Starwood Quietly Changing Award Categories Midyear

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Back in February Starwood announced the category changes for 2012 and made the list of hotels changing categories public. There were few hotels that were set to drop down in category that eventually did not, or did only for couple of weeks i.e. Le Meridien Chiang Mai.

Then there was the case with Sheraton Montreal that started this year being a category 4 property for award purposes. It went down to category 3, but then couple of weeks later was suddenly category 5. If you ask a question from SPG’s social media representatives, why these sudden changes, the answer is basically because they can do it.

spg-category-lurkers-answer

And for sure all these are covered in the terms and conditions.

spg-changes

Now Starwood has quietly raised the categories at least handful of hotels, but without doing any announcements. This was reported by posters on FlyerTalk that had seen some of their favorite hotels gone up suddenly in award categories. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find out exactly what properties went up. I doubt that any property would have gone down.

Probably the reason for Starwood to do these changes midyear, is to lower the liability of the Starpoints that they carry on their balance sheet. By raising the categories of the properties they can lower the liability of these points on their books and basically book the difference as a profit.

Shame on Starwood for not giving heads up on these changes. It is one thing to change the categories and give a proper notice than just change them unannounced.

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

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

Accorhotels – Le Club

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

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

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

SPG Nice Choice Promotion Finally Launched

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During the past two weeks, I have written about this promotion three times. First to post about the leaked choices, second to confirm them after having had a look  at an internal memo, and then yesterday to write about the strategy that you should take. You can register for this promotion here.

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Now, finally the SPG website devoted to this promotion is up and running. There is really nothing surprises beyond the fact that the terms and conditions of this promotion are 2707 words and the frequently asked questions 2992.

spg-nice-choice-choosers-guide

The only worthwhile thing to remember is that the deadline for registering for this promo is June 30th, 2012. You don’t have to choose the earning period earlier even, if you would eventually want it to start on May 1st. My advice would be to take into account the characteristics of this promotion i.e. if you prefer getting 500 SPG points per night at when staying at Sheraton hotels, but not to sign up before the deadline. Then, at the end of June, you can have another look, what would be the best choice for you.

Here’s the simplest exhibit about this promotion. You can read my take about this promotion and what promotion you should sign up for, if any, here.

spg-nice-choice-big-picture

Here are both the Terms and conditions & Frequently asked questions by SPQ:

SPG Nice Choice Terms and Conditions:

SPG Nice Choice Promotion Strategy

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Summary

Unless you know exactly how many nights you are going to stay during the promotional period that you choose, sign up for the double points. If you know FOR SURE that you are going to have at least 15 nights, sign up for the triple points. If your stays are ONLY at Sheraton hotels, sign up for the 500 extra Starpoints per night at Sheraton’s-offer.

There are other worthwhile options, but they only pay after certain number of stays and are capped.

Introduction

Last week, the details of the SPG Nice Choice summer promotion were leaked out on the internet. I think that it was inevitable that the different options of this promotion would come out before the official announcement on May 1st, 2012.

For me personally this promotion is a huge disappointment compared to what Starwood offered in 2010 and 2011. I was able to put the free weekend nights in 2010 and free resort nights in 2011 to good use. I do understand that some were dissatisfied with the number of properties that decided not to participate to these two promos, and these free weekend or resort nights awards were useless for those that weren’t willing or were unable to use them during the redemption period.

This new promotion is all about the choices, but the problem is that there are so many of them that it is borderline impossible to figure out the best one unless you already have hotels booked and can calculate the payout under various choices.

To get the most out of this forthcoming promotion you must decide:

1. Which of the earning periods would fit you best? You can only choose one of the options.

2. Then what you would like to earn; Starpoints, awards, merchandise discounts, or elite night credits. Each of these options contains multiple choices and you can only choose one.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose one during which you have the highest number of nights with the Starwood. You won’t earn any bonuses outside of one of these three month periods during the five months they have this promotion running.

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

You need to choose what you would like to earn.

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.

This is probably the easiest choice. If you have more than one stay during the promotional period, you are guaranteed to get something out of this promotion. Note that the double points start from your SECOND stay. Probably the best idea to have a one night stay first to qualify for the double points for rest of your stays.

Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)

You will get 500 extra Starpoints per night if you hit exactly 6, 12, or 18 nights during the promotional period. This is good option if your average nightly rates are LOW.

If your nightly rates are higher than $125 and you know that you will stay at least 15 nights, the triple Starpoints offer is better (extra 4 Starpoints per dollar spend).

The double points (extra 2 Starpoints per dollar spend) from your second stay is better too, if your nightly rates are higher than $250.

Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY

You will only earn bonus when staying at Sheraton hotels and booking online. Not sure if bookings made through corporate travel portals count as online ones. Probably not.

The triple points offer is better if you hit the 15 nights during the promotional period, your average rate (including all incidentals) is higher than $125, and the triple points offer is valid at ALL SPG hotels.

Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

In my opinion this is the best offer, but it won’t pay out unless you have at least 15 nights during the promotion period. The 6/12/18 nights for 3K/3K/3K bonus Starpoints and the 500 bonus Starpoints for each Sheraton nights can be better, if your folio is less than $125 and you hit exactly the number of night requirement of the 6/12/18 night promotion .

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.

In 2010 SPG run a promotion where you could get a Free Weekend Night award for every 3 stays and the number of awards earned was unlimited. In 2011 the promotion was for free resort nights at any day of the week. You could earn them at any SPG property. Three stays for one free weekend night. There were some properties that opted out from this promo and these awards were capped.

You will get a payout only if you hit exactly 10 nights and then again at 20 nights. There are no payouts in between.

The category 5 free night is “worth” 12000 Starpoints. By capping the use for only weekend nights when the hotel rates tend to be lower, the “dollar” payout is lower. Not sure about the expiry date of these free weekend night awards, but they probably expire within 4 to 6 months after earning.

This award option is inflexible. You can use Starpoints to redeem cash + points, transfer to airline miles, use to buy airline tickets etc.

Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

You already get a fifth night free when redeeming for category 3 and higher. I would assume that you can stack this discount with that as well. Five night redemption at category 5 hotel would normally cost 48000 Starpoints. The required number of Starpoints after the discount would be 36000 Starpoints.

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Each of these three award options only pays at 4, 8, or 12 nights. The SPG $50 award certificate is not a bad option, but it will be mailed to you and you need to hand it in when checking out. It counts as a cash payment towards your folio.

If you value Starpoints at 2 cents, this option would give you 625 extra Starpoints per night in SPG hotel credit.

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

The thing to note here is that you are earning NIGHTS and not stays. You can qualify for SPG Platinum status by having 25 stays or 50 nights.

The payout in the first options is 1/2/3 cumulative elite qualifying nights after 5/10/15 nights. On the second one 3/6 cumulative nights after 10/20 nights.

SPG Nice Choice Promotion (CONFIRMED)

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Starwood Preferred Guest is about to launch their first multiple choice summer promotion SPG Nice Choice. The registration will officially open on May 1st, 2012.I can now confirm that the details that were first leaked on FlyerTalk, and what I posted here three days ago, are in fact correct. I have a copy of internal Starwood announcement about this promotion.

Normally promotions are funded by the properties, and that is the reason why there is sometimes a rather long list of non-participating properties. If business is good, why pay additional four to five percent of your revenue? Properties simply opt out.

I will have an in-depth analysis of various options of this promotion tomorrow.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

*There is no switching of registration codes or earning periods after registration. No exceptions.
* Registration from May 1- June 30, 2012

Here is a summary of the offers:

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.
Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)
Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY
Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

SPG Nice Choice Summer Promotion

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There was a post on earlier today on FlyerTalk by a member LovetoTravel83, who claimed to have received more detailed information about this forthcoming Starwood Summer promotion from his Starwood Ambassador.

There is no way to authenticate this info, but it does sound plausible. Starwood has run two stellar summer promotions on the past two years and this would personally be a letdown for me. It all boils down if you were able to take advantage of the promotional free night offers. In 2010 the free nights were valid only during the weekends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the summer promotion in 2011 they were valid 7 days a week, but only at resort properties.

Choose your own earning period (You can only choose one)

May- July
June- August
July- September

Choose whatever you want to earn during (You can only choose one)

Starpoints
Awards (Free Nights & Redemption discounts)
Merchandise discounts
Elite Credit

*There is no switching of registration codes or earning periods after registration. No exceptions.
* Registration from May 1- June 30, 2012

Here is a summary of the offers:

Starpoints Offers

Double Points beginning with 2nd stay. No limits.
Every 6 nights, get 3k Starpoints (max of 9k)
Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online-bookings ONLY
Stay 15 nights, get Triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Awards Offers

10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards. Weekends are Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Stay 20 nights, get 1 25% percent off redemption Award (cat 1-5). Max of 2 Awards

Merchandise Awards

Stay 4 nights; get US$50 SPG Award Cert (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights; get $50 or EUR50 Westin @ home discount code (max of 3)
Stay 4 nights, get $50 or EUR50 Sheraton @ home discount code (max of 3)

Elite status

Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus night toward elite status (max of 3 elite qualifying nights).
Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus nights toward elite status (max of 6 nights).

British Airways Offering 25% Conversion Bonus for Transfers from Hotel Programs

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:

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

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Note that this promotion has been extended until March 31, 2014.

Just received an email from Delta about an offer from Starwood for 1000 extra miles for booking Sheraton Club accommodations in select Sheraton hotels in the United States and Canada. This offer is valid for US Airways Dividend Miles as well. In order to get the bonus miles, your Starwood Preferred Guest account must be set for airline direct deposit and you need to book the rate code SHMILES. This offer is valid from April 16th to December 31st, 2012. You can earn the bonus miles only once per stay. There is a separate offer of 1000 bonus Starpoints per stay until the end of May for Sheraton Club bookings.

delta-sheraton-email

I was borderline laughing when I was reading about the description of Sheraton Club from Delta’s email. According to Delta & Starwood the club offers:

Unlimited access to our private Club Lounge

Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast in the Club Lounge daily

Complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres in the Club Lounge daily

High speed internet access in your guestroom and in the Club Lounge

Complimentary, unlimited local phone calls

Enjoy bottled water, upgraded bath amenities, newspapers and plush bathrobes in our Club guestrooms

sheraton-club-1000-us-airways

Domestic Sheraton lounges in the United States and Canada are rarely worth my time. International ones outside of the North America are entirely different animal, however. Some of them are actually nice and offer food & beverage amenities to look for, but not the one at the Sheraton Heathrow.

sheraton-club-offering

Here’s an example from Sheraton Garden Grove last year. This was their evening hors d’oeuvres. The deluxe continental breakfast was about same quality. Would you actually pay more if they are offering crap like this?

Of course, I paid the lowest rate for the night, which was probably around $100, and got an upgrade as a SPG PLT member.

Out of curiosity I run the different rate codes for the Sheraton Garden Grove for the night of April 27.

The Advance Purchase rate is $101

sheraton-advance-purchase-rate

The AAA rate is $111

sheraton-aaa

The Prepaid rate is $119

sheraton-prepaid

The AAA Breakfast rate is $121

sheraton-aaa-breakfast

The Prepaid Club rate is $135 + 1000 bonus Starpoints

sheraton-club-prepaid

The Best Available rate is $139

sheraton-bar

The AAA Club rate is $143

sheraton-aaa-club

The Sheraton Club Airline offer rate is $179

sheraton-airline-offer

The Sheraton Club rate is $179 + 1000 bonus Starpoints

sheraton-club-room-lounge-rate

Conclusion

As is often the case with special rate plans that offer some extra points or miles, the rate is widely inflated. The only reason why hotels keep offering these rates are business travelers that can book inflated rates, and earn some extra points along the way.

More Information About SPG: Nice Choice Promotion Coming on May 1st

Earlier in the week I wrote about the teasers that Starwood was releasing about their forthcoming SPG: Nice Choice Promotion.

At the time the only hints that the SPG gave were:

ALL ABOUT YOU

CHOOSE WHEN, WHAT AND HOW YOU WANT TO EARN

Now we have learned that:

1. There are three different promotional periods that you can choose from May/June/July or June/July/August or July/August/September.

2. You can choose from free weekend nights, elite bonus nights towards SPG status, extra Starpoints, Starpoints redemptions awards, merchandise discounts etc.

It is still unclear at this point i.e. how many nights/stays you need for a free weekend night award. In the past two summers it has been three stays for a free night.

This promotional period would also indicate that the next global promotion won’t start before October this year. Considering that the previous promo has already ended and you need to choose three months over five month period, there is going to be three month period up to October when there aren’t any promotions.

New Starwood Preferred Guest Promotion “SPG: Nice Choice” Coming on May 1st

Starwood is teasing on their Twitter and Facebook feeds about the new promotion that will be open for registration on May 1st.

spg-promotion-nice-choice

The only hints that the Starwood has given out so far are that the promotions is:

ALL ABOUT YOU

CHOOSE WHEN, WHAT AND HOW YOU WANT TO EARN

So, the basic assumption is that this is a choice based promotion. Starwood has run something similar in the past where you can choose your preferred reward out of few choices. I cannot remember Starwood ever having a promotion where I could decide when I would earn.

I am probably not the only one who is eagerly waiting to learn more about this promotion. We should know in the next week or so.

In the past two summers Starwood has been running a promotion for a free hotel night after certain number of stays (3). The number of complimentary nights that one could earn has been unlimited.

In 2010 those nights were valid for weekend stays (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) at most Starwood hotels. In 2011 the promotion was for free nights at properties classified as resorts. These nights were valid 7 days a week.

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

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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

Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Ambassador Program – Now Also For 100+ Night Platinum Members

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There were quite a few changes announced to the SPG program back in January. The ability to earn lifetime Gold or Platinum status, continental breakfast for Platinum members in lieu of the 500 point amenity, 10 suite night awards for PLT members with 50+ nights, and an extra Starpoint + flexible 24 check in/out for 75+ night Platinum members.

spg-plt-benefits

What was not “officially” announced or listed under various Starwood Platinum benefits, is the Starwood Ambassador for those with more than 100 nights with Starwood in 2011. I had 130+ nights in 2010 and around 110 in 2011. My nights actually went down, but I was assigned an Ambassador due to this new program wide initiative.

The Starwood’s Ambassador Program is not a new one. It was launched back in 2009 to serve better those high value guests that weren’t necessarily even members of the Preferred Guest program. Previously, there wasn’t any number of night requirement to become a Platinum member that is Ambassador managed, but the qualification was rather based on the dollar amount spent.

You will have the same Platinum status as the guest staying 25 stays or 50 nights yearly. The only difference that the front desk or the hotel can see, if they dig around a bit, is the fact that you are an Ambassador managed Platinum guest.

The Starwood Ambassadors are there to ensure that the hotels are aware of the preferences of the member and treat them to the utmost respect. These Ambassadors are basically spiced up Platinum concierge that are assigned number of guests to deal with. As is the case with Platinum concierge, they are supposed to deal with all kind of travel related requests from the guest even when they are not Starwood related.  I am not entire sure, however, why people would use them for issues that you can easily Google and sort out yourself.

I do understand why Starwood launched this Ambassador program. They are trying to capture a greater share of the travelers’ hotel dollars by providing personalized service that other chains i.e. Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, & Marriott cannot match.  Once you have used to program to fulfill requests to the level that the Ambassador program does, it is very difficult to switch chains.

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There was recently a puff piece about the Starwood Ambassador program on Bloomberg Businessweek. You should not expect to receive the level of service described on this article from the run of the mill Ambassadors. Based on my own experience, I have needed to coach the Ambassador about the promotions that the program is running. Also, I don’t need the level of service described on this article. I can live without having my favorite champagne chilled and waiting for me in my suite when I arrive, or to have guacamole and chips sitting on the table.

All what I need from the Ambassador, is to sort out things when I am not able to accomplish them by myself i.e. the website is acting up. I have been to about 70 countries and have spent more than 300 nights yearly at hotels every year since 2004. I don’t think that there is a lot value added the Ambassador can bring to table by sitting on Starwood’s call center and contacting the hotels/using Google to fulfill requests. I rather handle my travel by myself. I don’t use Starwood exclusively. The chain gets about third of my hotel nights.

I have to say, however, that couple of friends of mine that have been part of the program longer, are huge advocate for it. It appears to help with upgrades in more popular Starwood hotels that have high number of Platinum members checking in.

Conclusion

Would I go out of my way to hit 100 nights with Starwood to get an Ambassador? I would absolutely not. I have and will always prefer having a top status with number of chains. Although Starwood has quite good global coverage, it is not present everywhere. Having a number of hotel statuses helps with promotions too. I like to participate to a number of exciting free and bonus points promotions over the year. Starwood doesn’t always have the best promotions every quarter. Besides, it would become boring after a while to stay same hotels over and over.

SPG Restaurants & Bars – Up To 30% Discount for SPG Members & Around The World in 5 Meals-Sweepstakes

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Starwood Preferred Guest members have been eligible for earning Starpoints when drinking and dining at SPG properties, even when not staying, for years. You only need to present your SPG member card at the time of settling the bill. The property is supposed to fill out a credit card style slip and the points would show up (or maybe not) in your account few days later.

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Now, Starwood has launched dining discounts at number of SPG hotels for Preferred Guest program members. There are more than 500 participating restaurants & bars. The discount varies from 10% to 30% depending of the venue. Individual properties have often offered dining discounts for in house guests.

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The website interface for locating bars and restaurants, where these offers are valid, appears to be working well. I was able to locate 21 establishments in Abu Dhabi offering discounts. It clearly shows the discount offered by various restaurants.

There are separate regional Starwood Privilege programs that offer even greater dining discounts usually around 50%, but these are restricted for residents of these counties and packages are not sold for visitors.

Around the World in 5 Meals

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This is a competition to promote the SPG Restaurants & Bars program. You need to choose five participating restaurants on the map and fill out your SPG number and email address. If you dine at any participating restaurant before the sweepstakes end, you will get an additional entry.

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Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

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Starwood used to do straight status matches from number of programs like Marriott or Hilton. This was all changed in early 2011. From April 1st, 2011 Starwood initiated a Platinum challenge where spending 15 nights during 90 day period would earn you a Platinum status. This was further changed to 18 nights during three calendar month period back in November 2012.

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Here are the current requirements for SPG Platinum challenge

1. No previous Platinum status with Starwood Preferred Guest

2. 18 nights during three calendar month period (need to be paid nights – award/cash & points nights do not count)

You can choose any consecutive three months. If you have already had number of Starwood stays in February and March, you can sign up, and now choose February to April to be your three consecutive months. You can also change the three month period after you have chosen it. If you fail the challenge, you can do another one.

By completing the challenge after March 1st, 2012 you will receive the Platinum status all the way until February 2014.

There is no need to have status with competing program to start the challenge.

You can start the challenge and receive further information about this program by emailing SPG at platinum.liaison@starwoodhotels.com.

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