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Save money on your next trip and help the hotel industry at the same time

April 11, 2020
4 min read
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It's no secret that the travel industry is hurting right now — from major hotel brands and airlines to small tour operators and rental property owners. The government did sign a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, billions of which go toward helping travel companies pay employees' salaries.

But in a statement to USA Today, the American Hotel and Lodging Association cited a limitation in to how these funds will help individual hotels. There is a provision that limits a Small Business Administration loan to 250% of the average monthly payroll, which according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, "will not allow a business owner to meet both payroll and debt service obligations beyond an estimated four to eight weeks."

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A few different campaigns to help the hotel industry have popped up over the past few weeks, including a few similar programs that help out travelers in the long-term, too.

Buy Now, Stay Later hotel "gift cards"

The Buy Now, Stay Later initiative is an industrywide program for independent hotels worldwide. Travelers purchase hotel bonds now in increments of $100. After at least 60 days, you can then book a stay at a $150 value for every $100 spent. Essentially, you're giving the hotel a short-term loan, and in return, you're getting added value on your future booking as interest, of sorts.

The initiative is meant to help hotels support their staff and prevent layoffs. The program does have a website that lists out the current participating hotels, but you purchase your bond directly through the hotel — not through a third-party.

Right now, the list of participating hotels is limited, with several new additions coming soon. But among the initial participants are notable locations, including LondonHouse Chicago, part of Hilton's Curio Collection. The Buy Now, Stay Later website does have a form for interested hotel owners to request more information about joining the initiative.

Related reading: What you can do to give back during the coronavirus outbreak

Porter & Sail "Hotel Credits"

The travel app Porter & Sail has launched a new online Hotel Credit store. It's essentially a gift card that you're purchasing at a discount to use for hotel stays later. Within 24-72 hours from purchase, you'll receive a digital voucher that you can use directly with the hotel at a later date (though you will have to book over the phone since it is a special deal).

Related reading: 30 essential travel apps every traveler should download

The current list of participating hotels is a bit more extensive than the Buy Now, Pay Later program, but it's still on the small side. There are some great options, though, including Akyra Thonglor Bangkok (which is part of the Hyatt partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World).

You can purchase these hotel credits at varying rates per hotel. For example, the Akyra Thonglor Bangkok is offering a $300 hotel credit for $200, or a $150 credit for $120. The hotel credits can be used for booking rooms, dining at eligible on-site restaurants and occasionally even for shopping at some property facilities.

Each participating hotel offers its own set of terms and conditions for the credits, including expiration dates. So far, all of the credits are valid through at least the end of 2021.

You do pay for the hotel credits through Porter & Sail (which may affect how the purchase codes on your statement), but all proceeds go to the hotels to keep staff employed. Porter & Sail is not taking any fees.

Related reading: You can support coronavirus relief efforts — and earn points and miles

Bottom line

While no one should be traveling right now unless absolutely necessary, many of us travel enthusiasts have already started looking ahead to where we might go once travel safely resumes. These programs offer a way for you to both help independent hotels continue paying their staff while also saving money on a trip down the line.

Featured image by Photo courtesy of the Akrya Thonglor Bangkok.

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases