Logic Behind Mattress Runs

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by RicGarrido, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. RicGarrido
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    RicGarrido Silver Member

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    Changing hotels frequently serves two purposes:

    1. Maximize elite stay credit in hotel loyalty programs where elite status requires a lower number of stays compared to nights (e.g. Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum and Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond = 25 stays or 50 nights; Hilton HHonors Diamond = 28 stays or 60 nights).

    2. Maximize hotel promotions that are based on number of hotel stays.

    “Mattress Runs” is the concept of changing hotels frequently rather than staying at a single hotel on an extended stay in order to accelerate stay credit for elite status or promotion credit.

    Since SPG requires 25 stays or 50 nights for SPG Platinum elite, it is possible to stay 40 nights in hotels and still not earn Platinum if you only have 15 to 20 hotel stays. Mattress runs allow you to boost your hotel stay count without adding more hotel nights.

    Important to remember: you cannot stay at the same hotel on consecutive nights and get multiple stay credit. Even if you check out and check back in on a different reservation, all hotel programs count consecutive nights at the SAME hotel as one stay.

    Here is an example of a strategy I have done many times over the years to maximize stays.

    Assume I need 3 nights in a hotel in San Francisco. I spend Thursday night at Westin Market Street since it is the cheapest rate for a weekday. Then I go to Le Meridien for Friday night when rates are low. On Saturday night I go back to Westin Market Street.

    My 3 nights in San Francisco earn 3 elite qualifying stays. As long as I change hotel properties, I can stay in Starwood Hotels on consecutive nights and earn a unique stay credit for each hotel.

    This strategy is useful for Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood where fewer stays than nights are required to earn elite status. Marriott only counts nights for elite qualification so mattress runs in Marriott Rewards is for the purpose of promotions like the recurring MegaBonus offer for a free night after two stays.

    Mattress runs are particularly useful during “Stays Count Double” promotions that SPG and Hyatt have offered most years in the past few years.

    Mattress running is a lucrative strategy during free night promotions when a free night is earned after every two or three stays. Hyatt Gold Passport, SPG, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Carlson goldpoints plus, Hilton HHonors, and Marriott Rewards have all offered this type of promotion in the past year.
     
  2. mwg25
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    mwg25 Gold Member

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    Another dimension of "mattress running" can involve the concept of booking a hotel when one doesn't actually need one, just because it's an unusually cheap rate and therefore an "easy" stay credit, if one is trying to get/maintain a status level.

    You do have to be physically present to check in (in almost all cases), but you don't need to actually sleep there. Also known as a "phantom checkin."
     
  3. Minnesota Bruin
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    Minnesota Bruin Silver Member

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    So in these cases you just check in, trop the key off in the room and then leave never to return?

    Is it possible to be checked into two properties of a given chain for the same night (e.g. "phantom" checkin at Westin Market Street and "real" checking at Le Meridien both on the same Friday night) and get two stay credits?
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yup. Some people like to make the room look like someone stayed there, but it's not really necessary.

    Most if not all programs would give you only one credit (and have it in their Terms and Conditions). They may make exceptions, e.g., if you have two checkins in two different locations. For example,

    1. Check into HR SFO at 2pm, have lunch, shower, rest, then catch early evening flight to ORD
    2. Check into HR ORD at 1am and spend the night.

    two reservations with two different properties on the same day, but hopefully it would be possible to convince CS to give credit for both stays.

    I guess that's similar but different from a "phantom stay" where you don't actually show up to check in. Which most (all?) programs exclude from earning points/nights. Hyatt, for example, makes it very explicit in their T&Cs and even uses the "phantom stay" term:

    "You must visit the Hyatt Express Check-In Kiosk or the front desk on the scheduled date of arrival and physically occupy the assigned guest room. Failure to visit the Hyatt Express Check-In Kiosk or the front desk may result in your room being released as an early departure, and your payment card being charged one night's room accommodations. These stays are considered phantom stays. Phantom stays are not eligible for Hyatt Gold Passport points, credit toward tier status or participation in bonus points or other promotional offers. A phantom stay is described as a stay where a guest uses Hyatt Web Check-In or 1-800-CHECK-IN to check into a hotel but does not physically stay at the hotel."
     
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  5. mwg25
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    mwg25 Gold Member

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    Exactly. I have yet to check in for a mattress run and not even go visit the room, but it depends on time - sometimes I'll rumple the bedclothes, or watch TV for a little while, or do some work... once I had a property booked in DC on the day I was running a 5K, so I went to check in right after the race and just took a shower and changed there.

    I have a LOT of little bottles of what I like to call "bathroom condiments" in my house. I ought never to have to spend a cent on conditioner for the rest of my life. [​IMG]
     
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  6. bschaff1
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    bschaff1 Active Member

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    The strategy I use around my area is to work with local friends to have each other check in for our MRs. This works really well since I know 4 local Hyatt people and we'll often switch off on check-ins saving me 2 or 3 unnecessary trips to Hyatt properties. I've accumulated a closet full of portico bath products in the last year.
     
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  7. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    and for those of us who live in places like NYC, that are typically price hostile to Mattress Running, we keep an eye out for sales (ala Marriott eBreaks or SPG Starpicks) elsewhere and then rely on the kindness of friends in those low-cost cities to checkin for us. [​IMG]
     
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  8. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Do you need somebody else's credit card to check in for them?
     
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  9. barelyelite
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    barelyelite Silver Member

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    And photo ID?
     
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  10. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    no special credit card or id is needed if your friend is added as a named additional guest in the ressie.
     
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  11. carsonheim
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    carsonheim Gold Member

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    You can always call the hotel and add the name of your friend to the res. Tell the hotel your roomie will be arriving first so they will do the initial check in
     
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  12. ddrewboy
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    ddrewboy Active Member

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    Yep, this has always worked for me either as main or secondary renter. Sometimes, they asked for the main guest to checkin later but we never did and always received the points.
     
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  13. Biu
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    Biu Silver Member

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    Wow you have some really good friends. My friends would simply excommunicate me if I floated the idea of a mattress run by them...

    I don't understand why the hotels hate phantom stays. They've already gotten paid, and if we don't ruffle their sheets, wouldn't they just be able to resell the room, or as they like to claim, help the environment by not washing the sheets/towels? [​IMG]
     
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  14. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    Sometimes you can work out a routine like I did a few years ago with Marriott. The FS Marriotts would give a $100 Bonus Bucks for a 2 night weekend stay (Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun counted as weekend nights) on a $79 room rate. Once you got started, it was pretty easy to stay for 2 nights, take the $100 certificate to another participating property, and stay the other two nights on a weekend. Cheap, simple, easy.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Because they are in the business of selling rooms and ancillary services, not just points and status. If they allowed phantom stays, lots of people here would just find the cheapest property to top off their accounts and achieve status (well, lots do it anyway, but it may involve a MR as well then). And imagine a promo like "FFN" where Hyatt gives you a free night anywhere for every two stays. The cheapest Hyatt's would be booked solid with phantom flyertalkers. And the most expensive ones as well, with award-stays from those phantom nights.

    Similarly, airlines don't give you credit for just buying a ticket, you have to put your butt in the seat.
     
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  16. Getting friends to check in "cheaper" cities is a brilliant idea - already learning something new here! Although, I agree with Biu - my friends would definitely crack up at that idea!
     
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  17. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    That is where having MP friends based far and wide come in handy
     
  18. Raffles
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    Raffles Silver Member

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    I spent a disturbing part of my Christmas break getting the train to various London suburbs to check into obscure Holiday Inn Express properties which were offering dirt cheap (£20 ie $30) rates, purely to rack up my Crack The Case credits.

    It does sometimes come back to bite you, though. In early January, my wife decided she wanted to go to IC Berchtesgaden in late February for 5 nights, AND take our nanny. That is 10 room nights for Crack The Case which means I could have saved £200 over Christmas and the time taken to do some of these mattress run nights .....
     
  19. bsaced
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    bsaced Silver Member

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    Is there any benefit to booking two rooms during your stay? I assume it counts as one one stay but do you get credit for 2 nights per night since it's two rooms?
     
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  20. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    Our mattress running days are behind us, for now, but there were a few nights where between DH and me, we checked into 3 hotels, just to keep up with qualifying for certain promotions or bonuses. It was more efficient to do it that way and if it clicked with finding good rates as well, we thought whoo-hoo! Doing little of this now, as we have met our goals/using funds for other things. Friends and family thought we were nutty, but it worked for us.
     
  21. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    The best mattress runs are done to earn many bonus points or complete stays to earn free nights. In particular, Hyatt has offered past Faster Free Night style promos where any 2 stays at its properties will earn a free night at one of its hotels worldwide. This is a great promo where one can do 2 stays stay at Hyatt Places, and then redeem the free night at the Park Hyatt Tokyo or Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris which are mega expensive. I do hope we see a FFN eith this Spring or Fall from Hyatt.
     
  22. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    Ric's blog is one of the best on the web for finding out info on hotel promos and maximizing frequent guest benefits. His analysis is excellent. Go here to read loyaltytraveler's blog: http://boardingarea.com/blogs/loyaltytraveler/
     
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  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Different programs have different rules about the number of rooms that qualify for points credit, but stay credit seems to generally only offered fo one room per night (even if you book two rooms at different properties, though exceptions for the latter have been made).
     
  24. JAbrams72
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    JAbrams72 Gold Member

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    A couple of years ago now, but we used to have a small family gathering in CT and there was a Hilton property (can't recall if it was HGI or HI) where I would book several rooms. Usually, we were on slightly varied schedules--some folks coming in on Friday, some on Saturday, and some leaving Sunday and some Monday). On more than one occasion, I got multiple stay credits for this--although I'm inclined to think that was just a glitch in the system.
     
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  25. ariyo15
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    ariyo15 Silver Member

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    Can't say I've never done that b4! Haha
     

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