Comparing Summer 2012 Hotel Promotions

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Now that the major players in the hotel chain world have officially announced their summer promotions, it is time to see how they stack up.  If you are like me and often have the freedom to choose which hotel chain to use on any given trip, then maximizing promotions is just part of the game.  Clearly some promotions will be better than others depending on individual travel patterns, needs, wants, and budgets.  My own personal travel pattern consists of short, moderately priced stays, with a strong preference given to the chains that I want to obtain or retain elite status in – namely Hyatt and Starwood.  However, if another property offers a very valuable promotion, a much more competitive price, or is significantly more convenient due to my plans on that trip, then I will “cheat” on my preferred chains in a heartbeat.

Hyatt Gold Passport 5x Airline Miles

May 1st – August 31st

This promo awards up to 5x airline miles per stay.  The first stay awards the regular 500 airline miles per stay.  The second and third stays award 4x miles for a total of 2,000 miles per stay, and the fourth through eleventh stay award 2,500 airline miles each.  This promo is good for short and inexpensive stays.  On a stay that costs in the $100 – $150 range, you would typically be earning 500 – 750 Hyatt points (without an elite bonus), so 2,500 airline miles is a no-brainer for most people in cases like that as 2,500 airline miles is worth much more than 500-750 Hyatt points.  If you are elite and get an amenity points bonus, then those points would post as Hyatt points as usual.  The registration links are different depending on your airline of choice, so go to this post for more info or to get the registration links.

Starwood Nice Choice

May 1st – July 31st

June 1st – August 31st

July 1st – September 30th

With this unique promotion you choose the earning period and you choose the reward.  The available awards include:

  • Earn double Starpoints beginning with 2nd stay
  • Every 6 nights, get 3,000 Starpoints.  Max. 18 nights/9,000 Starpoints.
  • Stay 15 nights, earn triple Starpoints on all stays
  • Earn 500 Starpoints per night at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts worldwide when booked online.
  • Stay 10 nights, get 1 Free Weekend Night (Cat 1–5).  Max. 20 nights/2 Awards.
  • Stay 20 nights, get a 25%-off Starpoints redemption Award (Cat 1–5).  Max. 40 nights/2 Awards.
  • Stay 4 nights, get a US$50 SPG Award Certificate.  Max. 12 nights/3 Certificates.
  • Stay 4 nights, get a US$50 or €50 Westin at Home™ Collection Discount Code.  Max. 12 nights/3 Codes.
  • Stay 4 nights, get a US$50 or €50 Sheraton at Home Discount Code.  Max. 12 nights/3 Codes.
  • Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus Elite Qualifying Night.  Max. 15 nights/3 bonus nights.
  • Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus Elite Qualifying Nights.  Max. 20 nights/6 bonus nights.

Which promo choice is better is obviously going to vary from person to person.  According to the SPG website, thus far 35% of people have registered for triple SPG points on all stays if they stay 15 nights during the promotion, 30% have registered for double points after the second stay, and 11% have registered for 3,000 bonus SPG points after six nights.  I’m just not clear enough on my summer travel plans yet to select one.  My husband will likely go for a SPG Platinum Challenge starting in July, so since he will need 18 nights in three months anyway for that challenge, the triple points after 15 nights will be his likely choice.  However, the free weekend nights certificate isn’t a horrible choice if you are going to have 10 or 20 nights as a Cat 5 goes for 12,000 points.  If I think I will hit six nights in the promo period, I will likely choose the six nights get 3,000 points award.  Otherwise, I will go for double points after the second stay.

I do not recommend registering for this promo until you know more about your summer travel plans.  You have until 6/30 to register, so no need to make a speculative guess now.


June 1 – August 31st

As is customary with Marriott, there are several different promos that are available, and you are assigned a promo based on the Marriott super secret formulas.  However, historically there has never been a problem for Marriott elites who want to switch from one promo to another.  There are some recent reports online that this is becoming tougher to change promos depending on who you talk to at Marriott, but does not yet seem impossible.  I like the old fashioned promo of two stays = one free night, and that will be the promo that I try to switch to.  The available options are: Max 3 Free Nights with 6 Stays, Max 40K with 25 Nights, Max 15K with 4 Different Brands, Max 15K with 3 Weekend Stays. I actually quite like the MegaBonus where you stay twice and get one night free – heck just two trips and you get a free night.  Perfect for those with a limited number of stays this summer.  Sure you have to redeem your free night at a Category 1-4 hotel, but that is okay with me.  Log-in to your Marriott account to see what bonus you were offered.

Hilton Double Points or Double Miles

April 1 – June 30th

Hilton is the only hotel chain that does true quarterly promos, so they are in the middle of their second quarter promotion for “double points or double miles”.  It isn’t lucrative enough to entice extra stays, but it is better than nothing.  Certainly worth registering if you might have a Hilton stay in your future.

Stay 3 Times at Best Western Get $50 Gift Card

April 15 – June 3rd

This isn’t a super fancy promo, but I like gift cards, so if you stay at a Best Western three times before June 3rd you get a $50 Best Western TravelCard that must be used by November 1st.  You do need to register for this promo.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of every hotel promo out there (go to Loyalty Traveler for that), but it should give you a taste of many of the major promos out there.  As usual, Marriott is the strongest for inexpensive and/or a limited number of stays with their MegaBonus.  Hyatt is good for collecting airline miles on short and inexpensive stays.  Starwood’s promo is good at allowing the customer to have some flexibility in finding a promo that meets their needs best, but the choices aren’t all that stellar.

What promos and hotel chains will you be focusing on this summer, if any?

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  1. Do the SPG promo applies to reward stays? I’m staying 3 nights in Honolulu (probably on cash and points) and 5 nights in Maui on points, for a total of 8 nights, so probably the 6 nights, 3000 points promo works best for me.

  2. @Michael if I understood correctly, their T&C states clearly that all the promo’s are for paid nights only.

  3. You forgot to mention the IHG $50 MasterCard per weekday stay of at least 2 nights (Mon-Thurs nights).

    I will be participating in Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott these next few months. For two weeks, I’ll stay at a Hyatt Sunday night for miles, then two separate IHG stays of 2 nights each for $50 MasterCard gift cards per stay. That gives me $200 in gift cards after two weeks. That will lead me into 9 more 1-night stays at Hyatt to max out at 24,500 Delta miles. That will take me through May and June with light travel months, and into July and August, where I’ll log 25 nights with Marriott to get the 40k bonus points (and likely 50k points along the way). The Marriott stays are on the 20% discounted TravelCards as well, which saves me $400.

    Net result: 90k Marriott, 24,500 Delta, $400 saved, and $200 in MasterCard GCs.

    • @Mike, that’s awesome! IHG is really a post by itself with all the stuff they often have going at once. It’s on my “to do” list, but in the meantime thank you for the reminder! Here is a link to the promo he is talking about for anyone else who is interested.

  4. I wanted to ask you at FTU how to start planning our hotels for summer vacation so thanks for posting this. Quick ? if I reserve 3 rooms at the Marriott for a weekend, do those count as separate stays by any chance? My guess is no, but would each room count toward elite status?

    • @Kadence, probably not. But, you could split the rooms if you wanted and have one under your name and one under another person’s name so at least the credits are going somewhere. 😉

  5. For the marriott promotion: A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel. Is 1-night stay counted as a stay? or have to be 2 nights counted as a stay?

  6. Choice Hotels has the best one. Two stays and get a $50 gift card. I accomulated enough gift cards to buy a iPad 3!! I travel a lot)

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