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Why the ‘Sheraton Family Package’ can be a deal when travelling with children

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I surprised myself the other day when I realised that I had never written about the Sheraton Family Package.  This is despite booking them in the past and being about to book another in Milan.  Let me correct that today.

One problem with having a couple of children is that the cost of hotel rooms shoots up.  You can usually find a room that will accept three but four is a lot trickier.  You often end up in a Junior Suite – as we had in Stockholm recently – or more often two separate rooms, with a parent and child in each.   You may occasionally get these to connect but you would be crazy to rely on it, irrespective of what the hotel promises you.

Two rooms isn’t cheap, of course.  Sheraton can help, with the Sheraton Family Package rate.

This appears automatically at participating Sheraton hotels when you search for two rooms. It is very simple:

you book one room at Best Flexible Rate

you get the 2nd room for 50% off Best Flexible Rate

kids under 12 eat free during your stay

If you were going to book a refundable room anyway then this is a good deal.  If you were prepared to book a cheaper non-refundable room then you need to do the maths and it may not make sense.

Let’s look at the Sheraton in Zurich for a weekend in April.   This is a very pleasant, funky and new hotel, albeit outside the city centre – but a tram stop is literally outside.  We stayed there two years ago.

Non-refundable rate (SPG members):  CHF 170

Flexible rate (SPG members):  CHF 222

Flexible rate:  CHF 234

Family rate:  CHF 234 for the first room, CHF 117 for the second

The Family rate will cost you a total of CHF 351 per night for two rooms.  In this case, it is a worse deal (by CHF 11) than booking two non-refundable rooms at CHF 340 per night.

On the other hand, I’d happily pay the extra CHF 11 per night to have full flexibility, just in case my plans changed or – more likely – room rates dropped nearer the date of stay.  If you needed to book a Flexible rate then the Family rate saves you CHF 104 per night.

Let’s try the Sheraton at Dusseldorf Airport where I have also stayed on this deal.  For the same weekend:

Non-refundable rate (SPG members):  €95

Flexible rate (SPG members):  €133

Flexible rate:  €140

Family rate:  €140 for the first room, €70 for the second

Again, this is a good deal if you need a Flexible rate.  The cost for two rooms drops from €266 to €210.  If you happy to commit to a pre-paid rate, it is a worse deal – €190 per night for a non-refundable rate is €20 cheaper than the Family Package.  I would probably still take the €210 rate however as insurance against plans changing or room rates falling.

So …. the Sheraton Family Package rate is not a guaranteed winner, unless you are the sort of person who books Flexible rates.  It is always worth pricing up, however, to see how it compares.

PS.  One advantage of this rate is that you do increase the chances of getting connecting rooms, although nothing is ever certain

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Comments

  1. Is it always 50% – I’ve just looked at some in the US and some are 25% and others not bringing up the rate at all? Not sure if I’m doing something wrong

  2. Travel Yoda says:

    Question. Not a regular Sheraton/SPG stayer. Do kids eat u12 free normally or is that a condition of the of the family package rate? As if planning to eat in the hotel (on perhaps a one night airport stay) it may swing a marginal decision the way of a good deal.

    • Travel Yoda says:

      Correction – “Do kids u12 normally eat free”. Too early in the morning.

  3. Waribai says:

    I think Accor have a similar deal.

    https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/promotions-offers/family-offers/owm000614-50-off-for-families.shtml

    It popped up for Sofitel when I was searching Paris for the May Bank Holiday. Extremely welcome as rates are sky high!

    • iain wilson says:

      got this at sofitel a couple of weeks ago, but wasn’t offered at novotel Waterloo strangely.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Yes – seen this a number of times with Accor.

        The problem, as per Rob’s article, is that it is 50% of flex rate and so is not much cheaper than two non-flex rooms and often we’ve found that a suite is even cheaper.

        • suite is often a better deal. sofitel LHR the suite was about £40 more than 2 rooms on this package, but booking the suite got us lounge access, free spa pool use and free minibar. all added up to be well worth the money.

      • Electro Goblin says:

        I recently used it in Novotel Puerta de La Paz in Madrid. The thing is that it only shows when you search for a room white more people than usually allowed (2 adult 2 children or, in our case, 3 adult 2 children). This allowed us to use the promotion to have a room at 50% rate for my mother in law while my wife, children and myself stayed in a family room.

        Unfortunately the check in was not as pleasant as expected… the first room we were offered had a strong tobacco smell and my MIL got a “reduced mobility room” with all shower bathroom (that got flooded when she took a shower).

        For the inconveniences we were offered complimentary car park and breakfast, and were upgraded to a better family room.

  4. Hyatt also have a similar deal (Family Plan), although they don’t seem to make much of it and you have to book by phone or e-mail.

  5. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    I was only thinking about this yesterday. In amongst all the educational peices it would be good to have one dedicated to families and another to solo travel. This information is often spread through the main articles which makes it difficult to locate. I assume a sizesble portion of the HfP readerdship fall into one of these categories.

    • Agree – this would be very useful

      • Ash DHARMAKIRTHI says:

        Yes it’s definitely helpful to see more family focussed articles

    • +1

    • Graeme says:

      Agreed, good to see this article as i wasnt aware of this and would welcome more.

    • I agree. I think a huge number of HFP readers will collect points at work but use them on family travel involving children or teens. Given Rob’s experience of family travel (with both points and cash) I find the HFP family articles always very informative.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Agreed. The information is there and HfP has been of benefit to myself family wise (solo travel well truly behind me) but a consolidated cheat sheet would be most welcome.

  6. I got out of my way to book hotels with 2 Queen Beds even if it is further from destination but a Family article would be great in case I have overlooked any Hilton/IHG Sweet Points.

    • Hilton also seem to have something similar. The Hilton Bournemouth offered me a 50% discount off a 2nd room over the phone last year when looking at booking for 2 adults and 2 children. Not sure if policy varies per hotel

  7. Wally1976 says:

    In the UK you can rarely beat Premier Inn and Travelodge for families IMO. Same price for family rooms as doubles. Plus even if you’re not staying there you can get fantastic value breakfasts – wife got breakfast for her and two kids in a Premier Inn at the weekend. £9 total for as much as all 3 of them could eat and drink including hot food, croissants, pancakes, Costa coffee etc etc ????

    • Never knew you could have breakfast there if you’re not staying. Might be worth checking out some time.

      • Wally1976 says:

        Definitely can with Premier Inn; not sure about Travelodge. With both, 2 children can eat free with one full paying adult.

  8. Hilton do have something similar, I was looking at hotels in UAE over May half term and was offered via the online chat section at Hilton.com a 50% off the second room and was advised this applied to both a points redemption and also discounted public rates – eg the Hilton Honors advance purchase rate. I have not actually booked but the Hilton Abu Dhabi which is an older hotel with poorer room product but great pool and beach was 18k Hilton points a night or £50 cash for a room over May half term. A second room at 50% represents an excellent deal here especially if your Hilton status grants exec lounge access and upgrade.

  9. Amex Platinum have something similar with their tour operator product The Vacation Collection – called family programme. There’s about 40-50 high end resorts (mainly in The Med but also some further afield) where a second room for upto 3 children under 18 is offered at 50% discount. They also appear to guarantee connecting rooms at time of booking.
    A few FHR properties are in the program by the looks of things.
    http://www.thevacationcollection.global/familyvalue/lang-1/guide-pl

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