Daily Getaways for Week 1: March 23-27

Daily Getaways IHG

Daily Getaways returns today with five weeks of discounted travel offers. These are often described as a certain type of hotel room or other purchase but in reality are blocks of points that can be used much more flexibly. And unlike most points for sale, which can be at bad prices, these rates are pretty good. Competition for the best deals is fierce; read my tips at the end for scoring the one … [Read more...]

FTU Presentation: Choosing a Hotel Loyalty Program

FTU Seattle 2014 - Hotel Loyalty Program

As promised, here's the second of two presentations I gave at Frequent Traveler University in Seattle. It's actually the first of the two talks, and unfortunately I was not as impressed with its delivery -- there were technical issues, and it was a late addition to the schedule. But hotel loyalty programs are particularly interesting to me due to the many considerations such as elite status, … [Read more...]

Which Is the Best Hotel Loyalty Program?


This month I've been updating my comparison tables of hotel loyalty programs, and a big thanks is due to everyone who has helped point out corrections. (A few more than usual this year....) I started creating these tables for airlines and hotels in 2013 as a sort of "cheat sheet" to help you pick the best loyalty program for your needs. Everyone has different travel patterns, values different … [Read more...]

How Credit Cards Affect the Cost of a Free Night

Award Cost - Status vs Card

During an on-going analysis of hotel loyalty programs, I decided to take a look at the credit card bonuses each offered. There is an opportunity cost when you use a co-branded card rather than some other credit card. For example, you may give up 2.14 Ultimate Rewards points you could have earned with your Sapphire Preferred card on travel purchases. But sometimes the co-branded card offers a … [Read more...]

Free Club Carlson Gold Elite Status from American Express

Amex Club Carlson Gold

American Express has a targeted promotion for its European cardholders that includes free Club Carlson Gold Elite status through February 28, 2015, but it appears that anyone can register as long as they have a European address. Be sure to use your real name. (HT Points, Miles, & Martinis) Note: This offer is for new accounts only. Once you have an account set up it is fairly easy to … [Read more...]

Comparing Hotel Elite Status in 2014


I've finally found time to finish creating my comparison tables of hotel elite status in 2014. These things always get ripped to shreds in the first draft, so I won't do much analysis in this post; I'll wait until later this week. But do feel free to comment. I will try to get a corrected version uploaded as soon as possible. When I post my analysis, I'll also include a downloadable PDF. The … [Read more...]

How Much Does It Cost to Earn a Free Hotel Award Night?

Hyatt SPG Weighted Average

I'm in the process of updating my hotel elite status comparison chart, and as part of that process I need to collect information on the different award tiers and the points earned with each stay. That allows me to do what I consider a very useful analysis of the relative cost of earning an award stay, or as I like to call it, "Revenue per Award Night." This measure is incredibly important when … [Read more...]