Stash Hotel Rewards is a new loyalty points program created for travelers who want the boutique hotel experience, but also realize the value in accruing points. As a road warrior, I certainly understand the concept of this program: offer high quality, unique service to a population of people who are sick of cookie cutter hotels and also give them the power of earning points that can be used for a show-stopping personal vacation. Additionally, Stash’ redemption scale is simple and based on the revenue price of the room, so rooms during peak times will cost more points than off-peak rooms. This is nice for people who redeem their points for off-peak times or cheaper hotels, but may be a negative for people, like me, who redeem in advance for prime holidays and premier rooms. However, Stash points can be used whenever any room is available for sale, whereas m0st hotel loyalty programs allow for “anytime” redemptions on standard rooms so hotels can manipulate room inventory so no “standard” rooms are available for redemption.
Earn 5 points per dollar spent on eligible room rates. Points never expire and can be earned on two rooms per night
Depends on the going rate of the room you want to book, but generally points are valued at 1 cent each, so a $200 room is about 20,000 Stash points.
So what’s a better deal- Stash or one of the chains? It all depends.
Lets do an example:
John stays in New York 10 times a year for two nights each at $250/night hotels.
-If he stays at On the Ave (a Stash Hotel), he will earn (5,000*5) 25,000 Stash points.
-If he stays at the Sheraton Times Square and is a base Starwood member, he will earn (2*5,000) 10,000 Starwood points.
25,000 Stash points will get a free night at a $250/night hotel, ostensibly the same hotel- On the Ave in NYC. 10,000 Starwood points will also get a free night at three Manhattan hotels, but not the Sheraton which is 12,000 a night, so its pretty close in this scenario, but I’d give the edge to Stash. Where Starwood becomes a clear winner is redeeming for international awards (where Stash has no hotels outside of North America) and if you have Starwood elite status, which John would have gotten after his 10th stay, and as an SPG American Express Cardholder. If he was a Platinum and chose a 500 point platinum amenity each stay and used his SPG Amex, he would have gotten (10*500 Plat Amenity + 5,000*3 Elite status bonus+ 5,000 *2 SPG Amex)= 30,000 points withoutany other promotions , which is enough for a free night at the often $800+ night St. Regis (with the current 2x/3x promotion he would have gotten an additional 10,000 points). Additionally, Starwood gives the flexibility of transferring to 20+ airlines and also redeeming for cash+points, flights and other merchandise and experiences.
While Stash may not currently have the breadth or infrastructure of the major hotel programs, I’m really impressed with what they’ve done in the first 6 months of operation and I’m confident they will gain momentum as more people realize they can earn points for unique, high quality hotel stays. That being said, Stash needs to step up to the plate if they want to garner true road warrior business. Specifically, I’d like to see:
1) Elite status- reward those who stay the most- not only with enhanced points, but also upgradesand/or perks like free internet and breakfast
2) Offer some blockbuster promotions, like Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights after two stays
3) Start building your international portfolio. The last place a lot of US road warriors want to use their points is in the US
4) More redemption options, including suite upgrades, airline miles and partial cash/points stays
Overall, Stash is basically a 5% rebate on boutique hotel stays. I plan to use Stash for my overflow stays- when I’ve achieved my elite status and I’m looking for a unique experience, or for special events. Even if you don’t have any upcoming Stash stays, at the rate they are going, there’s a good chance a future hotel of yours could join the program. I recommend signing up for a Stash Rewards account because they’re free and they are currently offering 500 bonus points for Points Guy readers if you sign up using this link.
See below for a list of their 100 properties and click here for a recent NY Times write-up.
British Columbia, Canada
The Orlando – Fall 2010
Larkspur Hotel Union Sqaure – Fall 2010 NEW The Inn at Union Square Villa Florence – Fall 2010 NEW
South Lake Tahoe
District of Columbia
Little Torch Key
Santa Rosa Beach
RiverPlace – Fall 2010 NEW
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