Rewards Points - latest news about hotel loyalty programs

Yesterday

Hyatt peak/off-peak pricing preparing to launch - Act NOW

Hyatt peak/off peak pricing is about to launch.  This change was announced in December 2019, but implementation was deferred in March 2021 and again later due to the impact of the global covid-19 crisis.  

Hyatt will enact these changes on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. If you have been meaning to book a Hyatt property, it may be time to do it now, rather than later. Details and suggested strategies remain the same as when  we first
looked at Hyatt peak/off peak pricing in detail

In summary:

  • peak pricing will only affect nights starting 1 March, 2022.
  • Award stays will remain at the Standard rate for nights stayed through 28 February, 2022.
  • The new structure applies to all award nights, regardless of room type.
  • Points + Cash awards will also use the Hyatt off-peak and peak pricing.
  • Free Night Award certificates, which are category based, will not be affected by these changes.  These certificates are earned either though holding a branded credit card or Milestone Rewards.
More details on the Points + Cash awards and Hyatt Milestone Rewards can be found in our complete Guide to the World of Hyatt.



7 Oct

Marriott launches all-inclusive brand

Yesterday, Marriott launched a new brand for all-inclusive resort stays -  All-inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy.  

At launch there are 30 destinations in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, with more in the pipeline.  Royalton, Saint Lucia is pictured.

20 of the initial 30 destinations are
Blue Diamond resorts (the fastest growing resort chain in the Carribbean). These resorts will continue to be independently owned and operated by Blue Diamond Resorts under Marriott's Autograph Collection name.  They will also be integrated into the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, providing very attractive new options for Bonvoy members.  Although the Upgrade Awards, Cash + Points Awards, Suite Night Awards, and Instant Redemption Awards features of the Marriott Bonvoy program are not available, the Stay for 5  pay for 4, Points Advance and PointSavers are available. More information regarding use of these features is in our comprehensive guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Guests may make bookings through the resort websites, the All-inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portal, or marriott.com (which must be used for awards bookings).



3 Oct

Shangri-La extends status of its Diamond & Jade members until end of 2022 !

Shangri-La's Golden Circle has extended tier status for all of its Diamond and Jade members globally. With this extension, all Golden Circle Diamond and Jade members will maintain their current tier status and benefits until 31 December 2022.

American Express Platinum (multiple jurisdictions) members had the Golden Circle Jade status benefit discontinued on 31 March 2021, so this tier extension is definitely welcome news. Golden Circle members typically need the following stays and nights to qualify or maintain their status in the year ahead - Diamond: 50 Nights or 25 Stays or Jade: 20 Nights or 10 Stays.

But the Shangri-La status does not just have benefits by itself, but also, it has many associated perks which come with it, including:

1. Short-cut to Star Alliance Gold status - Shangri-La Jade-tier and Diamond-tier members receive instant KrisFlyer Silver status once they join up their Shangri-La Golden Circle and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer accounts. After that, Shangri-La Jade Members need to take 3 flights on Singapore Airlines, or just 1 flight as a Diamond member to receive KrisFlyer Gold status.

Once you have KrisFlyer Gold status, you have the equivalent of Star Alliance Gold status, which means you unlock the associated benefits on flights on Star Alliance members across the globe.

2. Enjoy Taj InnerCircle Gold status - Under the terms of a strategic alliance between Shangri-La Golden Circle and Taj Inner Circle, there is an automatic status match between the tiers of the programmes.  Golden Circle Jade members match to InnerCircle Gold and Golden Circle Diamond members match to InnerCircle Platinum (and vice-versa).

While Taj InnerCircle is mostly an Indian hotel company’s loyalty programme, Taj also has hotels in various countries worldwide, such as the US, UAE and UK.

Shangri-La will also waive the cancellation charges regardless of booking channel for all guests, if cancelled more than 24 hours prior to arrival date. The hotels reserve the right to contact all inbound international guests at least 30 days prior to their arrival dates to confirm or cancel their reservations.

These changes are part of the Shangri-La Cares program. 



5 Jun

Accor Qantas

Qantas announced plans on May 31st to giveaway a suite of mega prizes to Australians who get the COVID-19 vaccine, including unlimited travel for a year.  This is in addition to the announcement a week earlier that it would offer frequent flyer points along with travel vouchers and status credits to Australians who get inoculated.  It is understood the options being considered by Qantas include giving people who get both their two COVID-19 jabs up to 1000 frequent flyer points, flight vouchers towards domestic and international flights, and status credits, which allow people to move into high Frequent Flyer tiers.

Any reward would be available to people who had already received their jabs and the program would run until the end of 2021 when the vaccine rollout is due to be completed; the details are yet to be completed. Now, the national carrier has launched a further incentive scheme which it hopes will boost vaccination rates and help get state and international borders reopened permanently.

“We’re looking at having 10 mega-prizes, at least one for each state or territory, where a family of four can have unlimited free travel for a year on the Qantas and Jetstar networks,” CEO Alan Joyce revealed on Channel 7’s Sunrise program.

The trips would be in economy class and each of the ten winners.  “In addition to that, the Accor Group have come on board and they’re offering one million Accor Points, which gives free accommodation at 400 hotels and resorts across the country.”

Joyce said the program would launch in July, "will include anybody that has already been vaccinated (and) will apply to anybody that's vaccinated through to the end of 2021."

“We have a vested interest in this, we want to do everything we can to ensure the borders domestically open and stay open and that we get international up and running,” he explained.

The airline has consistently said that it will require all passengers to be vaccinated when it restarts international flights beyond New Zealand.

More Australians vaccinated means more potential travellers making bookings.

While the moves may not be entirely altruistic, I think both companies are to be commended for “putting their money where their mouth is” and not just relying on Government to provide support for the ailing sector.

It’s understood that vaccinated Australians will be able to claim their rewards and enter to win a mega-prize through the Qantas app from July.

Don’t be surprised to see if this coincides with the launch of the
Qantas/Accor dual points earning (crossover) capability that was announced in November 2020 as part of a closer strategic relationship between the companies.  This too was scheduled to launch mid-2021 and will be the first partnership of its kind between an airline and hospitality group in the Asia Pacific region.



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12 Mar

Best Western Rewards elite levels at double speed in 2021. Perhaps leverage into another program

Best Western makes elite status in its Best Western Rewards program easier to attain for 2021.  Requirements have been halved for 2021, so you get there twice as fast!  

New Qualifications for 2021*          
Nights   10  5 15  7 30  15 50  25
Qualifying Stays   7   3 10  5 20  10 40  20
Points   10,000  5,000 15,000  7,500 30,000  15,000 50,000  25,000


There will be no downgrades in elie tier levels through January 31, 2022.

 If you attain a new elite tier level in 2021, you will maintain that tier level through March 31, 2023.

The
perks for elite tiers in Best Western Rewards aren't the most compelling (although breakfast is included).  However if you stay primarily in budget/family oriented accommodation it can work well for you.

The program does work very well for Australian travellers staying outside the major city centres.  Regional centres usually offer at least one option, whereas the major chains may not offer anything (different in the US I know).  For these travellers and similar, it can make a lot of sense to accumulate BWR points.

You can always later leverage your BWR tier status into a similar tier in another program.  See here for more details on what you might achieve with a status match from your current BWR tier status.