MMG WEEKLY – MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY

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5 Things You Must Know About Hotel Rewards Programs
The perks you get can be more valuable than those from the airlines.
By Miriam Cross, Kiplinger.com1. Make yourself comfortable. Sign up online and you’ll be entitled immediately to such perks as free in-room Wi-Fi, mobile check-in and discounts when you book directly, plus fun freebies such as Kimpton’s $10 Raid the Bar credit. Earning elite status is easy compared with airline programs. “Many people overlook the fact that they spend more time in their hotel, and maybe even spend more on the hotel, than they ever would on a flight,” says Scott Mackenzie, editor of TravelCodex.com.

2. Keep it in the family. The more points you rack up at hotels under a company’s umbrella, the more benefits you’ll get, such as free nights, room upgrades, late check-out and breakfast. Hilton, Marriott and IHG (which includes InterContinental and Holiday Inn hotels) each have more than 4,000 properties around the world, so they offer many choices. But smaller hotel chains, such as Starwood and Hyatt, work hard to woo customers. For example, Hyatt will upgrade Diamond members to a suite four times per year, for up to seven consecutive nights each time.

3. Pick your plastic carefully. A travel rewards credit card that earns points you can use at multiple hotel chains helps you stay flexible. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card ($95 a year, waived the first year) earns two points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel, plus 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. You can transfer points at full value to the card’s partners, such as IHG, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. Cards that are part of the American Express Membership Rewards program, such as the no-fee EveryDay card, will also let you put your points toward a number of hotel programs. Co-branded hotel credit cards are not usually as rewarding, but they offer some benefits. For example, the IHG Rewards Club Select card treats you to a free night’s stay at any IHG property each year, which more than makes up for the card’s $49 annual fee.

4. Spend your stash. John Ollila, founder of LoyaltyLobby.com, recommends using your points within 12 months of earning them. To get the most bang for your buck, book early for a stay during high season. Hotels regularly roll out promotions for bonus points (and sometimes free nights); register for the promotion as soon as it is announced because the registration period may end before the promotion does, says Mackenzie. Keep abreast of deals by following travel-rewards blogs, such as Loyalty Lobby and ThePointsGuy.com, and always book with the hotel, not with online travel agencies, to be sure you collect your points.

5. Don’t lose out in a merger. Changes to some rewards programs may be in the offing. Starwood has been acquired by Marriott, and Kimpton has been sold to IHG. Kimpton’s program remains independent in 2016, and Starwood members probably won’t hear of changes until mid 2016. Still, members should use their points instead of hoarding them and look for opportunities to get preference at other chains (Hyatt, for example, recently offered equivalent status to high-level Starwood members). Marriott and IHG members should benefit with a wider range of stylish properties from which to choose.

Economic Calendar for the Week of May 30 – June 03

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Tue. May 31
08:30
Personal Income
Apr
NA
0.4%
Moderate
Tue. May 31
08:30
Personal Spending
Apr
NA
0.1%
Moderate
Tue. May 31
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Apr
NA
0.1%
HIGH
Tue. May 31
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Y-o-Y
NA
1.6%
HIGH
Tue. May 31
09:00
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index
Mar
NA
5.4%
Moderate
Tue. May 31
09:45
Chicago PMI
May
NA
50.4
HIGH
Tue. May 31
10:00
Consumer Confidence
May
NA
94.2
Moderate
Wed. June 01
10:00
ISM Index
May
NA
50.8
HIGH
Thu. June 02
08:15
ADP National Employment Report
May
NA
156K
HIGH
Thu. June 02
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
5/28
NA
NA
Moderate
Fri. June 03
08:30
Non-farm Payrolls
May
NA
160K
HIGH
Fri. June 03
08:30
Unemployment Rate
May
NA
5.0%
HIGH
Fri. June 03
08:30
Average Work Week
May
NA
34.5
HIGH
Fri. June 03
08:30
Hourly Earnings
May
NA
0.3%
HIGH
Fri. June 03
10:00
ISM Services Index
May
NA
55.7
Moderate

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.

Mortgage Market Guide, LLC is the copyright owner or licensee of the content and/or information in this email, unless otherwise indicated. Mortgage Market Guide, LLC does not grant to you a license to any content, features or materials in this email. You may not distribute, download, or save a copy of any of the content or screens except as otherwise provided in our Terms and Conditions of Membership, for any purpose. The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.

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