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A little more than three years after relaunching their Expedia+ Rewards Program, the online booking site announced some minor but meaningful changes today.
All Expedia+ Rewards members will continue to earn 2 points for every $1 spent when booking hotels, activities and packages and 1 point for every $5 spent on flights. But now, members will also earn 2 points for every $1 spent on cruise bookings with most major cruise lines.
Expedia also introduced a new membership level, the +silver tier which comes when you spend $5,000 on Expedia or when you book 15 eligible hotel nights. Benefits of this new level include10% bonus points on point eligible purchases, 250 extra points when booking one of more than 1,400 +VIP Access hotels and exclusive amenities at over 700 +VIP Access hotels. Those amenities range from a bottle of wine, an upgrade or a spa treatment voucher.
Anpve is the completebreakdown of the membership tiers, including the basic level +blue and the top, +gold (formerly Elite Plus.)
Sticky legal situations overseas for U.S.-based online booking sites such as Expedia, Priceline, and Booking.com are nothing new. In 2011, Expedia was fined for advertising false prices in Europe, and in 2012, U.K. regulators accused the sites of price fixing and anti-competitive practices.
The latter of those lawsuits was thrown out earlier this year, but foreign entities aren't giving up on enforcing its national laws on digital businesses based overseas. This week, the French government sued Booking.com, claiming that its contracts with properties "prohibit hotels from offering prices for rooms at a price lower than those displayed on Booking.com’s website," once again raising issues of anti-competitive behavior.
The problem with the practice is that the contracts take the power away from the hotel in terms of its ability to set prices and offer deals through its own website. In other words, if you want to do business with any of the online booking companies, you forgo your freedom to offer lower prices to other market segments via other channels, including your own reservation department.
Art Basel Hotels / Last-Minute Hotel Rooms / Miami Hotel Mambo / HotelTonight / Expedia / Miami Hotels / → All Tags
The good news about Art Basel is that there are still hotel rooms available. The bad news is they cost more than some pieces of art that's on sale at the massive art fair.
Here's a quick run-down from Expedia for hotel rooms from tomorrow, December 4th, checking out December 6th
· LOEWS MIAMI BEACH: $559
· EDEN ROC MIAMI BEACH: $729
·Something called THE GRAND BEACH HOTEL: $859 (ironically, the hotel's website claims "affordable luxury")
·RITZ-CARLTON SOUTH BEACH: $799
·THE ANGLER'S: $909
Meanwhile, looking on the app HotelTonight for rooms for, duh, tonight is a little better. We found the Catalina (across from the SLS, Delano and Sagamore) to be just $232 while the Dream South Beach is just $239. Even the Standard Miami Beach is not too grossly priced at $499 a night.
And to be fair, there are several smaller hotels with decent locations in Miami Beach that can still be had under $300, but they won't be very plush. Still, it's a place to rest your heady after a long, party-filled day. Just remember, Miami Beach is a bit of a construction zone so be sure to plan accordingly as you party hop.
World Series Hotels / St Louis Hotels / Expedia / HotelTonight / NFL Hotels / Jock Jam Hotels / → All Tags
St. Louis' hotel scene is heating up tonight! Not only is the 5th game of the World Series with the Cardinals versus the Boston Red Sox happening but the city is also hosting Monday Night Football with the Rams playing the Seattle Seahawks. However, there are still plenty of hotel rooms to be had. Allow us to break it down.
On Expedia, The Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch (near the ballpark) still has rooms open, although they cost a pretty penny at $475 tonight. The Renaissance St. Louis Grand is going for $399, The Embassy Suites is $359 while the Crowne Plaza Riverfront at the Arch hikes the rate back up to $475. There are still a ton of hotels open near the airport, about 20 minutes away from the ballpark, and most of them are below $150 a night.
On HotelTonight, the last-minute hotel booking app, there are way better deals, under $100 for tonight, but you will probably need a rental car. The Best Western Plus Saint Charles is about 25 minutes by highway to the ballpark but only costs $75. There's also the La Quinta Inn by the airport for $89 and the Comfort Inn Westport for $74 which is also about 25 minutes away. But hey, these are all under $100.
Just beware, if you are a Red Sox fan, this little "note" could greet you in your hotel room:
The other day when we were cruising Expedia for a hotel stay, we noticed something different with the site--the room rates were buried under one or two-word "reviews" of the property. Say what? Oh hell no. So we had to investigate.
Here is how the search results looked last week. Look at how teeny that rate is while the "Very Good" is bigger and bolder.
And here is how they used to look back in the spring.
When we inquired at Expedia what this was all about, we were told the following:
" Expedia began testing new search hotel search pages earlier this year. The Expedia teams are constantly testing pages to see what improves the user experiences and you likely encountered one of the new pages being tested."
Hotel News / Hotel Booking Engines / Expedia / Expedia Traveler Preference Program / Hilton Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Accor Hotels / → All Tags
Expedia announced last week that Hilton Hotels has officially enrolled about 4,000 of its properties in the Expedia Traveler Preference (ETP) program, bringing the total number of participating hotels across all brands to around 25,000.
Never heard of the ETP program? Essentially, it offers consumers flexibility in that they can either pay at the time of booking on Expedia, or they can pay upon checkout at the conclusion of the hotel stay. Although concerns were raised when it was introduced in July 2012, more and more hotels, including some Marriott and Accor properties, are now happy a year later. (It was originally reported that Hilton would be involved right off the bat, but it looks like it took a year to iron out the details.)
For the consumer, the option of when to pay is really nice, and the only real drawback we find at the moment is that you have to hunt for the hotels. As you see in the photo above, the ETP option presents itself only after you click on the individual hotel, and the initial search results unfortunately do not indicate which hotels carry this option. Once you click the book button, a window pops up that asks you to decide how you want to pay -- now or later.
Hotel Deals / Hotel Promo Codes / Expedia / Phoenix Hotels / Gay Hotels / Florida Hotels / Marriott Hotels / New Orleans Hotels / → All Tags
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· One-Day Sale for the Hotel Valley Ho: Shake off your Cinco de Mayo hangover and get ready for Hotel Valley Ho's annual one day sale on Monday, May 6. Rooms start at $89 every Sunday through Friday and $109 on Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The deal also includes two drinks upon arrival, upgraded internet, $20 nightly resort credit and some other discounted services. There's really no catch to the low rates other than it's summer in the desert so it will be HOTT and that all reservations require a non-refundable deposit of one night’s room and tax at time of booking. Go here on Monday, May 6, to book. You can even set up a reminder email too.
· Marriott's "Suntastic Savings" at 30 Hotels in Florida: Once again, 30 JW Marriott, Renassaince, Marriott and Gaylord Hotels and Resorts in Florida are discounting their rates and throwing in perks like free meals for kids and complimentary internet. (Normally, you have to pay for that.) The offers are good for travel from May 15 to Sept 30 and vary depending on the region. For 25 percent off rates on three or more nights in the Northwest Coast of Fla., use promo code ZZ1. For Florida's playground resorts, use code F8L which will get you 15 percent off, free meals for kids and a $25 resort credit. Heading to South Florida? Then use code SUM which will get you 15 percent off rates, free meals for kids and free internet or other welcome amenity. Rates start around $99 a night. Go to Summer Suntastic Savings to start planning your stay.
· Hot Time, Summer in The Crescent City: New Orleans may be sizzling in the summer time thanks to events like the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (May 21-May 25 and the Essence Music Festival (July 4-7) but the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville in the French Quarter is keeping it cool with rates starting at just $109 a night from May 12-Sept. 30. To make your rezzie, go here and use promo code WBZ.
· Why Stay In When You Could Go To The Out?: Just in time for Pride Season next month, The Out NYC has dropped the rate for it's Shared Luxury Accommodations to just $99 a night. That also includes a daily spa pass (a $50 value) which give access to the hotel's full-service spa and three courtyards. Of course the term "shared" should alert you to the fact that you will be sharing a room with up to four people but there are full-sized beds, personal TVs, a bathroom and shower and best of all, privacy curtains. Go here to book your stay.
Yesterday, we were trying to book a fun hotel room last minute in Las Vegas. The HotelTonight app yielded some great deals--$64 for Planet Hollywood and $45 for the revamped Tropicana but we've been to those places before and we wanted something a little higher-end.
So we decided to turn to another mobile app with a last-minute function--Booking.com's Tonight app. There we found The Cosmopolitan for $180 a night. Not as much of a deal as we hoped but we were nearly swayed by the gorgeous rooms of the Cosmo for under $200 a night.
But just to be sure we were getting a real deal, we double-checked the Cosmo's own website for room rates. And we were bummed to see that they were also offering a room for $180.
We know, we know. It's not even Valentine's Day and we're already talking about booking hotels for Kentucky Derby but the truth is, even though the big race is not until May 4, it's probably harder to book a last-minute room for the Derby, especially if you want to be in town, than it is to book a last-minute hotel for the Super Bowl. So if you're interested in going, we say book now.
So, what are the hotel options like right now? We hit up Expedia during the Derby weekend (Thursday, May 3-Sunday, May 6) and found a few budgety hotels like Days Inn and Ramada for under $280 a night. You might be saying "Ouch" right now and you might not be thrilled about staying on the outskirts of town but those are actually doable rates for the Derby.
Looking at the four and five-star hotels, we see that they are all sold-out. At least on Expedia. They may have availability if you book with the hotel directly or if you work with a travel agent. (See our tips for Super Bowl.) There are a few three-star hotels left like the Hyatt Place Louisville for $499 and the Holiday Inn Louisville in North Clarksville for $429 a night. The Galt House is available but at $1,500 a night. Yikes!
Super Bowl Hotels / Super Bowl XLVI Hotels / Elite Travel / Expedia / Omni Hotels / Staybridge Suites / Indianapolis Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
All week long you've been on the fence about attending Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on February 5, but now you have finally
asked your parents for some extra cash cobbled enough money together to get yourself to the Big Game. Yet the question remains--where do you stay?
There are some options left in Indianapolis but remember, all the good hotels are sold-out so don't expect silk sheets and bubble bath butlers. And actually, a lot of the budget hotels are sold-out too. So you will have to make do with budgety leftovers out in the 'burbs. But the prices are still going to hurt your wallet.
Here's a couple of options with availability. These hotels and their room rates were accurate as of January 27, 2012 but they are definitely subject to change.
We still aren't crazy about the new updates that Facebook put out the other month but we're slowly getting used to the real-time feed on the right-hand side that tells us what our "friends" are doing at that exact moment whether it be changing their work information, commenting on status updates, making new "friends" or uploading photos from their latest vacation.
And it looks like Expedia hopes we will like their real-time updates too.
Maybe we don't want to be part of this Club anymore
You know the feeling. You get off a long flight to a far-off country, reach your hotel, feel the relief flooding over you as the place seems nice, and you’re checked into a nice room, and then hit the shower in an attempt to slough off the jet lag.
Hopefully, though, you won’t know the feeling that came next for a friend of ours last night when he checked into the Club Hotel in Singapore: the water was lukewarm. And stayed lukewarm while he ran it in the hope that it would heat up. It didn’t – and it still wasn’t hot enough to shower in.
At about 7pm, he called down to reception to let them know the water wasn’t hot. For two hours, they tried to fix it, to no avail. At 9pm, they offered to move him to another room – which had the same problem. They tried another – ditto. The staff told him there was a problem with the water heating throughout the hotel. No sh*t Sherlock.