Hotel industry insiders watched occupancy and revenue data looking for signs of strength in the last quarter of 2009. Hotel occupancy in the U.S. dropped below 50 percent for November 2009 based on STRGlobal data. Average room rates in the U.S. continue to fall below $100 per night. Many hotels, like many Americans, are still on life support in 2010.
Loyalty promotions remain the hotel industry defibrillator for 2010; particularly as hotels try to move room rates higher after steep 2009 declines. Nine of the Top 10 Best Bets for January’s InsideFlyer promotion roundup were hotel loyalty program offers.
Hilton HHonors offers members a noble promotion for the new year. Earn a free night at any Hilton property worldwide after four stays or 10 nights between Jan. 7 and March 31, 2010. Members may earn up to three free nights. With HHonors 2010 category changes, many hotels now cost 50,000 HHonors points per free night. This HHonors promotion is potentially 150,000 points in free nights after 12 stays. LT rank = 4 out of 5 keys.
Marriott Rewards MegaBonus is being offered for nights and stays from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2010. Marriott Rewards targets members with different offers. My offer was a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel after two stays. That is a 20,000 point value for as few as two nights. My wife received an offer for 2,500 points every stay starting with the second stay, up to 25,000 points. We have no elite status.
LT rank = 4-keys for free night; 2-keys for 2,500 points per stay.
Starwood Preferred Guest members earn up to 4x points from Jan. 5 to April 15, 2010. Double base points (one- or two-night stay) = 4 points/$1; Triple base points (three-night stay) = 6 points/$1; Quadruple base points (four nights or more) = 8 points/$1.
Elite bonus points are additional. This promotion is combinable with other promotions. SPG’s latest offer does not match up to its 2009 promotions. Let’s hope they pump up this offer like they did midway through the 2009 winter promotion.
LT rank = 2-keys.
IHG Priority Club Rewards is offering 1,000 bonus points per night or 200 bonus miles up to maximum 20,000 points or 4,000 miles (20 nights credit) for stays from Feb 1 — April 30, 2010. 20,000 points seems rather weak from IHG considering this is only half the points needed for one free night at a high tier InterContinental Hotel. The key to IHG promotions is to play the registration game with Priority Club Rewards. A member can average 5,000 to 8,000 points per stay in IHG brand hotels with combined promotion bonuses. There are several promotions currently for 10,000 points, some for as few as two to five nights in IHG hotels. Check out FlyerTalk, PriorityClubInsider.com or Community.PriorityClub.com forum for other IHG promotions.
LT rank = Main promotion 2-keys; IHG combined promotions can be 4-keys loyalty value.
How does Hyatt Gold Passport follow up the Next Big Thing? Wait and see. For now there are miles to stay. United Mileage Plus elites have a valuable Hyatt hotel stay incentive through 2010 with 2,500 miles per stay to Jan. 31, 2011. This is five times the normal 500 miles awarded per stay to members choosing miles over points. Visit www.insideflyer.com/link/?2126.
LT rank = 3-keys.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members receive double miles for Hyatt stays in Europe, Middle East and Africa to Feb. 28, 2010. Offer code VS335.
LT rank = 2-keys.
One of the more interesting hotel loyalty program changes for 2010 is Choice Privileges counting award nights for elite tier qualification. Another HHonors exclusive benefit goes by the wayside. Choice Privileges partnership with Preferred Hotels Group properties offers members reward stays at 150 boutique and luxury hotels globally. Barcelo Resorts are another points stay option. Choice Privileges offers complimentary Gold elite to military personnel and spouses/dependents through their Choice Privileges Armed Services program.
LT ranks these program benefits as 5-key recognition of valued guests.
Carlson Hotels goldpoints plus members earn 50,000 points after five stays through Feb. 28, 2010. This is a cumulative points offer starting with 5,000 points after the second stay. Three stays earn a total 12,500 points. Four stays earn a total 25,000 points. Goldpoints plus has periodic offers for 50 percent points award stays. The latest ended Jan 31, 2009. LT rank = 3-keys.
As we enter February 2010, the year of the Tiger, fearlessness and impulsiveness are tiger qualities that enable you to pounce on hotel travel deals. Loyalty travelers have tiger patience and rewards will pay out for the faithful traveler.