The major hotel chains are involved in a minor war with the online third-party booking sites such as Expedia. They don’t like the commission these sites take, which is not surprising when Expedia is known to keep up to 25% of your purchase when you book an ‘Expedia Special Rate’ hotel.
Last week I wrote about how Starwood and Marriott have discovered a new trick. From February, you will receive free internet when you stay with these chains – but ONLY if you book directly. Anyone booking via Expedia etc will still need to pay.
The major hotels chains already refuse to give stay credit or points in their own loyalty schemes when you book via a third party. What differs between the chains is:
whether your status benefits are acknowledged – Hyatt, Marriott and (in my experience) Hilton are OK for this
whether you earn points for your food and drink spending – all chains except Hilton have historically allowed you to do this
View From The Wing notes that IHG Rewards Club, the Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza / InterContinental etc scheme, has changed its rules.
IHG Rewards Club: OTA Earn Restriction. IHG Rewards Club members will not earn points during a stay or retroactively on any reservations booked through Online Travel Agencies (OTA). This restriction includes but is not limited to: earning points on food and beverage purchases, parking, in room dining, movies, and any other incidental charges incurred during the member’s length of stay.
The lines are being drawn. On one hand, hotel chains want you to book direct and get stay credit, points for incidental spend, points for your room rate spend and elite benefits. On the other, the online travel agents offer you their own rewards scheme (eg Welcome Rewards from Hotels.com) and cashback via TopCashback etc. The choice is up to you.
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)