Aren’t loyalty programs (and promotions) brilliant?

Generally it’s easy enough to be loyal to a hotel loyalty program. You get great benefits with your stays, so you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything. Then there are times where you know there are much better options at much better prices, but you have to make a stay for the sake of the loyalty program. Actually, I’ve been in that situation twice in the past week.

Thanks to Priority Club’s “Crack the Case” promotion, I had to make two more stays on Saturday nights this month, in order to unlock my last “latch” and earn 91,000 Priority Club points.

Last week at LAX, I had several choices as far as hotels go. Now that I’m a Starwood Platinum member, I was actually leaning towards staying at the Sheraton Gateway LAX, which I’ve heard great things about. The crazy part is that it was actually cheaper than the Holiday Inn Express. But instead of staying at the (much) better hotel, I went with the Holiday Inn Express. It wasn’t awful, though it was far from great too. I was upgraded to a “suite,” which I’m convinced was actually a standard room with a wall in the middle.

Even more extreme was my stay in Sydney last night. My original plan was to just stay at the Westin Sydney for the night on points. Instead, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Sydney Airport (the cheapest Sydney area hotel, by far). Worst of all, it cost me over $200USD for the night, not including the shuttle to/from the airport. And the hotel was, at best, your average airport Holiday Inn.

I guess the good news is that my “Crack the Case” promotion is now done. You can bet I’ll be using those points at a really nice hotel (hopefully one that honors Royal Ambassador benefits), because I sure as heck didn’t do this so I can redeem points for another Holiday Inn.

Yes, loyalty programs have me by the you-know-what.

Comments

  1. I guess with that many points at stake and being so close to getting it, your ‘investment’ of 200 dollars at an average airport HI hotel and giving up Sheraton LAX over HI LAX seems to makes sense. It seems like PC has achieved the basic goal in making you reach for your wallet and stay at their hotels via this promotion. With these points, you can use it at nice hotels and maximize the value of the hard-earned points, PC gets your business… a win-win scenario.

  2. How much are 91,000 points worth (I’m not an IHG expert)?

    If you spent 2 nights and $400 at bad hotels – was it worth it?

  3. How long did you have in Sydney? I hope you did not lose a wonderful opportunity seeing some of Sydney by staying at the Holiday Inn vs Westin downtown.

  4. I booked 3 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport last Saturday night to finish my Crack The Case promo. Confused the heck out of the poor check-in clerk!

    “But why are you paying for three rooms sir if there is only one person?”

  5. where are the pictures of sydney?…it’s one of the greatest cities on earth, i hope you didn’t sit in your airport hotel room/lounge…

    200 for cheapest sydney hotel and a holiday inn? – you must have booked last minute

  6. What is wrong with two hotels for one night. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself. LAX I might have stayed at the Holiday Inn, Sydney I would have checked in to the Holiday Inn and then head downtown to see the city.

  7. Don’t worry folks, I went into the city (and even had fish and chips). Pictures are on their way shortly. I have to go see stuff now… you know, so I don’t get yelled at for sitting in my hotel room. šŸ˜‰

  8. While on your walkabout,should any stranger comment on your hair color – go with them, and do as they ask.

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