A Hotel Loyalty Program for Travelers Who Hate Chain Hotels
In Up In The Air, George Clooney played a miles-and-points-obsessed road warrior who would order three entrees at dinner at a Hilton just so he could rack up HHonors points.
Earning points toward free hotel stays has gotten a dose of glam lately, and not just because of George Clooney. Ritz-Carlton and Leading Hotels of the World both started rewards programs within the past year. And the big hotel companiesthe Hiltons, Marriotts, and Starwoodshave spent the recession trying to hang on to your business by beefing up their loyalty programs, making it easier for you to earn free stays, free upgrades, and the other perks that come with being a loyalty program member.
So what do you do if you prefer non-chain hotelshistoric inns, urban boutique hot spots, one-of-a-kind resorts? For you, there's now Stash Hotel Rewards, which lets you earn points toward free stays at any of 100 independent high-end hotels in the U.S., many of them Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Hot List properties.
Based on what I learned about Stash at the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit today, there doesn't seem to be a down side to joiningand I would recommend doing so if you plan to stay in any of the participating hotels, as long as you keep a couple of things in mind: