March 13, 2013

Stronger economy means more points to get a free hotel room


Here’s another sign that the economy is stronger: Several major hotel chains are significantly raising the number of loyalty reward points needed to book a free room. Most of the hotel chains are adopting the point hikes by shifting hotels to a higher tier in the program.

t’s a simple matter of supply and demand, said Joe Brancatelli, who writes an online column on business travel. An improving economy has spurred more travel, prompting hotels to raise rates.

“Demand is up so they can charge more,” he said of hotels that are adjusting their reward points.

Most of the hotel chains are adopting the point hikes by shifting hotels to a higher tier in the program. Each tier designates how many points are needed to stay in that hotel. The higher the tier, the more points needed.

For example, Starwood Preferred Guests, the program for the Westin, Sheraton and W hotels, among others, raised the rate by at least 25% on nearly 250 hotels. The changes took place March 5.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times

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