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Posted by on Dec 12, 2015 in Quarterly Updates

December 2015 Hotel Update

December 2015 Hotel Update

TRVLVIP is here to encourage a simple and yet strategic approach to travel promotions and efficient loyalty program earning and redemption opportunities. If you knew you could travel in luxury for less, it might encourage you to get on out there and travel more!

It’s a big world just waiting for you! With that in mind, we’ve highlighted some great hotel updates to inspire you.

Dock in Paradise

Hilton HHonors

Welcome to our monthly Hilton update!

Let’s start off with some heartwarming news. Hilton Worldwide recently celebrated its commitment to community service through its largest ever annual Global Month of Service (GMS). Hilton’s month-long, global initiative focuses on social, economic and environmental needs around the world. And this year the Hilton team worked on 4,145 projects and contributed more than 213,000 volunteer hours – spreading the light and warmth of hospitality across 92 countries!

In less positive news, Hilton Worldwide recently announced they are testing a  new cancellation policy at approximately 20 properties across the US for non-Hilton HHonors members. Hilton will charge a $50 cancellation fee when a reservation is cancelled any time after booking except after 11:59 p.m. the night before the stay begins when the cancellation results in a fee equal to at least one night’s room rate and tax. If this goes into effect across the Hilton brands it will be one of the most restrictive flexible rates in the industry. And avoidance of the $50 fee is just one of the GREAT reasons to sign up for Hilton HHonors if you haven’t already! If the test results in a decrease in last minute cancellations without hurting sales, this will likely become a company-wide policy in 2016.

Here are my top 5 current PERK and TIP highlights for Hilton (and remember, most Hilton promotions can be combined with other deals for an even bigger bonus):

  • HILTON’S INSTANT ELITE STATUS MATCH – Hilton is VERY generously offering Diamond or Gold HHonors Elite status – without a stay requirement – to Elite members of other competing hotel loyalty programs. Apply before January 11, 2016, to enjoy HHonors Elite status through February 29, 2017. And, if you are not Elite with another hotel company and want to climb the Elite ladder with Hilton faster, we have a few great tips for you!
  • HILTON’S 2,500 POINT HOLIDAY GIFT – Hilton HHonors has a special holiday gift for you. Enjoy 2,500 HHonors bonus points for stays of 2 nights or longer in December at all Hilton Worldwide properties across the US. You must register for this promotion before your first December stay in order to enjoy the bonus!
  • HILTON’S GLOBAL TRIPLE YOUR TRIP PROMO – Hilton’s latest global promotion rewards you with up to 3x the Hilton HHonors points through December 31, 2015! You need to first register in order to earn.
  • HILTON TRIPLE POINTS UNTIL FEBRUARY – Another way to earn a triple. Stay 2 nights and enjoy 3x the HHonors points any day of the week anywhere in the Americas through January 30, 2016!

Before renting a car from Avis or National, always visit TRVLVIP to enjoy the current Hilton HHonors discounts and bonus offers.

And finally, don’t forget to check the special Hilton Hotel Deals website for great perks and discounts if you’re planning a visit to Asia, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, The South Pacific, Australia or New Zealand.

Many other great Hilton HHonors Perks are on our site this month including discounts, resort credits, bonus points offers, new hotel promotions, free golf offers and more! And most of these promotions can be combined with other deals making it easy to rack up a bunch of HHonors points!

And be sure to check out all of the other current Hilton Perks and Tips!

Hyatt Hotels View

Hyatt Gold Passport

Last month, The New York Times reported that Hyatt Hotels Corp. was pursuing an aggressive plan to buy Starwood. Well the BIG surprise in the industry was the recent announcement that, Marriott is acquiring Starwood in 2016! The good news is if Hyatt was serious about an acquisition as big as Starwood, it may mean Hyatt’s on the lookout to acquire another hotel company to increase its global footprint and provide more lodging choices to Hyatt Gold Passport loyalists!

And, Hyatt was recently named among the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. Hyatt has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Annual Corporate Equality Index every year since 2005!

Hyatt has scheduled website maintenance December 15 Through 18, 2015. If you have a need to book an award, upgrade or perform any action other than booking a paid stay this month, we suggest you do so today (or at least before Hyatt’s planned website maintenance December 15 through 18)!

Hyatt introduced a few new promotions over the last couple of weeks and we are hoping for a big global promotion soon.

Here are my top five current PERK and TIP highlights for Hyatt:

  • HYATT’S INSTANT MATCHES TO ELITE – Hyatt recently announced through Twitter they are offering straight status matches to Gold Passport Diamond Elite status through February 28, 2017, that don’t require you to complete any stays with Hyatt! If you are Elite with another hotel company, jump on this one today!
  • HYATT UP TO 25% OFF THIS WINTER – Whether you prefer snow or sandy beaches, Hyatt has you covered with great savings! Enjoy up to 25% off the Hyatt Daily Rate on stays across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Middle East at over 110 participating Hyatt hotels! Reservations will be accepted until February 22 for stays until March 15, 2016. If you prefer stays in the US instead, check out this special across 6 great US cities.
  • HYATT ZILARA & ZIVA $100 SPA CREDIT – Enjoy an all-inclusive, luxurious, adult-only Zilara Resort or a beautiful family-friendly Ziva Resort. Book at least 3 nights before December 31, 2105, then stay at one of Hyatt’s best beach destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean between January 4 and December 16, 2016, to enjoy a $100 spa credit just for being a Hyatt credit card member.
  • HYATT AND M LIFE – HIGHROLLER STYLE – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…unless it’s a great Tip on a lucrative partnership with the iconic M Life brand! Great ways to earn and redeem points at over a dozen Vegas properties like Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, Mandalay Bay, and more – and reciprocal elite benefits apply! Make your next Vegas trip even more luxurious with Hyatt.
  • HYATT DIAMOND – GUEST OF HONOR – If you are a Diamond member with Hyatt Gold Passport, you know how wonderful those benefits are. And now Hyatt allows you to treat those you care about most to all of your luxurious Diamond level benefits throughout 2015.

And before renting a car from Avis, always visit TRVLVIP to enjoy the current Hyatt Gold Passport discounts and bonus offers.

Be sure to check out all of the other current Hyatt Perks and Tips!

IHG Hotels View

IHG Rewards Club

In red carpet news, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, IHG’s luxury brand, scooped up an impressive 28 wins at the recent World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony 2015 held at InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong – including Asia’s Leading Luxury Business Hotel Brand, Asia’s Leading Business Hotel Brand and Australasia‘s Leading Hotel Brand!

And IHG was recently named among the best places to work for LGBT equality, receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Annual Corporate Equality Index for second consecutive year.

IHG is the latest hotel company to team up with Uber to offer more convenience for IHG Rewards Club members. Just access the Uber button from within the IHG mobile app to request an Uber ride to or from your IHG hotel. And if you are new to Uber, you’ll enjoy $20 off your first ride and 2,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points courtesy of IHG. Click here if you’d like to learn more about Uber and to access few valuable tips to save you time and money!

Last month we mentioned Fairmont-Raffles was IHG’s latest possible acquisition target. But the recent word on the street is FRHI Holdings, owner of Fairmont, Raffles, Swissotel brands, is to be acquired by the large French hotel company Accor. Last month IHG issued a firm clarification that the company is not intending to sell or merge, but it’s possible an acquisition of another hotel group could happen.You will know more as we know more.

And in other acquisition news, it’s been about a year since the announcement that IHG would acquire Kimpton. The acquisition was completed in 2015 and Kimpton Karma Rewards has continued to operate independently. Well that may be changing.

Kimpton sent this recent email to Kimpton Karma Rewards members assuring members that the Karma program won’t likely change in 2016 but hinting at expected changes come 2017:

We know things have been a bit quiet on our end. There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Our team has also been listening and we know you want more information. We get it. Here’s what you can expect in 2016:

Kimpton Karma Rewards will continue to serve as the loyalty program for Kimpton.

  • You’ll receive quarterly updates with details on how things are progressing as it relates to bringing the best of Karma Rewards & IHG Rewards Club together.
  • Your eligible 2016 Kimpton activity will accumulate toward your 2017 tier status, and your activity and any earned rewards will remain active.

So, looking ahead even further – what’s in store in 2017? For one, Kimpton will be going global, so get ready. Of course, we’ll also have more to share as it relates to marrying Kimpton Karma Rewards and IHG Rewards Club. The most important thing for you to know right now is that we’re evaluating everything through the lens of what will give you the absolute best experience and the greatest network of reward redemption.

So Kimpton is “going global” and “Kimpton Karma Rewards is marrying IHG Rewards Club.” It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. What do you think?

And the Perks and Tips keep coming! Here are my top current PERK and TIP highlights for IHG:

  • IHG REWARDS CLUB PRICELESS SURPRISES – With IHG and MasterCard’s Priceless Surprises, you’ll enjoy fantastic rewards for all eligible IHG stays across the world (or mail-in game entries) through February 15, 2016.
  • IHG – ACCELERATE YOUR BONUSES – Go further faster with IHG’s global promotion, Accelerate. Through December 31, 2015, enjoy free nights or at least 50,000 bonus points!
  • ENJOY 12,500 IHG POINTS IN VEGAS – This little known Perk opens the door to a luxurious suite at either The Venetian or The Palazzo in Las Vegas with 10,000 IHG Rewards Club bonus points for each 2-night stay before December 31, 2015. And to sweeten the deal, include a Thursday night for an additional 2,500 points for a total of 12,500 points! And combine this one with Accelerate.
  • IHG – CHINA IN THE FAST LANE – With IHG’s Cities in the Fast-Lane promotion, you’ll have a chance to earn up to an additional 50,000 bonus points for IHG stays in 11 cities across China on top of at least 50,000 bonus points with Accelerate.
  • IHG POINTBREAKS SPECIALS – Act fast to receive IHG PointBreaks Reward Nights for only 5,000 points per night through January 31, 2016! These deals are limited so book early!

Before renting a car from Avis or Hertz, always visit TRVLVIP first to enjoy the current IHG Rewards Club discounts and bonus offers.

Need an update on the IHG program? Take a look at our great Tip about the IHG Rewards Club, which provides the highlights of the IHG loyalty program!

And don’t forget about IHG’s Ambassador Program. It’s a great value with many luxurious benefits for anyone who stays at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

Be sure to check out all of the current IHG Rewards Club Perks and Tips!

Marriott Hotels View

Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards

On November 16, Marriott made a very BIG announcement that has dominated the industry news for the last several weeks. Marriott International announced the intention to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts for $12.2 billion with the transaction expected to close in mid-2016.

The new combined company will make Marriott International the largest hotel company in the world with 30 brands across 100 countries, 5,500 properties, 1.1 million rooms and a combined loyalty program with 75 million members. Hilton will fall to the world’s second largest hotel company.

How this acquisition will affect Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest members is still TBD of course. But what we do know is that Marriott President and CEO, Arne Sorenson, will lead the combined company and the company expects to maintain the current brands with no changes to the rewards programs expected until after the completion of the acquisition. This likely means that changes won’t be made until the 2017 benefit year. As a Marriott Rewards member, I feel strongly that this acquisition will greatly enhance Marriott’s loyalty program.

And moving on to other news, Marriott Mobile Request, an industry-leading two-way chat feature, allows nearly 54 million Marriott Rewards members to chat in real time directly with hotel staff to answer questions, or request services and amenities starting 72 hours before their arrival, and throughout their stay. Guests can choose to instant message in five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, French and German.

Mobile Request is now being offered at Marriott Hotels across the globe. And Marriott is expanding the feature to JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments and at Courtyard and Residence Inn properties in  Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

This month, Marriott will open its first Delta Hotels and Resorts property in the US – the Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, FL, in December 2015. In April 2015, Marriott International acquired Delta Hotels and Resorts, which currently has 37 hotels across Canada. Delta recognizes Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Elite status during Delta stays and in early 2016 will allow members to earn and redeem Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards points.

And don’t forget about Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards “Fab Four” enhancements introduced in mid-October:

  • Points Advance – Members are currently able to book redemption stays before having sufficient points to cover the cost of that stay and this is a great perk for those who know they will accrue the necessary points before their stay by earning, buying or receiving a points transfer from another account; it’s kind of like putting an award stay on layaway
  • Points Sharing – You now have the ability to share up to 50,000 points each year with friends and family; previously, members were only able to transfer points between accounts with the same mailing address
  • Redemption Stay Credit – You now earn Elite night credit for award nights paid with Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards points (Hilton, IHG and Starwood currently reward Elite credits for award nights as well)
  • NEW Cash + Points – In early 2016, members will be able to book Cash + Points stays, which will provide flexibility to use a mix of cash and points to pay for stays

And we expect Marriott’s next big global promotion will be announcement in January.

Here are my top five current PERK and TIP highlights for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton:

  • MARRIOTT’S HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU – Stay with Marriott and enjoy some extra luxuries this holiday season at over 1,000 hotels across the US and Canada! If you reserve before December 30, 2015, then stay before January 18, 2016, you’ll enjoy up to a $50 daily resort credit as a holiday gift from Marriott.
  • MARRIOTT TARGETS & REWARDS ELITES – Even if you may not complete enough stays in 2015 to maintain Gold or Platinum Elite status, you may be one of the lucky members Marriott rewards with an easier path to Elite status.
  • RITZ-CARLTON ELITE BOOST – For each eligible night spent at participating Ritz-Carlton hotels in 2015, Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will receive 2 elite night credits! That’s a fantastic 2-for-1 Perk! And Double Elite Night Credits will be retroactively granted for all stays at Ritz-Carlton properties after January 1, 2015, if the guest was a Ritz-Carlton Rewards member during 2015!
  • MARRIOTT – NEW MEMBER REWARDS – Simply join Marriott Rewards and enjoy a free night at a category 1 through 5 hotel after completing just 2 eligible stays within 120 days! While we know many of you are members, share this one with friends and family who are not!
  • COSMOPOLITAN + MARRIOTT = LUXURY plus BUY 1 GET 1 FREE AT COSMOPOLITAN – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…unless it’s a great Tip on a lucrative partnership with Cosmopolitan! Great ways to earn and redeem points and reciprocal elite benefits can make your next Vegas trip even more luxurious! Plus, you’ll enjoy 50% off your stay at the Cosmopolitan until December 29, 2015!

And, always keep an eye out for PointSavers, which will save you up to 33% on your Ritz-Carlton and Marriott award stays and the fifth night is always free! New hotels are added weekly so check back often!

And don’t forget the excellent reciprocal benefits of RewardsPlus – the industry pairing between Marriott and United.

We suggest you sign-up for eBreaks, Marriott’s published list of discounted properties sent each week by email for the following Thursday to Sunday weekend stays. The properties are normally in North America and the discount is typically around 20% or more.

And before renting a car from Hertz, always visit TRVLVIP to enjoy the current Marriott Rewards discount and bonus offer.

Be sure to check out all of the current Marriott and Ritz Perks and Tips!

Starwood Preferred Guest

As we mentioned in the Marriott update above, the VERY BIG hotel loyalty news this month was Marriott International’s announcement about the intention to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts for $12.2 billion with the transaction expected to close in mid-2016. Plenty of press swirled during the last six month about a potential Starwood sale –  IHG, Hyatt and three Chinese companies all named as serious potential suitors – but Marriott wasn’t mentioned. So, this announcement surprised most of us in the travel industry.

The new combined company will make Marriott International the largest hotel company in the world with 30 brands across 100 countries, 5,500 properties, 1.1 million rooms and a combined loyalty program with 75 million members. Hilton will fall to the world’s second largest hotel company.

What does this mean for you?

How this acquisition will affect Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members is still TBD of course. Marriott’s President and CEO, Arne Sorenson, will lead the combined company and doesn’t expect to eliminate any of the brands. Marriott recognizes that Starwood is strong internationally and appeals to a younger, hipper demographic – which is very important to Marriott. And Marriott also appreciates the strength of the SPG program, particularly how admired the program is by elite travelers as well as the strength of Starwood’s credit card and other partnerships (Uber, Delta, Caesars, their airline transfer program, etc.). All of this obviously makes the SPG program very appealing and may instill a strong incentive to maintain that value as well as SPG’s loyal members.

Starwood disclosed in their own press release that for now, both companies and both loyalty programs will remain separate with no change to SPG program status, Starpoints, current promotions or reservations.

For SPG members, we realize many are worried about the value of their SPG Starpoints and what will happen to the perks that they’ve become accustomed to once the programs are combined.

Elite level SPG members enjoy their luxurious suite upgrades and guaranteed 4 p.m. check-out. Marriott on the other hand grants late check-out when available and treats their top-tier Elites to upgraded rooms, but rarely suites. Also, SPG Platinum is granted after 50 eligible nights. Marriott Platinum requires 75 nights.

And, if a conversion of SPG points into Marriott Rewards points occurs, we certainly hope it is fair. Remember that we value SPG points at about triple the value of Marriott points, which means a stay at a comparable Marriott hotel will cost you two to three times more points. But, of course, Marriott Rewards points are easier to earn.

On a personal note, I hold SPG Lifetime Gold status so I’m among those worried about what Lifetime Elite status may mean in the combined program. We will be sure to keep you informed as we know more.

Despite this news, Starwood continues to grow with its 11th and newest brand, Design Hotels. The first 10 Design Hotels are listed on the Starwood website, with up to 40 to be added by year end! This opens the door for SPG members to earn and redeem Starpoints and enjoy Elite benefits. You will earn Starpoints and enjoy the Elite VIP treatment today and will be able to redeem points for stays in early 2016. Design Hotels has close to 300 hotels and this exciting development could open up some very interesting Starpoints earning and redemption opportunities.

We have over 40 great Starwood Perks currently on the site and since Stay for More closed for registration on December 6, we hope for a new global promotion in January.  

Here are my top five new PERK and TIP highlights for Starwood:

  • BE SOCIAL WITH SPG FOR 2,015 POINTS – To thank those who connected with Starwood through social media in 2015, Starwood is offering 2,015 Starpoints! It looks like the offer is open to anyone who registers, stays at least once before year-end, books the stay directly with SPG online or through SPG’s mobile app, and pays a rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints.
  • SPG – GET TO KNOW DESIGN HOTELS – Design Hotels, the newest Starwood brand, is a collection of independently owned boutique properties with a focus on design and cultural authenticity. To get to know Design Hotels better, SPG launched a fun game with a chance to solve a simple puzzle that unlocks great prizes while educating you about Design Hotels. You can play the game once each day through December 18, 2015, for a chance to win fantastic instant prizes and to be entered into the grand prize drawing for five FREE SPG Night Awards (up to a category 6 hotel) and 50,000 Starpoints. The grand prize winner will be announced around December 23, 2015!
  • STARWOOD POINTS ARE ON SALE – Starwood is offering Starpoints for up to 25% off through year-end. The more you buy, the more you save. And don’t worry, we’ll also show you how to determine whether or not buying Starpoints is a good deal to begin with.
  • SPG MEMBERS SAVE UP TO 10% – As a way to compete with the third party hotel booking sites and to encourage guests to book directly with Starwood, SPG members now have their own exclusive discount of up to 10% off the lowest available rate for stays through January 31, 2016.
  • SAVE BIG WITH STARWOOD & AMEX – American Express provides targeted, ongoing Amex Offers that vary by the type of card you hold. If you have an American Express card, we suggest you check your account for the current Starwood offers of an $80 statement credit for a $400 spend at any W Hotel and a $50 statement credit for a $250 spend at any Westin or Sheraton in the US and US territories before December 31, 2015. And SPG OPENS THE DOOR TO 2,500 POINTS – Register for SPG Keyless, stay once before February 29, 2016, and use your American Express Card to enjoy 2,500 Starpoints!

Don’t miss SPG Hot Escapes! Each Wednesday, Starwood offers discounts on stays at participating properties during the following six weeks and an additional 5% savings for SPG members!

And before renting a car from Avis, always visit TRVLVIP to enjoy the current SPG discount and bonus offer.

Remember the industry pairings between Starwood and Uber, Emirates, Caesars and Crossover Rewards with Delta – all of which provide great reciprocal Elite benefits and rewards!

Be sure to check out all of the current Starwood Perks and Tips.

We hope you enjoyed our monthly hotel update! We’d love to have you follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to share TRVLVIP with friends and family who enjoy travel and desire more Luxury for their Loyalty!

And if you haven’t already, sign up for complimentary alerts so you never miss another important TRVLVIP update! Dreaming is fun, but make that next trip happen!

Happy Loyalty, Happy Travels, Happy Holidays!

merriah sig 3


1 Comment

  1. / Depends on the chain. Marriott offered me that chnagelle you menitoned, Club Carlson just gave me status outright in June till at least 2014. I used the Marriott twice to get the free night, and will use the free night before the 3 months expires! I agree, 18 nights in 3 months is pretty out of reach.

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