Friday, June 6, 2008

Inside Flyer's Hotel Loyalty Program Comparison

Sheraton Libertador Presidential Suite, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The good life as a low-spender traveler in hotel loyalty programs.
$163/night paid rate and complimentary upgrade to this $500/night room in June 2007.

InsideFlyer has a free cover story report on a comparison of hotel loyalty programs.
The content of this first section of the hotel loyalty program comparisons is a simple analysis of the points earned based on fixed monetary spending and the cost for free hotel nights using points. Next month there is to be a continuation of hotel loyalty program comparisons using actual properties in locations. (I was planning to use this strategy to compare Radisson hotel free night redemption to some other chains in a couple of cities in Europe and came across the InsideFlyer article while doing Radisson research this morning.)

If choosing the best program were that simple I wouldn't bother with the Hotels and Points blog.
The variables analyzed in this first report are static such as base points/$, elite bonus points based on status, and standard redemption of free nights.

The reason I started Hotels and Points is to focus my readers' attention on the variety of high value promotions which regularly change the points and free nights hotel loyalty program earning and redemption dynamics. Offers regularly change the earning value for hotel stays with promotions like Hyatt's Faster Free Nights, Starwood's Cash and Points and 50% off redemption level for a free night special offer for Platinum members the past two years. Priority Club PointBreaks free nights for 5,000 points was mentioned, but not Marriott's PointSavers or Hilton HHonors PointStretchers.

The InsideFlyer charts are a useful overview of the major hotel loyalty programs for US residents (although all these chains have international properties, there are no non-US-based hotel chains in comparison). Readers of Hotels and Points will find the $2,000 per year hotel low-spend traveler can expect a whole lot of value with a strategic hotel loyalty program plan for the year. Don't let the InsideFlyer report fool you into thinking you need to be spending $5,000 to $10,000 a year to have a high elite hotel lifestyle. A leisure traveler can pay for hotels when the earnings are good and the rates are low and redeem for hotels when the prices are high with a significant return on investment of $2,000 to $3,000 per year in hotel loyalty.

And as a Hilton Diamond member for several years, I found the earning and redemption rates for my leisurely travel lifestyle to be more lucrative with other programs whose promotions outpace the offers I was provided by Hilton HHonors as a member with high elite status.

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