What price do you pay for hotel loyalty?

Latest survey findings highlight to corporate travellers the major payback differences between the loyalty programmes of the six leading hotel groups, with Wyndham Rewards the clear winner in terms of value offering more than double the payback among its rivals. The third annual CarTrawler Hotel Reward Payback Survey found that Wyndham Rewards returns an average of 16.7% from room night spending as reward stay value. That’s 3+ points higher than the brand’s 2016 result and a 211% higher return than the reward value provided by Starwood’s SPG, which was ranked last among the six hotel loyalty programs at 5.4% for reward payback.

The analysis was completed in August 2017 by IdeaWorksCompany which conducted 1,350 reward queries and calculated “reward payback” for key hotel brands in six global frequent guest programs: Best Western Rewards, Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, Starwood SPG, and Wyndham Rewards. For each query, the lowest reward price in points was recorded along with the corresponding room price in US dollars.  The value provided by points was adjusted to consider the different rates of point accrual for the programmes. The result therefore provides an average “reward payback” for each programme.

CHART – The third annual CarTrawler Hotel Reward Payback Survey reveals typical payback range of 5.4% to 8.8% among the leading hotel groups with Wyndham Rewards the clear leader at 16.7%Source: CarTrawler Hotel Reward Payback Survey

The 8.8% rate for Marriott Rewards represents average reward value payback of $8.80 for every $100 spent on hotel room rates. This is very favourable in comparison to airline loyalty schemes and by comparison, IdeaWorksCompany calculates reward payback for the three US majors American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines ranges from 3.9% to 5.8%. The next group of US carriers offer a little more according to the company’s 8th annual Reward Seat Availability Survey released in May this year – JetBlue Airways’ TrueBlue (7.8%), Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards (8.7%) and Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan (11.4%).

In addition to reward payback, the survey includes the following additional data and analysis for the six hotel loyalty programmes:

  • Simple Value of Reward Points – which allows consumers to know the value of bonus offers such as 80,000 bonus points for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card representing a reward value of $560.
  • Best and Lowest Reward Payback – which ranged from 1.8% to 50.7%.
  • Reward Value Returned by Co-Branded Credit Cards – with a best result from the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express at 2.7%.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT: CarTrawler Hotel Reward Payback Survey