A look back over 2012, one hotel chain at a time, reveals hotel loyalty promotion trends.
Marriott Rewards ran its recurring MegaBonus promotion 48 of 52 weeks in 2012. Most members were targeted with a free night after two stays all year. The promotions allowed Marriott Rewards members a chance to earn up to 10 free nights with as few as 20 hotel nights. Members preferring miles had January to April to earn 2,000 bonus miles per stay, up to 50,000 miles. Triple miles were available July to October. The simplicity of Marriott Rewards promotions may have helped Marriott win the Freddie Award 2012 Americas: Hotel Program of the Year.
Hilton HHonors promotion edge on Marriott in 2012 was the opportunity to Double Dip for both bonus points and bonus miles each stay for half the year. Hilton offered four quarterly points promotions. Q1: 1,000 points per night + 5,000 points for a two-night weekend stay. Also, Q1 offered American or Aeroplan double miles or US Airways triple miles or Delta 2,012 bonus miles. Q2 required members to choose between double miles or double points. Q3 offered double points and triple points for weekends. HHonors ended Q4 2012 with a dozen or so airline bonus miles promotions; combined with 1,000 bonus points per night Nov 1-Dec 31. HHonors promotion problem in 2012 was up to 20 percent hotels opting out in the U.S.
IHG Priority Club Rewards had no 2012 blockbuster promotions. The value of Priority Club is the ability to receive two or more different bonus points offers applied to the same hotel stay. The year started with double points or miles Jan. 2-April 30, followed with 1,000 bonus points per night May 13-Sept. 3. Earning 5,000 bonus points on two-night stays at Candlewood and Staybridge Suites Sept. 13-Dec. 30 ended the year. Quarterly 5,000 to 15,000 bonus points based on nights stayed add up, but finding Priority Club bonus points promotion codes is a social media puzzle. Priority Club experimented with award night discounts like Thursday flash award stays for about six weeks ending in March. Last Minute Reward Nights (50 percent off), only available the first weekend of each month, continued through 2012 as did PointBreaks (rooms at 5,000 points). Low hotel participation limits usefulness of these discounts.
Hyatt Gold Passport ran three major promotions for 2012. Feb. 1-April 30 offered 44,000 points for 16 nights. May 1-Aug. 31 offered four or five times the normal amount of miles for 24,500 miles after 11 stays. Sept. 1-Nov. 30 offered 65,000 points after 35 nights. The promotions were tiered with lower bonuses per hotel night until reaching higher earning tiers after more nights–51 hotel nights to max out 109,000 bonus points or 11 stays for 25,000 miles were weak Gold Passport bonuses compared to previous years.
Starwood Preferred Guest changes to SPG elite member benefits in 2012 overshadowed promotions. SPG Better by the Night Jan. 9-April 8 gave double points on two-night stays and triple points for longer stays. Only 70 percent of Starwood Hotels participated. SPG gave members a choice of three-month promotion dates from May to September for awards like a free night after 10 nights. That also meant two months without bonus offers. Better by the Night also finished the year Oct. 1-Dec. 20 with an enhanced version for double points on one- or two-night stays and triple points for longer stays; plus 500 bonus points with mobile app booking; plus 250 bonus points with FourSquare check-in. About 10 percent of hotels opted out of the second promotion with the majority outside the U.S. Up to 50 percent rebate on award nights at 21 North American Starwood Resorts Oct. 21-Dec. 20 was spectacular if you had points to pay standard rates and wait for the rebate.
Club Carlson has a good program claim for promotions of the year. The year began with triple points worldwide (Jan. 10-March 16) allowing members to earn 50,000 points for top tier hotel award nights with under $900 hotel spend. Club Carlson repeatedly offered 50 percent off EMEA hotel award nights at select properties. Hotel brand promotions May to August let members earn 50,000 points for one-night stays at Radisson and Park Plaza; Country Inn and Park Inn brands earned 44,000 points; 1+1 earned one free night after one night at a Radisson in North America Oct. 1-Dec. 31. Travelers earned up to 3,000 points per day with a variety of car rental agencies in 2012.
Best Western Rewards offered four months when three stays earned one free night. Choice Privileges offered eight months when two stays earned 8,000 points. The best value of 8,000 points is one free night at numerous off-season Choice Hotels at international locations like Paris and London. Wyndham Rewards is a loyalty program still seeking identity. Their points-to-miles excellent transfer rate remains the backbone of the program for points and miles collectors.
That is the way they were 2012. Be seeing you in 2013.