For us and many others, vacation and travel include more than just the plane tickets. Some things you have to consider when planning your vacation is what hotel chains to use, the car rentals, the food. All of these things help us in making memories. Between Cheyenne’s taekwondo tournaments, training trips for work and all my travels I spent over 60 nights in hotels in 2017. When you travel that much, you start to have preferences with specific hotel chains. Using one or two hotel chains to book the majority of your stays helps with building up those point balances instead of spreading them thin at tons of locations leaving you too short to do any redemptions. Below are my three favorites.
MLIFE/MGM Grand Group
MLIFE/MGM is my favorite of all the hotel chains when traveling to Las Vegas. They have multiple resorts in Las Vegas such as Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Vdara, Aria, and others. Some people do prefer the Caesars program, but I have found that I prefer to stay with MLIFE due to the overall feel and experience at these hotels. The Caesars group has recently gone through bankruptcy so, some of the resorts are showing more wear and tear than the MLIFE casinos. The MLIFE hotel chain has a partnership with Southwest and Hyatt. You can provide your Southwest Airlines account number at check-in, and you will receive bonus points if you booked through them. Besides, you can submit your Hyatt account number, and you get points and stay credits towards their program on all purchases and your hotel rooms.
*** Pro Tip: When I eat at a handful of the resort restaurants or get show tickets, I make sure to bill them to the room to get the double bonus of Hyatt points along of MLIFE points.
Hyatt is one out of all the hotel chains I prefer for all my other travel. I love their rooms, and they have smaller point redemptions available. We have enjoyed many stays in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis areas from this great program and take advantage of their park and fly options. Sometimes the site will even allow you to use points to reserve the hotel but pay a small amount for parking before flying out. The only downside is it is a smaller hotel chain than some others, and there are not many Hyatt’s in Wisconsin which is where the next program comes in.
IHG is my secondary program. Most people will not recognize IHG, but they will know Holiday Inn. IHG owns multiple hotel groups including Holiday Inn which seem to be all around us. IHG almost always has some kind of program available for extra points. Sometimes it’s just as simple as 5,000 bonus points for your first stay, take advantage of these if you can.
Pro Tip: You always need to check your account before checking in as these programs do not have automatic enrollment and you have to sign up before checking in.
Other Hotel Chains Tips
We do use other hotel chains at times depending on the trip or vacation but prefer to stay with these three if possible. We do like the Disney resorts or some of the specific Cancun resorts that do not fit into a ‘rewards program’ when visiting those locations. Mostly due to location and proximity to what we are doing. For us, the reward points aren’t worth the extra travel time to and from places and free transportation/parking benefits we get at the other hotel chains.
My recommendation is to focus on a small handful of hotels when you start out, and always try booking there. But don’t get so caught up in using that hotel chain that you don’t take advantage of other factors including convenience, location and other hotel chain deals.