Hotel rates in India are incredibly low for past 2-3 years with the entry of Goibibo & other online travel operators. I’ve stayed at 50+ hotels in past 2 years and almost all of them were booked at ~50% discount using a combination of coupon codes, credit card promo’s, cashback’s, etc. All of these hotels were decent 3/4 Star ones and i was able to get a night at ~2k INR instead of the usual ~5k INR.
I’ve even booked wonderful international hotels at this rate as i’ve mentioned in one of my previous article: How i Booked a Trip to Vietnam for Just Rs.3700. With domestic hotels, the best was Holiday Inn, Goa which i booked for 3.5k INR (B&B+10mins foot spa), which now conveniently goes for 10k INR and above. These kind of hotel promos are no longer available as most OTA’s donot accept promo codes at such upscale branded hotel chains.
At present situation, the hotel offers are overall going down especially after merger of Goibibo-MMT. Even the Amex MMT Hotel offer is not so lucrative as before which pushes me to the next level of Hotel stays.
Getting into Hotel Loyalty Program:
Being a Taj Innercircle Gold member for a while, I’ve been experiencing its member benefits pretty well. With free room/suite upgrades like at Taj – Coimbatore, welcome amenity, late 4Pm checkout, the hotel loyalty programs are quite tempting and so going forward, i’ll be exploring some 4/5 Star hotels by being loyal to one or maybe few hotel Loyalty programs.
While i’ve been evaluating them for past few months, i came across few great deals which is worth sharing. Here are some good opportunities to buy hotel reward points at nice rates, so you can redeem them for your upcoming hotel stays.
#1 Buy Starpoints at 35% discount | Starwood Hotels
- 35% discount on minimum purchase of 5000 points
- By buying at this price, 1 Point Value becomes = Rs.1.5
- Hotel Redemptions starts from: 2000 Points
- Expires on: 29th Dec 2017
- Note: Your a/c has to be 14 days old to buy these points
How to get maximum Value? I’ve been exploring Starwood properties after its merger with Mariott and its exciting to see good set of category 1 hotels with nice redemption possibilities. Buying Starpoints under this promo puts you in good place to redeem at couple of amazing properties with decent value. You can redeem for as low as 2000/3000 points and are usually cheaper on weekends.
#2 Buy Club Carlson Gold Points with 100% Bonus | Carlson Rezidor hotels
- 100% Bonus on minimum purchase of 1000 points
- By buying at this price, 1 Point Value becomes = Rs.0.23
- Hotel Redemptions starts from: 9000 Points
- Expires on: 28th Nov 2017 (Rush)
How to get maximum Value? There are a lot of Category 1 & 2 properties across India especially in non-metros that can give a pretty decent value on buying points with this offer. While it all appears to be good, its not as exiting as Starpoints for me.
#3 Buy IHG Rewards Club Points with 100% bonus | Intercontinental Hotels Group
- 100% Bonus on minimum purchase of 15,000 points
- By buying at this price, 1 Point Value becomes = Rs.0.40
- Hotel Redemptions starts from: 10,000 Points
- Expires on: 8th Dec 2017
How to get maximum Value? IHG is known for its “accelerate” promos and “point breaks”. But most hotels need 10k or 20k points which becomes pricier even on points purchase at 100% bonus. However, the trick is with point breaks promos, wherein you can redeem for as low as 5k points in a set of properties that they release every quarter or so. But again, booking rooms during these Point Break promos is not so easy as it gets sold out faster.
Overall, i’m excited to get into this Hotel Loyalty system, especially Starwood Hotels which seems to be quite good in most aspects. A problem with them however is that their loyalty program is going to be revamped shortly which may/maynot turn out good. I’ll be exploring few hotels in coming months and you’ll see a review of them soon.
- Note: Donot buy points if you’ve no plans to use it in next 3-4 months. Anyways the offers will come again. As i always say, all kind of reward points are poor long term investment. Play safe!
While i’m relatively new to Hotel Loyalty program, there might be some experts around who know much better than me on how to make sue of points to get maximum value out of them. If so, do share your views in comments below.