It’s no secret that hotel brands have been going head to head with the major online players for their customer’s loyalty for some years now. Recent marketing campaigns from some of the major hotel players have been aggressive in communicating their message that for the best rates, customers should book directly with the hotel. So where do travel agencies like FCM come into the picture?
As a key travel partner for most major hotel chains such as Hilton, Accor Hotels, IHG, Hyatt and Marriott FCM has the ability to book our customers the hotel loyalty rates they would get by booking directly with the hotel, as well as the other benefits that come with booking with a TMC.
These direct rates, that are not currently available through the online players but only directly through the hotel or a key travel partner, mean that when you’re booking with FCM you can have the confidence that you’re getting the best rate for your hotel stay, plus you can earn the same loyalty points you would when booking direct.
So other than the best direct rates, what are the other benefits of participating in a hotel rewards program? We’ve taken a look at three of the top hotel loyalty programs to find out the best perks.
HHonors is free to join, and when you do you’ll automatically join the Blue status until you stay a minimum of 10 nights, or 4 separate stays within a calendar year, then you’ll hit Silver. Once you’re into Silver status, the perks become a little more exciting with every fifth night free for standard room stays of five nights or more. To hit the next tier, Gold, you would have stayed a minimum of 40 nights or 20 separate time in a calendar year; this is when perks like room available upgrades and member discounts come into play.
Starwood Preferred Guest
With over 1,300 hotels under 11 brands, Starwood Preferred Guest has an undoubtedly strong reach across a range of travel styles. In essence, you can earn points on your business trips to say, the Sheraton, but redeem them at the St. Regis. The perks are fantastic for travellers in the Middle East, especially if you’re an Emirates Skywards member. SPG members who are Silver, Gold or Platinum can earn Starpoints on Emirates flights as well as frequent flier miles on eligible hotel stays!
Being a member of Marriott Rewards you will earn points at any of the 17 affiliated brands, including Courtyard Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. Marriott Rewards can be redeemed for spa or dining vouchers as well as flights with over 40 airline rewards programs. With the recent merger between Marriott and Starwood, it’s likely these two programs will be merged in the future. With more than 4,000 hotels in 70 countries, it’s likely the Marriott Rewards program could be the one for you.
Ask your travel manager how you can sign up to earn loyalty points with your preferred hotel brand, and next business trip you plan you can have the peace of mind that your rates through FCM are the same you’ll find directly with the hotel.