Winter hotel promotions

Happy New Year! As the calendar flips to 2017, I would like to summarize the current hotel promotions for the major chains I frequent so that you can take advantage of these offers for your winter and early spring travel.

Starwood Preferred Guest - "Double Take"

Starwood's Double Take promotion allows you to earn 2x Starpoints on your first three stays between January 16, 2017 and April 15, 2007. (click to enlarge)

Starwood's winter 2017 promotion is called "Double Take." The offer, for which you can register here, allows you to earn 2x Starpoints on your first three stays between January 16 and April 15. In addition, I was targeted with a SPG "Double Take" bonus offer that will allow me to earn up 10,000 additional points starting on my fourth stay:

  • Achieve 10 nights and earn 5,000 Starpoints.
  • After 10 nights, earn 500 Starpoints for each additional night, up to 5,000 Starpoints.

After registering for "Double Take," you can see your bonus offer on your SPG Dashboard. The promotion is valid at all hotels and resorts in the SPG program ─ no exceptions.

Even with the bonus, I do not find this offer as attractive as previous SPG promotions. Last fall, you could earn 2x points on weekday stays and 3x points on weekend stays with no limit on the number of stays. As someone who does not travel constantly, this was far more lucrative than having to stay up to 10 nights in three months to earn bonus points. "Double Take" is the first promotion since Marriott's takeover of Starwood was completed. Given its rather underwhelming nature, I fear that less lucrative promotions will become the norm for the combined company. In fact, the Starwood offer parallels the winter Marriott offer.

Marriott Rewards - MegaBonus

Marriott's "MegaBonus" is structured identically to SPG's: double points on your first three stays between January 16, 2017 and April 15, 2017. (click to enlarge)

"MegaBonus" is structured just like Starwood's promotion: double points on your first three stays between January 16, 2017 and April 15, 2017. You can register for this promotion here. Unlike SPG, I did not see any indication of a bonus promotion once I registered. This omission makes "MegaBonus" even more underwhelming than "Double Take." I can't compare this to previous Marriott promotions as I had not stayed at a Marriott property in years until the recent linking of the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards loyalty programs. However, unless I am going travel enough to have four stays - unlikely as the winter is my lightest travel period - this promotion would incent me to consider Marriott properties equally with Starwood locations. My new Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN includes automatic SPG Gold status which is matched to Marriott Rewards Gold. This means I do not have to focus my stays with either brand in order to re-qualify for status in 2017. 

Hilton HHonors - "Double Up"/"Triple Up" extended

Hilton HHonors did not introduce a new promotion to begin 2017. Instead, the existing "Double Up"/"Triple Up" promotion from the fall has been extended until January 31, 2017. The promotion is simple: earn double base points on stays at any Hilton Worldwide property through January 31, 2017 when you book via Hilton's website. If you book via the Hilton HHonors app, you will earn triple base points. If you have not already registered for this promotion, you can register here.

I earned 8,813 HHonors points on a single stay using the "Triple Up" and Visa 5,000 bonus offers. (click to enlarge)

Initially, I felt that more value was possible by booking via the standard website accessed through a rewards portal . However, an additional promotion, that also runs through January 31, offers 5,000 Hilton HHonors points when you book via the HHonors app and pay with a Visa card. (You can register for the Visa offer here.) The Visa bonus can be combined with the triple points offer and is a very lucrative opportunity for your travels through January. Using this combination in November, I was able to earn 8,813 HHonors points on a single night stay on a $89.10 rate, far more than I could have gained going via a rewards portal.

IHG Rewards - "Accelerate"

IHG Rewards begins 2017 much as it ended 2016 with a new edition of "Accelerate." Once you register for the promotion, you are presented with several offers that allow you to earn bonus IHG Rewards Points. If you complete enough of these offers, you are eligible for additional bonus points. The promotion runs from January 1, 2017 through April 15, 2017.

I can earn up to 41,000 bonus IHG Rewards Points with my targeted "Accelerate" offers. (click to enlarge)

Offers are targeted so yours may be different than mine. I can earn up to 41,000 bonus points with "Accelerate."

  • Stay once during the promotion period and earn 5,000 bonus IHG Rewards Points.
  • Stay five nights and earn 10,000 bonus IHG Rewards Points.
  • Book and pay for a stay with the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card and earn 1,500 IHG Rewards Points.
  • Complete all three of the above offers and earn an additional 23,500 bonus IHG Rewards Points.
  • Book and stay once during January 2017 and receive 1,000 bonus IHG Rewards Points.

For example, if I completed one stay in January and paid with my IHG Rewards Club Credit Card, I would earn 1,000 for the January bonus, 1,500 by using my IHG credit card and 5,000 points by completing one stay during the promotion period. That single January stay would earn 7,500 bonus points on top of whatever points I would normally earn for a stay. 

I have reduced my IHG stays during the last 18 months as I have focused more on Starwood and Hilton. Unfortunately, "Accelerate" does not encourage me to refocus on IHG. Yes, a single stay would be valuable, but for multiple stays, I prefer the simplicity of a double or triple points promotion.