How to Work Numerous Priority Club Promotions?

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There are always a number of different kinds of Priority Club promotions that you can take advantage of. Some of them are combinable with each other but then some are not. I hope that this post clarifies the situation.

1. Quarterly Stay-Bonuses

Priority Club has been sending out targeted offers for years for X number of points after Y number of nights.

There are normally 3 to 4 thresholds of 5K, 10K, 15K, and sometimes 20K points after certain number of nights. You can only register for ONE of these promotions. After you have registered, you cannot change the selection.

You should always register for the version of this promotion that you are certain to achieve.

2. Global Promotions

These are the type of promotions that Priority Club advertises on print media and often all over the properties as well.

They are not tied to quarters but can vary in length and promotion type. This year (2012) there has been two global promotions so far; one for double points or miles and the other one for 1000 extra Priority Club points per night.

3. Welcome Back / New Member Bonuses / Next Stay Bonus

These are normally emailed or mailed. You will receive a code that yields anywhere from 1000 to 3000 points for one stay. Sometimes these are eligible only for Gold or Platinum Priority Club members.

4. Anniversary Bonus Offers

These are very lucrative ones. You will typically receive 1000 bonus points per stay for 60 to 90 days after you sign up. Sometimes they only work for Gold or Platinum member accounts.

5. Ambassador Accelerator

After you sign up for Ambassador membership, you are then eligible for 20K bonus points for every 15 nights spend at InterContinental hotels. You are not automatically signed up for this offer.

6. Airline Specific Offers

Sometimes there are offers for double/triple airline miles in selected airline programs. I don’t always write about these as I don’t find them to be very lucrative. You have to choose miles as your earning option and these often conflict with some other bonus points promotions.

7. Hotel Specific Promotions

Sometimes hotel advertises a rate or rates that include number of bonus Priority Club points. Often these rates are higher than some other discounted rates that the property offers. These tend to be geared towards reimbursed business travelers that may find it beneficial to book artificially high rate but which includes bonus points that the traveler can later use i.e. for their vacation.

8. Rebate Promotions

Priority Club has had different kind of rebate promotions in the past few years. They normally require a two night weekday or weekend stay. Then you need to fill out rebate forms and mail them out to the rebate processed and hope that they correctly fulfill the promotion. Your reward is normally a MasterCard or Visa prepaid debit card for $50 or $75.

9. Other One Time Bonus Points Promotions

There are often promotions that could be brand specific i.e. earlier offer of 15K bonus points after 6 nights at InterContinental hotels or 5000 bonus points for a weekend stay.

10. Surveys / Quizzes / Toolbar / Shopping Promotions

There are number of onetime bonus opportunities that are not tied to stays at all. These tend to come and go. You can earn thousands of points per year just completing them all as they come.

Most of the time you can double or triple dip (or even more) multiple Priority Club promotions if you plan correctly.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Your account may not be eligible for specific promotion

You may get an error message that you have signed up for a promotion or the promotion code is invalid. This normally means that you have already signed up for a variant of the offer.

2. Geographical Requirement

Some promotions may require for your address on file with the Priority Club to be in the certain region (mainly in the United States. If your address in in UK, the promotional points just won’t post.

3. My Promotions

The promotion may show in your “My Promotions”, but it doesn’t mean that the points will actually post. You need to fulfill the terms and conditions of the promotion as well that are sometimes unknown.

4. Delayed Promotional Points Postings

Some promotions don’t actually yield the points at the time your stay posts. There are some bonuses that can post weeks after the qualifying activity has happened. It just shows up as an additional line on your points history. This depends how Priority Club does their sweeps.

5. Conflicting promotions

Sometimes signing up for one offer will disqualify you from other one. There is no way to unregister after you have signed up for an offer. Earlier in the year there were two different offers for InterContinental stays. After I signed up for one, I was disqualified from the other one.

Under no circumstances should you call Priority Club regarding a promotion that you were NOT originally targeted for.

I know, it is terrible that certain promotion won’t register or the points post. I have gone through this numerous times with Priority Club. You should never, however, call and inquiry about promotions that you were not targeted for i.e. received an email offering the promotion or a post card on the mail.

I will post about new Priority Club bonus points opportunities as they happen.

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

InterContinental Koh Samui Taling Ngam Resort, Thailand – Review of My Stay

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intercontinental-koh-samui-baan-taling-ngam-resort-view-of-the-lower-level-from-lobbyThis is one of those hotels that have an interesting history. At one point in time, it was operated under the Le Meridien brand and owned directly by the now disgraced and bankrupt Lehman Brothers investment bank.

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Location

The hotel is located on the exact opposite side of the Koh Samui airport. The ride from the airport to the resort can take from anywhere 45 to 60 minutes depending on the traffic. The distance itself is not that great but the road infrastructure is very bad on the island.

Koh Samui Airport to InterContinental hotel
Koh Samui Airport to InterContinental hotel

The location from the mainland ferry and the city, where all the government services are located, is about 20 minutes ride away.

Resort

The reception building is built on the mountain and you have great views of the beach and the sea from the units that are on the main building and from the high villas.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - View of the Beach from Reception
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – View of the Beach from Reception

There are three types of accommodations at this resort:

1. Regular hotel rooms on the main building

2. Villas on the hill

3. Villas on the beach

Check In

I was coming from the nearby Conrad Koh Samui resort where I had spent two nights. The problem I have with Koh Samui island is the lack of taxis. You are forced to use either hotel cars or “taxis” that refuse to use meters. You can rent a car to get around as well, but as I said earlier the traffic is very chaotic.

I had booked the most basic accommodation as an Royal Ambassador and counting in on my luck with a nice upgrade. The hotel had preupgraded me to one of the mountain villas.

As is the custom in Thailand, the front desk photocopies your passport and swipes your credit card. I also met the customer service manager who happened to be a gentleman from Sweden and had worked for this resort for quite a few years already.

Villa 614

This was an upper part of a villa that probably had been a single unit in the past. It wasn’t a suite but a very spacious room with a sitting area, work desk, bed in the middle, shower and the vanity area in the back.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Bed
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Bed

The toilet is somewhat weird. It was in a very small space resembling a tiny closet. This was an obvious afterthought.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Sunset View
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Sunset View

The best part of this villa was the fantastic view of the sea from the very large balcony area that had plenty of space and really nice sitting area.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Balcony
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Balcony

The minibar with the wine “cellar” was one of the most complete that I had seen at any hotel. The problem was that only the minibar beverages inside the fridge were complimentary per the Royal Ambassador benefit letter that I received. I think that this is rather understandable for the wine but not for the other alcohol. I hadn’t come here to party so it was ok with me.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 614 Sitting Area
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 614 Sitting Area

I had a nice fruit presentation waiting in the villa, but the problem was the number of tiny fruit flies that it had attracted. I had to promptly move it to outside.

After a while, I became curious, why the temperature of the villa hadn’t come down at all regardless of the unit blowing at the full speed. I called maintenance to fix it. It took two hours for them to realize that the air compressor unit was faulty and that they would need to move me to somewhere else.

Villa 510

So, after the air compressor fault, I was moved to a proper ocean view villa with its own small pool. It also had a direct beach access from the villa. This was much better location than the 614.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 View of the Villa
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 View of the Villa

It had a separate bathroom with a large tub, indoor and outdoor showers, toilet, and vanity area.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 View of the Sea
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 View of the Sea

The bedroom wasn’t as spacious as in the 516 but really liked the own pool and sitting area outside with sun chairs etc.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Bed
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Bed

This was only a short walk away from the main pool and some restaurants.

There was some water leagake between the tiles. I had a maintenance coming to have a look at it twice, but they couldn’t fix the problem. This was in the bathroom.

Breakfast

The room package that I had booked included a breakfast. I could either use the room service or the main restaurant close to the reception area where it was served. I decided to use the room service for the first morning and the restaurant for the second.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Breakfast
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Breakfast

I had a rather unhealthy breakfast with some Heineken by the pool.

Restaurant breakfast the following morning was better than what I had expected. They had plenty of hot and cold options to choose from.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Breakfast Cereals
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Breakfast Cereals

Overall, if you prefer privacy and having a leisurely lunch, it is probably better to use the room service. For greater selection and getting out of the villa, then go to the restaurant.

Fitness Center

This was bit of a disappointment. It was within a short walking distance from the villa, but wasn’t as comprehensive that I would have expected. They didn’t have any headphones available, although they had cardio machines with built in TV’s. Luckily, I had brought mine.

Royal Ambassador Benefits

After the initial problem with the first unit, I was very satisfied with the upgrade that I received. You really cannot expect the resort to give the wine selection as minibar beverages, but they should have included at least some of the other alcohol besides the beers.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Royal Ambassador Welcome Letter
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Royal Ambassador Welcome Letter

It was a nice touch from the manager to send a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine after the problems I had with both of the units.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort - Suite 510 Sparkling Wine
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort – Suite 510 Sparkling Wine

Conclusion

I have been to several resorts in Koh Samui previously; Renaissance, Le Meridien, and the Conrad Koh Samui. The Conrad is more luxurious but at the same time is about the double the price compared to this InterContinental resort. There is no beach at the Conrad but there is one at the InterContinental.

InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Beach Pool
InterContinental Koh Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort Beach Pool

Overall, I really liked this resort. The only downside that I can think of is the location exactly on the opposite side of the island from any nightlife activities.

The couple of issues I had were solved amicably and I am sure that I will return to this resort in the next 12 months.

Priority Club Welcome Survey for 1000 Bonus Points

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Priority Club has been sending out a short survey for new members and giving out 1000 bonus points for completing it.

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Please note that this is intended for new accounts and the points do not post instantaneously. The terms and conditions only suggest that you must be signed up for Priority Club rewards email offers to be eligible for this.

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Thanks for our reader sLeEpLeSs in BaNgKoK for this tip.

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Conclusion

This is about the easiest 1000 Priority Club bonus points that you can get.

Priority Club: Select Holiday Inn Resort Flash Sale Using Points at 50% Off

Priority Club has 16 Holiday Inn Resorts on flash sale using points at 50% off until noon today EDT. You can access this offer here.

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All these resorts are on sale from September 4th until October 2nd, 2012 for 12.500 Priority Club points per night from the usual 25000 points per night.

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Conclusion

This is a very good offer if you can take advantage of it. Priority Club has had few of these flash sales recently and you usually need to act fast.

You Can Now Write a Review about InterContinental Hotels on Their Website

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You can now write a short review of the InterContinental hotel where you have stayed at on their website. Starwood launched a similar initiative late last year.

As always, I wanted to test this review process and decided to write a short review of InterContinental Manila where I stayed at this past May. You can access the review submission interface by going to http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/reviews/write-a-review/manila and switching the city at the end.

IC Review Manila
IC Review Manila

You need to have your reservation number, last name, and the date of check out available. It seems that they want to validate that these reviews are done by actual hotel guests.

IC Review Manila Stars
IC Review Manila Stars

Then you will give hotel the overall guest experience rating. As you can see, my stay at this property was very good.

IC Review Manila Write Up
IC Review Manila Write Up

You need to do a write up of between 75 to 500 words. I decided to point out that they honored most of the Royal Ambassador benefits even on an award stay.

IC Review Manila Pros Cons
IC Review Manila Pros Cons

Then you can check some pros and cons about the hotel.

IC Review Manila Photos
IC Review Manila Photos

I do have quite a few photos of this hotel but decided not to upload any of them.

IC Review Manila My Info
IC Review Manila My Info

They want some basic information about me.

IC Review Manila Preview
IC Review Manila Preview

You can then have a look at the preview.

IC Review Manila Thank You
IC Review Manila Thank You

Just submit and you are done.

Conclusion

It seems that leaving review of properties is slowly coming to all hotel websites. Personally, I prefer reading on an independent website like TripAdvisor or FlyerTalk than the branded site. I just always have a feeling that they really don’t want to publish reviews that are critical of the property in question.

There are also lots of rules regarding what you can write if you want your InterContinental review published. The terms are whopping 1139 words. The submission guidelines are somewhat reasonable few hundred words.

Let’s see if my favorable review of the InterContinental Manila will get published on one day.

Priority Club Bonus Points Bonanza for New Account

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Even if you have a Priority Club account and Gold or Platinum status, it might make sense to sign up a family member as well for all the bonuses you can get. This works especially well at the properties where there are not any benefits for being a Gold or Platinum member.

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I just had a stay with a family member at a Holiday Inn Express location. I signed up for all the one time bonuses that you can find here and for other ongoing bonuses that you can find here. Also, the property in question was offering an opening bonus of 2K Priority Club points per stay.

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All the bonuses except the Anniversary Bonus Offer & Elite Member Next Stay Bonus-posted. The 2K opening bonus from the property should post separately in couple of weeks.

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Conclusion

It can make sense to open a Priority Club account for a family member as well to take advantage of the available bonus offers.

By taking advantage of the survey offers and downloading a toolbar, the account should have more than 10K Priority Club points that is enough for two free nights using Point Breaks.

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

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I was just doing rebates for other two Priority Club Visa rebate card deals: Priority Club Vacation Pay and $50 Travel MasterCard for two night weekdays offer, when I came across this offer of $100 Visa Prepaid Debit card for stays of 3 nights or longer within 90 days of wedding. This offer is valid until December 30th, 2012 for residents of United States & Canada. The stays can be at international locations, however.

priority-club-sweetheart-deal

Yes, there are, some, InterContinental Hotels Group hotels that are worth spending some time even on a honeymoon like the InterContinental Resort in Fiji that I visited earlier in the year. But it doesn’t mean that you couldn’t collect these Visa Prepaid cards if you just happen to travel for work within 90 days of getting married.

priority-club-sweetheart-deal-terms

The terms and conditions seem to allow for more than $100 Visa Prepaid card as long as the stays are separate.

One reward (Visa prepaid card) will be awarded on every qualifying three-night honeymoon stay at participating InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Express by Holiday Inn™, Holiday Inn Club Vacations™, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® hotels for U.S. and Canada resident stays worldwide between January 1 – December 30, 2012.

They also require a copy of marriage license:

Rebate documents required:
1. Copy of marriage license. The date of the wedding must be within 90 days of the honeymoon stay.
2. Copy of final hotel folio.

Conclusion

If you have been married within the past few weeks or going to, you can take advantage of this offer for even non-honeymoon stays. The only requirement is the minimum three night consecutive stay for a $100 rebate that comes in a form of prepaid Visa card.

Here are the full terms and conditions of this offer:

Honeymoon Terms and Conditions

For honeymoon rebate, must book a three-night honeymoon stay at any IHG brand hotel worldwide on or after January 1, 2012 and stay between January 1 – December 30, 2012. Open to residents of Canada, the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Book the Book Early and Save to receive up to 20% off of the Best Flex rate or book any qualifying rate. A stay is defined as three consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out. A stay is qualified when paying qualifying rates, which include most business and leisure rates. Qualifying Room Rates do not include the following reduced room rates: net wholesale individual and group rate, certain package rates, employee discount rate, friends and family rate, crew rate, special discounted contract rates, seasonal worker/crew rate, 50% travel club discount rate, travel industry discount rate, distressed passenger rate, Priority Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, complimentary hotel stays and any other rates not defined as a Qualifying Room Rate. Rates booked via third parties such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Booking.com are also valid under this promotion , but specifically excluded are opaque (hotel name, location and/or rate not visible until after booking is submitted) and “name your own price” rates as well as any rates not available on this approved online booking site.

One reward (Visa prepaid card) will be awarded on every qualifying three-night honeymoon stay at participating InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Express by Holiday Inn™, Holiday Inn Club Vacations™, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® hotels for U.S. and Canada resident stays worldwide between January 1 – December 30, 2012.

Rebate documents required:
1. Copy of marriage license. The date of the wedding must be within 90 days of the honeymoon stay.
2. Copy of final hotel folio.

Submit rebate redemption form along with copies of the required documents as stated above to the address shown on the rebate form. Rebate must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2013. Limit one reward payable per qualifying form per household.

Reward will be returned to the name and address designated on the required rebate form (U.S. and Canada addresses only). Reward for U.S. residents will be fulfilled in U.S. dollars via a Visa prepaid card. Reward for Canada residents will be fulfilled via check in Canadian dollars. Claims postmarked after applicable dates, incomplete or illegible submissions, counterfeit copies of forms or receipts, and duplicate submissions will be rejected. IHG is not responsible for loss of rebate forms or rewards due to lost or misdirected mail or for illegible entries. Good for actual purchases by end users only; excludes resellers and distributors of products and their families. You should receive your reward within 6-8 weeks after claim is received. Limit one reward per person, receipt, household, family or address. IHG reserves the right to request additional information regarding this claim.

The IHG Visa prepaid card is not redeemable for cash and may not be used for cash withdrawal at any cash-dispensing location. Each time you use the card the amount of the transaction will be deducted from the amount of your available balance. Additional Terms and Conditions apply to the card. Please refer to the Cardholder Agreement insert provided with your prepaid card. Subject to applicable law, a monthly maintenance fee of $3 (USD) applies, but is waived for the first six months after the card is issued. No additional fees will be assessed once the card balance reaches zero. The Visa prepaid card is non-transferable and non-refundable. The card is issued by MetaBank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Cards can be used at any merchants that accept Visa debit cards. IHG reserves the right to substitute a check of equal value in lieu of a Visa prepaid card at its discretion. Offer valid only on purchase of hotel room nights at IHG hotels as stated above. Your rebate rights cannot be transferred, and this offer is void where taxed, restricted or prohibited by law. Keep copies of all materials submitted: originals will not be returned. Warning: Fraudulent submission could result in federal prosecution under mail fraud statues (Title 18, USC Sections 1341 & 1342). Your reward will be mailed within 6-8 weeks. If you have not received your reward within 10 weeks, visit www.ihgrebate.com or call 1-877-829-8587.

Employees or their family members of IHG companies are not eligible to participate in this promotion. Offer void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. Promotion sponsor is Six Continents Hotels, Inc. For full rebate details, and to download rebate form, go to www.holidayinn.com/sweetheartdeal.

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

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Edit: This offer doesn’t seem to work on all Priority Club accounts and most definitely not newly opened ones. I have no idea why it works for some (like mine) and not for others.

This is probably the easiest 300 Priority Club points that I have ever received. You will receive 300 Priority Club points for “installing” the toolbar and 300 extra points per stay until the end of 2012 that you make using it.

Edit: You can do this offer twice for total of 600 Priority Club points. Just use both of the following links: Link 1 & Link 2. Thanks Andrew for the tip. 

priority-club-toolbar

The deal here is that Priority Club wants you to install their own button to Google’s toolbar. You will get 300 Priority Club points simply for filling out your account information and neither actual downloading of this toolbar nor installation of Priority Club button is actually required.

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The points posted to my account instantaneously. I didn’t have Google toolbar installed on my laptop so I would have needed to download it first before getting the Priority Club button.

priority-club-toolbar-points

LoyaltyLobby reader Chadillac alerted me about this opportunity. You can always send me a message to john@loyaltylobby.com if I have missed any Priority Club or hotel related bonus point opportunity.

Conclcusion

Very easy way to get 300 Priority Club points. You never know when you would have use for few hundred extra points. Priority Club seems to have these extra point earning opportunities throughout the year.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook to be notified about interesting Priority Club bonus points opportunities and program information.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

priceline-ll-9-rebidding

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

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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.

Why Am I Hooked to Chain Hotels?

3 Comments

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

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

1. Upgrades

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

2. Lounge access

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

3. Breakfast

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

4. Early Check In/Late Check Out

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

5. Problem resolution

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

6. Points/Free Nights/Promotions

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

When I don’t care about the benefits?

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

Conclusion

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

Hotel Promotions Update (August 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

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

Le Club Accorhotels

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

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

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

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Rewards is offering a free night certificate after three stays. This promotion started on June 17th and ends on August 19th. You can only earn ONE free night certificate.

Best Western Rewards Summer Bonus Offer SUM12 – Free Night Voucher After Three Stays

best-western-aeroplan-offer

The alternate promo is 2000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles per stay for up to three stays. The bonus is 1750 miles per stay.

Best Western Rewards Aeroplan Bonus Offer – 2000 Miles Per Stay for up to 3 Stays

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

Best Western Bonus Points Offer For South America 1000 Bonus Points

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are new to the Club Carlson, you can read about the various status levels with the program and the status match opportunities:

Club Carlson Red, Silver, Gold, & Concierge Status Levels Explained

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Status Match

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

Choice is offering 8000 Choice Privileges points for every two stays that you can redeem for $50 gift cards with number of retailers. Note that the definition of a stay is TWO nights at select Choice properties. This promotion ends on August 15th, 2012.

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Choice Hotels Summer Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn $50 Gift Card

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s 3rd quarter promotion is for double points for weekday stays and triple points for weekend ones. Please note that the number of properties that have opted out of this promo is rather long.

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

You can also get 2000 bonus Hilton HHonors points for your first Home2 Suites stay. This offer is valid until August 15th, 2012.

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

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

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Triple Delta SkyMiles for Stays at Selected Hilton Family of Hotels

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

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

Hilton HHonors Gold VIP Fast Track Offer Through MVP Program. Gold Status After Four Stays or Nine Nights During 90 period

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders

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

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

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

Hyatt also offers status matches/trials. You can read more about them here:

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match – Hyatt Diamond Trial Challenge As Of 2012

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

Hyatt Stay Certificates – Way to Save Money On Hyatt Stays

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

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

You should sign up for onetime bonuses that Priority Club also has. These were offers that were emailed to a number of Priority Club members and are supposedly “targeted”. With Priority Club these targeted offers are open for anybody, however.

Quarter 3 Stay bonuses

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

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Summer Bonus of up to 20K Priority Club Bonus Points

You will get 1000 bonus Priority Club bonus points per nights + 250 points per stay for booking online. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer

You can get a $75 prepaid MasterCard after a rebate for a two night weekend stay. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

$50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stay

This is similar to the weekend offer, but is valid for weekday stays. This offer is valid until August 2nd, 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

Priority Club is offering gift cards for bookings made online.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards Offer of Triple Points

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

2000 Bonus Points for Priority Club Surveys

You can get couple of thousand bonus points for completing bunch of short quizzes.

Marriott Rewards

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

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

Marriott also has a MegaMiles promotion from July 1st to October 31st, 2012 for triple airline miles with selected airlines. Note that you need to change your earning from points to miles before you can sign up for this.

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Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Triple Airline Miles

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

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Marriott Rewards Fall 2012 MegaBonus

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

Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Status Match – Taste of Platinum & Gold Challenge

If you haven’t been targeted to any of the promotions or you would like to change to another one, you can follow the instructions to get the promotion fixed for you.

Changing Targeted Marriott Promotions

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Ritz-Carlton has exciting Extraordinary Returns promotion started on July 15th and ends on October 15th, 2012. You can get 30000 bonus points for a stay of 4 days or longer.

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

Starwood Preferred Guest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status Match – Platinum Challenge

Wyndham Rewards

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

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Wyndham Rewards Summer 2012 Promotion for Quadruple Miles or Points

New Priority Club Point Breaks List Is Out (Very Limited)

Priority Club just released their latest list of Point Breaks hotels that you can book for only 5000 points per night. The list is not as good as the previous three this year, but you may find something that suits you. Let’s hope that the next one out sometime in October is a better one.

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You can access the list of Point Breaks hotels that you can find also below by going priorityclub.com/pointbreaks.

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There are no Point Breaks this time for either Middle East or Oceania.

My tips booking Point Breaks hotels:

1. Book NOW if you see something that you can use. Hotels often drop off the list soon.

2. Make separate bookings for each night of your stay. If you later need to drop off dates, this will allow you to do that.

Here’s the complete list of Point Breaks hotels that is valid until October 15th, 2012.

United States

ALABAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HUNTSVILLE-UNIVERSITY DRIVE

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN JONESBORO

ARIZONA
HOLIDAY INN PHOENIX-WEST

CALIFORNIA
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL OAKLAND SOUTH-UNION CITY
HOLIDAY INN PALMDALE-LANCASTER
HOLIDAY INN SAN DIEGO NORTH MIRAMAR

CONNECTICUT
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL SOUTHBURY

DELAWARE
HOLIDAY INN DOVER-DOWNTOWN

FLORIDA
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL JACKSONVILLE-RIVERFRONT

IDAHO
CANDLEWOOD SUITES BOISE-MERIDIAN

ILLINOIS
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL CHICAGO-NORTHBROOK
HOLIDAY INN GURNEE CONVENTION CENTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHICAGO NW-VERNON HILLS

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN LOUISVILLE-SW(FAIR & EXPO CTR)

MICHIGAN
HOLIDAY INN ALPENA

MINNESOTA
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL MINNEAPOLIS WEST

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WILMINGTON-UNIVERSITY CTR

NEBRASKA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES NORTH PLATTE

NEW JERSEY
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL ENGLEWOOD

NEW MEXICO
STAYBRIDGE SUITES LAS CRUCES

NEVADA
HOLIDAY INN RENO-SPARKS

NEW YORK
HOLIDAY INN ELMIRA-RIVERVIEW
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LATHAM

OHIO
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL CINCINNATI BLUE ASH
INTERCONTINENTAL SUITES HOTEL CLEVELAND

OKLAHOMA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OKLAHOMA CITY

OREGON
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL PORTLAND-LAKE OSWEGO

PENNSYLVANIA
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL PHILADELPHIA-BUCKS COUNTY
HOLIDAY INN ALLENTOWN CENTER CITY
HOLIDAY INN MORGANTOWN/PA TURNPIKE EX 298
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EXTON-LIONVILLE

RHODE ISLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MIDDLETOWN/NEWPORT

TEXAS
HOLIDAY INN DALLAS-RICHARDSON
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES DENTON UNIVERSITY AREA
HOTEL INDIGO HOUSTON AT THE GALLERIA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES SAN ANTONIO-AIRPORT

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES PRICE

VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN PETERSBURG NORTH- FORT LEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WASHINGTON DC SW – SPRINGFIELD

WISCONSIN
HOLIDAY INN MANITOWOC

Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL FREDERICTON-LORD BEAVERBROOK

ONTARIO
HOLIDAY INN CAMBRIDGE-HESPELER GALT
STAYBRIDGE SUITES TORONTO-MARKHAM

Mexico

CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL MONTERREY
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL MEXICO CITY NORTH-TLALNEPANTLA
HOLIDAY INN TOLUCA
HOLIDAY INN CD. DEL CARMEN

Central & South America

BRAZIL
HOLIDAY INN PORTO ALEGRE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CUIABA

EL SALVADOR
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL SAN SALVADOR

NICARAGUA
INTERCONTINENTAL REAL METROCENTRO MANAGUA

Europe

CYPRUS
HOLIDAY INN NICOSIA CITY CENTRE

CZECH REPUBLIC
HOLIDAY INN BRNO

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN TOULOUSE AIRPORT

GEORGIA
HOLIDAY INN TBILISI

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN FULDA

ITALY
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL PADOVA

MACEDONIA,REPUBLIC OF
HOLIDAY INN SKOPJE

RUSSIA
HOLIDAY INN SAMARA

SLOVAKIA
HOLIDAY INN BRATISLAVA

TURKEY
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL ISTANBUL – ASIA

UNITED KINGDOM
HOLIDAY INN RUNCORN
HOLIDAY INN BOLTON CENTRE

Africa

EGYPT
HOLIDAY INN CAIRO – CITYSTARS

SOUTH AFRICA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SANDTON – WOODMEAD

Asia

CHINA-PEOPLES REPUBLIC
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL JINAN CITY CENTRE
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL WUHU
HOLIDAY INN DAYA BAY
HOLIDAY INN SHAOXING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS TIANJIN BINHAI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HEFEI SOUTH
HOLIDAY INN GWANGJU, KOREA

THAILAND
HOLIDAY INN CHIANGMAI

TAIWAN
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL KAOHSIUNG E-DA WORLD

Priority Club Targeted One Time Bonuses July 2012

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This is a monthly update of Priority Club one time promotions that are valid. These are all combinable with other promotions as long as they are not conflicting. If the code doesn’t work for you, you have signed up for the same or variant of the same promotion previously.

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These eight promotions and the surveys should work for all. The Elite member next stay bonus probably requires a Gold or higher status with Priority Club, however. The weekend 5K bonus points may require an address in the United States.

Remember to sign up for the other on going Priority Club bonus points offers that you can find here.

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.

You can register for the following promotions at priorityclub.com/register

Anniversary Bonus Offer – 6102

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

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

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.

Welcome Back Bonus – 2120

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

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

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

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.

Platinum 5000 Bonus – 3168

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!

If you have feedback on any of these promotions or if I have missed any current promotion that should be included on the list, you can leave a comment below or send me an email to john@loyaltylobby.com.

Priority Club Promotions for July 2012

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This is a new monthly feature of current public Priority Club promotions. Tomorrow, I will have an updated list of one time Priority Club bonuses.

The beauty of Priority Club is the onslaught of ongoing overlapping promotions that you can triple/quadruple dip.  You can take your points earnings to a new level by making sure that you have sign up for all the offers. You can read about my average Priority Club point earnings when all the promotions are factored in 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.

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

Summer Bonus of up to 20K Priority Club Bonus Points

You will get 1000 bonus Priority Club bonus points per nights + 250 points per stay for booking online. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

15K Bonus Points + Gold Status for 6 InterContinental Nights

This is a nice bonus point promotion for InterContinental stays in the Americas.  You need to get the stays in by the end of July, 2012.

5K/10K/15K Bonus Points for 3/5/6 InterContinental Nights

This promotion cannot be combined with the 15K Bonus + Golf after 6 stays. This offer is valid until the end of July, 2012.

5000 Bonus Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for a Stay

This is a nice bonus for a stay in Canada. You need to have the stays by December 30th, 2012 to be eligible for the bonus miles.

Priority Club Vacation Pay Offer

You can get a $75 prepaid MasterCard after a rebate for a two night weekend stay. This offer is valid until September 3rd, 2012.

$50 Travel MasterCard for Two Night Weekday Stay

This is similar to the weekend offer, but is valid for weekday stays. This offer is valid until August 2nd, 2012.

Priority Club $25 Gift Card Offer for Booking Directly Online

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.

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