News and Views (Hotels) - 1 November 2019

By Neil McPherson
1 November 2019

Our regular round-up of news items relevant for travellers & loyalty programs.  Summarised with our views and interpretations.

IHG points purchase with bonus

IHG have launched a great bonus points promotion. Until November 16th, members of IHG Rewards can purchase points with up to 100% bonus. The pricing has 3 tiers.So, to get the most out of this promotion, you should purchase at least 26,000 base points to receive each point at its lowest cost (0.5 US cent per point).
I don't receommend holding a high points balance for lengthy periods of time, but buying IHG points at these prices when combined with IHG's regular Point Breaks promotions will give you remarkable value. There are a wide range of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza properties currently available. Hopefully you will find one that suits, so you can combine both promotions for a very inexpensive stay.

IHG has also launched a 4x bonus points promotion

This offer requires you to register and book by December 15th and stay prior to 1 February 2020. For each stay within that period you receive progressively higher bonuses, as shown below. The bonus rate only applies to the base points, note to the tier bonuses that elite members receive. The 4x bonus points promotion could still be a very attractive way to boost your points balance from paid stays during the southern hemisphere summer.

IHG 4x points promotion - December 2019

Wyndham Rewards named best loyalty program by USA Today readers

Wyndham Rewards, a program spanning more than 30,000 hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals globally, announced it has been named in USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards as the best hotel loyalty program. A panel of travel industry experts receive nomination, which are then voted for by Readers of USA Today. This is the second successive year that Wyndham Rewards has won.

Meliá crowned world’s most sustainable hotel company

SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) ranks Meliá Hotels International at the top of the global tourism and travel industry. Meliá voluntarily undertook the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), which rates companies based on their sustainable performance. The win reflects the company’s commitment to sustainable practices both in terms of the environment but also as an employer and in terms of social development.

Meliá wanted to cement their position as sustainable leaders in the hospitality industry by putting themselves forward for the assessment, which measures the economic, social and environmental performance of over 4,700 companies and organisations. The company achieved the top score of 100 points in the categories of Climate Strategy and Social Reporting. It also achieved the top score in the industry across several other sectors, including Human Rights, Human Capital Development, Codes of Business Conduct, Risk & Crisis Management and Occupational Health and Safety.

It's nice to see a hospitality company recognised for commitment to long-term vision, responsibility and respect for the environment. Well done and ¡Felicidades Meliá .

UK’s first Four Points by Sheraton to open near Gatwick Airport

Marriott International is to introduce its Four Points by Sheraton brand to the UK. The property is located approx 5 km from Gatwick Airport and was previously marketed as a Thistle (part of GLH Hotels) property, but was revamped after a period of vacancy.Vivek Chadha, managing director and founder of the hotel's owner, said:
“The Menzies Chequers Gatwick building has a long history dating back to the 1500s when it was a coaching inn during the Tudor period. It was serving travellers all that time ago, so we’re excited to be restoring it to its former glory".

Fairmont named as best Luxury Hotel brand

In its 2019 Hotel Brand Survey, Business Traveller News (BTN) named Fairmont as the best luxury brand, with Ritz-Carlton a close second and Grand Hyatt third. Importantly for all travellers, Fairmont scored highest by a clear margin in the price-to-value metric. (source: 2019 BTN Hotel Survey).
The company cited becoming part of the larger Accor group as being part of its success (although the integration issues of Ritz-Carlton into Marriott Bonvoy may also have something to do with it - we'll see next year).

Hyatt / SHL partnership expands further

Last December World of Hyatt launched a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It was a smart strategic move, as its biggest weakness relative to Marriot and Hilton was its relatively small foot print. Since then it also acquired a collection of smaller brands, including Alila.
SLH members have gradually joined the partnership. Initially there were 50 properties, but Hyatt recently announced that the number has increased to more than 250. To date, the most popular markets for member SLH bookings have been:

  1. Rome, Italy
  2. London, England
  3. Venice, Italy
  4. Shanghai, China
  5. Santorini, Greece
  6. Taipei, Taiwan
  7. Kyoto, Japan


Members must book through the World of Hyatt website to receive the following benefits:

Accor & Oman Air strike a new partnership

Members of the loyalty programs of Accor and Oman Air now have the option to convert points and miles between the two schemes. Oman Air operates nonstop flights from Muscat into both Heathrow and Manchester airports.
Members of Oman Air’s Sindbad programme can convert 1,500 miles into 500 Le Club points, while in the other direction 4,000 Le Club points can be converted into 1,500 Sindbad miles. So don't make a mistake when converting, or 4,000 Le Club points could easily become only 500 points.The conversion from airline miles into hotel points is unusual. Many programs allow you to earn eithe hotel points or airline miles, but conversion in the past has been best via the Marriott Bonvoy into airline miles (yet not back the other way).