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Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2017
1513 posts
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Raident wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 7:19 pm
I book everything separately, to the extent that this May I flew to Taipei on EVA Air on a 1 way ticket, and came back to Canada via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific on another 1 way ticket.

But I'm sure I'm the oddball here - most people are more like you and prefer the convenience of packages :)
You are not alone... We now do the same as well.

We figure our hard earned vacation time & money is very valuable to us, so we do a lot of research. Which in turns gives us lot of info about our Destination in addition to finding the best deals / prices.

We book direct the majority of the time, which saves us even more money.

The few occasions we've bought into any 3rd Party organized package deals was we truly found them to be better prices... But that has almost always been for extras like: Attractions - City Tours - Theatre Tickets etc
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May 10, 2005
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Arrgh wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 10:17 pm
We didn't stay at the Marriott Key Largo Resort, we stayed at the Courtyard. It's the one right by the channel, and next to the Holiday Inn. We stayed there because we like to go scuba diving, and Rainbow dive op and their boats are right there. For the resort, we went by to take a look. It looks good but I also saw reviews of people saying the beach is tiny. In Key Largo, those 2 Marriott hotels have gone way up in category, and the points needed are now too high imo.
We though about that hotel too but it was on the canal and really, the beach there is not much either. That said, most of the Keys have no beaches at all. Most beaches are man made. At least the one at the other hotel went into the water, not a canal.
We did some snorkeling at John Pennekamp park. Love the Keys though.

As with all points programs, the amount of points needed has gone up and to get enough points, you need to stay quite a lot. Unless you are a business traveler staying in one brand all the time it is near impossible to get any points to make it worthwhile. I basically use them to be able to get reservations at certain times and sometimes for upgrades.
Is it solipsistic here? Or is it just me?
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Oct 24, 2005
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I don't think travel enough or consistently stay with a particular chain for a hotel loyalty program to ever be worth it for me. I'd also rather have the immediate savings than the perks some of these programs might offer. If I book on an OTA like Orbitz I can get a 15%-20% off coupon + ebates + orbucks. Of course the coupons don't apply to major chains anyway so you have to find an independent/boutique hotel but for alot of the ones I've stayed in the quality has been as good or better than a comparable chain hotel for a better price.
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Aug 2, 2001
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Raident wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 10:52 pm
Well, do third party loyalty programs offer things like free upgrades to suites, club lounge access, late checkout, and free breakfast to their elites? Those are the kinds of things that make hotel loyalty programs rewarding - free nights are certainly nice, but that's merely the gateway to the actual amenities that elites receive for their loyalty. Heck, over on FlyerTalk a lot of people will actually choose to pay cash over redeeming points even in cases where they'd get a huge discount on the room rate if, for instance, it's close to the end of the year and they need a couple more nights to qualify for the next tier of elite status for the following year.
The average traveler does not do enough travel to qualify for hotel loyalty program status levels that provide anything near what you state.

For example, to get the benefits you list with Hilton you need Gold. Gold requires:
To achieve or retain Hilton Honors Gold status, you need to earn either:
(1) 20 stays in a calendar year, or
(2) 40 nights in a calendar year, or
(3) 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year
http://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/expl ... index.html

In fact, they do not even receive free breakfast at this level.


I'm all for finding loyalty programs and using them for all they are worth but I don't think the hotel loyalty programs benefit the average traveler.
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Feb 7, 2017
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TrevorK wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 10:34 pm
The average traveler does not do enough travel to qualify for hotel loyalty program status levels that provide anything near what you state.

For example, to get the benefits you list with Hilton you need Gold. Gold requires:
To achieve or retain Hilton Honors Gold status, you need to earn either:
(1) 20 stays in a calendar year, or
(2) 40 nights in a calendar year, or
(3) 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year
http://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/expl ... index.html

In fact, they do not even receive free breakfast at this level.


I'm all for finding loyalty programs and using them for all they are worth but I don't think the hotel loyalty programs benefit the average traveler.
Your example is Hilton Gold, Hilton's 2nd from the top tier

To be fair there are 2 other tiers below that... Member & Silver

There are perks at both those levels as well, with the really decent ones starting at Silver

Silver is not I think unobtainable for most Travellers with a Threshold of just 4 Stays or 10 Nights
(a stay is defined as every time you book & stay at a different Hilton Property)

So as long as one moves hotels everyday (e a Road Trip) easily do-able over the course of 2 weekends per year
ALL ABOUT HILTON SILVER
4 stays or 10 nights
ACHIEVING Hilton Honors SILVER STATUS

To achieve or retain Hilton Honors Silver status, you need to earn either:
(1) 4 stays in a calendar year, or
(2) 10 nights in a calendar year

Benefits of Hilton Honors Silver status include:

15% ELITE STATUS BONUS

With Silver elite status, you automatically receive a 15% bonus on all the Hilton Honors Base Points you earn.

5TH NIGHT FREE

Silver, Gold and Diamond members will get every 5th night free4 when booking a reward stay of five nights or more using all Points.

HOTEL BENEFITS1

Members with Silver status receive all the standard benefits:

Guaranteed Discount: A discounted, changeable & refundable rate is exclusively available for Hilton Honors Members.

Digital Check-In: Check-in, choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.

Complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Canopy™ by Hilton, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Tapestry Collection by Hilton™ Embassy Suites Hotels™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™

Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences

Late check-out2

Express check-out

2nd Guest stays free3

Plus:

Two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Tapestry Collection by Hilton™, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ hotels)1
In addition, we have found that often Hilton will randomly upgrade those with Member or Silver Status (something that it automatic when you get to Gold)

In addition, we've found Hilton Honors Members (at all levels) get the best rooms in the hotel... So no crappy rooms by the Elevators etc. and the Front Desk is always handing out UNADVERTISED Freebies to Loyalty Members... Over the years we've gotten Newspapers, Robes & Slippers, Free Parking, Free Breakfasts (in Hotels where there is full fledged Restaurant with sit down service, not just Continental Buffet), and even Free Drinks & Appys in the Bar.

All of that makes my stay way more enjoyable.

Now I get the Hilton is not for everyone, which is why we hold Loyalty in every hotel chain we've ever stayed at.

Places like Super 8 & Days Inn (Wyndham Group), Best Western, and Choice Hotels Group (Travelodge, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion) also have great programs & offers even at their most basic of levels.

Example, Choice Hotels runs a Summer Special every year, stay 2x and earn a $ 50 Gift Card. We always choose a $ 50 Gas Card on that one.
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Jul 29, 2005
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I'm impressed! Hilton price matched my Chicago booking, plus an additional 25 percent off. Plus I'll collect points.

Last year, I booked an expensive NYC Times Square hotel thru Expedia or something. I showed the hotel my membership card; they did not offer me points, but did not charge me the $30 a night resort fee . So that saved me over $100 right there.
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Oct 18, 2014
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It is a hit/miss in I find it varies by 1) the chain 2) the property itself and 3) the 3rd party used. It's never consistent either. In some case I have had the full benefits, in others I got the night credit but no points, sometimes I get the free breakfast and finally sometimes I get nothing.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
7375 posts
497 upvotes
Eh, I usually just research reviews online and prices online to find the cheapest price (usually use Expedia price match guarantee and $50 credit) rather than stay at chains.

We only travel once a year and usually don't stay at chains in these types of countries anyways. Some of these countries are cheaper booking directly with hotel, sometimes Expedia is cheaper etc.
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Feb 7, 2017
1513 posts
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Arrgh wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 10:17 pm

We didn't stay at the Marriott Key Largo Resort, we stayed at the Courtyard.  It's the one right by the channel, and next to the Holiday Inn.  We stayed there because we like to go scuba diving, and Rainbow dive op and their boats are right there.  For the resort, we went by to take a look.  It looks good but I also saw reviews of people saying the beach is tiny.  In Key Largo, those 2 Marriott hotels have gone way up in category, and the points needed are now too high imo.
Pete_Coach wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 8:29 am
We though about that hotel too but it was on the canal and really, the beach there is not much either. That said, most of the Keys have no beaches at all. Most beaches are man made. At least the one at the other hotel went into the water, not a canal. 
We did some snorkeling at John Pennekamp park.  Love the Keys though.
We love The Keys too, so great to read this info about hotels in Key Largo.

Have not stayed on the Atlantic side in this stretch (mostly because of the canals).  We like the Gulf / Bay side here better.

Was sold on that idea on our first visit after visiting the iconic Caribbean Club Bar, and the various restaurants in the same strip (Big Chill, Sundowners).  So definitely interested in their neighbour the Key Largo Bay Marriott Resort.

In the past we've stayed at Hilton Properties in Key Largo.

Hilton Key Largo Resort (mm 97) was extremely disappointing, and cost us a fortune in HH points.  This property is way below Hilton standards.

As stated beaches are few between in The Keys, and mostly man.  The Hilton has a small beach, and photos misrepresent how the rest of the hotel looks out onto the water.  Only if you are on the top floor above the tree tops.  And the bamboo forest here & mangroves make for a very humid, stinky & buggy place.

Our last trip we stayed at the Hampton Inn Key Largo (mm 102).  It was fine as far as Hampton Inn's go (clean, well organized, friend,y).  But I was expecting more considering the location / destination.

The beach here is a combo that is often found in The Keys (all man made) with a small portion where you can access the water, and the rest lies behind a large chunk of raised sea wall.  Great for sunbathers, not so much for snorkeling from.

I'd go back to this hotel... But am on the look for something better.

Pete your thumbs up means we may have to check it out the Marriott next time.
As with all points programs, the amount of points needed has gone up and to get enough points, you need to stay quite a lot. Unless you are a business traveler staying in one brand all the time it is near impossible to get any points to make it worthwhile. I basically use them to be able to get reservations at certain times and sometimes for upgrades.
A lot of points programs have been revamping of late.  Hilton for example now not only takes points for free stays & upgrades, but also in lieu of cash (sliding points scale).  This has made both earning & redeeming points more rewarding.  Plus their new pool your points option... Handy if you want to share points with a spouse, family member, friend and hated paying transfer fees.

Now we work harder than ever to keep track of those Quarterly Bonus Point Offers, and make sure we've signed up before we book a stay.

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