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Hotel rewards
Old 10-21-2015, 07:29 AM   #1
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Hotel rewards

Good piece in the WSJ today about hotel rewards.
Quote:
Marriott Rewards returned an average 9.4% from every dollar spent on hotel rooms when redeemed for reward stays later, a hefty bonus for travelers. That meant if you spent $100 at Marriott, on average you got back $9.40 in free rooms, the study found.

Starwood’s SPG, the loyalty program of Sheraton, Westin and other brands, paid back 6.1% on average. IHG Rewards, which includes InterContinental and Holiday Inn, and Hilton HHonors were close to Marriott’s payout, at 8.6% and 8.9%, respectively. Starwood’s program, however, surpassed its rivals in its payback for credit-card loyalty points.
If you're not a subscriber, you can probably get the whole article by searching on its headline:
Hotel Rewards Programs: The Best and the Rest
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:28 AM   #2
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I use the marriott rewards credit card also, 5 points for each dollar spent. Plus as you use their hotels, you can use their club level rooms for snacks and hot brkfst. I used points to buy a massage recliner and a roku set up. Overall a good program.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:04 PM   #3
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Good to hear all those work travel trips and using Marriott was a good choice way back.

Actually, the biggest thing is once you pick a chain, you have to stick with it to build up enough to get the higher levels and points to be worthwhile. Spreading it out does no good. Same for airline and rental car, to get any benefit you have to stay within the program to build up enough for decent reward benefits.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:39 PM   #4
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I used to get 1 free night for every 10 nights spent at LaQuinta when I was out of town working. When I retired, I had 10 nights saved up.
Now, I often spot specials on ChoiceRewards where you stay 1 night in 2 separate properties and you get a free night. It's hard to beat that.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:42 PM   #5
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I got really disillusioned with Hilton after they started allowing their most desirable properties- e.g. those in Europe, to offer only "premium" reward rooms, for 200K points per night. Umm, yeah, right.


Since I no longer travel for business, we don't stay in hotels that often but we're in Best Western, Hilton and Marriott programs and still have the Marriott credit card. The points come in handy occasionally.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:07 PM   #6
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When I was working , I traveled about once a week the last few years before I retired. I would try to stay at the same local hotel chain as often as possible since I liked the locations and hotel. I stayed at one particular hotel so often, that the entire front desk staff got to know me by name. Every forth stay was free and I was often upgraded to one of their top suites for free when they had a spare available. I guess customer loyalty does pay off in some cases.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:06 PM   #7
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I use both Hilton and Marriott, and I feel I get good value from both programs. It's extremely rare that I stay at any other chain's hotel.

The Marriott Visa card I use costs $85 a year, but I automatically get one free night, so I'm essentially getting a good hotel room for $85 which is a bargain. The points earned for purchases are the bonus.

The Hilton Visa card I use costs $95 a year, but also gives me both a free night and Gold status in addition to the points.

I'm very happy with both programs.
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:58 AM   #8
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We use the Marriott Visa card. Foreign purchases do not carry the standard 2.5 percent hidden admin fee, nor do cash advances. We build up a credit balance and use the card like a bank account.

We save a substantial amount in exchange fees each year. Last year it was just under $600. Just got back from a trip to Greece. We saved just over $100 in cc and ATM exchange fees that we would have otherwise paid if we had used our usual Visa or bank card. We also get a free night one a year plus points. We used the points for a hotel in Sydney last Feb...saved us $300. So this $100 card is a great deal for us. Plus, we like the various Marriott branded chains
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:02 AM   #9
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We use the Marriott Visa card. Foreign purchases do not carry the standard 2.5 percent hidden admin fee, nor do cash advances. We build up a credit balance and use the card like a bank account.

We save a substantial amount in exchange fees each year. Last year it was just under $600. Just got back from a trip to Greece. We saved just over $100. In fees that we would have otherwise paid if we had used our usual Visa card. We also get a free night one a year plus points. We used the points for a hotel in Sydney last Feb...saved us $300. So this $100. Card is a great deal for us. Plus, we like the various Marriott branded chains.

Belonged to HH when I travelled for business. Was never that impressed with the program or with the points requirement for European properties.
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Old 10-24-2015, 01:33 PM   #10
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Belonged to HH when I travelled for business. Was never that impressed with the program or with the points requirement for European properties.
It used to be good- Gold members (who could get that status by getting their credit card) had Executive Lounge access or a glorious buffet breakfast, and sometimes both. Now it's at the discretion of the hotel. DH and I were in a lot of wonderful Executive Lounges before they slammed that window down. Our best stay was at the Hilton Dubrovnik around 2009- I think it was 50,000 points per night. Magnificent place, good people. Lounge had a balcony facing the Aegean. I'm glad we didn't stockpile Hilton points.
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Old 10-24-2015, 02:31 PM   #11
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That is a nice Hilton just outside the walls. We rented a car from the Sixt location in the hotel on each of three consecutive days. Parking was expensive and difficult to find do we simply did daily rentals and returned the car every night. We were staying inside the walls.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:54 PM   #12
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I stayed loyal to Hilton Honors while I was traveling frequently maintaining Diamond status for 11 of 13 years. In recent years I have done a few mattress runs to maintain Diamond status. Finally, earlier this year, I was rewarded for my loyalty with Lifetime Diamond status. Gold may be devalued;however, Diamond is still very worthwhile. My current problem is that i have given away a lot of points over the years and will be entering retirement without a lot of points.

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Old 10-25-2015, 06:46 AM   #13
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We are a month away from our retirement so tried very hard to get the Hilton Nights in to get Diamond status. Unfortunately, I did a stupid thing and booked the rooms on American Express Travel - none of the nights counted, nor did I get the bonus points I normally get for using my Hilton Amex! I thought they were partners but apparently Amex uses Orbitz or something like it now, without any notices on their website. I was not happy! Still Gold and with 800k points, I can get basic internet service and breakfast in most properties. Points seem to be a lot higher than Marriott (we are definitely more loyal to them as lifetime platinum members) so appreciate the OP for sharing the article!


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Old 10-25-2015, 08:09 AM   #14
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As a lifetime Hilton Diamond member I'm pretty loyal to the chain. However the points program has suffered significant inflation of rates for the most desirable resorts. My strategy going into retirement is to only use the award points for 20k nights or below and combine them for 5 night stays ( which is a pay for 4 get 5 nights deal). That way I can spend another 5 nights down south for only 80k total points. We then spend a few nights at the prime locations and get the best cash deal we can. Being lifetime diamond, the best rate gets my cash business. Loyalty only goes so far.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:33 AM   #15
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Unfortunately, I did a stupid thing and booked the rooms on American Express Travel - none of the nights counted, nor did I get the bonus points I normally get for using my Hilton Amex! I thought they were partners but apparently Amex uses Orbitz or something like it now, without any notices on their website.

I've been burned on that a few times. Sometimes you can click on "rate details" on the non-hotel site and it's in the fine print. It also seems that any "pay right now for a big discount" rate from a third-party site comes without points.
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Old 10-25-2015, 03:25 PM   #16
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I recently paid for my Marriott rooms instead of using points because I calculated that I would get a better deal on my next trip (larger city) using points than on this one.

Which got me wondering.....

How do you evaluate if it is better to pay or use your reward points?

Eg. for domestic flights (United), if the value of each point is greater than 1 cent, I use points - otherwise, I pay for it. ie. if a round trip is greater than $250, I'll use 25,000 points to pay for it (if I have them, of course).

How do you evaluate this for hotel points? What's a good tradeoff between $ and points?
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
I recently paid for my Marriott rooms instead of using points because I calculated that I would get a better deal on my next trip (larger city) using points than on this one.

Which got me wondering.....

How do you evaluate if it is better to pay or use your reward points?

Eg. for domestic flights (United), if the value of each point is greater than 1 cent, I use points - otherwise, I pay for it. ie. if a round trip is greater than $250, I'll use 25,000 points to pay for it (if I have them, of course).

How do you evaluate this for hotel points? What's a good tradeoff between $ and points?
I've stayed at Starwood hotels that cost 3,000 points or $120 and another that was 7,000 pts or $110
Both times I used points, as I considered them being evaluated at 4 cents and 1.6 so it was worth it.

But now thinking about it, maybe I should have paid for the 7,000 pt room , as that would have saved the points to be used later for 2 nights at the "cheap" pt room. (plus earned some points).
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:15 PM   #18
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I've never gotten a free hour from hotel rewards. We stay mostly in Hampton Inns (Hilton), but I guess not often enough. I don't use a rewards credit card. We stay in hotels around 6-10 nights/year. I wouldn't mind getting a free night.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:53 PM   #19
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I am a frequent business traveler and have always preferred the Marriott program. My wife and I stayed 5 nights free (and free breakfast) in Paris within walking distance of the Louvre. My second program is IHG. I like the option for a $70 room for 5K points.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:12 PM   #20
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Hotels.com

I used hotels.com and they offer one free night after you book 10 nights with them
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