IHG HOTELS PAYING BAG FEES. Here’s a deal that should be music to the ears of non-elite air travelers forced to pay those dastardly new fees for checked bags. IHG Hotels (which include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Indigo among others) is offering to rebate $50 to travelers who book two or more weekend nights now through Dec 30. Must use Visa card to pay for your stay. Details.
MARRIOTT FALL DEAL. Marriott hotels kicked off the slower fall travel season with a pretty nice offer: Stay twice between September 15 and January 15 and get one free night. Must pay with Visa. Details
NEW HYATT CARD. Hyatt has unveiled a new Chase card with some nice bennies: You get two free nights and any Hyatt worldwide with first purchase. You get three Gold Passport points for every dollar spent at Hyatt. And they’ve eliminated those pesky foreign transaction fees. Annual fee is $75. Details
ARE YOU INDEPENDENT? Do you love independent, non-chain, upscale or luxury hotels, but miss the free nights you earn with big chain frequent stay programs? A new program called Stash Hotel Rewards offers five points per dollar spent at over 80 hotels, like the Affinia Dumont hotel in Manhattan, or the hotel Andra in Seattle, two of your TICKET editor’s top picks in those cities. Stash estimates that the average traveler could earn one free night after about five stays. Here’s a current and rapidly expanding list of the hotels that participate in Stash. To get points, you must book directly with the hotel’s web site, not via third party channels. Worth a look! Details
PICK YOUR ROOM. Did you know that Hilton’s Homewood Suites now allow travelers to choose their exact room 36 hours prior to arrival? Now that’s something I’d like to see across the hotel industry! Details
MORE FREE WI-FI. Slowly but surely, hotel chains are getting the message that frequent travelers really REALLY want Wi-Fi charges included in their room rates. Hilton recently joined a trend among several chains by offering free Wi-Fi across ALL its brands to elite level members of its HHonors program. Details.
NICE IDEA! Hyatt’s new upscale Andaz chain offers free mini bars (alas, no booze…but still) Details. Have you stayed at an Andaz yet? If so, please leave your comments below.
STARWOOD CARD FEE. The popular Starwood/Amex card recently hiked its annual fee for the second time in two years to $65. Still worth it? (Maybe they felt they were leaving money on the table considering Hyatt’s new card fee of $75…)
COOL POOL. Singapore may now have the coolest rooftop hotel infinity pool ever. You’ve gotta see these photos to believe your eyes. It’s located at the brand new Marina Sands hotel there.
HOTEL HOUSEKEEPING TRENDS. We recently posted an interesting item about certain Starwood hotels that offer guests 500 Starpoints for opting out of hotel housekeeping. We heard from many of you who thought that was a dandy idea. Now there’s more. Best Western says that when asked, about 40% of it’s guests now opt for limited or no housekeeping. Hmm. I sorta like the idea of having my room cleaned each day. I don’t necessarily need linens changed, but a quick clean up is nice. What about you? Leave your comments below.
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