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Hotel WiFi / InterContinental Hotels Group / Hotel Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / Hotel News / → All Tags
File this under Best News We've Heard All Year. InterContinental Hotels Group has just announced they'll begin offering FREE HOTEL WIFI to all its loyalty program members, regardless of tier status. Previously IHG didn't have any free WiFi exceptions, even for the uppermost members of their program, leaving IHG loyalists to choose from either Hotel Indigo or the Holiday Inn Express brands, which offer WiFi as a standard amenity.
The new perk is part of the massive overhaul IHG is doing to Priority Club Rewards which will soon be known as IHG Rewards Club when changes go into effect this July. And this is for every IHG hotel out there--more than 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories.
IHG said the reason they decided to offer free WiFi to members was due to a recent survey they completed which said 43 percent of adults would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet. Um. Yeah. We've been saying that for years. No matter, the change is real and it's happening.*
Starting in July, Elite members of the loyalty program will be the first to get free WiFi. Then beginning in 2014, all members will get free WiFi. The reason for the staggering is not immediately clear but we're gonna hold IHG to this no matter what. No take-backs allowed! Now, who else will copycat, and offer complimentary WiFi for loyalty program members? Starwood? Marriott? Hilton? Hyatt? We're waiting...
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We told you a few days ago that your 2013 goal should be to analyze your Hotel Loyalty Programs and for good reason. Everyone seems to be coming out the woodwork these days beefing up their perks. The newest is Starwood Preferred Guest’s Restaurant Week offer that has us giving New York's Restaurant Week and even the new dineLA a bit of pause.
Here's the deal, from now until February 10th, SPG members can enjoy a three-course prix-fixe lunch for $20.13 and dinner for $30.13 at about 75 participating restaurants in North America (although it's only two-courses in Hawaii properties--WUWT?).
And these are some pretty choice restaurants as well.
Take a look-see after the jump,
Hotel Loyalty Programs / Hotel News / Carlson Hotels / Loyalty Program News / Radisson Hotels / → All Tags
One thing we’re doing in 2013 is paying serious attention to the hotel loyalty programs we’ve signed up for over the years. It seems like we’re a member of damn near everything, given how easy it has been to register for most loyalty programs. Hey, if it means free minibar items (hey, Kimpton’s InTouch!) or WiFi (hola, Fairmont President’s Club?),then we’re ‘bout it.
However, there comes a time when we have to look at all our membership cards spilling out our travel wallet and ask the all-too-important question: What have you done for me, lately?
We just happened to be looking at our Club Carlson card, thinking we weren’t getting much out of our relationship, when we got news that Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the company behind Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, was launching the Club Carlson Triple Points Returns promotion. Members of the hotel’s rewards program would earn triple Gold Point for eligible nights through March 15, 2013.
We put the scissors down.
With our eyes on the next slew of SLS Hotels to open (New York and Las Vegas) as well as a few other hotels from the sbe group, we thought we'd check in on the status of the sbe PREFERRED loyalty program.
Initially introduced back in October 2011, the program allowed members to earn rewards points at sbe properties, including restaurants and nightclubs such as Katsuya and Hyde. However, they stopped taking new members last July after "reaching capacity." They also did away with the rewards points. Sbe promised to re-evaluate the program to "provide you with the best possible hospitality experience." But it looks like that's still an ongoing process.
SLS Hotels / Hotel Hype / Sam Nazarian / Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / SBE / Hotel News / New York Hotels / → All Tags
Oh boy, we hope the neighbors who are suffering from the Gansevoort Park's rowdy pool parties are stocking up on more ear plugs. That's because another party spot is coming to the block in mid-2013--SLS New York.
The NY Post reports that Sam Nazarian has announced that the Philippe Starck-designed SLS outpost for the Big Apple will open at 444 Park Avenue South, which is literally just a block away from the Gansevoort. The hotel will have 190 rooms, presumably with Ciel toiletries in the bathrooms.
While our source inside SLS says a José Andrés restaurant at the ground-level is not confirmed, we hope it happens as we can't imagine SLS without José. There will also be rooftop scene of some sort and we hear that the S bar brand might be revived. There might even be an outpost of Hyde at the hotel,too.
But that's not all Nazarian has planned for NYC. He's also expanding the LA's Umami burger chain with five Umamis set to open within the next 18 months. (Hint: put one in the SLS and make it a "secret" spot.) He's also hoping to spin off the Redbury Hollywood in SoHo or Tribeca or even open up a second or third SLS hotel down there.
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No, the W Barcelona hasn't turned into one of those European shopping malls with cars being raffled off by pretty women in tight dresses. The answer is pretty simple, actually: Starwood is gearing up to announce a new partnership to sponsor the Mercedes-Petronas Formula One team, and just in time for the press conference tomorrow, an actual formula one race car has been put on display in the lobby, for guests to admire.
We're used to just seeing cool art, a cocktail bar, and maybe some of that weird signature W grass in lobbies. But a race car? That'll do nicely!
Hotel Booking SItes / Room 77 / Hotel Deals / Loyalty Program News / Hotel Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
We're doing our best to keep up with the ever-shifting landscape of hotel booking sites, but there's certainly been a lot to keep track of! The latest: Room 77, which made a name for itself by being able to match up guests with the exact room they want, is now allowing guests to earn loyalty points from bookings made through Room 77. In other words, you no longer have to choose between the convenience of window-shopping for hotel rooms and the satisfaction of using the hotel's loyalty program.
This harks back to a discussion topic we started in 2010 about whether it's possible to earn loyalty points for rooms gotten through blind booking sites like Hotwire and Priceline. The line was pretty blurry back then, as we're sure it still is now, but this looks like a sign that more hotels are giving in. What's more, all the friendly competition going on between the hotel booking sites right now means that guests are the ones who cash in. Who said we can't have our cake and earn points for eating it too?
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Starwood just launched a brand new culinary program for SPG members that provides discounts at over 500 restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as other perks like online cooking classes taught by Starwood chefs. Just in time for the launch, Starwood built a brand new SPG Restaurants & Bars website, on which guests can type in the name of the city they're traveling to and find out what discounts they're eligible for.
But, as with any major points program, not all hotels are created equal. So we did a little digging to find out just which cities are offering the biggest bang for your buck.
Click below to find out which ones top our list!
There's yet another new way to earn rewards and discounts for all your travel adventures, but instead of marrying yourself off to one hotel brand or airline, you can remain polygamous with your jetsetting partners thanks to the FoundersCard.
The card bills itself as a "first-of-its-kind membership community for entrepreneurs and innovators" and gives members access to frequent networking events held throughout the year.
But the card's real worth can be found in its worldwide travel discounts like elite status on Virgin American with 10-13 percent off fights, fast track to elite status at American Airlines, 20 percent off driving rates at Zipcar, up to 60 percent off at Mandarin Oriental Hotels, up to 75 percent off at Mandarin Oriental Hotels, and up to 50 percent off at Standard Hotels.
The FoundersCard also offers members discounts for other hotel brands like Morgans, Viceroy, Park Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton as well as "lifestyle" businesses like Crunch Fitness, Stub Hub, Wine Library and John Varvatos.
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120 Sheraton Club Lounges around the world got an upgrade this year, and we just happened to have caught a glimpse of the one in Times Square yesterday during one of our routine Manhattan hotel inspection rounds (we don't actually do those, but it sure sounds fun, doesn't it?).
The VIP lounges are only accessible to SPG members, but regular civilians who want to cough up an extra $50-$150 (depending on the season) can also experience the lofty life too.
In the mornings, fruits, cereals and other breakfast items remain laid out until 11am; while in the evenings, dessert is brought up, hors d'oeuvres are served, a bar opens, and guests are invited to linger as long as they like. You see, at Sheraton, the Club Lounge is open 24/7—no weekday closings, no curfew. And because the facility is always available, they've made the new design super user-friendly with individual TV screens, plenty of power outlets all over the place, and of course, killer views everywhere you turn.
Click below to see our photo gallery!
Hotel Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / Starwood Hotels / Starwood Preferred Guest / Starwood Ambassadors / Hotel News / → All Tags
Remember two years ago when we first got wind of this super-secret Starwood Ambassadors program? Well, it turns out the program is now going public.
Today Starwood unveiled a couple of big changes to their Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program starting on March 1st which includes personal ambassadors for SPG members who have spent 100 nights annually in Starwood hotels.
Starwood’s ambassadors work one-on-one with guests to understand their preferences and what matters to them on each trip to deliver a customized experience on property. Ambassadors also provide services beyond the hotel and are even empowered to assist guests when they’re not traveling
SPG also introduced a new loyalty tier for the devoted SPGers--SPG Lifetime which gives guests who stay 250 total nights and who have maintained their elite status for five years (consecutive or not), a lifetime of SPG Gold status. Members who tally up 500 stays and who have maintained their elite status for ten years (consecutive or not), will become SPG Platinum for life.
Trump Hotels / The Trump Card / Hotel Loyalty Programs / Loyalty Program News / Hotel News / → All Tags
At last, Trump Hotels has announced a loyalty program that will give you the Trump card at any Trump hotel..literally.
Called the Trump Card Privileges Program, the card offers members a Personalized Preference Program which will keep your room preferences on file "so no request needs repeating"; the best available room rates; early check-in and late check-out (based on availability) and 24-hour access to signature Trump Attaché service, a welcome amenity upon arrival.
After you meet a certain amount of milestone bookings, the card will also upgrade you to "experience" the Trump Hotel Collection suites. Additionally, you can also earn complimentary stays valid at any Trump Hotel upon certain milestone stays, with no blackout dates.