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Answered Is it worth joining a hotel loyalty program if not corporate funded?

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IMO Accor usually have better rates for members with status and often find their rates cheaper than many OTAs. Having said that if you frequent to Europe/Americas something HH or Marriott might get you some good deals.

Again end of the day , if you are getting a better deal with OTA and not directly with the hotel chain.... go for it and you can still enjoy benefits of your existing hotel chain status. We need to bear in mind that OTA deals usually don't earn any credits with hotel chain partners.
 

ric_melb

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Starwood (Now merged into Marriott) was always my number one program. Really enjoy some of their hotels, but the magic of the Starwood program is no longer there. However as member of Club Marriott I will still stay at Marriotts to maximise use of the dining benefits.
The key with hotel loyalty is to get status in your major program. Usually this will entail Gold status. Then have one or two back up programs.
For you and even myself I think Hilton and Accor are the best choices currently.
With Hilton you can do the Gold challenge, and get Gold after 4 stays. Golds get free continental breakfast. Hilton usually have continuous points bonuses.
The other chain I would choose is Accor. The have great coverage in Australia, and obviously lots of hotels in Europe. I would also recommend getting Accor Plus which gives you silver status. You get one free night a year, plus good dining benefits. Recent experience is they have some great hotel discounts also. (Costs about $400 a year).
As others say join a few programs as its free. But don't let points expire.
 

albatross710

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Personally I generally find better value at hotels, apartments and BnBs etc who do not have loyalty programs.
For my leisure travel I stay away from the chain hotels. The problem is that the 'loyalty' program is designed to distort your decision making.

So, which is the best hotel for you to stay in Munich? or which is the best Marriott/Hyatt/Accor hotel for you to stay in Munich? Stepping out of the loyalty mechanisms will give a much better travel experience.
 

amaroo

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Good chain hotels are few and far between. There are a few excellent ones spread around the globe, but not many.

There are quite a few excellent hotels that do not have a mass public scheme, a decent TA will be able to access their offers.
 

Tropic

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Stepping out of the loyalty mechanisms will give a much better travel experience.
To date this is what I've been doing, just looking for cheapest hotel with the amenities and location I want. Sometimes that happens to be a big brand depending where I am. Just seeing other people talking about "good" deals using BRG, reward points and other hacks just raises my FOMO I think...But then I should really be seeking to optimise Rol on my 80 nights....
 

serfty

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Looking at hotel loyalty programs. Expect up to 80 nights a year in EU, Asia and OZ, all self funded leisure travel. With no existing corporate funded status with any hotel chains, is it still worth chasing rewards and which is best?
With 80 room nights to burn I suggest you have the opportunity of getting a good sample - see how it goes.

For mine Hyatt has the best Top elite benifits and the road to Globalist includes 2 free night certificates and an effective 2.5% rebate on spend via redeemable points.
 

tgh

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I was very fortunate to pick up HH diamond from a credit card promotion.
Without AFF, I would never have found the deal.
It has been very very useful but sadly, like all good things, it is coming to an end.
Looking forward, I will just chase best price on the day ...alla same air fares.
Membership of loyalty programs usually warrants lowest price no matter what the resellers say.
Virtuoso is a really useful facility along with SLH who have some really eclectic properties..
 

Gigi

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I am a self funded traveller and HH Gold courtesty of Veelocity Gold. With Hilton we get a free continental breakfast and sometimes a full buffet breakfast - depending on the hotel. Sometimes we get an upgrade and executive club and if we need it, we ask and usually get a late checkout. I cannot requalify but it cost nothing to join so I enjoy the benefits while the status lasts.
 
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We're also self-funded travellers - travelling 80+ nights per year. Here's our approach:-
  • Members of all major hotel programs (Hilton, Marriott, Accor, etc)
  • Gifted Gold with Hilton and Accor (also Accor Plus) via AmEx Platinum
We make no effort to "earn" status via stays but find that by booking hotels direct on their website and being a loyalty program member seems to get better treatment and benefits (e.g. early or late check-in/out - upgrades, etc)

We don't choose a hotel based on such membership but choose the one which we feel suits us best in a given location. Occasionally we find that we've somehow accumulated sufficient points for a free night (without really focusing on this result).

Personally I prefer not to use OTAs to book hotels (or fights) - just feel there is more flexibility with direct bookings and usually (but not always) the best price. Also OTAs usually don't offer the full range of room types and/or adequate room descriptions. We've also had hotels be flexible on non-refundable booking whereas you would have no chance with an OTA booking (e.g. a couple of years ago we had to cancel a trip to Europe for medical reasons - many pre-paid / non-refundable hotels (particularly in Germany and Switzerland) gave us a refund or credit ... the remainder were claimed on travel insurance.
 

wannabeinvestmentbanker

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My vote would be Marriott and full flexibility the rest of the nights.

Not sure if it's still available but Marriott typically offers a fast track to platinum with 16 nights in 90 days. Platinum requires 50 nights to requalify. It gives you all the good stuff you would value. Marriott has excellent coverage worldwide unlike Hyatt and even Accor which is patchy outside Europe.

I'm a corporate funded traveller with around 120/130 nights and do lament being sucked into the loyalty trap as it certainly distorts the decision making so would recommend those 30 nights flexible.
 

siri

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Looking at hotel loyalty programs. Expect up to 80 nights a year in EU, Asia and OZ, all self funded leisure travel. With no existing corporate funded status with any hotel chains, is it still worth chasing rewards and which is best?
I use Hyatt which is great and their points redemption is very clear with variation, depend on country and hotel facilities etc.. I had almost 500K points for 20 yrs that never went away but recently some one said they want points every yr to qualify although I never had that condition. So check all these and Hilton, and Shangrilla is great and check swiss hotels too... Sheraton had changed but worth try since all of them are free joining.. I am not a fan of points disappear on each yr...
 

Nellycoo

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I chased Accor Gold last year. So far this year I've only used it once, but have been completely underwhelmed. the 'Gift' was 3 small cookies and a bottle of mineral water. No upgrade. And add to that, the card is in my husband's name but I always do the bookings/check-in etc. They wouldn't accept my, so had to go to the carpark and get my husband to check in. Not excited so far...
 

Kremmen

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It really depends on what you like and how much you want to spend. My stays are mostly through hotels.com for independent hotels, Accor, Hilton, IHG and Marriott. Hilton gives the most consistent recognition of status with free breakfast and upgrades, but it also has the most expensive hotels. (e.g. If a Doubletree in Bangkok is $140 while a Mercure is $70 including free breakfast, you're paying a lot more for the HH option.)

Accor has the biggest variety of hotels to suit one's location and budget, but also has an awful web site and much worse perks. Accor's promos are also few and far between and very restrictive, so you'll generally earn way more back from HH and IHG. (In particular, Accor promos never count bookings you've already made, while everyone else does. So you can seldom book during the best sales and still get bonus points.) IHG used to be good, but they've devalued and now done away with PointBreaks, which was the best part of their scheme.
 

LeeNClarkw

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Thanks Jase dr ralph citoyen
Just wondering how many nights required before getting reasonable status and benefits. Will keep researching on AFF. Marriott Bonjoy looks ok but think there's a devaluation coming.
Accor has many brands of hotel in the group. You need 60 nights to get to Platinum in 1 calendar yr. If platinum, you get free breakfast in Asia/Pacific BUT not in European countries. Accor has many tiers of hotels from Budget to 5 star and many of the IBIS in regional and small towns where the likes of Hilton, Hyatt etc do not have a presence. So in terms of easy access to hotels Accor is great! Platinum good in ASIA / Pacific because in some hotels like Pullman, you even get 2 pieces of free laundry each day of stay. Any Asia/Pacific Accor hotels with Lounge, you will get access too - that is free breakfast as well as morning tea, afternoon tea and night happy hour with finger food. In Europe and US, they dont treat you so good.
With the other days left over, one of the best hotel chain is the Shangrila golden circle where it has Shangrila, Traders and Hotel Jen. You only need 20 nights in 1 calendar year to get Jade and you have free breakfast in any of their hotels. No lounge access but this is much better than many other loyalty programs where you get free breakfast only if platinum...ie 60 nights. Shangrila Golden circle you also accumulate points where you can use for free nights of fine dining at their restaurants - they have some fine dining upmarket restaurants in their hotel chain. Their breakfast in hotel restaurants are definitely a class above many of the hotels as Shangrila is 5 star. Traders is slightly cheaper and Hotel Jen is their mid range but great comfort and service. Hotel jen would be equivalent of Mercure for Accor.
With 90 days, I would do the 2 loyalty. and whatever left over use other hotels where these chains are not present.
 

LeeNClarkw

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To date this is what I've been doing, just looking for cheapest hotel with the amenities and location I want. Sometimes that happens to be a big brand depending where I am. Just seeing other people talking about "good" deals using BRG, reward points and other hacks just raises my FOMO I think...But then I should really be seeking to optimise Rol on my 80 nights....
If you are looking for cheap rates and many regional areas where big hotels not there, Accor would be great for you. IBIS, IBIS buget, IBIS Styles and Novotel etc are the cheaper hotel brands in ACCOR. If you are Platinum (60 nights) you get free upgrade. I have had free upgrades to suites in Mercure and IBIS and they are very good. The points accummulated can be used for free hotel nights. In regional australia I even had an IBIS gave me free parking (they charged 20AUD/day for others) and a dedicated parking lot with my name!! That is how much they look after platinum members in Asia/pacific. In UK and Europe they still give you the next upgrade and welcome drinks. In UK they give free breakfast but not many of the hotels in Europe for some reason.
 

ceetee

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I travel all over Oz and Asia and find IHG and Discovery cover most of my destinations. I usually get upgraded and status recognised. And they both have a generous supply of brands and properties.
 

LadyC

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I joined Marriott Bonvoy and undertook the platinum challenge last year when I realised a number of European hotel bookings I wanted to make would get me there. The platinum status has been useful for free breakfast and access to executive lounges but I wouldn't chase it without a challenge (which significantly discounts the number of nights you are required to stay).
 

Flashback

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I have lost all my hotel status because it was too hard so I go with the best price or location (self funded). What I do use is Hotels.com. For every 10 nights I stay I get one night free (to the average value of my 10 nights excluding tax) which I then generally use for my international trips which I normally do in peak season. I never have a problem keeping my gold status (highest) and get extra perks with them too on some hotels (like free wifi - never use have enough of my own, early/late checkout, sometimes free breakfast etc). This may be a better option for you.
Likewise I use this a lot also, especially when you're doing leisure travel. When you tend to visit the non major cities, when there are chain hotels they're often not a great location so I go for best location / best price (often less!). Hotels.com works very well, but always check the price against direct booking, booking.com and agoda.com too as sometimes you may end up paying more. Factor in the 10% etc. and if it's marginal then crack on. I usually put 30-40 nights a year through hotels.com and the rest via Hilton/IHG etc. but that tends to be more work related and the odd leisure night here and there.
 

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