Up to this point in time, as RoomKey.com enters its third year of operation as a pop-up annoyance when searching hotel chain sites, the greatest use I have derived from the company is a t-shirt I picked up at a TBEX conference in 2012 and still wear regularly. RoomKey is owned by hotel chains including Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Wyndham. The idea is to try and draw you back into a chain hotel booking after leaving one of the the hotel chain’s booking sites when you see the RoomKey pop-up screen. So when you check a Hilton hotel for New York, RoomKey displays other hotels in its network of chain hotels with rates.

RoomKey is planning enhancements to its website that may make the site more desirable than annoying.

Welcome to Room Key

Founded by the world’s leading hotel companies, hospitality is who we are and what we do. Featuring 100+ brands you trust across 159 countries, each time you book direct through Room Key, you earn your qualifying hotel rewards. For maximum value, link your hotel rewards programs to compare member-only benefits on Room Key…then simply Search hotels. Book direct. Relax.

RoomKey.com

Tnooz.com has an interview article with Room Key CEO John F. Davis III discussing a new concept to be introduced in 2014. RoomKey will allow members to register their loyalty program memberships. RoomKey.com will then organize hotel rates at hotel chains where you have status. Clicking on the hotel will detail the benefits you can expect at the hotel based on your loyalty membership and elite status. You can check your nights and stays and point balance in different hotel loyalty programs. There is a RoomKey.com hotel loyalty program dashboard image in the Tnooz article.

Perhaps even more significant is the article suggests the recent UK ruling on hotel rates price-fixing by Expedia, booking.com and hotel chains means members of a closed group like loyalty program membership can be offered lower rates than publicly available. Hyatt is already doing this with their 20% off Elite Member discount.

Hotel stay promotions may move beyond targeted personalized points offers like IHG Big Win to targeted loyalty member discount rates.

RoomKey.com as a standalone website.

The growth of mobile booking in the hotel industry sounds like it has been an impediment to RoomKey.com growth. The website changes with hotel loyalty membership registration are aimed at making RoomKey.com a direct hotel booking destination website since pop-ups do not work in a mobile environment.

For me, a dashboard of loyalty program data while I am planning hotel bookings is a desirable feature.

If RoomKey.com can also add promotion bonus data to room rate searches, then that would be a major innovation. It would be a great convenience to know that booking the next Marriott stay would earn a free night with MegaBonus or that Hyatt Place night comes with an extra 1,000 bonus points.

roomkey

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

San Francisco is an expensive city to stay as a tourist. HotelNewsNow.com confirms that statistically with data showing San Francisco topped the USA in hotel performance for February 2014.

San Francisco reported the largest average daily rate increases in the USA in February 2014, up 14.2% to $186.92. Hotel occupancy was 79.9%.

All the great weather in San Francisco with the winter drought made February a great month for California travel. Our warmest days in 2014 were in January. It hit 81F here in Monterey in January. That temperature only happens about five to ten days in the year. This past week has put many days in the 70s. March and April are the months I consider the best California road trip months for the central coast from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.

San Francisco hotels have out-priced me these past three years. Nearly all my stays in the city have been reward night stays.

I took advantage of low paid rates in 2008-2011 to stay in San Francisco hotels dozens of times. Westin St. Francis for under $100. Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf for $49 in celebration of NFL 49ers. Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt for under $120 per night. And many other hotels at discount rates that were 50% of the typical rates these days.

Hyatt Category 4 Hotels in San Francisco.

One of the best deals remaining in San Francisco hotels are the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero and Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf still available as category 4 hotel reward nights in Hyatt Gold Passport. I expect these hotels might rise to category 5 next year.

Last month while the weather was warm in San Francisco and hotel rates were even hotter, I earned a free night certificate on a 5-night $330 stay at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.

I am looking to redeem the certificate for the Hyatt Regency San Francisco in June during World Cup 2014. Last World Cup 2010, Kelley and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on a night before the downtown AT&T baseball stadium opened for a free party to watch the USA play a World Cup match.

We planned to go to the ball park for the party, but instead found ourselves more comfortably staying put in our Hyatt Regency room with a big HDTV and balcony view looking out to San Francisco Bay on a day when the temperature reached nearly 90 degrees. We definitely had the better party venue than a crowd-filled stadium.

San Francisco-World Cup 050

Hotel loyalty programs still make San Francisco an affordable venue with Hyatt’s Gold Passport Endless Possibilities promotion.

Hyatt Gold Passport – Endless Possibilities Jan 15-April 30, 2014

Free night at a category 1-4 hotel after 5 nights. Limit of four free night certificates after 20 nights. This can be a high value promotion if you earn a free night on the cheap or if someone else is paying the bill. Loyalty Traveler post December 17, 2013. The free night certificate expires July 31, 2014, so plan to redeem quickly.  You can also choose bonus points which might be a better value if you stay 15 nights (30,000 points) or 20 nights (50,000 points). That is a big commitment for Hyatt stays.

I earned one free night with this offer after one 5-night paid stay on a best rate guarantee discount rate of $60 per night at Hyatt Regency Minneapolis where I upgraded to a one bedroom suite with a Diamond elite suite upgrade certificate good for up to 7 nights. Hyatt Regency Minneapolis hotel review (Feb 19, 2014).

Hyatt SF

Hyatt Regency San Francisco is over $250 after tax on June 21.

USA plays Portugal in World Cup 2014 on Sunday, June 22.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco and Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf ($309) are Hyatt Gold Passport category 4 hotel rewards. Grand Hyatt San Francisco ($325) is now category 5 after its remodel project.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Hyatt’s 48-hour sale launched today and lasts through tomorrow March 19 with 15% off rates for hotel reservations from April 2 through July 1, 2014.

Offer Code C48MAR

The primary restriction with these 48-hour sales is the reservation is fully prepaid and nonrefundable.

The most irritating aspect of these 48-hour sales is Hyatt does not post a list of participating hotels so finding a hotel with the discount rate is a matter of luck. I tried several cities like San Jose, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego and did not find the 48-hour sale rate for any hotels I checked. This is the main reason I do not normally write about these Hyatt 48-hour sales. This 48-hour sale offer typically wastes my time trying to locate the discount rate.

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday March 18th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday March 19th CDT, for travel between Wednesday April 2, 2014 and Tuesday July 1, 2014 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean.

This discount offer is only valid through 11:59 PM CDT March 19, 2014.

Hyatt 48-hour sale

 

Scott at Hack My Trip posted today about Hyatt’s Spring Sale hotel rate discounts with a list of participating hotels. This offer can be booked through April 28. Although, still prepaid, nonrefundable rates. I avoid nonrefundable rates whenever possible.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Hyatt Gold Passport is currently running its Endless Possibilities promotion for one free night after every five nights stayed from January 15 to April 30, 2014. Members must register by March 31 for Endless Possibilities bonus offer.

Members may also choose to earn points, but free nights is the better deal in my opinion, unless you go all in for 15 or 20 nights during the promotion period. Points have more versatility, they do not expire soon and now Hyatt offers Points + Cash awards.

Members must choose at registration whether to earn a free night every five nights stayed or bonus points for every five nights. Your decision is final once you choose nights or points and cannot be changed after registration.

Read More…

Five nights in the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis gave me plenty of time to experience the property over the long President’s Day holiday weekend. This was an opportunity to use one of my Hyatt Diamond member suite upgrades, so there was a King Room with an attached suite.

Bedroom-1

King Bedroom

Bedroom-2

Sofa and chair in ths bedroom were nice features providing plenty of seating options.

Bedroom-3

TV and desk. Wireless internet worked well for my iPad.

Bath-1

Bathroom only has shower stall with no adjustment for the shower head. Good water flow.

The Suite Room

Read More…

This post summarizes dozens of hotel loyalty promotion offers in the major hotel chains for the month of February 2014.

Le Club Accorhotels – 5x points for first stay in 2014. Must book hotel by February 18.

This Accor promotion offers 5x base points for a member’s first stay in 2014 when booked by February 18, 2014. Loyalty Traveler post: Le Club Accorhotels 5x Anniversary Points (Feb 3, 2014).

Le Club Accorhotels 1 Million Points sweepstakes for stays by March 16, 2014. Each week has a winner for 25,000 points. All hotel guests worldwide who are residents of USA/DC and Canada (exc. Quebec) are eligible.

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Best Western Rewards – Online Booking Bonus Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

1,500 bonus points per stay for reservations booked online. Registration required. Elite members earn an additional 500 bonus points for 2,000 bonus points per stay booked online. Loyalty traveler post Feb 3: Best Western online booking bonus 1,500 or 2,000 points per stay Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

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Club Carlson38,000 Points after three nights. Jan 6-April 13, 2014.

Note: Nights do not need to be consecutive.  Loyalty Traveler post Jan 6, 2014.

100,000 Points Twitter Sweepstakes Jan 6-March 31, 2014.

Read More…

Manhattan, New York is the hotel news hot spot lately. This week it was announced that Chesapeake Lodging Trust has entered into a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels to rebrand the Holiday Inn NYC Midtown 31st St to the Hyatt Herald Square in Q3 2014. The hotel property will close in August 2014 for a $6 million renovation through September before the Hyatt Herald Square opens around October 2014.

The design plans are being developed by Paul Vega, founder of VLDG designs of New York and will capitalize on the hotel’s proximity to the Herald Square neighborhood and the nearby Fashion District of Manhattan. The design takes cues from the tactile nature of both industries, creating ideas inspired by the industrial techniques used in each form of production.

The transformational plans include an all-inclusive renovation to each of the 122-guestrooms with custom furniture pieces, new softgoods and seating and extrinsic art influences from the local region. The first floor will be transformed into an intimate upscale lobby and food and beverage experience with gathering spaces geared toward the discerning business and leisure traveler seeking convenient access to business demand generators and the plentiful leisure attractions of Manhattan.

Wall Street Journal Feb 5, 2014

Hyatt Herald Square  will be the eighth Hyatt property in Manhattan.

 

Hyatt Place makes it debut in the Netherlands with its now open property at Amsterdam Airport. The hotel has 330 rooms and a free shuttle from Schiphol Airport to the hotel.

Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport is located in Hoofddorp which is the opposite side of the airport from downtown Amsterdam.

Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport is a category 3 hotel reward at 12,000 points per night or 6,000 points + $75 for a Points + Cash reward.

Sample rate for Monday, February 17 is 149 EUR + 9 EUR tax or $213 USD. That kind of rate makes a Points + Cash reward look like a good deal.

The new Hyatt Place hotel offers:

·       330 spacious rooms with the plush Hyatt bed, a 42″ flat screen, iPod dock and spacious bathroom

·       Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

·       Free hot breakfast for guests served daily in The Gallery

·       Full-service restaurant serving lunch and dinner

·       24/7 Gallery Market offering take away snacks, salads, sandwiches and beverages

·       Free public computers with Internet access and remote printing in the Gallery

·       Flexible meeting facilities cover a total of 367 square meters and additional wide pre-function area

·       A complimentary airport shuttle ensures accessibility

Andaz Amsterdam, in the heart of the canal ring center of the city, is one of the newer hotels in Amsterdam created from a remodel of the former public library building on the Prinsengracht. Andaz Amsterdam is a category 5 hotel at 20,000 points per night.

With Amsterdam being a 24/7 city, my one stay in Hoofddorp at a Marriott Courtyard many years ago was my last stay in Hoofddorp. The location is fine for an overnight, but not a good location for a tourist without a car visiting the city since you will likely be spending two hours on transit to go roundtrip between the shuttle to the airport, train to Amsterdam Centraal and then a tram or bus to your city destination if you want to get somewhere without walking.

Sheraton Amsterdam Airport is accessible from the airport without even going outside. Hilton Amsterdam Airport is a short walk. These properties are good hotels I used several times, but they tend to be pricey.

Hyatt Place properties expanding around Europe will be great for Hyatt Gold Passport members since most of the existing Hyatt hotels in Europe are in the upper upscale and luxury market.

AMS Schiphol 7-2006 051

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

Regular readers probably know that I am a last minute travel booker. I have known for two weeks that I need to be in Minneapolis in two weeks. On January 17, the round-trip airfare from Monterey to Minneapolis was $390 with United. There was a recommendation to buy from the price trend data on Kayak.com.

I did not buy a ticket.

My focus was our 25th wedding anniversary at the Hyatt Highlands Inn and I put the Minneapolis travel plans on the back burner.

I checked again on January 23 and the United ticket price went up to $404.

I did not buy a ticket.

This week I checked airfare each day and the price was stuck at $456.

Today the price dropped to $410 and I bought my ticket on United Airlines. The only two seats left on the flight were the middle seats in the last row in the back of the plane.

My Simple Travel Life

For years I was United 1K and I flew a few hundred thousand miles in the front of airplanes. The past few years I have experienced a lot of flight time in the back.

I have long said with Loyalty Traveler that I would rather have an economy class seat and a hotel suite, than a first class flight and a crappy room night. Like many travelers getting into the miles and points arena, I experienced several luxury business and first class flights to international locations where I ended up in a cheap-ass Priceline.com hotel room for days that seemed less than satisfying.

After a year of that kind of travel in 1999-2000, my sights were set on making my hotel travel as luxurious as my air travel. For several years I had the best of both worlds, dining in lounges and sleeping in hotel suites.

That is an expensive lifestyle though. And once I started blogging about travel loyalty programs, I gave up the international jet set elite life and truly adopted the poverty jet set life. I keep thinking I will pick up my air travel again, but I am not in any hurry. I travel frequently, when I want, and I am not chasing high elite flying status to get complimentary upgrades that I redeem on flights taken chasing high elite status for another year.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis is my Shelter from the Storm

Where to stay in Minneapolis was a concern to me after my week in Detroit earlier this month when the weather was far below freezing and snow or ice buried the sidewalks. I wanted to be in a central place for Minneapolis and avoid changing hotels every night; my usual travel style to maximize promotion bonuses with multiple hotel stays. 

Once I booked my airline ticket this morning, my thoughts went to hotels in Minneapolis.

The hotel promotions I was looking to fulfill with five hotel nights included Club Carlson, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Rewards. In five nights I could go quite a ways toward fulfilling IHG Big Win for 80,000 bonus points or Marriott MegaBonus for two free hotel night certificates or Club Carlson for 38,000 bonus points after 3 nights.

One quick check of Kayak.com revealed an interesting hotel rate during my Minneapolis trip.

A search two days ago showed Hyatt Regency Minneapolis with $149 room rates. Today when I checked Kayak for a 5-night stay, the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis came up at $75 per night on Orbitz for a flexible cancellation rate when the Hyatt.com rate was $95 prepaid and nonrefundable or $119 for a flexible cancellation rate.

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee

Hyatt has one of the best policies for Best Rate Guarantee claims. Simply call Hyatt when you see a rate discrepancy between Hyatt.com rates and another online travel agency rate and the Best Rate Guarantee claim is handled over the phone while you wait.

Hyatt, SPG and Kimpton are the only hotel chains that will process a Best Rate Guarantee claim prior to booking a hotel through the chain’s website. Hyatt and Kimpton will handle the claim over the phone, so there is no worry that the rate disappears before your claim is processed.

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee approved claims reduce the lower rate by 20%.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis (5 nights)

Hyatt.com Advance Purchase Prepaid and Nonrefundable = $561.33 (after tax).

Hyatt Daily Rate (cancel with no penalty up to one day before arrival) = $674.73 (after tax).

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee rate based on $75 per night Orbitz rate (cancel with no penalty up to one day before arrival) = $341.23 (after tax).

Nightly rate $68.20 after tax.

And I applied one Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member suite upgrade for the 5-night stay.

Minneapolis may be in the deep freeze in the middle of February, but I’ll be in the heart of the city sheltered from the storm, living in a Hyatt hotel suite. 

My single five-night stay will also earn one free category 1-4 hotel night certificate with the current Hyatt Gold Passport Endless Possibilities promotion.

Choose Free Nights
Earn a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel after you stay five eligible nights. Enjoy 4 free nights (valid through July 31, 2014) after you stay 20 nights. From a trip to the San Francisco Bay, to an enchanting escape to Paris or a vacation in the luxurious city of Dubai, your free nights can take you far. Register for free nights.

Hotel travel is my niche.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get out of that last row middle seat on the United Airlines flight.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

 

Many travel blogs have posted a Hyatt Gold Passport Chinese New Year’s offer for 100 free bonus points. Simply enter your Gold Passport number between Jan 22 and February 15, 2014 and clink the “Open My Gift” button for 100 points.

Hyatt year of Horse

The fine print states only members who received this offer are eligible and only one bonus per member. I read about the offer on several blogs and then tried it myself on Friday, Jan 24. The 100 bonus points posted to my account on the same day.

There is a chance that the points can be removed in a later sweep, but I doubt it.

This looks like a true gift from Hyatt Gold Passport in the Year of the Horse.

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