Which Hotel Promotion to Take Advantage of? Q1 Compiled List and My Strategy

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With so many hotel promotions going on, I wanted to detail them all out for you in one compiled post. I also have my strategy set, so hopefully this will help you decide where to stay based on a promotion. Unfortunately, there are no promotions that I am super excited about, but hey, something is better than nothing – yes, I am talking to you Hyatt.

Marriott (February 1 – April 30, 2012)

It is Megabonus time! Marriott hardly changes up their promotions, and while they are pretty stale, I’ve been able to take good advantage of the category 1-4 free night awards. There are a few different promotions out there and Marriott often targets their more elite members with the better promotions, more nights = more points. Even if you were targeted for one promotion, you can typically call Marriott Rewards (801-468-4000) and ask for them to switch you to one of the other offers. While they will not be able to change it in the system, they can make documentation of this and once the promotion time period is offer will manually give you the points or free nights you earned.

Typical offers are:

  • 2 stays = 1 free night for a category 1 to 4 hotel (expires September 30, 2012). Limit of two or three free night certificates earned during the promotion (depending on which promotion you were targeted for).
  • 2 stays = 5,000 points, up to 20,000 points (8 stays)
  • 20 nights = 35,000 points; 25 nights earns additional 15,000 for a total of 50,000 points
  • 15 nights = 25,000 points; 20 nights earns additional 15,000 for a total of 40,000 points

 Click here to sign into your Marriott account and register. You must register by March 31, 2012.

Detailed Blog Post

Starwood (January 9 – April 8, 2012)

Earn earn double or triple points with every Starwood stay. While I am not too excited over double points, the triple points for 3+ more nights is pretty good! I secured platinum status through February 2014, so I no longer need to hop between Starwood hotels to maintain status – I am pretty excited about this! This big miss on this promotion is for those one night stays. Unless 100% necessary, Starwood will not be getting any 1 night stays from me. In my mind, this was a way to sway guests away from switching between hotels to earn the necessary stays needed for status.

  • 1 night stay = No bonus points awarded
  • 2 night stay = Double starpoints
  • 3 night stay or more = Triple starpoints

There is a long list of non-participating hotels, so make sure to take a look to see if your hotel qualifies.You must register for this promotion by March 15, 2012.

Detailed Blog Post

Hilton (January 1 – March 31, 2012)

Earn 1,000 bonus points per night. Additionally, for every 2-night weekend stay earn an extra 5,000 bonus points (giving you 7,000 points in total).  Earning 1,000 points per night will not get me to stay at their hotel. However, their added on 5k bonus points will turn me on to them for a weekend stay.

Similar to Starwood, there is a list of non-participating hotels, so make sure to take a look.

You must register for this promotion prior to your stay. Retroactive credit will not be given.

Detailed Blog Post

Priority Club / InterContinental Hotels Group (January 23 – April 30, 2012)

Earn double points on all stays. I am not very big into the Priority Club program, so this promotion doesn’t do much for me. However, for those of you who often stay at these hotels, this promotion is decent.

  • Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites hotels –> start earning bonus points with your first stay
  • Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental Hotels and Hotel Indigo hotels –> start earning bonus points with your second stay

Make sure to register prior to check out.

This promotion can also be combined with their “Stay X times, earn X points” promotion, which runs from January 1 – March 31. You can earn either 5k, 10k, or 15k bonus points depending on the number of stays you have during this promotion. You can only register for one promotion, so make sure to select wisely (and maybe even conservatively).

Detailed Blog Post

Club Carlson / Radisson (January 10 – March 16, 2012)

Earn triple points on all stays at Club Carlson hotels (which includes: Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, and Park Plaza). Up until recently I would never consider a Club Carlson hotel. Radisson hotels are typically grungy (in my opinion), and I can get the same cost hotel at another chain where I prefer to redeem my points at. However, with the 50k promotion they ran this past December I started looking more into their program. While I would never redeem for a hotel in the US, their hotels internationally (especially Europe) are highly ranked. If Club Carlson keeps it up with the great promotions, I will probably start to pay more attention to them.

Make sure to register for this promotion prior to check-out.

Detailed Blog Post

Hyatt

Come on Hyatt, get with the program!!! I am sure most of you are aware, but currently Hyatt has nothing, nada, zippo! However, I did read on FlyerTalk that word on the street that next month we should see a “3 or 4 night (not consecutive) bonus point promotion.” Details are extremely limited and there actually isn’t anything else known. I still would prefer FFN (faster free nights), but at this point will take what I can get. Let’s see if Hyatt pulls through…

My Strategy

With the promotions that I’ve listed below, my strategy is pretty simple. This strategy is also assuming relatively equal rates between the different chain hotels.

  • One night stays: For whatever reason, I tend to have many one night stays. All of these stays (up to 6) will go to Marriott. Since the stay twice, earn a free category 1-4 night allows one night stays, this is a great promotion for me to take advantage of. Now, if I do have a two night stay and have the option of two Marriott’s, I probably will switch hotels to ensure I meet the 6 stays required to get the three free nights. Some folks were only targeted to earn 2 free nights, so that will only require 4 stays. I know the free night is capped at a category 4 hotel, but do not discount this promotion. I’ve always been able to use this free night at a hotel that would cost me at least $100. Also keep in mind that the timing of this promotion surpasses the other promotions, so plan out your stays accordingly. For example, if you’ll have many Marriott stays, wait till April to complete this promotion and earn your bonus points at the other chains. Most likely April will be a pretty dead month with promotions.
  • Two night weekday stay: I will be giving these nights to Starwood. While double points is nothing great, typically it is more than the 1,000 bonus points I’d earn from the Hilton promotion.
  • Two night weekend stay: These nights will go to Hilton. For these stays I’ll earn 7,000 points (5,000 per weekend stay + 1,000 per night). Additionally, if I spend $100 at Hilton I will earn an additional 4,000 points via this promotion.
  • Three night or more stays: Hands-down Starwood – triple points is pretty good!

Now if Hyatt decides to make an appearance, that might skew my strategy. Hyatt is one of my favorite chains, and although I am losing Diamond status at the end of February, one of my goals is to earn back that status this year. I really would like to give more stays to Hyatt, but we shall see…

What is your strategy? Who will be earning your stays this winter?

You can see a consolidated list of all travel promotions here.

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Comments

  1. Great insight.

    I’ve been staying in Marriott hotels 4 nights a week in the new year. Under the MegaMiles promo, there are 50K airline miles available in 2K chunks per stay. So, I keep moving around every day to a new property in this metro area. At 8,000 bonus miles each week I’ll be ready to change my earning method to points mid February and participate in the Megabonus next and have that knocked out in 1 week flat!

    BTW, we’ve used the Cat1-4 certs from past promotions at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (cat4) which would have cost $250/nt, so nothing to sneeze at.

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