What You Need to Know About Sonesta Travel Pass Loyalty Program What You Need to Know About Sonesta Travel Pass Loyalty Program

What You Need to Know About Sonesta Travel Pass Loyalty Program

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If you're not already familiar with Sonesta Hotels, you're not alone. The hotel company burst onto the scene in just the past few years. In that time, it quickly grew from a small collection of 100 hotels to over 1,200 properties now.

So, it seems it's time to learn a new loyalty program!

The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel Seattle
The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel Seattle

Intro to the Sonesta Travel Pass Program

With so many new Sonesta Hotels now across the U.S., it seems like it's time to learn a new loyalty program. At first glance, Sonesta Travel Pass shares some similarities with IHG's One Rewards program.

Here are some of the basics:

  • Join for free by signing up here. Note that Sonesta is one of several loyalty programs currently offering new member bonus points.
  • Earn up to 10 points per dollar spent on qualifying room rates.
  • Redeem points online or over the phone for a free night for 10,000 to 50,000 points per night. Sonesta divides its properties between 11 award tiers.
  • Save 5% off the standard rate at all participating hotels worldwide when booking direct.
  • Earn Sonesta elite status after completing as few as six nights, or top-tier status after only 12 nights.
  • Match your other hotel status to receive elevated elite benefits starting on your first stay.

Overall, Sonesta now offers hotels ranging from full-service (former InterContinental Hotels) to extended-stay properties (former Candlewood Suites). This makes it a viable option for travelers who are traveling to markets it serves. Plus, with the ability to earn top-tier status after only 12 nights, the route from zero to top-tier elite is much shorter compared to other hotel brands.

Perhaps the one major downfall of the program (besides its small footprint) is its inaccessibility. Unlike IHG, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, or Choice, Sonesta isn't a transfer partner with any major bank currency. This means that to earn Travel Pass points, you either have to stay regularly at its hotels or apply for and use the Sonesta World Mastercard®.

Sonesta Rebrands Over 200 Former IHG and Marriott Properties

In December 2020 and January 2021, over 200 hotels rebranded from IHG or Marriott to Sonesta.

How'd that happen? Well, hotel brands don't typically own most of their hotels. Instead, hotel owners decided which hotel brand (and thus loyalty program) they want to partner with. In this case, the REIT Service Properties Trust — known commonly as ‘SVC' — owns 329 hotels. These were diversified between brands like Hyatt, IHG, Radisson, Marriott, Wyndham, and Sonesta.

But, as part of its contracts, SVC has the right to terminate its contract when a hotel brand can't make its payments. This is exactly what has happened with 225 properties operated by IHG and Marriott.

In August 2020, SVC announced that it planned to rebrand all 103 of its IHG properties as Sonesta Hotels. This came as a direct result of IHG defaulting on its payments. The termination became official at the end of November 2020.

In October 2020, SVC announced a similar fate for its 122 properties previously operated by Marriott. Of these hotels, SVC plans to rebrand 98 as Sonesta Hotels and simply sell the remaining 24. The effective date of the termination is January 31, 2021.

Sonesta Simply Suites Phoenix Glendale
Sonesta Simply Suites Phoenix Glendale

Bottom Line

Sonesta's footprint is growing at an impressive rate, adding over 1,100 new hotels to the Sonesta flag in under a year. With so many new options in cities across the U.S., now is a good time to start familiarizing yourself with its loyalty program.

Have you stayed at Sonesta Hotel yet?

4.7 / 5 - (6 votes)
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  • Jutta Doetzel says:

    I am living in Germany. Can I join the Travel Pass?

  • My introduction was staying at a previous Marriott. In comparison: they did not introduce or push travel pass program. Rooms remained the same in decor. Amenities were sadlly lacking. Towels were poor condition and minimal. Women need a second towel for their hair. Requested more towels and quickly received them – much better quality towels. Room was clean and interactions with staff pleasant. We already booked a multi-family trip without knowledge of rewards program and fear we have missed out. Always believe in a second chance. Hopefully Sonesta rises to the challenge of maintaining the bars of other operators that were before them – I believe that will further that word of mouth and brand loyalty.

  • Leandro Rozen says:

    I think that the Sonesta hotel chain is one of the best in terms of service. It is good that promotions after the pandemic that I hope ends soon.

  • It will be interesting to see how Sonesta develops as s chain, but at the moment they have too small a footprint for me to pay much attention to them.

  • hopefully there will be a chance to test, finally

  • Will they further enhance their program beyond earning points from and redeeming points on hotel stays?

  • Are they linked with any of thr frequent flyer programs?

  • Sonesta brand hotels are my new favorite hotel chain. They recently bought out the local holiday Inn near Disney and its an amazing hotel experience, I highly recommend booking your next stay at a Sonesta hotel.

  • I have not heard of this hotel brand so really appreciate this writeup. Can’t wait to do research now – to see if I can find one of these hotels on routes I go – so I can try them out and potentially become a member. Earning elite status sounds appealing.

  • Sonesta is a smaller chain, ive been keeping it on my radar as it grows.

  • The issue with Sonesta is that they are buying a lot of crappy hotels and rebranding, but not making any changes.

  • A hotel chain which is expanding is very welcomed.
    Hope to see more competition.

  • Alessandra says:

    The growth of the hotel chain is quite significant and with the new loyalty program offering 8,000 bonus points per stay in the USA and Canada this summer it looks like a great opportunity.

  • I see, the pandemic has brought about the rise of this chain.

  • It’s a solid enough offer. Discovered Sonesta about 15 years ago in Panamá and Colombia. Really enjoyed the properties. Then the program was useless as points were not awarded at International hotels. It’s a sleeper.

  • Hotel chains are focused on captured guest again!! Smart movement!!

  • Great step in the right direction of customer service for Sonesta. Good move there!

  • I’ve seen a few hotels (former Marriott and IHG) here in Florida and up north in Atlanta which rebranded to Sonesta. I’d heard a tiny bit about the chain some months back here on Awardwallet when they big brands didn’t pay their bills, but now that they’re experiencing high growth, it can’t hurt to join their loyalty program just to put the feather in the cap and keep my options open on future travels.

  • Sonesta Hotels are fine. Sonesta chain? I wish they were better. What a pain. Be aware if you want to search hotels on their website, you have to price them ONE AT A TIME. You can’t just get all their hotels in an area and prices for dates like every other chain. Phone app? Not yet. Have a lot of points and want to book online? Nope. Fill in a form and submit and hope it is accepted. What? It’s 2021. They added lots of hotels. I have points, I like their hotels in areas I need hotels. But such a pain I think I give up. All other chains make it easy to compare within the chain in an area, and have an app, and let you book online with your points any hour of the day instantly if rooms are available. So FYI before you get as involved with them as I did. I have to imagine this will change. But not so yet. That you are a travel site and you don’t mention these limitations stuns me. Suggests you have never tried to book anything even to see how they work.

    • Indeed, we haven’t had as much experience with Sonesta as you have! It’s been a very small program, so we are just getting to know it now that it’s expanding. If you want to warn other travelers, feel free to review Sonesta Travel Pass here: https://awardwallet.com/r/Sonesta-Travel-Pass

      • I completely understand. But you don’t need to spend or book to try their site. Pick a major area. San Jose, CA. SF. Try to price. Of course you would never ever expect that based on other chains and pricing. For using your points I could directly send you images. Can you think of any other chain where you essentially email them to use your points?! If they don’t have an App that’s not a great sign either. Put together? It’s like going back in time (a flip phone and no touch screen might be the analogy). 🙂

        I am sure they will get better. Until then I just can’t bother. I had to price two of their hotels for a stay last night, one at a time, and one at a time for my potential dates therefore, and memorize comparisons? Nah. We frequent travelers (I pretty much live in hotels) don’t have the time for drudgery like that. 🙂

  • I have never stayed at a Sonesta Hotel. When traveling to a destination I’ll check website for Hyatt, Hilton, and IHG. I would not waste a credit card application for a Sonesta credit card.

  • One of my previous go-to Candlewood suites has been rebranded as a Sonesta. Since I’m traveling for work these days, I’ve been staying at the Hyatt Place in that area (which is in danger of being re-branded also!) This might be an good time to try out the Sonesta brand.

  • Wow! That chain is growing very quickly! However, you have to spend a lot to get value out of the program it seems. If you earn 10 points per dollar and the cheapest redemption is 10,000 points, you have to spend $1,000 minimum to have any ability to redeem points for the most basic property.

  • I just learned about Sonesta… competition is good for the consumer so I’ll take this as a win!! Will have to see how good the value really is.

    The world mastercard looks promising.

  • This is a fascinating evolution. It reminds me of when legacy airlines were in trouble and Southwest swooped in and boomed gobbling up share. It’d be great to see some more chain-sized competition.

    • I think that’s a great analogy. Sonesta is seizing what they perceive to be an opportunity, when existing players are certainly struggling and desperate to various degrees. The same thing will happen in many industries, producing winners and losers. At some point, hopefully very soon, it will actually be a rather great time to open a restaurant, since the competition herd has been dramatically thinned.

  • Well, at least the pandemic has created some opportunity for some.

  • Well its always nice to learn about something new. I guess I will have to look at this growing hotel company. You’re right I have not heard about Sonesta before. I would bet they made sure to hit the big cities? New York, LA, San Fran? Have ya’ll stayed at one?

  • As others have stated, I have never stayed at a Sonesta property, am troubled by both IHG and Marriott’s having defaulted on their debt service, and think Sonesta needs to offer a more compelling awards plan. Nonetheless, there’s no downside to enrolling, and I appreciate this informative article.

  • It will be a long road ahead for Sonesta to develop its loyalty program.

  • Not familiar with the Sonesta brand at all. More importantly to me though, it seems concerning that both IHG and Marriott are defaulting on payments.

  • Didn’t think we’d see the rise of a new, massive hotel chain in 2020. It’ll be interesting to see if Sonesta decides to really complete with the big players.

  • I’ve never stayed at a Sonesta hotel. Obviously we know that these hotels are based on their previous IHG levels, but anyone with experience with the company themselves?

  • Thanks! This overview arrives right on time as I was planning to look into this program after the recent property expansion. Do you know if they ever offer signup bonuses for joining the program? Even a few points would be a nice kickoff.

  • With that big addition in the US they are really becoming a player. Will certainly be worth a look.

  • I’m always open to a new hotel program but I don’t see any real benefits to joining the program at this time. It does remind me of the IHG program, and for good reason as a lot of the hotels seem to be previously branded Candlewood Suites and even a Kimpton or two. They need to sweeten the deal to get people to change their stays.

  • Great to see Sonesta is a growing brand. I’ve enjoyed my experiences there.

  • This is interesting, I was not previously familiar with Sonesta. I am looking forward to learning more about them this year.