Tag: Loyalty Program NewsView All Tags
Free WiFi=Poolside selfies, according to Hilton Hotels
We reported on this program benefit back in March with an estimated roll-out date of August but it looks like they've released the perk a little earlier than expected.
There are a couple of catches--you need to be a Hilton HHonors member, and you need to book directly with Hilton. Also, the free WiFi is just standard WiFi. If you'd like premium internet, you'll need to be a HHonors Diamond member for that.
Still, this is a big step for Hilton as they join the other hotel brands that have already freed their WiFi for their loyalty program members. Hopefully, this will get them some new "likes."
[Screengrab: Hilton HHonors]
Earlier this year, Starwood Hotels freed the WiFi for all members of its loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, so long as they booked directly through Starwood. However, that was just for basic internet usage.
Premium internet--which is fast enough for streaming services and heavy-duty uploading/downloading--still comes at a cost, unless you're a Gold or Platinum member.
But now there's another way to get it "free"--by signing up for the SPG American Express card. Automatically being a cardholder will get you that premium in-room internet you want. The benefit doesn't kick in until August 11 so you have some time to get your application in. The card will also free customers from foreign transaction fees as well as give them complimentary unlimited Boingo WiFi hotspot access. Which means you shall never pay for internet while traveling again.
Using the SPG Amex will also earn you more Starpoints during your stay at participating SPG Hotels as well as 1 Starpoint for all other purchases. And once you've spent $30,000 on "eligible" purchases on the card, you'll be automatically upgraded to SPG Gold status.
However, the catch is that that the annual fee for the card is set to go up to $95 on August 11 (previously it was $65.) Your first year of card membership is free, but after that you'll pay $95 annually.
[Photo: W Hotels]
Customer Service / Baha Mar Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Grand Hyatt Hotels / Hyatt Gold Passport / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
As the rumors continue to swirl about the troubled Baha Mar in The Bahamas (Travel Weekly is reporting it is unlikely the resort will open this year), we've discovered a silver lining. It is a very small one but it's something.
A guest, we'll call him Mr. Mister, booked a room at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar directly, using Hyatt Gold Passport Points, and wrote into HotelChatter about the "excellent customer service" he received from Hyatt, who contacted him when the opening date was missed. Hyatt also has a direct 800-number for Baha Mar guests who are affected. Here's how the experience went for Mr. Mister and what he was offered instead of his original stay:
I booked directly with Hyatt using points right before they increased the value of this hotel (still pre-opening).
The offer is apparently already being discussed on the internet, but there were three possibilities:
1) Be rebooked sometime in the future at the Hyatt Baha Mar (booking September and beyond) and cover change fees up to $300 per person
2) Book myself at Atlantis on my dime (and without my Hyatt Diamond benefits, including free breakfast) and get a free enough points to stay at a similar Hyatt in the future for the same number of nights (including Baha Mar or any Hyatt)
3) Receive a refund for my Hyatt Baha Mar stay (in my case, my points back) plus points for an equivalent number of nights at any similar Hyatt in the future plus a refund of change fees
I chose option 3--my points back to re-use elsewhere plus the compensation points (four more nights worth in my case), plus a change fee refund ($200 on American), primarily since our airline flights were almost all on points (only my ticket was paid/refunded/changed). So, I came out +4 Hyatt nights for sometime in the future anywhere.
Have you been saving all your HHonors points from your Hilton Hotel stays so that you can have enough to splurge on a wonderful vacation? How very basic of you. Kidding! But if you've been trying to get tickets to a popular summer concert and are appalled at the ticket prices, you can use your HHonors points instead.
Hilton has partnered up with Live Nation to give Hilton loyalty program members access to concerts and sporting events. (This is similar to what Starwood Preferred Guest did a few years ago with Live Nation.) Called @Play, is similar to HHonors members can cash in their points for said concert and sporting events, or they can use the points to bid on special experiences like artist meet and greets. (There's one coming up with Meghan Trainor and another for Paramore.)
As for how many points you need, well that depends on the artist. Right now, the most expensive one is the Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga concert in Los Angeles for 250,000 points. (The one in Massachusetts is much cheaper.) That's a hefty sum to cash in but it includes four tickets in "premium seating." But expensive doesn't always mean popular. The Ed Sheeran concert is sold-out and that was only 50,000 points.
Still, it's safe to say you will need at least 50,000 points to get what you want. So start booking more stays or sign up for the Double Your HHonors promotion to earn double points through May 31, 2015. Want to learn more about the nitty gritty of redeeming your HHonors points for these experiences? Read the FAQ page, especially if you plan on bidding for your item.
Favorite Hotels / Courtyard by Marriott Hotels / Loyalty Program News / Marriott Rewards / Mattress Runs / → All Tags
With the opening of the 1,000th Courtyard by Marriott Hotel (the Courtyard by Marriott Walla Walla in Washington State), Marriott International is giving away 50 million Marriott Rewards points to guests checking into Courtyard properties worldwide today.
That's right. Marriott Rewards members arriving at Courtyard today will receive 1,000 bonus points a piece. (That sound you just heard is a bunch of folk pulling out their phone to make a quick reservation for today at a Courtyard.)
With this 1,000th property, Courtyard is now the single biggest brand in the Marriott portfolio (by number of properties) and the 8th largest hospitality brand worldwide. There are Courtyards in all 50 states, along with 38 countries and territories.
While Courtyard was commonly found near airport or in office parks, in recent years the brand has gone urban--to New York City and downtown LA--as well as tropical--to Bali and Waikiki Beach--and nearly everything in between (Middle East and Europe.) Inside the Courtyard, the room design now reflects today's traveler and free and fast WiFi is a priority. Food and beverage offerings have been upgraded as well, with most Courtyards offering at least a Grab-n-Go or Bistro concept, if not a full-fledged restaurant.
So with 1,000 properties all over the world, chance are some of you dear readers have stayed at a Courtyard hotel before. And now, we want to know which ones you like the most.
Hilton Hotels / Hilton Worldwide / Hotel WiFi / Hotel News / Loyalty Program News / HHonors / Free WiFi / → All Tags
It's been broughten.
Hilton Worldwide will begin offering ALL members of their HHonors program free WiFi starting in August. Additionally, HHonors Diamond members will receive premium WiFi complimentary starting in the second quarter of this year.
Currently, only gold and diamond members of HHonors can receive free standard WiFi. Average WiFi rates in-room at Hilton are about $12.95 a day while premium WiFi is $16.95 a day.
Hilton finally joins the ranks of Starwood, Marriott, and Hyatt who began freeing the WiFi for their loyalty members late last year. (But if you're keeping score, IHG was the first to do it for real in July 2013.)
You will have to book your room with Hilton to get the free WiFi and obvi, you need to be a member of HHonors but Hilton has also made the WiFi free for members who book through corporate travel partners, an advantage over other hotel brands.
Let the countdown to August begin!
We've seen hotels partner with the taxi-on-demand service that is Uber, usually in the form of a room package with an Uber credit. Hyatt Hotels went a bit further by allowing guests to order Ubers to and from their Hyatt hotels within the Hyatt app. But now, Starwood Hotels has trumped them all.
Starwood Preferred Guests members can now earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent with Uber. You'll also earn more points if you use Uber during an SPG stay. Gold and Platinum members will earn even more.
This sounds ideal, especially if you're a big city kind of kid/business traveler who relies on Uber to get around, although the linking up of Uber and SPG accounts is not seamless.
Hard Rock Rewards, the loyalty program for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos has announced its first free night stay program where guests who stay five qualifying nights at Hard Rock Hotels from now through June 5, will earn a free one-night return stay.
Obviously, you have to join the Hard Rock Rewards program before you can qualify. The program is free to join and basic member benefits include a dedicated check-in, late check-out, a welcome amenity at each property and a $15 USD coupon for every 5,000 points earned at Hard Rock. VIP member benefits include room upgrades, welcome packages, and faster ways to earn points. You can actually buy the VIP status for just $24.95, which is unusual yet convenient since many programs make you earn your status with 20+ qualified stays.
Below is the list of participating hotels in the free night program.
Piece by piece, the layers are coming off the Virgin Hotels brand.
Last week, we learned that Virgin America's Elevate members would get certain perks at Virgin Hotels, which will open first in Chicago on January 15. Now we have the full details of Virgin Hotels own loyalty program, excuse us, preference program, called The Know.
Here's what to know about The Know. t's pretty simple.
Visit VirginHotels.com/the-know to fill out a short questionnaire. (You'll also have to submit your email if you haven't already signed up.) The questions asked include cheeky ones such as, "What do you really want to be called?" "Afraid of elevators?" "Do you have any allergies?" and "Special requests? Pet peeves? Ghost concerns?" You can also tell them your favorite drink, favorite snack, your "dream" minibar item and what should NEVER be found in your minibar.
Once you've enrolled, and stayed at a Virgin Hotel, you'll be eligible for perks such as:
Kimpton Hotels / IHG / Hotel News / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
Yesterday when we learned that InterContinental Hotel Group will acquire the 62 hotels that make up Kimpton Hotels, our first thought was, "Nooo!", followed by "Whyyyy?" and then finished up with, "Wait, what happens to the Kimpton Karma loyalty program which was just unveiled this summer?"
As it turns out, the program is not going anywhere. At least not right away. Kimpton Karma will continue to work as it always has with no crossover into IHG's Rewards Club. But you know that won't last. We expect members to be able to use and earn points at both brands sometime in 2015.
With that out of the way, let's look at all the other concerns Kimpton loyalists have about their cute boutique brand being acquired by a big corporation.
Virgin Hotels / Hotel News / Loyalty Program News / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Openings / Virgin America / Hotel Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
As the opening day gets closer and closer for the very first Virgin Hotel, the brand's loyalty program is also getting closer to coming out.
We reported two months ago that a Virgin Hotels loyalty program would be "integrated into the airlines' current loyalty programs." Today, we know exactly how that will work.
Free WiFi / Hotel News / Marriott International / Marriott Hotels / Hotel WiFi / Marriott Rewards / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
The reason we were all "meh" about Marriott Hotels' wireless phone chargers a few weeks ago was simply because Marriott is still charging for WiFi up in the guest rooms. But it looks like they've had a change of heart because...
Marriott International will be giving all members of its Marriott Rewards program free WiF at all Marriott brands (about 3,800 hotels) starting on January 15, 2015. #stunned #flabbergasted #theendishere
Here's the official Marriott statement: