I’ve been wanting to go to Chicago for a weekend for quite a while now, and finally the opportunity presented itself. With the recent news of the demise of Ted, I felt like a trip to the windy city was in order while “he” still served Chicago, so I look at it as a funeral of sorts, to celebrate the life of Ted, everyone’s favorite non-human not-so-feline friend. On top of that hotelclub.com offered to comp my room at the InterContinental Chicago (story and review to follow shortly), so all I spent was the $179 that my flight cost me after a $100 e-cert (the most I’ve spent on a flight in six months).
Now, on to the story/review. I get emails frequently from companies that want mentions of their product, and while I always respond and state my views (I try to be constructive), I very rarely feature them since I don’t think they present much of a benefit to my readers. While hotelclub.com made me a very attractive offer to comp my room, I wouldn’t be talking about them if I didn’t really think they were worth checking out.
When it comes to hotels I’m pretty naive, and I always assume the cheapest rate can be found on the hotel’s website directly, so it has always been one-stop shopping for me. I was planning a trip to Peru (which I haven’t been able to actually plan yet since LAN and AA are having partner award problems), and the one hotel I was interested in was the Doubletree in Lima, since I’m loyal to Hilton and Priority Club, and that was the only reasonable option. I decided to check out hotelclub.com and I was shocked to see that they offered a rate that’s $40/night cheaper than Hilton.com. I tried out a few other hotels, and for the most part hotelclub.com came out either really close or cheaper than the hotel directly.
The added benefit you get with hotelclub.com is their own loyalty program, whereby you earn 4% of the total cash value of your stay towards a future booking. Those amounts can go up if you book more frequently with them, to either 5% or 6%. There are even referral bonuses, which reward referrers (ahem, if anyone wants a referrer, please email me;)).
Lastly, and something that’s very important to me, it appears as if I’ll get full elite benefits for the stay. I was able to use a buy one get one free certificate for the second night of my stay at the InterContinental, despite booking through hotelclub.com. I’ll be sure to write a trip report about my journey, since I heard the InterContinental Chicago is great with upgrades.
While they might not always come out cheaper, I’m very impressed as a whole. When they come out cheaper it’s a no brainer as far as I’m concerned, and when they’re only a couple of dollars more it can still be worth it thanks to their own loyalty program.