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All right… it is 2012, time to stop looking back at 2011 and start looking forward toward all of the ways we will earn and redeem miles and points this year. To kick off the new year I want to take a look at the hotel promos that are out for the first quarter of 2012. I know that not all hotel chains really operate their promos on a quarterly system, but it can still be a useful way to look at what is available in the next few months, and plan your business and leisure travel accordingly. I know I am trying very hard to appropriately strategize my hotel stays to both maximize available promos and attain/retain top tier status in at least one chain (though preferably two).
So, here is a list of several current or upcoming hotel promos, as well as a brief description of when might be the appropriate time to select that promo over the other available options.
February 1 – April 30, 2012
The Marriott MegaBonus promo promo isn’t overly creative or different from recent Marriott promos, but it is still a very solid promos for short stays. In fact, it is currently the best available promo for one night stays. Two stays during this promo earn you one free night certificate for a Category 1-4 hotel that is valid for stays from February 1 through September 30, 2012. A maximum of two or three free night certificates may be earned during this promo (offers vary from member to member). Unlike some recent versions of this promo, you are allowed to use any type of credit card to pay for your free nights. There is a 90% chance that I will “encourage” my husband to make a couple Marriott stays on some of his upcoming extensive business travel.
January 1 – March 31, 2012
Hilton is running a “More Points” promotion that allows registered HHonors members to earn 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per night of their stay. In addition, registered HHonors members will earn 5,000 HHonors Bonus Points for weekend stays. For the purposes of this offer, a “weekend stay” is defined as at least two consecutive nights between Thursday and Sunday. You can only earn one 5,000 point bonus per weekend, but you will also earn 1,000 bonus points for each night in addition to the 5,000 point bonus. For example, if you stayed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night you would earn the 5,000 weekend bonus, plus 1,000 points for each of the three nights for a total of 8,000 bonus points. This would be in addition to the HHonors points you would normally earn for your stay. This is a pretty good deal for weekend stays and would be worth considering if you wanted a weekend getaway to a destination with a participating Hilton.
January 1 – March 31, 2012
Priority Club’s promo that awarded 500 – 2000 bonus points for each stay based on the number of brands of hotels within their chain where you stayed during the promotional period just ended on 12/31; a similar new promo has not yet been announced. For those who participated in that most recent promo, I believe the bonus points you earned should be awarded by 1/31, so keep an eye on your Priority Club account. While there isn’t a new global promo out in that sense, there is still the normal assortment of stay x days earn x points available. These range from staying 3 nights to earn 5,000 points to 15 nights to earn 15,000 points. These promos are good from January 1 – March 31st. You have to choose which one to register for carefully, because you cannot switch promos once you sign-up. Learn more about these promos at Priority Club Insider.
Crickets chirping. That is about it for Hyatt promos at the moment. In fact, the crickets have been chirping since mid-November. They are getting tired, and their legs are silky-smooth. Let’s hope that February brings us an awesome Hyatt promo.
January 9 – April 8, 2012
The SPG Better by the Night promotion awards double SPG points on two-night stays and triple SPG points on stays of three nights and longer. This promo is good at over 750 participating hotels and resorts in North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Asia is not participating in this promo, and even within the participating regions there are still a number of non-participating hotels (though the non-participating list is shorter than on other recent promos). The Asian region does have its own promo going on where you earn one free night after five nights, and two free nights after staying nine nights and paying with a MasterCard. You can learn more about that promo here.
The Starwood promo is pretty solid if you have stays that are three nights or longer. It is decent if you have two night stays. It is irrelevant if you have one night stays.
You must register by March 15, 2012 to take advantage of this promo. The registration link is not yet live, but should be up by 1/9/12. I don’t currently have any stays that are several nights long. I am a hotel hopper, so it would take a lot for me to be tied down to one hotel for multiple nights. However, if I find myself in that situation I will absolutely look to take advantage of this promo.
In summary, the strategy I would recommend is to plan one-night stays at Marriott until you have earned your a few free night certificates (just make sure you aren’t earning more than you will be able to use before they expire). If you have any stays that are two to three nights, I would look to the SPG promo. If you find yourself doing a two-night weekend stay, I would look to Hilton. I would only personally turn to the Priority Club promo if you either prefer Priority Club hotels or you are in an area that does not have other hotel chains (which actually used to happen to me quite a bit for some work travel). Of course, this assumes that you have the luxury from choosing from all three of those chains, and that the prices are either similar, or are not an issue for you. It also assumes that you either do not care about re-qualifying for elite status with any particular chain, or you have enough stays or nights within the year that you can have some nights at other chains without jeopardizing re-qualifying at your preferred chain(s).
What promo works the best for you? Are you shifting your first quarter stays based on these (or other) promos?