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cincredfan

Hotel reward Program

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Going to be traveling much more for work.  Thoughts on the best hotel rewards program?

Going to be going with Delta for airline points.

Thanks for any and all input.

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Marriott.  They are the 100lb gorilla now.  And Hilton's program sucks.  I was a Hilton lifer but their premium awards for desired hotels are outrageous.  I've seen some where they want 100K+ points a night.  

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I'd agree with Marriott (plus they're with SPG now too right) but whatever you do, and others may disagree with me, just don't end up being a slave to any particular brand. Back when I traveled a lot more, I would have colleagues choose to stay at a crappier Hilton 20 mins away from where we were working when there was a really nice Marriott down the street, just so they could keep building the points and the night count. That's not to say I would recommend staying with a different brand every week, but my result was just that one year I'd take a vacation on Marriott points and the next I'd do it on Hilton points. It also allows you to be flexible and possibly take advantage of the rare good redemption promotion.

Also since you're just getting started, not a bad idea to grab something like the Amex Platinum card, especially if you can get in on the 100K bonus. The fee will more than pay for itself multiple times over, even if you only end up "stuck" getting 50K points but you'll instantly get up to Gold status with both Marriott and Hilton. I cancelled my card a year ago and they tend to be so slow to update, and just last week still got upgraded to an executive lounge level suite in Chicago. Nice perk.

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13 minutes ago, Judge Smails said:

Marriott.  They are the 100lb gorilla now.  And Hilton's program sucks.  I was a Hilton lifer but their premium awards for desired hotels are outrageous.  I've seen some where they want 100K+ points a night.  

And Marriott is now merged with SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest). The programs are linked, points can be transferred between at a constant conversion rate and whichever status you earn in one carries over to the other.

Look into both and see which fits you better. They each have their own credit cards too in order to amplify your rewards.

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I like the freedom that hotels.com provides. Basically, stay 10 nights at any hotel you choose, and get a credit for a free night. To really get maximum benefit, use a travel card that gives you 2-3% cash back on travel. 

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Thanks for all the replies.  I was leaning toward Marriott but this confirms what I thought.

I appreciate the comments on the website and credit card to use but we have to go through a specific website and will use the company credit card.

Any preference for which property within Marriott/SPG would be best?   I would be looking for a mid-tier hotel so ideally under $180/night on average.  I will travel to NYC which clearly will have a higher rate but ideally under 250 there.

 

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My opinion is to stay  5 nights in Marriott hotels and then 5 in Hilton hotels.

Both are great in big cities.  Imo in the smaller areas Hilton hotels are nicer.

Also, both are basically even when it comes to reward points.  Don’t listen to people that tell you otherwise.  

Stay at the chain family you like better, from a hotel standpoint.

(Hilton has Doubletree, garden inn, Hilton, Hampton, Embassy, Homewood)

Also, depending on how often you travel, don’t take the advice to “stay in both”.  The way to maximize points in a year is to stay as much as you can in one program as it takes a long time to build up to the elite levels.

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6 minutes ago, cincredfan said:

Thanks for all the replies.  I was leaning toward Marriott but this confirms what I thought.

I appreciate the comments on the website and credit card to use but we have to go through a specific website and will use the company credit card.

Any preference for which property within Marriott/SPG would be best?   I would be looking for a mid-tier hotel so ideally under $180/night on average.  I will travel to NYC which clearly will have a higher rate but ideally under 250 there.

 

If you mean from a points perspective, they're basically all tiered based on price so you'll earn based on what your company is spending. You can get info through the sites as to how they tier their hotels. I think a popular criticism of Hilton is that they expanded to something crazy like 10 tiers.

If you mean from a value perspective, similar to above...you'll want to stay in the most expensive one you're allowed. Some have different perks though. Residence Inn (Marriott) is a popular business travel hotel with that brand as they give you breakfast and sometimes "dinner" which is nice if you get a per diem you could pocket. I always liked Embassy Suites (Hilton) as the breakfast was pretty solid and they did open bar happy hours in many locations. That was a jackpot as a 22 year old traveling with many others around my age. :pickle:

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Second Marriott. You will have many, many options in pretty much every city with them and Starwood.

If you go Marriot get the Marriott Visa and charge at least your hotels to that. All kinds of bonuses that way and 15 nights towards your status every year.

Staying in NY under 250 a night will be a challenge for most times of the year though in my experience. You will most likely be looking at Residence Inns, ALoft, Sheraton Four Points, or Courtyards. Those are fine just not as fancy, find the ones that were built the most recently.

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Just now, The General said:

Second Marriott. You will have many, many options in pretty much every city with them and Starwood.

If you go Marriot get the Marriott Visa and charge at least your hotels to that. All kinds of bonuses that way and 15 nights towards your status every year.

Staying in NY under 250 a night will be a challenge for most times of the year though in my experience. You will most likely be looking at Residence Inns, ALoft, Sheraton Four Points, or Courtyards. Those are fine just not as fancy, find the ones that were built the most recently.

I honestly don't know think it has to be less than $250 I just looked at a Tuesday in a few weeks and saw a few under that amount.  Likely was due to time of year.  Essentially don't want to choose the luxury category as seen below.

 

 

3 minutes ago, RUSF18 said:

If you mean from a points perspective, they're basically all tiered based on price so you'll earn based on what your company is spending. You can get info through the sites as to how they tier their hotels. I think a popular criticism of Hilton is that they expanded to something crazy like 10 tiers.

If you mean from a value perspective, similar to above...you'll want to stay in the most expensive one you're allowed. Some have different perks though. Residence Inn (Marriott) is a popular business travel hotel with that brand as they give you breakfast and sometimes "dinner" which is nice if you get a per diem you could pocket. I always liked Embassy Suites (Hilton) as the breakfast was pretty solid and they did open bar happy hours in many locations. That was a jackpot as a 22 year old traveling with many others around my age. :pickle:

https://www.tripsavvy.com/marriott-hotel-brands-and-locations-1039114

 

I will definitely look at Residence Inn first then

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Can’t speak for Hilton but do all you can to get Platinum status if you pick Marriott. It’s 75 nights in the calendar year but you get points through the card, offers, etc it’s probably closer to 50 actual nights.

With that you will get upgraded pretty frequently, get late checkout, lounge access, other various perks.

More importantly you get max points per stay to use for your own travel. About 10 days in decent priced hotel will equal a night in say Hawaii or London in a baller hotel.

Get TSA precheck immediately if you don’t already have.

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16 minutes ago, The General said:

Can’t speak for Hilton but do all you can to get Platinum status if you pick Marriott. It’s 75 nights in the calendar year but you get points through the card, offers, etc it’s probably closer to 50 actual nights.

With that you will get upgraded pretty frequently, get late checkout, lounge access, other various perks.

More importantly you get max points per stay to use for your own travel. About 10 days in decent priced hotel will equal a night in say Hawaii or London in a baller hotel.

Get TSA precheck immediately if you don’t already have.

Thank you!

Don't think I will get 75 but could get 50.

Just scheduled a TSA precheck appointment.

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1 hour ago, cincredfan said:

Thank you!

Don't think I will get 75 but could get 50.

Just scheduled a TSA precheck appointment.

If you get the platinum Amex as suggested they'll give you a credit back for the pre check fee. Other cards may do the same.

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Rereading the thread. To the OP you mentioned your company credit card. Is this card in your name or the companies account? Many hotels only give the rewards to person paying for the stay. Hopefully you are paying and getting reimbursed.

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33 minutes ago, The General said:

Rereading the thread. To the OP you mentioned your company credit card. Is this card in your name or the companies account? Many hotels only give the rewards to person paying for the stay. Hopefully you are paying and getting reimbursed.

Mariott does not work that way. You get credit for Corp stays. 

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1 minute ago, culdeus said:

Mariott does not work that way. You get credit for Corp stays. 

I thought I have gotten screwed by this on occasions where work booked my hotels through a group rate. Good news regardless. Have a trip to SF this week that work booked for me under group rate.

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12 hours ago, The General said:

Can’t speak for Hilton but do all you can to get Platinum status if you pick Marriott. It’s 75 nights in the calendar year but you get points through the card, offers, etc it’s probably closer to 50 actual nights.

With that you will get upgraded pretty frequently, get late checkout, lounge access, other various perks.

More importantly you get max points per stay to use for your own travel. About 10 days in decent priced hotel will equal a night in say Hawaii or London in a baller hotel.

Get TSA precheck immediately if you don’t already have.

Agree with this.

Marriott Platinum status is pretty nice. It also allows you to stay at hotels that are fully booked, so if there is a conference in town and you can’t find a hotel, you can still get a room at a booked Marriott - they will bump someone for you.

And, anyone can use your number and help you accumulate points, so give your number to any friends who are traveling and don’t have a number.

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13 hours ago, Judge Smails said:

Marriott.  They are the 100lb gorilla now.  And Hilton's program sucks.  I was a Hilton lifer but their premium awards for desired hotels are outrageous.  I've seen some where they want 100K+ points a night.  

I was just charged 35,000 of my points for a Courtyard that was 105.00 a night.   Seemed a little steep.

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2 minutes ago, Da Guru said:

I was just charged 35,000 of my points for a Courtyard that was 105.00 a night.   Seemed a little steep.

Sometimes they screw you like that - prolly would have paid cash for that one.

Best deals I find using points are when you stay 5 nights they give you one for free so you are only using 4 nights worth of points.

You can find a hotel in even expensive areas that would be costing you about $400 a night for about 160,000 points that way. 

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