Radisson & Radisson Blu 3rd Night Free + 2000 Bonus Club Carlson Points

Club Carlson Double Points in Europe, Middle East & Africa at Participating Hotels

Club Carlson has a separate promotion for Asia Pacific region. You will receive 10000 bonus points for stays of 2 nights or longer.

club-carlson-apac-offer-10k-for-2-nights

Club Carlson Asia Pacific Promotion “Two Nights. 10,000 Points” – 10K Bonus Points For Stays Of Two Nights Or Longer

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. This promotion ends on August 15th, 2012.

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. This offer is valid until August 15th, 2012.

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

Hilton HHonors and Delta has teamed up offering triple Delta SkyMiles at selected Hilton family of hotels until September 20th, 2012.

hilton-hhonors-delta-q3-2012-triple-miles

Triple Delta SkyMiles for Stays at Selected Hilton Family of Hotels

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

It can make sense to use Virgin Atlantic as Double Dip partner and then transfer the miles back to Hilton. You can read more about this here:

Hilton HHonors Double Dip Strategy with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club

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

Sometimes it makes sense to use Hyatt Stay Certificate instead of paying. You can read about more of them here:

Hyatt Stay Certificates – Way to Save Money On Hyatt Stays

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

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

You should sign up for onetime bonuses that Priority Club also has. 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-1k-per-night

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.

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.

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.

$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.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

Priority Club is offering gift cards for bookings made online.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

Priority Club has an offer for meeting planners. You can get triple points for meetings.

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 has already announced their fall 2012 MegaBonus that starts on September 15th, 2012

marriott-rewards-fal-2012-megabonus

Marriott Rewards Fall 2012 MegaBonus

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 started 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.

Westin Kierland and Sheraton Wilde Horse Pass have exciting bonus points opportunity. Stay once at both properties and earn 10000 bonus Starpoints.

Stay at Westin Kierland & Sheraton Wild Horse Pass for 10000 Bonus Starpoints

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 Rewards is offering quadruple points or miles starting from the second stay for up to four stays.

wyndham-s12summer

Wyndham Rewards Summer 2012 Promotion for Quadruple Miles or Points

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Westin Kierland Reort & Spand and Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa have exciting promotion starting on August 10th, 2012. After you have one stay at both these hotels between August 10th and December 20th, 2012 you will receive 10000 bonus Starpoints within few weeks.

westin-kierland-sheraton-wild-horse-10k-promo

  • Guests must stay one night or more at each of the two participating properties, The Westin Kierland Resort and The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.
  • Guests will receive a 10,000 SPG point award. Starpoints will be credited to the guest’s SPG account within 30 days after the completion of their second stay.
  • Valid for stays August 10 – December 29, 2012, based upon availability, cannot be combined with any other offer, discount or package and is subject to blackout dates.
  • Guests must be a Starwood Preferred Guest member, or are invited to join the Starwood Preferred Guest Program.

You need to book rate plan 10YEAR in order to be eligible for the bonus points. You can use this booking link for Westin and this one for Sheraton.

The rates for this offer vary a lot. You can use the availability calendar to see the dates when the promotion is in effect. The lowest rate that I was able to find both properties is $119 per night. At least for the Sheraton, there were cheaper non promotional rates available as well.

Westin Kierland

westn-kierland-119

westin-kierland-terms

Note that there is a $25 resort charge and the taxes are rather high.

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass

sheraton-wild-horse-119

sheraton-wild-horse-terms

No listed resort charge and only one tax line.

Conclusion

This is a great promotion if you happen to be in the Phoenix area during the late summer when the rates are low. You can check out both properties and get 10K bonus Starpoints in addition to the regular points that you earn from the stays.

westin-sheraton-google-maps

The properties are less than an hour drive from each other. You could easily do them back to back.

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Starwood tend to run their Starpoints sale twice a year. You now can buy up to 20000 at 3.5 cents per point before discount. This is also the yearly maximum that individual can buy from Starwood per account per year.

spg-buy-points-offer

Once the points have been deposited to your Starwood Preferred Guest account, you are free to use them the way you see fit.

spg-buy-points-price

20K Starpoints turn to 25K miles on most airline partner programs. This would be around 2.24 cents per airline mile. Not the best price around, but if you have maxed out other options, it is bearable.

Note that this offer is valid from July 20th to August 31st, 2012.

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Back in February this year Starwood introduced both lifetime Platinum and Gold status on their Preferred Guest program. The requirement for lifetime Platinum is 500 nights + 10 years as a Platinum member and for Gold 250 nights + 5 years of Gold or higher status.

I was a somewhat late bloomer when it comes to SPG. I had plenty of friends staying at their properties, but my personal preference for long was Hyatt and InterContinental. Finally decided to bite the bullet and joined the program five years ago. During this time period I have had more than 400 stays with the Starwood.

spg-lifetime-gold

Today came the email welcoming me to Lifetime Gold status. There is also a small graphic online showing my lifetime Gold status when I sign in to SPG.com.

It is also nice to have a lifetime hotel status in addition to the lifetime Platinum with American Airlines and Premier Gold with United Airlines. I should be SPG Platinum for life in five years’ time.

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Starwood Cash & Point award option is a very popular one. Instead of paying entirely in cash or points, you mix them both. The number of points and cash required is fixed by the category and does not fluctuate. The properties, however, can decide whether to offer this rate plan or not. For them this is intelligent way of discounting, when the bookings/occupancy is on the soft side.

You can find the Starwood Cash & Points table below:

starwood-cash-points-cat-7

Now, Starwood has introduced this award option for select category 7 hotels as well. The number of points required using this option is 15000 in addition to $275 in cash. This award for category 7 hotels cannot be booked or checked for availability online on SPG.com, but you rather have to call in to find, if the availability exists or not.

People tend to value Starpoints between 2 and 3 cents. If we value them at 2 cents, the price of the hotel would be between $575 per night and valued at 3 cents $725 using this option. Thing to remember is that you do NOT earn Starpoints for the cash portion of the Cash & Points.

As always, I decided to crunch the numbers, if this award option makes sense. I chose November 14, 2012 for the date. I checked the lowest available rate on SPG.com, the SPG50 rate (this is sometimes good at expensive properties), and if the Cash & Point is available. I used the SPG CHAT option to check both the SPG50 and Cash & Point availability. Here are the results:

spg-cat-7-3

The Gritti Palace in Venice is currently closed for renovations. Of the 12 hotels that are part of the program, 7 had Cash & Points availability for the day in question (Nov 14, 2012). All the properties had award availability on that date. Note that for W Paris this is supposedly high season and that St Regis Bali doesn’t have any normal availability due to its being an all-suite hotel.

The SPG50 award costs 1000 Starpoints and I have added $20 to the cash portion that is inside the () brackets.

There are only two hotels, where using Cash & Points might have made sense on that day had the hotels made the rate plan available. Neither of these two did; The Chatwal and The St Regis New York.

Conclusion

It is a good development that Starwood has made Cash & Points also available for category 7 hotels. If you value your Starpoints at 2 to 3 cents each, it probably rarely makes sense to use this award, however. This could be a viable option, if the rates at the hotel are very expensive and the hotel has forgotten to close this rate plan.

You can also think this award that you are paying $275 for Starwood for not having to pay 30K Starpoints but rather 15K. If you are booking expensive Starwood hotels, it always pays to check the SPG50 availability as well. It can save you quite a bit at times, as the table above illustrates.

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

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

Status benefits

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

Reservation

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

Prepaid Reservation

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

Award Reservation

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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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.

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

Starwood Preferred Guest

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

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

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

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

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

Wyndham Rewards

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

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

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

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You have through June 30th, 2012 to decide the option of the SPG nice Choice Summer promotion that fits you the best. Sad to say, but this is the worst SPG promotion for the past four years for me.  It can work for some, however.

spg-nice-choice-june

I have written few pieces about this promotion before it was launched. I got hold off on an internal Starwood memo about this promotion. They were expecting this promotion to drive few million extra room nights during the promotional period. Hope that it is the case. In my case it has merely made me to book away from Starwood.

Later, I had a post about a strategy you should take. You should read the original post I wrote about these offers.

Here are the “real” choices again:

1. Choose double points if you have no idea about the number of nights you will have.

2. Choose triple points if you are sure that you will have more than 15 nights.

You may entertain the following options as well:

1. Free weekend night cat 1 to 5 certificate (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) after 10 nights. Max 2. Downsides are the category, day of use requirement and the expiry before the end of the year. This can “theoretically” be worth 16K SPG if you use it during the high season.

2. 3K SPG after every 6 nights – max 18 nights and 9K SPG.

3. 500 extra Starpoints per night at Sheraton hotels.

Remember that you need to register for this promotion through June 30th, 2012.

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You can earn Starpoints for wining and dining at Starwood hotels even when you are not a guest. Starwood recently launched a promotion for their SPG Restaurants & Bars program to drive more non-guest traffic to these food and beverage outlets. You can get up to 30% discount off your bill for just being a Starwood Preferred Guest program member and earn some Starpoints in the process.

Last week I had a “dinner” of two Grey Goose on the rocks and couple of frozen margaritas at the bar of the W Koh Samui. I don’t normally bother getting Starpoints for items like this, but I decided to check out the process how they handle these.

The bill was about 2K THB that is $60. Four Starpoints per dollar should make it to around 240 points credited to my SPG account. I have an image of my card with the SPG number stored on my phone. So, I just informed the waitress that I would like her to make sure that I would get Starpoints for the purchase and handed the phone to her.

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She filled out a slip that looked like an old fashioned credit card one with my SPG info and attached a copy of the receipt to it. Then she gave me a carbon copy. A week later nothing has posted to my account yet. We’ll see…..

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Starwood has done some terms and conditions changes lately that have gone largely unpublished. One was the “Global Personalization at Starwood” where Starwood can now “spy” you on your social networks like Facebook and LinkEdIn. But there are other changes made as well.

Apparently, you have been able to earn points, stay and night credits for up to 3 rooms at a time since March 1st this year. If you are an SPG member and book three rooms under your SPG account number for one night, you will receive both three night and stay credits. This is quite a change. Previously you were able to earn Starpoints for up to three rooms, but you wouldn’t get stay or night credits for more than one room at a time.

Is Starwood Spying Its Guests on Facebook and LinkedIn – Global Personalization at Starwood?

I was trying to find out this info from the updated terms and conditions dated March 15th, 2012. This information, however, is not explicitly listed there at all:

spg-3-terms

There are no mentions that one would also earn stay and night credits, but this was confirmed by the Starwood’s social media representatives recently on FlyerTalk:

spg-3-terms-ft

So, if you play your cards right, you only need eight stays of 3 rooms + one stay to make a Platinum status with the Starwood. This really helps, if you are in need of mattress runs. You can do three stays in a one night when the rates are low i.e. during weekends and around the holidays.

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Starwood (Preferred Guest, Inc.) has filed a trademark registration back in February for the following trademark:

spg-new-logo

It somehow reminded me of a BP logo that has a similar star device:

bp-logo

Even if Starwood has filed for this trademark, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will use it in the future. When Starwood introduced the new benefits levels back in January, they had filed for trademarks for them previously.