Time Frame for Booking Hotel Reward Stays

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by merice107, Nov 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    I know that airlines schedules come out around 11 months in advance and therefore that is when you should start looking for reward availability. However, seeing as I have never booked any reward stay, when does one start looking at booking reward nights at hotels? Does it vary by program?

    I ask because I am looking at going to Hong Kong and the Maldives in June of 2014. The plan is to use 4 free Hyatt nights from the Chase Hyatt credit card (2 for me and 2 for my wife), Hilton points to book 4 nights the Conrad Maldives using the Axon award amounts, and then 4 nights at the Courtyard Marriott in Hong Kong from the 4 free nights from the Chase Marriott reward visa.

    This all came about because I need to use the free nights within a year of getting them and if I get the Hilton Surpass from Amex for Gold status, that lasts for a year as well. I guess I could still get Axon awards with Silver but it would be nice to have Gold status while actually on the trip (I don't travel enough to actually achieve it the real way). Since two of these are Visas, could I apply for all (Marriott and Hyatt) of those in June/July. Would applying for one of them in September/October be too late? Does it matter that I plan on doing the Ink and United Mileage Plus in December/January and then the Bank of American/Bank of Hawaii Visas in March/April?

    One other question is that for the Park Hyatt Maldives and the Courtyard Marriott Hong Kong, would the two free nights for me and the two free nights for my wife be separate reservations? Would we have to check out and then check in to a new room? Or does that all depend on the availability for the hotel?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    The actual date when airline schedules load varies by program, and when seats are bookable varies as well. For instance even though you may see Qantas flights in a schedule 355 days out, American cannot book them until 331 days out. (Alaska doesn't load their own schedules until 331 days out but can book British Airways, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific flights earlier than that -- as soon as those airlines load their schedules).

    Still, the best award availability isn't always and with all airlines right when the schedule loads.

    That's because airlines want to offer those seats as awards that they won't sell for cash. And a year out they only have a general idea of which seats those will be. So the airlines release some seats when the schedules load (or don't) and re-evaluate sales as the schedule progresses and flight time approaches.

    I find some airlines load awards 10 months out, rather than when the schedules open. And that 6 months out is a fabulous time to book. But that availability is different at 3 months, a month, 2 weeks, a week, 3 days, etc.

    I've pretty much always had options when making TRULY last minute bookings!

    It varies not just by hotel chain but also by hotel property. Generally you can book awards as far out as hotels have loaded inventory, which varies by chain, but can be around a year or sometimes even 18 months.

    But in most cases it's much less difficult to book hotel award nights than airline seats, because most programs don't practice the same sorts of capacity controls.

    Starwood pioneered the idea of no capacity controls (most often incorrectly referred to as just no blackout dates), where if a 'standard' room is available for sale it is available for points. More recently Hilton and Hyatt and to a large extent Marriott have matched that.

    Although a standard room does have to be available, in most hotels that's most rooms at the hotel but in some hotels is not and there are of course hotels that will sell out and sell out far in advance even.

    As long as the Courtyard Marriott remains in an eligible redemption category for use of reward certs you shouldn't have a problem. The Maldives it's worth booking on the early side but you should still be able to do your airline tickets first and not have difficulty with availability (although some dates could always prove an outlier).

    These would be separate reservations but the hotel would be unlikely to make you check out/check back in.

    Thanks for the help![/quote]
     
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  3. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the detailed response gleff!

    Should I be able to apply for the Ink Bold and United Mileage Plus card since they are both Visas? And then 90 days later the Bank of American and Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian airlines cards since they are both Visas? Or does that not matter? Does it matter from what bank they are from (Chase Business/Chase Personal and then Bank of America/Bank of Hawaii)?
     
  4. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    You might be able to get both Mileage Plus Visa and Ink Bold because one is a personal card and the other a small business card.

    Otherwise Chase will not usually approve more than one card at a time.

    You can apply for Chase, BofA, and Bank of Hawaii on the same day. The only spacing out you need to do is time between applying for multiple cards from the same bank, no issue with applying for multiple Visas or Mastercards etc on the same day.
     
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  5. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    Thanks!
     
  6. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    As far hotel bookings, at many holiday resorts and towns which attract tour groups or conventions, hotels can get filled up for specific dates, many months in advance. Just for that reason, I try to book the rooms as soon as I have my airline bookings in place. Award cancellations for hotel bookings don't cost anything. So, it is best to snap them up ASAP after the flight plans are firmed up. I regretted being tardy for my Sheraton booking at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, as some tour group snapped up all the rooms in the mean time and we had to camp out at a hotel in the nearby town.
     
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