Frustrated With Your Hotel? No Need to Be Loyal

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by rwoman, Jul 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    NY Times: Frustrated With Your Hotel? No Need to Be Loyal

    Do we tend to be less loyal to hotel programs?

     
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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    I like the Hotels.com / Welcome Rewards, here we can choose whichever hotel we really want and earn nevertheless after 10 nights / booked a free night and it does not matter which hotel brand we choose, it could be 10 nights, every night at a different hotel brand.:)

    Indeed, at the moment many hotel aficionados are definitively willing to hop from program to program, loyalty is much softer right now than it used to be, but on the other side the hotel market / loyalty market remains very competitive too with many recent changes on how to earn / burn points and perks in many programs.

    Interesting food for thoughts and this theme.:confused:
     
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  3. paladin87
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    paladin87 Silver Member

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    I am pretty loyal to my 2 hotel programs ironically. I have a primary (Hyatt) and backup IHG, which I use for when there are no Hyatts (pretty often actually...). I pretty much avoid staying in hotels unless I get points with some plan. Also, Carlson is winning points with me lately with promos and points.

    Now, I accumulated points with DL forever but switched from ST to * (UA) and now may jump to AA. :)
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You can also get an additional 5% back on all hotels.com bookings if you want. http://beta.wandr.me/travel-rebates.aspx :cool:

    I'm a big fan of the program. I find that it is much more in line with the types of hotels I like to stay at, the geographic distribution of my travels and the price point I'm generally looking for. Sure, it means no suite upgrades at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, but I'm not inclined to pay the rates for that anyways.
     
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  5. DJP_707
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    DJP_707 Silver Member

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    I'm pretty loyal to a couple programs, Status is important to me. And most of the time I'm not paying.
     
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  6. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Very interesting- thanks for posting this rwoman.

    I used to be quite loyal to SPG and Marriott- I was platinum for both programs.

    Over time- I found the benefits were less and less impressive and the driver was a huge increase in a number of elite program members (which by the way is probably a very very good thing for both of these corporations). As just one more member- I figured out that there was not that much benefit to be had anymore.

    I finally switched- just started staying where I wanted to stay regardless of any chain or not. Now I have a mix of:
    1) Hotels booked through my travel agent
    2) Hotels booked directly through our company (where we have negotiated rates- in certain countries the savings are very large)
    3) Agoda and Expedia
    4) Virtuoso

    What I have found is that when I really want a specific suite or club/etc- I just pay for it. The combination of areas 1-4 above give me enough yearly savings to fund any type of specific benefits I want to pay for. I still keep the programs- some of them are so simple as to give relatively good benefits- such as LHW with their stay 5 times get one night free, free internet, and free breakfast- of course I stay in the SPG/Hilton/Hyatt/etc programs- I just don't use this as the decision criteria which outweighs the others. The agoda program with their 7-8% cash back is a real benefit particularly in Southeast Asia where they are very strong (i.e. Thailand).
     
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  7. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Loyalty is based on perks for your destination hotels for elite members, simple as that. There is no inherent deifying of any of the chains.
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Makes a big difference when it isn't your personal spend. Sad, but true.
     
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  9. rajuabju
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    rajuabju Gold Member

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    If you are an infrequent traveler, and thus have no elite status at any hotel chain, then yes, I can understand being "unloyal" and going for the cheapest option.

    But for those who have enough travel to attain elite status at 1 or more chains... no way. In my own case, my loyalty to Hyatt has been insanely rewarding for me. And thus, they continue to earn my business.
     
  10. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Very good!:)
     
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  11. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    There's a very, very strong dependence on how and where you prefer to travel that the value of your loyalty depends heavily on. You need to value what you get out of elite status and loyalty, and any added out-of-pocket costs need to not be in excess of that. Hotel loyalty can open up new destination possibilities (either by making you aware of them or by putting them within reach when they otherwise might not be), but it can also freeze you out from more authentic local experiences or out of the way destinations. Loyalty programs are great, as long as you derive value from them in excess of their cost to you and don't cede them too much control over your travel patterns.

    I've spent nights in top-notch hotels I'd not have stayed in otherwise for little or no cost, and had a fantastic time. On the flip side, some of the favorite places I've traveled to (Saba, Reunion) don't have any hotels affiliated with major american loyalty programs at all. I'd be poorer to have missed out on either side of the coin.

    Out of the places I'd like to get to relatively soon, there are places I'd go specifically to visit a hotel or resort, places I'd love to go that very much do not have chain hotels, places where the chains exist but may be overpriced or inconvenient, and places where my preferred chain hotels are convenient and reasonably priced.
     
  12. rajuabju
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    rajuabju Gold Member

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    Absolutely agree on both points here. I would never recommend to someone not to travel to a particular destination that interests them simply because their preferred hotel chain doenst have a presence in a market.
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I travel 80-100 nights a year. That's more than enough to make top tier in a hotel. Yet I still find that the value proposition isn't there.

    My current trip, for example, is 12 nights in Ukraine. Four in Kiev, two in Odessa, four in Crimea and two on trains. Kiev has a Radisson Blu, Intercontinental and Hyatt. They were each hundreds of dollars more nightly than an independent hotel. So from a straight cash perspective that's about $1000 in savings by NOT staying in one. Redeeming points can bring the out of pocket costs this week down but the costs to accumulate those points is sufficiently high that I'm still spending significantly more to stay in one of those properties. Maybe the room is a bit larger or the architecture a bit more elegant. But not worth the costs to me.

    Odessa has a Best Western. We stayed there because the price was right (still booked via hotels.com) and I don't care about the points. It was the nicest hotel in town and we even extended our stay one night there. But not because of the points or the loyalty program. Just because the hotel was actually what we needed where we needed it.

    Yup. And for me the hotel programs simply do not offer a reasonable RoI. Paying 50% more for the room up front just to have points so I can maybe save some money next time doesn't work for me.

    There are very, very few places in the world I've found where the chain hotels are the only option to sleep.
     
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  14. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Exactly. The local chains or local hotels in places like Hong Kong, Germany or wherever often give me the best value proposition. I can sometimes make a big USA based chain work, but it is often a trick, like cashing in points from SPG Best Rate Guarantees (or using Hilton/Club Carlson points) to do cash and point redemptions ( or point redemptions) into places that are out of my budget.

    The big chains are nice, but often generic compared to local hotels, to boot. I like local flavor.
     
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  15. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    I have to agree with most on here that I just can't find the value in overpaying for loyalty on hotels. I understand the allure of suite upgrades, but if I'm spending a lot of time in my hotel room I'm doing it wrong travel wise. I guess if I did more business travel and not all of my travel was self-paid, for recreation then I'd find a brand and shoot for some loyalty.

    The hotels.com Welcome Rewards deal is where I typically go with Wyndham Rewards being a nice alternative for some domestic travel. I'm really finding I prefer boutique hotels over the big chains anyway. Likw e_c said: I like the local flavor.
     
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  16. mommafrica

    mommafrica Silver Member

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    Hello to all! I would just like to say that all of your comments are great & educational. As of recently I was reunited w/ my SO after 25 yrs. She too loves to travel so I now find myself in hotels that I would never have imagined just as pit stops along the way when driving (Clarion, Quality Inn,etc). I quickly find myself signing up for their programs/promos & use them for bigger promos later (US Airways Grand Slam promo for example),gas cards,etc. Or I may switch my profile to miles so that my "unexpected stops" continue to make certain that my airline programs remain open.
    I've never been loyal to one main program but because of certain preferences (especially physical) I look to chains such as Hyatt ,Hilton & IHG. Hyatt, in my opinion, has either faded away or just completely baffled me. I even booked La Quinta Inn in Ft Myers b/c of the price but greatly missed the bigger chains "comfort of beds."
    At times I have made my status work for me & at times it hasn't. Some of the bigger chains are worse then the local/small chains. Some bigger chains don't even know what a "shower chair" is for the disabled.
    At the end of the day you have to realize that "price & comfort" are always two parts of a puzzle that always find their selves difficult to connect. The absolute worse is that their the only 2 pieces. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Always a learning lesson. Sometimes inexpensive but mostly expensive. Most dreams are expensive but rewarding. Just have fun by any means! You didn't go there to live inside your room!
     
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  17. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    Same here. We rarely stay in chain hotels outside of the U.S. Some chains make a bit of effort to add local decor and things like that, but essentially a Hilton is a Hilton is a Hilton wherever you're at. For example we love staying at our regular Japanese hotel in Tokyo when we travel to Japan...it's small but inexpensive, very comfy rooms, super helpful staff even though they speak almost no English, free internet, great Japanese breakfast, Lawson's and food options around the corner, right by the Yamanote line. I'll take it over a free suite at the Hyatt any day.

    I have status in a couple of programs but it's mainly due to work trips. I otherwise wouldn't go out of my way at all if it were dependent upon personal spending. Even with work trips, it's not always in my control where I stay on a given trip.

    Most of the perks just aren't a big deal to me (except the points earning bonuses which are nice). So what if I get a free croissant and OJ as an "elite perk" or some stupid apple and Evian bottle for a "welcome amenity":rolleyes:
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Care to share?? :)
     
  19. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    Yeah, not sure why I didn't link it my post! UENO TOUGANEYA Hotel http://www.tougane-h.com/e/
     
  20. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Thanks a lot, nice sharing!:)
     
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  21. DHAST

    DHAST Active Member

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    It's rare that I end up actually paying for rooms at an international chain when I am over in SE Asia. I have status in three chains without actually paying for rooms (SPG gold, Hyatt Plat, Hilton Gold). I try to either pay with points or stay at a local joint.

    A couple of years ago, I outright paid for a club room at the Plaza Athenee BKK. That was our first stop, and I wanted something comfortable to over jet lag. But, as a tourist, for as much as I enjoyed what I paid for, I actually didn't like it. I felt too tied to the room/hotel -- we paid extra to get breakfast, drinks and snacks every day. That huge breakfast ruined our appetites, and then I felt like we had to be back at the hotel to enjoy what we paid for.

    This time around, we're actually paying cash at three different hotels -- intentionally. We ended up booking a one bedroom villa for two nights at the W Bali. The villa was just cheap enough to make worth doing for two nights. We're also paying for a pool villa at the LM Khao Lak, which was dirt cheap with this year's offseason promo. $130 nett including breakfast, plus discounts at the spa and on F&B was too hard too pass up. Finally, in BKK, the Millenium Hilton at $101 nett with breakfast (thanks Hilton gold) and a likely upgrade make it what has to be one of the best values in BKK, given the status(es) that I have and other local choices.
     
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  22. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Especially for BKK- it is worth checking out some of the offers on Agoda. Agoda is based in Bangkok and has some very good deals much of the time which include breakfast (and often wifi or some other benefit) plus you get a rebate you can use on future bookings between 4 and 7%. I recently stayed at a Taj property in India for free using the rebate dollars (and Taj have some very good properties).
     
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  23. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I often book on Membership Rewards's site and try to pick the less expensive 2x hotels when I'm not booking a Hilton. (I do have loyalty there.)
     
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  24. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Unlike many of the comments above, I try to stay with the hotel brands that I have elite status even if it cost me a bit more. For me the suite upgrade is the most important. When traveling with the wife a suite upgrade is a must as I will usually be awake before she is and I like to watch TV when I get up. If I turn in on in the bedroom while she is sleeping, my demise may be reported in the evening news. Even when traveling alone, I like to have a suite as I tend to feel cramped in a single room and I have been fortunate with Hyatt and Hilton to almost always get suite upgrades.
     
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  25. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    Hmm, I may be flowing against the current on this one. I do stay loyal to my current hotel (Intercontinental), for several reasons. I used to stay in local, inexpensive locations, and loved them. That was when I was a bit younger, traveling by myself throughout Africa and Europe. Now I have a fiance' who I wouldn't think to have in some of the locations I used to frequent. In addition, my status (Royal Ambassador) does come with some pretty outstanding upgrades, especially in the region I currently live in and travel around (Asia). The IC's here are fantastic, treat me like royalty, and go the extra mile for you. Finally, IC, while a bit expensive, do have hotels in most major cities. Just this year, I have stayed or will be staying before the years out at IC's in Seoul, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. They're just where I'm at, more often than not.
     
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