Gimme dem points
February 7, 2011 9:14 AM   Subscribe

Starting a new traveling sales job. At what hotel chain should I throw all my business to?

I will be spending most of my time in major metro areas within the following states: Washington, California, and Colorado.

My employer will be taking care of all my bills, though I get to keep the rewards points. I would like to pick one specific hotel chain in order to maximize my return.

I have to pick from the following for each city I visit: Hampton Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Holiday Inn, and Fairfield Inn.

Curious (for those who travel often) which has the most bang for your buck regarding facilities and rewards points.

Also, should I place my orders through, or the hotel's website itself?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've had decent luck with the Hilton program, which would cover Hampton, HGI, Doubletree, and so on. The points seem to rack up pretty quickly, and I usually end up having enough to use for free hotel stays on leisure-travel road trips and whatnot. One thing I like about the Hilton program is that I have the option of doubling up on points or converting them to miles on my airline program. I imagine that the programs are all pretty much at par - go with whichever one offers you the nicest stay in the city (or cities) you'll be staying in.
posted by jquinby at 9:22 AM on February 7, 2011

Ah, also - the flytertalk forums include a whole section for the hotel programs. It might be worth perusing the threads there. "Which one" discussions seem to come up pretty frequently in the flying threads.
posted by jquinby at 9:23 AM on February 7, 2011

So most of these are smaller outlets of larger chains. Hampton Inn is Hilton, Marriott Courtyard and Fairfield are both Marriott. Holiday Inn shares with a few other nice hotels.

But I'd get either the Hilton or Marriott rewards, (ie get the parent company reward cards, not a Hampton card - if it exists).

I like Marriott, but Hilton is good too.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:25 AM on February 7, 2011

It's all about that vertical integration.

I'm a Hilton Man myself, thus Hampton Inn. Hilton has the best range as far as I know and I like the city locations of Hilton.

Holiday Inn would be Intercontinental and they don't really have much of a mid-range. The Intercontinentals of course are nice but the Crowne Plaza part of the range seems to struggle.

Think Courtyard and Fairfield are the same -- Marriott's. Definitely solid middle of the range and probably the most generous on points but not much of a top end and Courtyards are not great for personal travel, mainly due to location.

As far as, I always check first and usually call the hotel to see if they'll match as if there are any changes, it's easier to deal with the hotel itself. Sometimes they don't match and tell you to go get the web deal.
posted by nickrussell at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2011

I'm a Marriott traveller myself, mostly because they have a very very large system of hotels and there was a nice one I stayed at for a year when the last major project came up.

Hilton tends to have a better awards system I think, but they have fewer properties around the globe as far as I can tell. With Marriott I know that no matter where I go around the globe there will be a hotel for me, and at the higher award levels I will always be able to get a room.

The general rules of thumb is to pick one and go with it for the long haul.
posted by iamabot at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2011

I have been traveling for business for over 30 years. Since 1995 I have averaged 150 nights in hotels all over North America.

For many of those years I was a Marriott guy. But starting probably 7 years ago, I went to Holiday Inn Express and never looked back.

Note I said _Express_ - I never stay in any other flavor of Holiday Inn because they tend to be inconsistent. Holiday Inn Express has, for my money, been consistently good everywhere I go. Sure, there's the occasional hiccup, but for what I need (clean room, great Internet, decent breakfast, friendly service) they seem to get it right most of the time.

Within that family, though, Staybridge Suites is the best of the best. They're a Holiday Inn property so I get the points, but they are really the best value and I choose those when I can. They are not as ubiquitous as HI Express so that's where I generally end up.

Hope this helps.
posted by charris5005 at 9:56 AM on February 7, 2011

I was always a Marriott person back when i travelled a lot. I found their main advantage was ubiquity - there was always a marriott-group hotel around, even in larger European cities but always in the US & Canada.

The upside of that is there's always somewhere to use your points up too.

And I always booked direct through Marriott's web site. It was easiest for me.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on February 7, 2011

I wanted to second charris5005; I stayed in a lot of US hotels and really liked the consistency at HI Express. It seemed they usually had what I wanted, no more, no less, and were always very easy to deal with. They have sometimes given me above the level of service I really warranted (e.g. some special welcome basket usually reserved for very frequent travelers), and have been helpful on occasions when I needed something random (e.g. please search out and fax me my bill so I can be reimbursed). I cannot remember a single lackluster employee, but remember several positively, and little stuff like that makes a big difference when you have to travel a lot.

Plus, they have fantastic cinnamon rolls at the breakfast.

That said, don't forget to check if any of these chains are notable present/absent in the regions you will spend the most time in.
posted by whatzit at 10:03 AM on February 7, 2011

Always book through the chain itself. Not only will they treat you better, but you can cancel at short notice (unlike all those great "deals" at that are nonrefundable). Also, I don't know if this is true for all programs, but I'm with Goldpoints and they don't give points for booking through 3rd party sites.
posted by media_itoku at 10:13 AM on February 7, 2011

+1 on Holiday Inn Express. Consistent experience, decent free breakfast, typically newer facilities. Sign up for their rewards program and you'll start earning free nights pretty quickly.
posted by karizma at 10:26 AM on February 7, 2011

I liked the Hilton program with the double dipping -- points with the hotel and air miles. My trips for work staying in Hampton Inn and Hitlon Garden Inns added up quickly and I could stay in really nice Hilton resorts on points.

When there isn't a Hilton family hotel around, I'd stay at Marriott. It is very good as well.

Back in the day when I was a big spender, I loved Starwood's program. I wish I had a job that let me stay at W Hotels, Westin or nice Sheratons.

When it comes to redeeming your points, use at places outside the US. Same points required, but I'm treated like royalty when I'm staying for free outside the US. In the US, you're not that special.
posted by birdherder at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2011

Back when I traveled a lot, I was a Marriott person. Marriott was easy to get basic status (just 10 nights) and getting to the next tier (maybe 25 nights) really brought in the goodies. Concierge level upgrades, bonus points, etc. I had co-workers who had top tier status and the perks really make traveling easier.

Marriott also has hotels from basic- Springhill Suites, to luxury- JW Marriott. I always found the level of service very good across all brands and they are consistently clean. One time I was vacationing with the family (on points) and the Concierge made it a point to leave cookies out for my kids because we missed happy hour. Fifteen years later, I remember that nice touch.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 11:08 AM on February 7, 2011

Oh dear, what an idiot I am: really warranted ----> really wasn't warranted, i.e. didn't deserve.
Definitely not that much of a prima donna.
posted by whatzit at 11:10 AM on February 7, 2011

Marriott for the win.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:13 AM on February 7, 2011

Marriott. Get the rewards credit card if you can use it, book through their great website, sign up for fatwallet and get 1.5% back on your stays and always be on the lookout for promotions.
posted by sandmanwv at 11:26 AM on February 7, 2011

The big question is whether you double-dip with an airline-affiliated credit card or a hotel-affiliated one.
posted by GuyZero at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2011

i'm a big fan of the hyatt place.
posted by thatgirld at 2:02 PM on February 7, 2011

We're Hilton people and love Hampton Inns. They're generally clean, comfy, renovated within the past few years, nice staff, and free breakfast including a hot item. I also like that there's a range of choices within Hilton, so we could blow points on, say, 5 nights at a Hampton or 2 nights at someplace much fancier than we'd normally stay.
posted by booksherpa at 4:16 PM on February 7, 2011

Hilton, because those warm chocolate cookies from Doubletree Hotels are the best thing after a long flight.
posted by sawdustbear at 4:51 PM on February 7, 2011

I usually stay at Marriott, but the Hyatt Place hotels are actually my favorite. They used to be Amerisuites or something like that. Every room is a miniture suite. There's a couch in a "sitting area", a desk, a fridge and sometimes a sink. On the other side of the divider will be the bed and the "powder" area (sink and mirror), and a small room with the toilet and shower. Mounted so it can be aimed towards the couch and the bed is a 42" LCD television that actually has some HD content.

Marriott is the best for ubiquity, as said above. But, if I find a Hyatt Place that's as close and the pricing is reasonable, I'd probably stay there.
posted by jeversol at 4:00 PM on March 19, 2011

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