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Why You Should Always Join the Hotel Loyalty Program for Where You Are Staying

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-double-bed-hotel-room-image13833820When you aren’t going for status at a hotel chain, you may not worry as much about joining the loyalty program.  Especially if you booked through a site like Priceline and are ineligible for getting points for the stay.

But being in the loyalty program can get you other perks.

One is that you are less likely to get “walked” from a hotel when they are oversold.  This isn’t proven to prevent it 100% of the time, but if your hotel were oversold and you had to turn someone away, would you pick a random person or a person who is a member of your loyalty club?  The second person is more likely to stay again.

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Hotel RoomAnother is that you could have access to special floors for guests in the programs or receive something like bottled water at check in.  Some hotels are starting to give wifi access to members of the program–not just elites.

But my mother just contacted me to tell me some cool news today.  She received a nice upgrade at a hotel as non-elite member of their loyalty program.

How does this work?

My award trip to Thailand over the holidays had me leaving out of Charlotte in the evening. However, given US Airways track record of tight connection times and late flights, I was nervous about taking the afternoon flight from JAX. Instead I opted for an early morning flight that would give me 2-3 more flights I could catch if mine was delayed or cancelled. That left me with a 6hr layover in Charlotte. As much as I like their sweet tea options and rocking chairs, that much time to kill would leave me exhausted before I ever got on the flight to Munich. So I started researching local hotel options and discovered the Sheraton Charlotte Airport. It's Category 2, a bargain at only 4,000 SPG points and offers a free shuttle to/from the airport that runs every half hour. My gold status earned a room on the top floor at the end of the hall at check in. The room was spacious and updated, and definitely quiet. Large flat screen, big desk/writing area, and a little nook with two chairs to site in. What impressed me the most was how competent and nice the front desk people were. Since I would be coming in at 10AM and leaving at 4PM, I wasn't sure the best way to make my reservation. Made it for the night before, with a note that I'd be checking in the next morning and needing Starwood Gold 4PM checkout or make it for the day of and ask them to guarantee early check in. I called the day before my arrival and she promptly checked me in, noting in my reservation I'd be arriving the next morning. When I arrived, everything was in order and they even comped my internet at check out.Well, the hotel she’s staying at is hosting a Valentine’s Day dance weekend.  It’s basically a package where you enjoy a Valentine’s Day celebration and you don’t have to drive home afterwards.

So in situations like this, a hotel gets booked up with lots of people who may not normally stay at that chain.  There’s a much lower chance of having elites at that hotel.

And events like this dance can cause a hotel to sell out.  When the hotel is sold out, people tend to get upgraded to the nicer rooms, and they’ll start at the most loyal and work their way down.

Since my mom was in a situation where there wouldn’t be many elites (if any at all!), she was high on the totem pole for upgrades.

Congrats mom!

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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3 comments

  1. Definitely agree – We just stayed at a Best Western Thursday night and a Homewood Suites Friday night. One of my favorite Hilton tricks is reserving a 1BR suite at a Homewood Suites and using my Gold HHonors status to get a free upgrade to a 2BR suite, which is nice, since otherwise with my family of 8 we need 2 rooms.

  2. I’d also always do a quick check of thier promotions. There are a lot of promos only requiring 2 or 3 nights, but requring registration (Club Carlson, Marriott, etc.).

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