Do you want to see more of the world and spend less? You like a stylish suite, but are ok with a clean bed for the night and a strong shower to wake you up? Then maybe you should take another look at the budget hotel chains! The three big US chains Wyndham, Choice and Best Western have made big investments into their hotels, overhauled their reward programs and rolled out big promotions. Not sure – just keep reading: I stayed at their hotels, looked into the programs and tried their promotions! See what I found!
After a few bad experiences at budget hotels in the US, I pretty much ignored the budget chains for the last few decades. And so did most travel bloggers: A lot of hotels are old, their reward programs don’t offer any perks and “cheap” doesn’t mean “value”, right? Not so fast! My interest was peaked by changes to reward programs and the budget chains’ participation in the Daily Getaway promotion earlier his year, so I set out to do some research into the budget chains!
Wyndham is the largest hotel chain in the world with over 8,000 properties around the world. The majority of them are budget motels like Super 8 or DaysInn, but they also have beautiful, upscale properties under the Dolce and Wyndham Grand brands. Their rewards program made waves with the introduction of a flat rate of 15,000 points per night for any of their hotels without blackout dates! And they recently introduced elite level perks standard at popular reward programs, like room upgrades or late checkout! Add to that frequent promotions offering gift cards after a few stays, and there is a lot to like – at least at first glance! I purchased some of their point in the Daily Getaway to be able to try out their rewards program more quickly!
Choice Hotels is the number two in the budget battle with over 6,000 hotels and brands like Econolodge or Comfort Inn. They market their upscale hotels as “Ascend Collection”. Their rewards program made similar changes and introduced elite perks and more flexible reward options, including cash & points rates. They got my attention when they offered a status match to other chains, giving you a chance to try out their elite member treatment from the start! They also offer regular promotions with gift cards or points after every second stay, so you can earn rewards quickly.
Best Western is the “smallest” of the budget chains with still over 4,000 hotels worldwide. They overhauled their system and got rid of more than 1,000 of the worst hotels and differentiated their best properties as Best Western Plus or Premiere. Most recently they rolled out two new stylish brands, Vib and Glo, to catch the younger generation! They also got my attention with a status match to their top level and their participation in the Daily Getaway with a point sale, giving me a chance to try out their rewards program!
So, how is the Battle of the Budget Hotels going to work? I will compare the three chains from the Facts & Figures of the chains to the Brand Experience of the more than 30 brands among them. I will share my experience from the hotels and brands I tried out. I will look into the reward programs, how they work and my tips to make the most out of them! And I’ll report on their promotions and my success (or lack there off) with them!
- I will give you the facts & figures as a solid base
- I will compare the experience of the hotel brands , so you know which one you can trust.
- I will compare the reward programs, so you know which gives you the quickest rewards and the best perks.
- I will compare the promotions, so you know where your budget dollars should go!
And to keep it interesting, I will be giving away $25 gift cards for Wyndham Hotels for stays in the US in summer & fall 2016! The giveaway starts today – write a comment below by August 28th and you can win a gift card! Tell us: Which chain are you are most interested in? Which country do you want to visit next? What is your favorite elite member perk – upgrades, late check-outs, welcome gifts?
UPDATE: The Giveaway is now closed! I used random.org to choose the winner at random and MaryAnn won the first gift card – congratulations and safe travels! If you didn’t win, come back on Thursday, September 1st, to win another gift card with my post “How I saved over 50% at Wyndham Hotels”!
Sign up for our weekly newsletter Sunday Summary to get updates on the Battle of the Budget Hotels – there will be more chances to win gift cards over the next few weeks!
Giveaway Rules: Open Worldwide to ages 18+. Winner will be randomly selected from all comments made by August 28th, 2016 among the comments below, contacted by e-mail and will have 3 days to respond and claim prize.
The gift card has a value of USD25 and is valid for any reservations made by October 31st, 2016 at Wyndham Hotels in the US & Canada. Winner will receive full terms & conditions with the gift card.