Hyatt Discontinues Passport Escape Awards Effective November 1

Hyatt Gold Passport has number of different types of awards. One of them is Passport Escape that comes either in a 5 day or 7 day version. Both of these are discontinued on November 1, 2012.

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The 5 day award includes the room + 5 breakfasts + 3 dinners & the 7 day award includes the room + 7 breakfasts + 5 dinners. Both of these are for two people.

hyatt-passport-escape-discontinuance

The premium per night that you need to pay over basic room only is 2166 points on the 5 day version and 8000 points per night at the 7 day version.

This is a very good award to redeem in a place like Park Hyatt Maldives. Quite frankly, if you have a late breakfast and then dinner, there is no need to purchase lunch on the 3 days (on the 5 day version of this award) that the dinner is included.

Conclusion

It is sad to see redemption options gone. This is a “special” award that only works well in a specific circumstance like the one mentioned above.

The fact that you could redeem Hyatt Gold Passport points for instant awards like dinner is no replacement for this. A dinner for two that would cost more than $200 at the Park Hyatt Maldives, would require you to redeem an additional 24000 per dinner.

It is sad that Hyatt Gold Passport hasn’t made any official announcement beyond the Gold Passport concierge reply on FlyerTalk about discontinuance of this award type.

Hyatt October Edition of the 48 Hour Sale – C48OCT

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Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at select US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels for stays between October 30 and January 31, 2013. The promotional dates for individual properties may vary. You need to book this offer by 11:59PM CDT on October 17, 2012.

hyatt-48-hour-sale-october

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

Conclusion

I would only book this rate if it is significantly cheaper than refundable rates as plans often change. This sale is a monthly one from Hyatt and these “sale” rates are often not that great. Have a look at your upcoming Hyatt reservations to see if there are opportunities to save.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday October 16th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday October 17th Central Daylight Time, for travel between Wednesday October 31, 2012 and Sunday January 27, 2013 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48OCT when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

My Grand Hyatt Jakarta Award Availability Woes

For the past week, I have been in Jakarta and had a side strip over the weekend to Bandung. The Indonesian economy is heating up and there aren’t that many international hotels in Jakarta compared to other capital cities in Asia. To make things more complicated, I rarely book more than a day in advance.

grand-hyatt-jakarta

1. Monday

I made an award reservation to Grand Hyatt Jakarta when I was on my way from Bandung to Jakarta. The availability was fine.

2. Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, I decided that I could spend another night at the Grand Hyatt using points but online only showed Club Room King award availability at 10K points per night. The regular redemption rate is 8K per night and I would be eligible for club anyway for being a Diamond member.

I decided to call the Grand Club and ask them to extend my stay by a night using the 8K rate. They called me back and told that they could only do it at the 10K rate. Oh well. I decided to pass this opportunity to “over” pay and just said that I will book another hotel.

If I pay for a hotel, my preference is InterContinental Jakarta over Grand Hyatt due to the Royal Ambassador benefits compared to Hyatt Diamond ones. Unfortunately, the InterContinental Jakarta was sold out as was Crowne Plaza.

Few hours later in the afternoon, when I was checking availability, the King Room was available for sale and thus for awards as well. Then, I just made another award reservation online for the night.

3. Wednesday

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On Tuesday the Grand Hyatt was completely sold out for the Wednesday night. On Wednesday morning, however, the availability was wide open again. I just made another award reservation for tonight.

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Later in the day the hotel was sold out again.

Conclusion

It pays to check the award availability daily and sometimes even several times during the day. If guests are canceling their reservations or upgrades are given, it often makes base level room available for sale and awards.

I was somewhat surprised that they weren’t willing to extend my stay on Tuesday at the regular award level, but I had to wait for the inventory open up and to make it by myself. Bit of flexibility goes a long way.

Getting Cashback for Your Hotel and Travel Bookings

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What would be better than getting cashback rebates for travel related bookings that you would be taking regardless? Sounds too good to be true? Actually, it is not. You are really leaving money on the table if you are not taking advantage of various cashback options for hotel stays and airline bookings.

Different type of cashback malls

1. Straight cashback malls

These are my personal choice as you normally get the cashback deposited directly to your PayPal account. It is easy to compare the cashback options because the payout is represented in percentage of the price. You just choose the cashback mall that is offering the highest payout at the time you do the booking/purchase.

ebates-cashback-mall

My favorites on this category are FatCash, BigCrumbs, eBates, MrRebates, TopCashback, Quidco & Upromise. There are number of others as well.

2. Airline/hotel related malls

There are few hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott that are offering a cashback mall where most of the major US airlines like Delta, United, American, and US Airways (and pretty much all the others) do have one. These tend to be run by Cartera.

aadvantage-eshopping-mall

I normally only use these when they are offering a bonus for a bonus miles for hitting a certain thresholds. These are normally offered during the holidays and back to school periods.

3. Credit card/bank related malls

Credit card companies and banks have opened their own cashback malls as well. Citi, Chase, Discover, Bank of America etc. all have their own cashback malls.

bank-of-america-worldpoints-mall

I used Citi’s Thank You Points-mall a lot when they were offering fixed price air awards. Now that the payout is only 1.33 cents per point on air fare, it hasn’t been that competitive.

Comparing cashback payouts

You can always just go through one provider or follow my advice and just open an account with all of them. You should then the cashback mall that offers the highest payout. The cashback amount varies vendor to vendor and can change sometimes weekly.

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There are various sites for checking out the cashback amounts. You can visit Evreward, RewardsDB, CashbackHolic, CashbackMonitor and NerdWallet. The latter is specialized for the credit card and bank cashback malls.

None of these is perfect, however. You should always check UK based Quidco as well that has offered very good cashback rates as of late and is excluded from most of these comparison sites due to its location.

Tracking transactions

There are sometimes problem with tracking the cashback from making the booking to getting the payout. I have made a simple Excel sheet that I use for this purpose. I record the date of the booking, the date of the stay (in case of hotels), the name of the merchant, name of the cashback mall, the confirmation number, and the expected cashback amount or percentage of rebate.

It is really essential that you do this if you make number of bookings as it might get confusing really fast which mall you used and when. Also, the cashback amount/percentage can change. It is essential that you have recorded the amount that you should get based on the cashback rate at the time of booking/purchase.

Getting paid

The de facto payment form for the first set of sites is PayPal. Some sites pay out quarterly, some monthly, some require you to request a payment before it is processed and some may require you to have a minimum withdrawal amount of $10.

The airline/hotel related malls just deposit the miles/points that you have earned from your purchases to your account. The same goes for bank/credit card related ones as well.

Example booking an InterContinental Hotel

The cashback amount on IHG group of hotels varies a lot between the sites. I have come to realize that I really need to check them all when I am making bookings.

Last week MrRebates was offering 6%

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eBates 4.5%

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TopCashBack 6%

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And Quidco whopping 12%

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The booking was made using the cashback link on Quidco’s website.

Conclusion

Hotels tend to offer attractive cashback rates as they are trying to get more bookings through their websites and not having to pay 10% travel agent commissions. I have earned thousands of dollars cashback through these sites over the past ten years I have been using them.

It doesn’t matter if you are not located in the United States as these sites are paying out to PayPal account. Similarly, nothing prevents you taking advantage of sometimes generous rates that Quidco, based in the UK, is offering.

Note that LoyaltyLobby may get a referral fee if you join and use the cashback sites mentioned above.

Park Hyatt Ningbo, China – Review of My Stay

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Back in April, I was in Shanghai for couple of week and decided that it probably would make sense to spend one weekend somewhere else. The brand new Park Hyatt Ningbo had just opened and was only three hour ride away from Shanghai.

Location

The hotel is outside of the Ningbo city by Don Qian lake. There is an airport in Ningbo, but I would imagine that most of the guests are arriving from Shanghai.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Lake
Park Hyatt Ningbo Lake

There is really nothing in the immediate proximity of the hotel. You need a car to get around as there are no taxis close to the Park Hyatt. If you want one, they need to order one from the city center and you have to pay an inflated rate of 100 CNY.

From Shanghai you have several options getting to Ningbo:

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1. You can take a train but it will go via Hangzhou. I wasn’t going to spend any time there so I decided against this option.

2. You can take a bus that drops you off at the Ningbo bus station from where you have to take a cab to the hotel.

3. You can rent a car and drive to the hotel.

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I chose the bus option and took a taxi to one of the bus stations in Shanghai. My hotel concierge printed out the bus schedule and instructed the cab driver where to take me. I did manage to buy the bus ticket without too much of a hassle. The price of the bus fare was about 100 CNY ($16). I was bit lost about where the bus was actually leaving. Luckily, there were Chinese whose English was rather good and they were able to help me out.

The bus trip to the Ningbo took almost three hours. We had a stop for 20 to 30 minutes just before crossing the long bridge.

The bus terminal in Ningbo is in the city center. There is a taxi rank after exciting the terminal. I had to wait no more than 10 minutes for a taxi, although the line looked long at first. There were some taxi touts offering services at the fixed fare. The fare from the center of Ningbo to the Park Hyatt using a meter was 60 CNY.

Check In

Park Hyatt Ningbo
Park Hyatt Ningbo

The check in area was totally deserted when I arrived. We went through back and worth few times regarding a Diamond upgrade. We decided to use one of the suite upgrades that I had to get me a suite. The hotel was completely deserted during my stay. Of course the hotel doesn’t have to upgrade you beyond what is the absolute minimum required by the Gold Passport, but if you have suites available, why not.

Suite 213

This was a proper suite with a separate living room and a bed room. The bedroom and bathroom weren’t really divided.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room
Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room

It had a full size refrigerator that is bit weird for a hotel if it designed as a hotel from the getco. I liked the Nespresso that you can find at most modern hotels in Asia and Middle East.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room Kitchen Set Up
Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room Kitchen Set Up

It had a full wet bar with a Chinese tea set.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room Tea Set
Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Living Room Tea Set

The bathroom’s shower area was enclosed and you could turn it to a steam room.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Bathroom Tub
Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Bathroom Tub

Diamond amenity was a bottle of red wine and a note.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Diamond Amenity
Park Hyatt Ningbo Suite 213 Diamond Amenity

Fitness Center

Was exactly what one would expect from a brand new hotel. I loved the fact that they had wireless headphones for the cardio machines.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Fitness Center Machines
Park Hyatt Ningbo Fitness Center Machines

There was an indoor pool that was lighted during the evening.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Pool Night View
Park Hyatt Ningbo Pool Night View

You also had a ping pong and pool tables.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Pool Table
Park Hyatt Ningbo Pool Table

Hotel Grounds

When I was there back in April, the weather wasn’t really perfect. It was rather chilly and windy at times. The hotel grounds are very tastefully done.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Villas
Park Hyatt Ningbo Villas

There are two separate villa sections that weren’t ready back in April. I am not sure if these are going to be part of hotel or if they are sold separately.

Clientele

This hotel probably mainly caters to Chinese clientele from the nearby cities. I was the only Caucasian guest that I saw on the property. The food and beverage options and the design reflect this fact.

Breakfast

The full breakfast is obviously complimentary for the Diamond guests. They had some bakery items out but for cold cuts you had to request.

Park Hyatt Ningbo Breakfast Selection
Park Hyatt Ningbo Breakfast Selection

They also had a menu for hot items that you could order from. I decided to have a salad and pan cakes.

Check Out

No problems with the check out.

Conclusion

I think that this is a fine Park Hyatt that is catered to the Chinese clientele. The suite as well as the common areas were done very tastefully.

The location of the hotel requires you to have a car unless you are planning to spend the entire time at the property.

Would I travel to Ningbo just to stay at the Park Hyatt? Probably no. I don’t think that there was anything special to do in the area. It is perfect weekend getaway for those living in Shanghai, but I don’t see it being a destination to where you would travel from abroad.

Hotel Promotions Update (October 2012) Le Club Accorhotels, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest & Wyndham Rewards

Here our monthly blog post about hotel loyalty promotions. You can now find an updated list just by clicking the “Hotel Promotions” tab. This will be updated throughout the month when promotions expire and new ones are announced.

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Accor Hotels – Le Club

Le Club Accorhotels is offering bonus miles for Air Canada Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles, and Lufthansa Miles & More members until October 31, 2012.

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Le Club Accorhotels Airline Offers: Air Canada Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles & Lufthansa Miles & More

You can get instant Platinum status with Le Club Accorhotels just by signing up to the program.

le-club-accorhotels-sign-up-august-2012-benefits

Accor A-Club / Le Club Accohotels Instant Platinum Status for New Accounts Still Available

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s fall promotion for double/triple points is starting on September 23rd and ends on November 18th, 2012. You can read more about this promo by following the link.

Best Western Rewards Fall 2012 Promotion Double or Triple Points

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

You can get a free night voucher for every two night stay at the Country Inns & Suites locations in the United States and Canada. This offer is valid from October 1 to November 30, 2012.

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Country Inns & Suites Bonus Offer: Stay for Two Consecutive Nights and Get a Free Night Certificate

You can get triple points + 2000 bonus points by booking a breakfast package. This promotion is valid until December 31st, 2012 at selected Radisson & Radisson Blu locations.

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Book Breakfast Package Rate & Get Triple Gold Points at Select Radisson & Radisson Blu Hotels

You can get triple American Airline miles (1500) for Radisson/Radisson Blu stays worldwide until December 20th, 2012.

Triple American Airlines AAdvantage Miles for Radisson/Radisson Blu Stays

Club Carlson is celebrating 25 years of Country Inn & Suites by giving 25K bonus points for two night stays until October 14, 2012.

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Club Carlson: Country Inn & Suites 25 Years – Get 25000 Bonus Points For 2 Nights Stay

Here are few other interesting posts about the Club Carlson program:

There is an elite offer for 2 for 1 and 4 for 2. You need to be a Gold or Concierge member to take advantage of these discounts that are valid in Europe, Middle East Africa.

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 2 Pay 1

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 4 Pay 2

You can get a Club Carlson Gold through a status match or being a shareholder:

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

If you have a friend or family member working for any Carlson hotel, you maybe eligible for the Friends & family discount:

Carlson Hotels Friends & Family Discount

Choice Privileges – Choice Hotels

Choice’s fall 2012 promotion is valid until November 14th, 2012. You will earn at the minimum 8000 points for every two stays.

choice-fall-2012-promotion

Choice Hotels Fall 2012 Promotion for Maximum of 8000 Bonus Points for Every Two Stays

Hilton HHonors

Hilton is offering maximum of 15K bonus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for 5 stays. You can always transfer the bonus + base miles back to Hilton HHonors for total of 40K HH points. This promotion is valid until December 31, 2012

hilton-hhonors-virgin-atlantic-4th-quarter-offer

Hilton HHonors Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Bonus Offer – 15K Bonus Miles for 5 Stays

Hilton has a promotion with Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian etc) for up to quadruple miles until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Miles & More Promotion for Up To Quadruple Miles

You can earn 4000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles on your second stay. This offer is valid until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Emirates Skywards Promotion – 4000 Bonus Miles on Your Second Stay

Hilton has a special “Be Yourself” package for Conrad resorts. Gold/Diamond members will receive 5000 bonus points per stay.

Conrad Hotels “Be Yourself” Offer of Breakfast/Room Upgrade or 5000 Bonus Points

Hilton is offering instant Gold status until 2014 and bonus points/miles for American, Delta, JetBlu, United, US Airways, and Virgin American frequent fliers. This offer is targeted.

hilton-offer-american

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status Until March 2014 for American, Delta, JetBlue, United, US Airways, and Virgin America Frequent Fliers + Bonus Points & Miles (Targeted?)

You can get free 500 Hilton HHonors points for liking Hampton Inn on Facebook.

Get 500 Free Hilton HHonors Points by Liking Hampton Inn on Facebook

Here are some other important posts:

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’s fall 2012 promotion is valid from September 1st to November 30th, 2012. You will earn 5000 bonus points after 5 nights and 10000 bonus points for every additional five nights for maximum bonus of 65000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

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Hyatt Gold Passport Autumn “Imagine the Possibilities” Promotion

Here are couple of other important posts:

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

The beauty of Priority Club is the onslaught of ongoing overlapping promotions that you can triple/quadruple dip.You can read about my average Priority Club point earnings when all the promotions are factored in here. I have also written about different type of Priority Club promotions here and what you can expect to earn for your first stay if you sign up for an account here.

Just a word of warning. Some of these promotions may require an address to be in a specific country/area like United States. I take absolutely no guarantees what will post to your Priority Club account.  They may also conflict with a promotion that you have already signed up for and just return an error message.

There is an interesting “Roles To Rooms’ promotion for total of 15K bonus points for four stays. This promotion appears to be geographically targeted to Asia Pacific region.

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Priority Club “Roles to Rooms” Promotion: 15000 Bonus Points for Four Stays

Here’s an update about the “Roles to Room” promotion:

Priority Club “Roles To Rooms” Promotion Update: 15K for 4 Stays

Complimentary Intercontinental Ambassador Status After Three InterContinental Nights

You can get complimentary InterContinental Ambassador status that normally costs $200 for staying 3 nights at InterContinental properties by the end of November

Priority Club Candlewood & Staybridge Suites Promotion for 5000 Bonus Points

You can get 5000 bonus Priority Cub points for staying two consecutive nights at Candlewood or Staybridge Suites property in the United States by December 30th, 2012.

Triple Priority Club Points in Spain & Portugal – Need to Book IKTB2 Rate

Triple points for stays at select properties in the Iberian peninsula. Valid until the end of December.

Quarter 4 Stay Bonuses

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These are valid from October 1st to December 31st, 2012. You should sign up for 5K, 10K or 15K varation of this offer depending how many IHg nights you are planning to have on the 4th quarter.

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 “Sweetheart Deal” $100 Visa Prepaid Debit Card for Each 3 Night Stay within 90 Day of Wedding

Priority Club is offering a $100 rebate for every stay of 3 nights or longer within 90 days of your wedding, This promotion is valid until the end of 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

You can get up to five codes that you can redeem for various gift card by booking online or mobile on any of IHG branded websites.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

You can get triple Priority Club points for meetings by switching your account to Priority Club Meetings Reward member.

Priority Club Surveys for 2000 Points or More

There are number of surveys that you can do in number of different languages for a quick 2000 Priority Club points, if you haven’t done any of them earlier. This is a quick way to get some points. My points posted immediately.

Priority Club Welcome Survey for 1000 Bonus Points

Not sure what is going on with this promotion, but you can try to see if it works for you.

Install (Not Required) Priority Club Shopping Toolbar & Get 300 Points

You can get easy 300 points by installing a Priority Club shopping toolbar.

You can register for the following promotions at priorityclub.com/register. You need to have the email address associated with the Priority Club OR the Priority Club account number available AND the four digit code associated with the promotion.

Anniversary Bonus Offer – 6102 – 1000 Bonus Points

This is most lucrative of the offers. You will get additional 1000 Priority Club points per stay for 90 days after your sign up.  Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

1000 Bonus Points for 60 Days – 8108 – 1000 Bonus Points

You will receive 1000 bonus Priority Club points per stay for the next 60 days after registering for this promotion. Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 5221 – 3000 Bonus Points

This works for sure if you are a Platinum member, but could work for Gold’s as well. Doesn’t hurt to sign up, right? You will get 3000 bonus Priority Club points for your next stay. You will need to have the stay within 90 days after signing up. You can only earn this once.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 7489 – 3000 Bonus Points NEW

This is another 3000 bonus points for an elite member. It posts for sure if you are Platinum but might work for a Gold account as well. You need to do the stay within 90 days of registering for this offer.

Welcome Back Bonus – 2120 – 1500 Bonus Points

You will get 1500 Priority Club bonus points for one stay after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days.

New Member Bonus – 3107 – 1500 Bonus Points

This is a new member bonus, but works for existing members as well. You will get onetime 1500 Priority Club bonus points after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days after registration.

Next Stay Bonus – 5109 – 1500 Bonus Points

This should be open for elite and non-elite members. You will get onetime bonus of 1500 Priority club points after a paid stay. The stay must be within 90 days after registration.

Weekend Stay Bonus – 3136 – 5000 Bonus Points

This should be open for all. You will get 5000 Priority Club bonus points for a two night weekend stay. Weekend is typically defined Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights. The stay must occur before the end of 2012. This promotion may require your Priority Club access to be in the United States. The promotion did post for me after a while. This promotion can be done several times.

Platinum 5000 Bonus – 3168 – 5000 Bonus Points

Not sure exactly how this works, but here’s the info about this offer: We’re pleased you have continued to stay with us and are now even closer to earning exclusive Platinum Elite benefits and 5,000 bonus points. All you need to do is register and stay with us 5 more nights before 30th November 2012. It would be our pleasure to reward your loyalty with exclusive Platinum Elite benefits. Keep staying with us and you’ll soon be there. We look forward to helping you make it to the top: Platinum Elite status!

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has their usual fall MegaBonus starting on September 15th and ends on January 15th 2013. You need, however, register for the promotion by October 31st, 2012.

marriott-rewards-fal-2012-megabonus

Marriott Rewards Fall 2012 MegaBonus

Update on Marriott Fall 2012 MegaBonus Choices

You can earn triple airline miles tarting on your second stay on Marriott’s MegaMiles promotion that ends on October 30th, 2012.

marriott-megamiles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

Here are three other posts about Marriott Rewards:

You can get Southwest Rapid Rewards points for Marriott Gift card purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for Marriott Gift Card Purchases

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

Marriott Status Match Silver, Gold & Platinum – Taste of Silver, Gold or Platinum

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 an offer for 30K bonus points for a stay of four nights or longer. This offer is valid until October 15th, 2012.

ritz-carlton-extraordinary-returns_0

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

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood’s next promotion Better By The Night begins on October 1st and ends on December 20th, 2012. You will receive double Starpoints for stays of 1 to 2 nights and triple points for stays of 3 nights or longer.

spg-better-by-the-night

SPG Better By The Night Autumn 2012 Promotion for Double or Triple Starpoints

You can get 500 bonus points for booking made on the iPhone SPG app or 250 points for bookings made on spg.com.

spg-better-by-the-night-booking-bonuses

SPG Better By The Night Online & iPhone Booking Bonuses

Starwood has a promotion with Air Canada’s Aeroplan for maximum of 8000 bonus miles. This is in addition to the Starpoints that you earn. Promotion is valid from September 10 to December 9, 2012.

Starwood Aeroplan Offer: Up To 8000 Bonus Miles

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 has been offering bonus points or free night certificate for new accounts that haven’t had stays

SPG Bonus Beginnings: 3K Bonus Starpoints or Free Night Award

Here’s a post about Starwood status match opportunity:

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’s autumn promotion is extra points or miles for second and fourth stay before November 30, 2012.

wyndham-rewards-fall-2012-promotion

Wyndham Rewards Fall 2012 “Bonus Earnings” Promotion 11K Bonus Points or 2K Bonus Miles

Hyatt September Edition of the 48 Hour Sale – C48SEP

Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels between October 3 and January 7, 2013. The promotional dates for individual properties may vary. You need to book this offer by 11:59PM CDT on September 19, 2012.

hyatt-48-september

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

Conclusion

I would only book this rate if it is significantly cheaper than refundable rates as plans often change. This sale is a monthly one from Hyatt and these “sale” rates are often not that great. Have a look at your upcoming Hyatt reservations to see if there are opportunities to save.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday September 18th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday September 19th Central Daylight Time, for travel between Wednesday October 3, 2012 and Monday January 7, 2013 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48SEP when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

Hotel Promotions Update (September 2012) Le Club Accorhotels, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest & Wyndham Rewards

Here our monthly blog post about hotel loyalty promotions. You can now find an updated list just by clicking the “Hotel Promotions” tab. This will be updated when promotions expire and new ones are announced throughout the month.

loyaltylobby-hotel-promotions

Accor Hotels – Le Club

There are no currently bonus point promotions for Le Club Accorhotels. We do, however, have available instant Platinum status with the program. You can find more about this by following the link below.

le-club-accorhotels-sign-up-august-2012-benefits

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

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s fall promotion for double/triple points is starting on September 23rd and ends on November 18th, 2012. You can read more about this promo by following the link.

Best Western Rewards Fall 2012 Promotion Double or Triple Points

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

You can get triple points + 2000 bonus points by booking a breakfast package. This promotion is valid until December 31st, 2012 at selected Radisson & Radisson Blu locations.

radisson-breakfast-package

Book Breakfast Package Rate & Get Triple Gold Points at Select Radisson & Radisson Blu Hotels

You can get 100 free Club Carlson points per day by flipping through a photo book. This offer is valid until September 24, 2012.

club-carlson-global-giveaway-100-points

Get More Than 3000 Free Club Carlson Points – 100 Points Per Day

Club Carlson is celebrating 25 years of Country Inn & Suites by giving 25K bonus points for two night stays until October 14, 2012.

club-carlson-country-inn-suites-25-years-2

Club Carlson: Country Inn & Suites 25 Years – Get 25000 Bonus Points For 2 Nights Stay

Radisson & Radisson Blu has an offer for Europe, Middle East & Africa. You can get 3rd night free and 2000 bonus points when you book for three nights and pay using American Express. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

club-carlson-3-for-2-amex-offer

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

Club Carlson is offering double points at number of their properties in Europe, Middle East & Africa. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

cc-our-summer-specials

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

Club Carlson has a redemption discount offer of 50% at number of properties in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. You can use your points at half the usual rate. This offer is valid until September 30th, 2012.

club-carlson-50redeem

Club Carlson 50% Redemption Discount At Select Hotels in Europe, Middle East & Africa

Club Carlson has a promotion for the Asia Pacific region. You can get 10K bonus points for stays of two nights or longer. You can earn the bonus points unlimited time. The promotion ends on September 30th, 2012.

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

Here are few other interesting posts about the Club Carlson program:

There is an elite offer for 2 for 1 and 4 for 2. You need to be a Gold or Concierge member to take advantage of these discounts that are valid in Europe, Middle East Africa.

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 2 Pay 1

Club Carlson Gold/Concierge Elite Member Offer – Stay 4 Pay 2

You can get a Club Carlson Gold through a status match or being a shareholder:

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

If you have a friend or family member working for any Carlson hotel, you maybe eligible for the Friends & family discount:

Carlson Hotels Friends & Family Discount

Choice Privileges – Choice Hotels

Choice’s fall 2012 promotion is valid until November 14th, 2012. You will earn at the minimum 8000 points for every two stays.

choice-fall-2012-promotion

Choice Hotels Fall 2012 Promotion for Maximum of 8000 Bonus Points for Every Two Stays

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s Triple Your Trip promotion for double points for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Stays, and triple for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday stays until September 30th, 2012.

hilton-hhonors-3q-2012

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

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

Hilton is offering instant Gold status until 2014 and bonus points/miles for American, Delta, JetBlu, United, US Airways, and Virgin American frequent fliers. This offer is targeted.

hilton-offer-american

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status Until March 2014 for American, Delta, JetBlue, United, US Airways, and Virgin America Frequent Fliers + Bonus Points & Miles (Targeted?)

Here are some other important posts:

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’s fall 2012 promotion is valid from September 1st to November 30th, 2012. You will earn 5000 bonus points after 5 nights and 10000 bonus points for every additional five nights for maximum bonus of 65000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

hyatt-imagine

Hyatt Gold Passport Autumn “Imagine the Possibilities” Promotion

Here are couple of other important posts:

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

The beauty of Priority Club is the onslaught of ongoing overlapping promotions that you can triple/quadruple dip.You can read about my average Priority Club point earnings when all the promotions are factored in here. I have also written about different type of Priority Club promotions here and what you can expect to earn for your first stay if you sign up for an account here.

Just a word of warning. Some of these promotions may require an address to be in a specific country/area like United States. I take absolutely no guarantees what will post to your Priority Club account. They may also conflict with a promotion that you have already signed up for and just return an error message.

There is an interesting “Roles To Rooms’ promotion for total of 15K bonus points for four stays. This promotion appears to be geographically targeted to Asia Pacific region.

priority-club-roles-to-rooms

Priority Club “Roles to Room” Promotion: 15000 Bonus Points for Four Stays

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

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

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 “Sweetheart Deal” $100 Visa Prepaid Debit Card for Each 3 Night Stay within 90 Day of Wedding

Priority Club is offering a $100 rebate for every stay of 3 nights or longer within 90 days of your wedding, This promotion is valid until the end of 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

You can get up to five codes that you can redeem for various gift card by booking online or mobile on any of IHG branded websites.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

You can get triple Priority Club points for meetings by switching your account to Priority Club Meetings Reward member.

Priority Club Surveys for 2000 Points or More

There are number of surveys that you can do in number of different languages for a quick 2000 Priority Club points, if you haven’t done any of them earlier. This is a quick way to get some points. My points posted immediately.

Sign Up For Priority Club Shopping Emails & Get 500 Points

You can get 500 Priority Club points for just signing up for the shopping email.

Priority Club Welcome Survey for 1000 Bonus Points

Not sure what is going on with this promotion, but you can try to see if it works for you.

Install (Not Required) Priority Club Shopping Toolbar & Get 300 Points

You can get easy 300 points by installing a Priority Club shopping toolbar.

You can register for the following promotions at priorityclub.com/register. You need to have the email address associated with the Priority Club OR the Priority Club account number available AND the four digit code associated with the promotion.

Anniversary Bonus Offer – 6102 1000 Bonus Points

This is most lucrative of the offers. You will get additional 1000 Priority Club points per stay for 90 days after your sign up. Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

1000 Bonus Points for 60 Days – 8108 1000 Bonus Points

You will receive 1000 bonus Priority Club points per stay for the next 60 days after registering for this promotion. Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earning period.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 5221 3000 Bonus Points

This works for sure if you are a Platinum member, but could work for Gold’s as well. Doesn’t hurt to sign up, right? You will get 3000 bonus Priority Club points for your next stay. You will need to have the stay within 90 days after signing up. You can only earn this once.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 7489 3000 Bonus Points NEW

This is another 3000 bonus points for an elite member. It posts for sure if you are Platinum but might work for a Gold account as well. You need to do the stay within 90 days of registering for this offer.

Welcome Back Bonus – 2120 – 1500 Bonus Points

You will get 1500 Priority Club bonus points for one stay after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days.

New Member Bonus – 3107 1500 Bonus Points

This is a new member bonus, but works for existing members as well. You will get onetime 1500 Priority Club bonus points after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days after registration.

Next Stay Bonus – 5109 1500 Bonus Points

This should be open for elite and non-elite members. You will get onetime bonus of 1500 Priority club points after a paid stay. The stay must be within 90 days after registration.

Weekend Stay Bonus – 3136 5000 Bonus Points

This should be open for all. You will get 5000 Priority Club bonus points for a two night weekend stay. Weekend is typically defined Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights. The stay must occur before the end of 2012. This promotion may require your Priority Club access to be in the United States. The promotion did post for me after a while. This promotion can be done several times.

Platinum 5000 Bonus – 3168 – 5000 Bonus Points

Not sure exactly how this works, but here’s the info about this offer: We’re pleased you have continued to stay with us and are now even closer to earning exclusive Platinum Elite benefits and 5,000 bonus points. All you need to do is register and stay with us 5 more nights before 30th November 2012. It would be our pleasure to reward your loyalty with exclusive Platinum Elite benefits. Keep staying with us and you’ll soon be there. We look forward to helping you make it to the top: Platinum Elite status!

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has their usual fall MegaBonus starting on September 15th and ends on January 15th 2013. You need, however, register for the promotion by October 31st, 2012.

marriott-rewards-fal-2012-megabonus

Marriott Rewards Fall 2012 MegaBonus

Update on Marriott Fall 2012 MegaBonus Choices

You can earn triple airline miles tarting on your second stay on Marriott’s MegaMiles promotion that ends on October 30th, 2012.

marriott-megamiles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

Here are three other posts about Marriott Rewards:

You can get Southwest Rapid Rewards points for Marriott Gift card purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for Marriott Gift Card Purchases

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 an offer for 30K bonus points for a stay of four nights or longer. This offer is valid until October 15th, 2012.

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

Starwood’s next promotion Better By The Night begins on October 1st and ends on December 20th, 2012. You will receive double Starpoints for stays of 1 to 2 nights and triple points for stays of 3 nights or longer.

spg-better-by-the-night

SPG Better By The Night Autumn 2012 Promotion for Double or Triple Starpoints

You can get 500 bonus points for booking made on the iPhone SPG app or 250 points for bookings made on spg.com.

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SPG Better By The Night Online & iPhone Booking Bonuses

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

Here’s a post about Starwood status match opportunity:

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’s summer promotion is coming to an end on September 13th, 2012. You can earn quadruple points or miles.

wyndham-s12summer

Wyndham Rewards Summer 2012 Promotion for Quadruple Miles or Points

2000 United Airlines Mileage Plus Miles + 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points + GoGo Pass for $59 Is Back

On August 8th, I wrote about an offer from MilePoint, a Flyertalk clone but without the traffic. You can get 2000 United Mileage Plus miles and 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport points + number of other worthwhile offers for signing up MilePoint Platinum membership at $59 per year. Even if you have no interest about MilePoint, but are member of Hyatt & United, it makes sense to sign up.

milepoint-offer

Here’s a list of benefits. I have marked in RED the ones that I find useful. You can access this offer here once you have signed up for the MilePoint.

milepoint-offer-list

Conclusion

As was the case last month, I found this offer to be useful just for the Hyatt points and United miles alone.

Why Hotels Love Resort Charges & Why You Should Hate Them?

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Resort fees, also sometimes called “facility” or “service” charges, are spreading like a cancer to properties that are no resorts, and are becoming more difficult to avoid.

Here are eight reasons why hotels love “scamming” using resort charges:

1. Able to advertise a lower headline price and bury the extra charge to tax section.

2. Preferential display when searched using the price on hotel search engines.

3. Save on some taxes on municipalities that don’t collect taxes on “resort” charges.

4. Collect resort charge on award stays.

5. Collect resort charge on third party bookings i.e. Expedia, Hotwire, Booking.com, Priceline etc.

6. No need to pay for travel agent commission for amount of the resort fee.

7. No need to award points for the frequent guest program for the resort fee portion.

8. No need to pay franchise fees for the resort charge portion.

Here are three examples how these charges are displayed:

Westin Las Vegas Resort Charge
Westin Las Vegas Resort Charge

Westin Las Vegas the old Maxim hotel that was closed for couple of years. The property charges a “service” fee of $11.50 that is buried to the itemized rate display.

St Regis Puerto Rico Resort Charge
St Regis Puerto Rico Resort Charge

St Regis Puerto Rico. The resort charge is displayed on the search and the wording that the base rate excluded the resort fee of $60 per night that is included in the full price.

Hyatt Regency Palm Springs Resort Charge
Hyatt Regency Palm Springs Resort Charge

Hyatt has hidden the resort charge to rate details. The price breakdown that is shown only includes the taxes but shows the total with the resort charge included.

What do you might get for these resort charges?

Water bottle, free internet, usage of wellness facilities, free local and 800-phone calls, use of pool or then none of these might be included. If you happen to be an elite member with the hotel, most of these would be covered by your elite benefits regardless.

Conclusion

Resort charges are nothing else than a clever way for hotels to advertise a lower headline price and hide the accommodation charge that is not a tax to the tax breakdown. I absolutely hate hotels that do this. Then there are hotels like Westin Las Vegas or Hyatt Palm Springs that are not resorts and have started to charge service/resort fees.

You can always request for the resort charges to be waived or discounted on the basis that you didn’t use the services or that they are part of the elite level benefit package. Quite often the hotels are willing to waive these fees rather than argue with the customer.

Hyatt August Edition of the 48 Hour Sale – C48AUG

Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels between August 28th and December 5th, 2012. The promotional dates for individual properties may vary. You need to book this offer by 11:59PM CDT on August 22nd, 2012.

hyatt-48-hour-august

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

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday August 21st and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday August 22nd Central Daylight Time, for travel between Tuesday August 28, 2012 and Wednesday December 5, 2012 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48AUG when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

Registration Now Open for Hyatt’s Fall “Imagine the Possibilities” Promotion

Hyatt has now opened the registration for the fall 2012 “Imagine the Possibilities” promotion that I wrote about the other week.

Hyatt Imagine The Possibilities
Hyatt Imagine The Possibilities

You can register for this promotion here.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

ELIGIBILITY/HOW TO REGISTER: To participate in this Promotion, you must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member and register for this Promotion. Current member online registration begins August 15, 2012 by visiting goldpassport.com/possibilities and ends October 31, 2012. New member enrollments from August 15, 2012 through October 31, 2012 will automatically be registered for the Promotion. Void where prohibited.

PROMOTION PERIOD: Promotion begins September 1, 2012 and ends November 30, 2012 (“Promotion Period”).

ELIGIBLE NIGHTS: For the purpose of this Offer, an “Eligible Night” shall be defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort when choosing points or miles and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights shall not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for their room, regardless of the number of paid rooms.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: During the Promotion Period, complete five (5) Eligible Nights at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™, or Hyatt Residence Club® hotel and resort worldwide. After your first five (5) Eligible Nights, earn 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points. Earn 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points for every five (5) subsequent Eligible Nights thereafter during the Promotion Period. A maximum of 65,000 bonus points may be earned during the Promotion Period. To receive bonus points, you must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member, register for the Promotion, provide your Hyatt Gold Passport membership number at reservation/check-in, be a registered guest physically occupying the room to which you are registered, and pay an Eligible Rate. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Rate” shall be defined as any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to, rates found on hyatt.com, the Hyatt Daily Rate, volume, AAA and senior citizen rates. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Internet wholesale rates (such as priceline.com, hotels.com, etc.), traditional wholesale rates (such as GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contracted room is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time).

BONUS POINT POSTING: Please allow two to three (2-3) weeks after your fifth Eligible Night (and every five Eligible Nights thereafter) for bonus points to be posted to your Hyatt Gold Passport account (allow 4-6 weeks for bonus points from nights outside the U.S.).

GENERAL CONDITIONS: Hyatt Gold Passport reserves the right to alter or withdraw this Promotion at any time without notice. This Promotion is subject to the complete Terms and Conditions of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. Membership in Hyatt Gold Passport is free. For complete program terms and conditions, and to join, visit goldpassport.com.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt house™, Hyatt Residence Club® resort, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation and its affiliates. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

2000 United Airlines Mileage Plus Miles + 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points + GoGo Pass for $59

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Milepoint is apparently having a premium membership drive and offering a nice package just for $59.

milepoint-offer

Here is a list of benefits & discounts that you will receive for $59.

milepoint-offer-list

Let’s say that if you value your Hyatt and United points at 1.5 cents each then the value of these two is greater than the price of $59 that Milepoint charges for their Premium membership. I have circled in red the benefits & discounts that I have found to be useful.

Conclusion

This is a very good offer that I will take advantage of as well. Buying 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and United Mileage Plus miles for just $59 is a very good deal.

Milepoint is a Flyertalk clone that was (surprisingly) founded by the founder of FlyerTalk (after selling the latter to Internet Brands).  For frequent traveler related information I have found the FlyerTalk to be far more useful than the Milepoint.

Using Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” to Save on Hotels

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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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