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If you're not already familiar with Sonesta hotels, you're not alone. Its small size meant that until now, the brand relied on a smattering of popular properties for its success. But, Sonesta's small size is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
In under a year, Sonesta will grow from under 100 hotels to nearly 1,200 by acquiring Red Lion Hotels and former IHG and Marriott hotels. So, it seems it's time to learn a new loyalty program!
To help spread the word, Sonesta is also offering a promotion for loyalty members at its new hotels. For a limited time, Sonesta Travel Pass members can earn 2,500 bonus points per stay at over 100 recently re-branded properties.
Let's take a look at Sonesta's Travel Pass program to see if it and this promotion are worth a deeper look.
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. Unfortunately, the reason for this is a common one among travel companies the further we get into the pandemic: poor cash flow.
Hotel brands don't typically own all of their hotels. Most of the time, they lease them from the actual owners, which could include the REIT Service Properties Trust. Known commonly as ‘SVC' (its NASDAQ symbol), Service Properties Trust currently owns 329 hotels, which were split between brands like Hyatt, IHG, Radisson, Marriott, Wyndham, and Sonesta as a means of diversification.
But, as part of its contracts, SVC has the right to terminate its lease 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.
Intro to the Sonesta Travel Pass Program
With so many new Sonesta Hotels popping up 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 Rewards Club Program.
Here are some of the basics:
- Join for free by signing up here.
- 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 Sonesta hotels worldwide when booking direct.
- Earn Sonesta elite status after completing as few as 6 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 Sonesta points, you either have to stay regularly at its hotels or apply for and use the Sonesta World Mastercard®.
Earn 2,500 Bonus Sonesta Points Per Stay
To invite members to check out its new properties, Sonesta is running a promotion to make stays more rewarding.
- Complete a stay at any of the qualifying properties and receive 2,500 bonus points.
- You must book a Sonesta Travel Pass member rate and complete your stay by May 31, 2021.
- To qualify, you must use the promo code TPMEM when booking.
- Allow up to two weeks for points to post after completing a qualifying stay.
- Sonesta awards a maximum of 100,000 points per stay, including standard and promotional points.
Interestingly, the terms and conditions don't include the typical verbiage excluding back-to-back stays. This suggests that it may be possible to receive the bonus multiple times for stays longer than one night.
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 Sonesta's loyalty program.
Sonesta's promotion offering 2,500 bonus points per stay is intriguing, but not overly so. With free nights starting at 10,000 points, members would need to complete at least three stays with a nightly rate of $100 or more to earn a free night at the cheapest hotel. However, if you're considering where to stay, it's a nice little bonus in a program we are likely to hear a lot more about in the next few months.
Have you stayed at Sonesta Hotel yet?
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