Several hotel programs offer discount rates on standard hotel award nights. Redeeming discounted standard hotel award nights is a primary way to increase the value of your hotel loyalty points. Discount awards go by names like Point Stretcher Rewards (Hilton HHonors), PointSavers (Marriott Rewards), PointBreaks ( IHG Priority Club) and Weekends (Starwood Preferred Guest).
Hilton HHonors Point Stretcher awards give a 40 percent discount on the standard award night. HHonors category 7 hotel standard award night is 50,000 points, but a Point Stretcher award night is only 30,000 points. The current list of HHonors Point Stretcher Reward dates are posted through November 2011. Many hotels offer Point Stretcher dates only for weekend nights. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?4986
IHG Priority Club PointBreaks offer hotel award nights at just 5,000 points per night. This award is one of the biggest discounts available for hotel travel. The discount is at least 50 percent even for the lowest tier Holiday Inn 10,000 points standard award. Crowne Plaza standard awards at 25,000 points and InterContinental Hotels at 30,000 or 40,000 points are discounted 80 percent and more.
Priority Club posted a list of 133 participating PointBreaks hotels in early May for stays through July 30. There were only 27 hotels available when I rechecked July 6. The takeaway lesson for Priority Club members is look for the newly published list of PointBreaks hotels and book early for best selection. Hotels drop off the PointBreaks list as allocated award nights are booked. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?4987
Marriott Rewards PointSavers reduce the points cost of a hotel award night by one category level among the eight category tiers. A category 7 standard award night is normally 35,000 points, but category 7 PointSavers award nights are 30,000 points at the category 6 standard rate. The maximum PointSavers discount is 33 percent when booking a category 3 hotel for 10,000 points rather than the standard rate of 15,000 points. The points award discount is 20 percent or less for PointSavers in category 1 and 5-8.
Fewer than 50 hotels globally offered PointSavers dates when checked in July and most of those hotels were in the U.K. Limited award dates parallels HHonors Point Stretcher awards, although Hilton offers a greater discount and currently lists hundreds more hotels than Marriott.
Ritz-Carlton Hotels also participate in PointSavers with tier 1 hotels discounted 33 percent from 30,000 to 20,000 points per night. The discount drops to 14 percent for a tier 5 Ritz-Carlton PointSavers night. The participation of Ritz-Carlton hotels in PointSavers seems to have diminished significantly since the launch of Ritz-Carlton Rewards with few hotels posted online this year. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?4988
Starwood Preferred Guest Weekends offer a discount for Friday and Saturday nights at category 1 and 2 hotels. The weekend award rate is discounted 33 percent from 3,000 to 2,000 points. There are only 24 category 1 hotels in Starwood globally with none in Europe and eight in the U.S. Asia is where the majority of SPG category 1 hotels are located. There are more than 200 SPG category 2 hotels globally with 136 in the U.S. These hotels are discounted 25 percent at 3,000 points rather than 4,000 for weekend nights.
SPG Cash & Points is often one of the highest value award redemptions for SPG points requiring only 40 percent of standard points and a fixed cash supplement from $25 to $150. These tend to be high value savings for many category 3, 4 and 5 hotels.
Cash & Points: http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?4990
Extended stay award discounts
SPG and Marriott Rewards offer fifth night free awards for a 20 percent discount. Marriott Rewards even allows fifth night free with PointSavers rates for combined discounts.
Hilton HHonors has the competitive advantage for extended stay with VIP elite member discounts on stays of four or more nights. VIP membership requires at least Silver elite at four stays or 10 nights a year. VIP discounts are 15 percent off the standard award rate on four night stays, 20 percent on five nights and 25 percent on six nights or more.
Hyatt Gold Passport Missed Opportunity?
Hyatt does not offer discounted standard award nights. I view this as a Hyatt Gold Passport program weakness. In June 2010, Gold Passport introduced award category 6 and increased many hotels by 20 percent or more. Property specific bonuses previously worth 1,000 to 2,000 points per stay at nearly 50 percent of hotels in the Hyatt chain have been limited since March 2011. Hyatt’s program is competitive for points earning, but I think dropping its edge for point redemption value at higher category hotels with recent program changes.