The Whole Point: Loyalty
Before we even got started, Brian made a quick, but important point.
“The whole point of points,” he said, “is to build brand loyalty. So you need to evaluate each company and what they can offer you—if it’s destinations, routes or hotel chains you like—then decide which one is right for you and start consolidating your travel within those alliances.”
That already sounds like a lot of work, but that is exactly where Brian’s consulting expertise comes in.
When we start talking specifically of hotel rewards programs, Brian explains:
“Room rates are continuing to drop as business travel has not picked up enough to warrant increases and new hotels are still opening. Hotels will continue to offer free night promotions to fill empty rooms.”
So that means plenty of rewards options.
Brian himself is an avowed Starwood Preferred Guest, but lately, he says,
"My favorite hotel loyalty program crush is Hyatt. Gold Passport is one of the few programs that is continually enhancing member benefit, like confirmed suite upgrade certificates for their Diamond members (those who stay 25 times or 50 nights a year) at time of booking on paid stays of up to one week.”
In fact, Brian was so impressed with Hyatt’s new loyalty initiatives (and fed up with how hard it was to get upgrades at Starwood), that he recently contacted Hyatt to join their program and asked them to match his Starwood platinum status. Which they did!
“Hyatt has been running incredible Faster Free Night promotions” continues Brian. “Their current Big Welcome Back promotion gives members a free night at any Hyatt property (including Park Hyatt) for every two stays. So two stays at a $60 a night Hyatt Place gets you one free night at the 600 euro per night Park Hyatt Vendome this summer.”
With his already accrued nights, Brian is planning to stay there for three nights this July for a grand total of…$0.
Lest you think Brian is just shilling for Hyatt, he does see one huge drawback.
(By the way, we double-checked those figures, and he is spot on.)
Which is why during his trip to the Seychelles this summer, he’ll be staying at Le Meridien Barbarons, “hopefully in a suite for five nights using just 4,800 Starwood points and $60 a night)."
Payment In Kind
It’s one thing to tell you about awesome deals someone else snagged, but as we mentioned earlier, Brian has started his own consulting business to help others maximize their rewards points.*
To find out if he can help you score a dream deal (or several), hit up The Points Guy, where a points evaluation consultation or his help in booking an itinerary of your choice (only if you decide to book it) costs a flat fee of $50. Or, true to the spirit of his endeavor, instead of cash, you can pay Brian in 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points.
Not a member of hotel rewards programs? We’ll be talking to Brian again soon about airlines and car rentals as well, so stay tuned on Jaunted to get more pointers from The Points Guy.
* Just as a disclosure, Brian helped this writer use his points to swing a business class ticket to Europe this summer for fewer miles than he could get a coach ticket himself.