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Sorry, Hilton: We're Going with Marriott's Global Rate Break Instead

January 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

In the wonderful world of hotel promotions, the elusive weekend rate slash hasn't been so slippery these days. Chalk it up to January sales, a.k.a. the veritable Black Friday of travel shopping. Only instead of a day, deals are rife through the month, and instead of Tickle Me Elmo, you're looking for an available King suite.

Those too good to be true deals usually come with a caveat or two, though. "Book by [blank date]," "Exclusions may apply," blah, blah—we've heard it all before. We were weary when we heard that Marriott was kicking off a Global Rate Break of 20% off weekend stays, and up to 40% off at select resorts, especially in light of Hilton's similar—and so-so—weekend sale.

Here are the rules of the game: you have to book by January 22nd for stays from the 22nd through March 21st of this year, the deal applies to select locations worldwide, and a Friday or Saturday stay is required. Promo code: F5X. Let's do this.

We put Marriott's deal to the test, picking a couple hubs that hold some hefty getaway appeal. A search for an open room at the Renaissance New York Times Square during the sale period yielded a price of $287.00 per night. That's versus $329.00 for the same King or two-Double room for a non-discounted weekend.

Case Study #2: We found a King room at Hawaii's Kaua'i Marriott Resort running for $194.40 per night for a weekend in February; average, non-sale asking price: $229.00. There are some definite savings going on (albeit not 40%), and we also found that the sale rate fluctuates up and down depending on what days you choose.

We were at least pleased to find open rooms during sale time at some European locations, like London's Hotel Grosvenor Square, Spain's Playa Andaluza and Paris' Renaissance Vendome Hotel. Widespread availability and definite discounts give this hotel promo an edge over Hilton properties, who, as we reported, have spotty openings.

The "oh, duh," bottom line is you should book early and practice a little plug-and-chug of your own to shop around for dates with the best deal. Sigh. We'd love it if a hotel would just hold a no-frills, "this your discount; these are the dates; reserve the room before someone else does and it's guaranteed" deal. In the meantime, we'll take whatever we can get.

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