November 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.
Welcome to our monthly Hilton update. Let’s start with some basic premise. Whether you earn Hilton HHonors Elite status by achieving the nights, stays or points required, by having the right credit card or even by completing a fast track offer, making it to Elite status will change the way you travel with Hilton!
If you want to go even further, remember that the American Express Platinum card partnered up with Hilton HHonors last month to offer automatic HHonors Gold Elite status to card members! Normally Gold Elite requires 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 HHonors base points – so this is a great benefit! If you have an Amex Platinum card and are not yet Gold or Diamond, enroll and go for the Gold today!
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 GLOBAL TRIPLE YOUR TRIP PROMO – Hilton’s latest global promotion rewards you with up to three time 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 two nights & enjoy three time the HHonors points any day of the week anywhere in the Americas through January 30, 2016!
- HILTON TRIPLE MILEAGE OFFER – And another triple in this trifecta! Once registered for this promotion, you will enjoy 3three times Hilton partner airline miles for stays with Hilton in Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada through December 31, 2015.
- CONRAD & WALDORF TRIPLE PLAY – Double your luxury while tripling your bonuses in 2015. This promotion is one of our favorite Perks!
- Two “targeted” offers from Hilton –
TARGETED 2X STAY CREDIT FROM HILTON – Hilton recently sent out emails offering lucky HHonors members double Elite-stay credit for each qualifying stay completed between October 15 and December 31, 2105. Were you one of the lucky ones?
HILTON’S 50K WIN BACK PROMO – Hilton’s Win Back promo rewards 50,000 points to “targeted” members who stay four nights in 90 days before January 7, 2016! If you don’t qualify for this one, be sure to try your luck with these additional bonus offers for 10,000 and 25,000 bonus points!
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 promotion can be combined with other deals making it easy to rack up a bunch of HHonors points!
Hyatt Gold Passport
Recently, The New York Times reported Hyatt Hotels Corp. was pursuing an aggressive plan to possibly buy Starwood in a cash and stock deal that would result in Hyatt’s management gaining control of the combined company. Around the same time the Wall Street Journal reported that three Chinese companies were seeking Beijing’s approval to bid on Starwood. We wonder which of these companies is the best suitor? If you’re a Starwood Preferred Guest or Hyatt Gold Passport loyalist, how do you feel about this potential? Post a comment to the blog or let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
Interestingly, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has a market capitalization of $13.6 billion and 1,271 hotels, which is almost twice that of Hyatt’s $7.1 billion market cap and 618 hotels. As a result, Hyatt seems an unlikely suitor and yet appears to be a front runner. We’ll be watching this one closely.
And it’s worth a mention that we consider The Hyatt Gold Passport program and Starwood Preferred Guest to be two of the best loyalty programs in the industry. If the best of both were combined into one program, the travel loyalty world could be a better place! As soon as we know more, so will you.
In the meantime, back to facts, Hyatt continues its multi-million dollar Hyatt Regency campaign, “Sometimes… It’s Good Not to Be Home.” This is the largest advertising campaign in Hyatt Regency’s nearly 50-year history. The latest development in the campaign is a new custom content series about travelers being away from home and making the most of it and featuring comedian Iliza Shlesinger. Have you seen any of the episodes? What do you think?
Hyatt didn’t introduce any new major promotions in October and November, so we are hoping for a big one soon. Nevertheless, here are my top 5 current PERK and TIP highlights for Hyatt:
- 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, etc. – and reciprocal elite benefits apply! Make your next Vegas trip even more luxurious with Hyatt.
- HYATT HAWAII SALE PLUS 5 MORE CITIES – The My Hyatt Rate is back with 15% savings in Chicago, Hawaii, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, DC!
- HYATT SUNSHINE IS ON SALE IN HAWAII – With Hyatt’s Sunshine on Sale promotion you’ll enjoy a free night and breakfast for two when staying at participating Hyatt resorts in Hawaii through December 23, 2015.
- HYATT BONUSES AND SAVINGS WITH AVIS – Enjoy 500 Gold Passport points and up to 25% savings with Avis. And as an extra bonus, choose between a free rental day, a one-car-group upgrade or $25 off a five day rental.
- 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.
IHG Rewards Club
In red carpet news, InterContinental Hotels Group Chief Executive Officer, Richard Solomons, was recently awarded “Corporate Hotelier of the World 2015” by HOTELS Magazine. Now in its 35th year, this award recognizes an individual and their career for operational excellence and performance, creativity in management and promotion of the global hotel business. This is a big honor and a strong vote of confidence in the leadership of IHG!
As we’ve mentioned previously, speculation has been swirling over the last few months regarding IHG and a major acquisition. Fairmont-Raffles was the latest possible target. And apparently many felt IHG might be looking for a buyer or to merge with another company. In the last few days IHG’s issued a firm clarification that the company is not intending to sell or merge. We sure hope, if an acquisition is still on the table, it will open up additional earning and redemption opportunity for IHG Rewards Club members. You will know more as we know more.
And the Perks and Tips keep coming! Here are my top current PERK and TIP highlights for IHG:
- 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 two-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 (see below).
- IHG – ACCELERATE YOUR BONUSES – Go further faster with IHG’s new global promotion, Accelerate. Through December 31, 2015, enjoy free nights or at least 50,000 bonus points!
- IHG POINTBREAKS SPECIALS – Break on in for only 5,000 points on award stays through January 31, 2016!
- IHG DOUBLE UP MILES PROMOTION – Enjoy double reward miles on any of nearly 50 global airline partners simply for registering and completing eligible stays with IHG before December 31, 2015.
- 3 GREAT CHINA PERKS:
IHG DOUBLE 11 – CHINA UP TO 50% OFF – IHG Rewards Club’s Double 11 promotion rewards up to 50% off stays at participating IHG hotels in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). Act FAST! Book by November 13 and stay by December 31, 2015.
IHG 10,000 POINTS BONUS IN CHINA – IHG Rewards Club is offering 10,000 bonus points for each qualified stay of three nights or longer at 12 IHG hotels in Hong Kong and Macau booked by February 24 for stays through February 29, 2016.
IHG’S CHINA 50% WEEKEND FLASH SALE – Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday through November 28, 2015, IHG provides a BIG list of hotels in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) with savings up to 50% for stays through December 31, 2015.
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.
Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards
Marriott was in the news recently, and it was the good kind. Autograph Collection Hotels and JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts each recently received 16 of Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. In its 28th year, the Readers’ Choice Awards polls 128,000 dedicated readers who cast votes on 5,000 hotels, resorts, cities, islands, airlines and cruise lines across the world. The awards appear in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, and are considered a very prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. Congrats, Marriott!
Also, 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.
In positive tech news and for those of you who enjoy a good online chat feature, Marriott’s Mobile Requests is now live at select JW Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection and Marriott properties allowing guest to chat with associates through the mobile app and make requests for amenities both before and after check-in. Need a certain type of pillow or extra towels? Chat directly with Marriott’s associates through the mobile app regarding anything you need!
Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards have recently become even more rewarding with their “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. 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 – As of October 12, 2015, members 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 – As of November 1, 2015, members 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, so we are very happy Marriott now allows this 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.
We’d love to hear what you think about these enhancements!
And a Ritz-Carlton update:
In September, Ritz-Carlton announced a new “ritzy” brand logo with a new brand voice. What do you think of the new logo? This link provides a good comparison between the old and the new – It looks more like the old logo than I expected. As we mentioned in October, this is the first time any changes have been made to the “lion and crown” logo in the 32-year “modern” history of Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Prior to the current ownership structure, Ritz goes way back to 1898 when César Ritz opened the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The catchy “Puttin’ On the Ritz” was written by Irving Berlin in 1927.
Here are my top 5 current PERK and TIP highlights for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton:
- SUPER BOWL 50 FOR 50 WITH MARRIOTT – Gotta love this one! Which of your 49 friends will you bring to Super Bowl 50? Oh, and did we mention that all expenses are covered for a three-day luxury weekend for all 50? Heck yeah!
- 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!
- MARRIOTT’S FALL 2015 MEGABONUS PROMO – Marriott’s newest, global MegaBonus promotion offers personalized rewards through January 15, 2016.
- 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.
- MARRIOTT – NEW MEMBER REWARDS – Join Marriott Rewards and enjoy a free night after completing just two eligible stays within 120 days. With over 3,000 Marriott hotels and 14 brands in over 70 countries, new members are truly rewarded. Since you may already be a member, this is a fantastic promotion to share with friends and family! This is one of our favorite Perks!
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.
Starwood Preferred Guest
Starwood continues to be in the media spotlight with lots of news swirling again this month. Adam Aron, a Starwood board member and previous CEO of Vail Resorts, Norwegian Cruise Line, and the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team continues to serve as the interim CEO. During Starwood’s Q3 earnings call in October he announced that Starwood was nearing a deal to sell the company or merge with another hotel chain with a clear goal of optimizing value for Starwood’s shareholders.
In October, the Wall Street Journal reported that three Chinese companies were seeking Beijing’s approval to bid for Starwood. And shortly after that, The New York Times reported Hyatt Hotels was pursuing an aggressive plan to buy Starwood in a cash and stock deal that would result in Hyatt’s management gaining control of the combined company.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has a market capitalization of $13.6 billion and 1,271 hotels – which is almost twice that of Hyatt’s $7.1 billion market cap and 618 hotels. As a result, Hyatt – at least on the surface – seems an unlikely suitor and yet appears to be a front runner.
While no definitive news has surfaced, Aron continues to firmly communicate that Starwood’s progress toward finding a viable suitor is active and nearing conclusion and that many answers to the many swirling questions will likely be cleared up by the end of the year. We will see…
Baseball fans will enjoy this one – Sheraton and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) have entered into a partnership with Major League Baseball, making Sheraton the official hotel and SPG the official hotel loyalty program of America’s pastime. SPG members will have a chance to redeem their Starpoints for tickets to this year’s World Series and in 2016, SPG members can expect a multitude of baseball-related perks and promotions including special access to game tickets, spring training events and player meet and greets.
In November, Starwood made a BIG announcement, the addition of the SLS Las Vegas to the Starwood portfolio. Most of the hotel will become part of the Tribute brand before the end of the year (possibly in time to score some points with the latest Tribute 10,000 bonus Starpoints promotion). SLS has three distinct hotel towers and encompasses 1,613 guestrooms and suites. Two of the towers will become part of the Tribute brand and the 289-room “LUX Tower” will be converted to a W Hotel in 2016. It will be great to have a W in Vegas! SLS was previously part of Hilton’s Curio brand.
As of November 12, 2015, the first five Design Hotels are listed on the Starwood website, opening 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 Design Hotels stays in early 2016. The first five hotels include the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, C-Hotel in Lake Como, Italy, the Nira Montana in La Thuile, Italy, the Ten Bompas Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Kruisherenhotel Maastricht Hotel in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Design Hotels has 288 hotels and 40 of them should be part of the SPG program by year-end! Starwood has had an ownership stake in Design Hotels for some time. In fact, Starwood owns a 74% equity interest in Design Hotels but has allowed this company to manage the brand independently. Adding Design Hotels to the Starwood mix is an exciting development for SPG loyalists!
We have over 40 great Starwood Perks on the site, including free night and bonus points offers, new hotel promotions, discounted award offers, a BIG wedding promo and specials from AAA, American Express and Mastercard.
And now here are my top 5 new PERK and TIP highlights for Starwood:
- STARWOOD’S STAY FOR MORE PROMOTION – Starwood’s latest global promotion, Stay for More, rewards SPG members for stays completed through December 20, 2015. Register by December 6. You must register before you can earn.
- ST REGIS & LUXURY COLLECTION FREEBIES – American Express and Starwood have paired up to offer you the Taste of Luxury for less! Stay three nights at a participating St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels in the US and pay with your American Express card to enjoy daily complimentary breakfast for two and your fourth night FREE through March 31, 2016!
- STARWOOD “EXCLUSIVE 6” and STARWOOD “EXCLUSIVE 7” PROMOTIONS – Starwood Preferred Guest has a series of ongoing “targeted” promotions. Their latest Select Member Exclusive 6 and 7 reward SPG members with free nights, bonus Starpoints or Elite credits.
- STARWOOD REWARDS A STAY IN PARADISE – Need some vacation planning inspiration? How about an escape to Hawaii, Bora Bora or Tahiti? Enjoy every fourth or fifth night free; save up to 35% off room rates and select spa services, dining and rental cars from Avis; and earn double Starpoints as long as you book and stay before March 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 offers from Starwood. American Express is currently offering 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 before December 31, 2015.
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.
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Happy Loyalty, Happy Travels!