American Inn & Suites Thinks They Have The Best Loyalty Program

Filed Under: Hotels

Scott Mayerowitz inspired me on Thursday night. He told me he was tired of my first class reviews and that I need to do a week of travel through middle America on low cost carriers with stays at motels inbetween.

While perhaps not a motel, he did specifically mention the American Inn & Suites in Tooele, Utah, as it does have a (fascinating) loyalty program.


They have the Loyalty Dollars Program, and they believe their rewards program is “second to none.”

For each night you stay at a single occupancy rate of at least $96 you receive your choice between a:

  • $5 Cabela’s gift card
  • $5 Home Depot gift card
  • $5 Wal-Mart gift card


The best part is how they justify how damn awesome their program is:

We strongly encourage you to compare our reward program to any of our competitors.

According to our calculations, they will offer you points worth only about $1.00 per night, or .10 cents on the dollar. Even when they offer double or triple promotions Our “Loyalty Dollars” are still dramatically higher!

They might want to check their calculator. If competitors are offering an average of $1 per night of rewards and that equates to 0.1 cents on the dollar, they’re competing with $1,000 per night hotels!

In fairness, Tooele is a competitive hotel market — there’s a Comfort Inn, Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, and Motor Inn.

It is fascinating that they seem to be suggesting that IHG Rewards Club and Hilton HHonors offer a return of ~1% on hotel spend. While neither points currency is my favorite, I do value them a lot more than that.

But still, kudos to them on a unique loyalty program. I bet a lot of business travelers are excited about the fact that they have a $25 Wal-Mart gift card at the end of a week-long stay that the company paid for.

While I’ll have more details of my “plan” soon, would you be interested in reading about a week of low cost carriers and motels?

(Tip of the hat to Scott Mayerowitz)

  1. To be honest, no. It may be fun to read, but not very useful. I’d rather read an Avianca, Copa, South African or Air China review and a new destination (Cape Town, Mauritius, Lima, Moskow…).
    Actually, you could publish your trips to Portugal and Iceland! 🙂

  2. I definitely look forward to you ‘budget’ week! There are countless reviews of the major carriers/chains, but a lot of America prefers the smaller guys. For example, there aren’t any Starwoods or Hyatts in Bellingham, WA so I stayed at a Best Western Plus there a few months back and was quite impressed. The hotel room feels like a room in someone’s house. Free breakfast, free internet, clean room, good bed, short walk to my car, and no real need for Elite status. Moreoever, I flew Southwest (with companion pass) to get there. IMO, no need for extra-legroom seats since the 32″ pitch on slimline seats is pretty good. Early boarding if you want it for $12.50. Free checked bags. Better snack service than AA/UA/DL. Far less surly flight attendants.

    It’s kind of funny that a lot of the things that you need Platinum/Diamond for at the major chains/carriers are just given away for free at the small chains/LCCs.

  3. Yes!! Make it a budget travel YEAR! Nothing but LCCs and budget hotel/motels! Think of the reviews! Let’s DO this!

  4. I would love to see a TR a far away destination, like Vladivostok, Kashi/Kashgar, Iqaluit, Adak Island/Alaska, Tasmania etc.

    THAT would be awesome!

  5. To be honest, that sounds like an abundance of hotels for Tooele and the “aggressive” marketing pitch – you’d have to be there on business (likely for the Army). Anyone just passing through on I-80 would be well served to keep driving 20 minutes further east to Salt Lake City and suburbs where there are plenty of low-cost, well-run hotels. One of the best mid-range hotels I’ve ever stayed in was $99/night (The Little America) and its fancier neighbor is right next door (The Grand America). Then you’ve got your national chains to pick from. I know you’re no DL fan, but if you’re ever stuck in SLC, at least you’ll have a choice of decent hotels and could always hit up Park City for “ritzier” hotels.

  6. Last year we stayed at two budget hotels: The Embassy Suites in Lompoc and the Candlewood Suites in the Tuscaloosa and both were really nice. At the Embassy Suites they had a happy hour and a really talented breakfast chef, where the foods was much more consistent than many 5* hotels.

    Kind of made me rethink the whole luxury approach I’ve been taking with hotels.

  7. Definitely less luxury reviews please. I mean how many Park Hyatt or Lufthansa first class reviews can one digest, no matter how “aspirational” they are? There is reader’s fatigue for sure.

  8. I stay at low-cost hotels (Holiday Inn Express is “high end” for me; try Red Roof Inn sometime) so I don’t *need* any information on these places but I’d sure be interested in reading your reviews for a very different viewpoint.

  9. Absolutely, and kudos for doing so. Aspirational travel is just that – aspirational. It really doesn’t reflect the vast amount of travel that road warriors grind out each night, each week, and each flight. If I’m typical of that profile, I’ll typically fly 80-90 flights each year domestic short and medium haul flights in single or 2 class cabin aircraft with a luxury being able to snag the an exit row seat. I’ll spend 130-150 nights in hotels each year, have 20-25 car rentals, and park my car in the same row at the airport each week. And while almost everything is reimbursed, I’ll mostly stay in mid-range and limited service hotels because they offer free Wi-Fi and some manner of free breakfast each morning. I’ll add a couple of extended stay brands in the mix because they offer a free “light dinner and reception” some evenings, and every now and then I use the corporate rate to move upstream (e.g., a Hyatt Regency). I’ll earn points, miles, credits, etc. for all of this, have mid-tier and upper tier elite status at 2-3 hotel chains, and some status on 1 or 2 airlines but never enough to consistently score upgrades in 2 cabin aircraft.

    Ben what I enjoy and value about your blog are the tips and strategies for point/mile maximization, and less the “aspirational” international travel content. I think those of your readers that are middle aged, think of aspirational travel as maybe something to Europe (think London, Rome, or Paris), or domestically to Hawaii (never seen anything from you about there), or a vacation to Florida (think Gulf, Atlantic, or Orlando) and maybe Vegas. But what has been missing from the blog has been content about all the travel and journeys that happen in between the aspirational adventures. So yes, time to mingle with the commoners Ben.

  10. Yes, that would be great! I still really like your other reviews but this would be cool. Another thing that was also already mentioned above would be some more not so common carriers (South African, Egypt Air, Aerolineas Argentinas, Kuwait Airways etc.) and some new destinations. Anyway, its your choice and I still really enjoy your blog!

  11. Yes, you should only be allowed to fly spirit and allegiant and stay in motel 6’s. Being a big fancy pants blogger has gotten you out of touch with the common man.

    P.S. Publish your back trip reports. It does us no good for you to review something if by the time you get around to publishing it we have already flown them ourselves.

  12. “would you be interested in reading about a week of low cost carriers and motels?”

    Heck NO. Why would we want reviews of, as the commenters above point out, the same type of places we already stay at normally? That would be as useful as you coming to my house and reviewing that. I already live here, I don’t need a review. If I do need a review of a HIE or a Hampton, Trip Advisor has plenty of reviews of the specific location I’m thinking of using.

    It’s when I’m thinking of spending tons of hard earned miles/points on so called “aspirational” (sic) leisure travel that this blog is essential reading. We’re flying SQ Suites to Asia this winter, and LH FC departing thru the FCT next summer, and probably wouldn’t have done either or those without your trip reports.

    So I’m with Carlos, waiting for your trip reports to Portugal and Iceland, both of which somewhat intrigue me, but neither of which I know enough about to place on my bucket list at the moment.

  13. Yes!!!
    You might have a better perspective on how to advise some of us who need to think carefully about the extra benefits we are receiving in exchange for a high point redemption.

  14. Since you are living in hotels full-time……are you always in a Park Hyatt type of property? I’m guessing you aren’t, so tell us what’s in between the trip reports. Is it Hilton Garden Inn or Sheraton? The lowly chains have just as many promotions as the higher status chains do. I see 2 or 3 nights earn a free night all the time. So there is a way, to stay for free in the lower priced properties, as well.

  15. I’d be interested in seeing it – however I have a sinking feeling that it will come off sounding whiny, elitist, and condescending to the way that 99% of people travel.

    But i enjoy a good train wreck as much as the next guy

  16. In my case, I’ve seen the Ritz downtown have a corporate rate of $204 and the Courtyard Marriott near the client have a rate of $214. I’ve tried to book a rental car and seen standard, midsize and premium be all the exact same price.

    I’m not sure you all are working the system nearly as well as you could.

  17. Heck yeah!
    Do a week or so with not only LCCs, but also transatlantic/transpacific Y travel.
    LH would be fun to check in Transatlantic as you’ve flown them so much in F and given that their Y service isn’t really as good as SQ and QR, as opposed the comparison between F in LH and SQ/QR.

    Definitely do that!

  18. Your forte is how to achieve the aspirational travels (as well as entertaining, intelligent writing with perfect grammar!). I have had a fantastic year of travel due almost exclusively to the information I gleaned from this blog. However, a combo of aspirational and more mundane travel would be an interesting counterpoint. Maybe even a trip on Amtrak? Another use of UR points : )

  19. Hi Lucky,
    What he probably meant is to start reviewing more business class, and less first class…
    A lot of your readers go for product reviews, and those like me who fly for business, are more interested in business class reviews …

    What i would like to see ::
    – United BusinessFirst review (Tons of NonStop for business travelers)
    – AirFrance Business Class
    – British Airways Business class review (Very important for business travelers, BA 1 doesn’t count)
    – Emirates A380/777 Business Class Review
    – Qatar Airways 777 Business Class Review

    This will help you get more traffic for many people who are looking for a review and are flying for business. Still can’t believe not a single BA or EK or UA business class review, while there are 10 LH first class ….

  20. I say make it a month of travel only by car, bus and train. If you are driving as little interstate highway as possible. I’ll be happy plan where you are going….think national parks in the US and Canada.

  21. Ben,

    I think it’s a must do.. At least just for relativity purposes. Let’s say a month or so should do the trick. I really feel that you will find a few “diamonds in the rough” within this sector. Which would be tremendously useful for some of us. Plus, it will keep you grounded (not saying that your not…but you know what I mean)

  22. No. A review of a Motel 6? Of a flight on Spirit? What is the point of this? We all know what that is like. It’s like asking a food/restaurant blogger to review Golden Corral or a can of Chef Boyardee.

    There are plenty of bloggers covering budget travel. You don’t need to be dipping your toe into that slimy pool.

    I am fortunate to be able to travel for work in BA’s Club World or Delta’s Businesselite. I find your trip reports of premium cabins to be entertaining and informative. This is your niche. Why change it when you could instead try the premium cabins of some of the more obscure, though potentially more economical, airlines like EgyptAir, Hainan, Air India, Aeroflot or Vietnam? Carriers like these tend to have relatively modest business class fares, thus making them potentially worthwhile options for many. And truly objective trip reports of these airlines are almost nonexistent.

    So stick with the premium international travel. Just diversify your airlines a bit.

  23. As amusing as it would be to read, I don’t really need reviews of a Hampton Inn or a Holiday Inn Express. I’ve stayed there, I’ve eaten the free breakfast. Yum. I’ve also flown my fair share of crap airlines when there wasn’t another option.

    The thing I can’t do is all the luxury stuff you do. Yes, I do some – paid for by work – but whether or not it’s aspirational, or overkill, or six of one… reading all the A380 first class reviews is amazing. And hearing about the best hotels in the world is great too. For when I get there.

  24. lucky — at first I was like who is this idiot scott and why are you taking him so seriously as to switch up your whole game as far as this blog goes. but you know what, I then realized ppl like robert hanson are dumbasses and contrary to the objective of *just reviewing* LCCs and motels — I think this is fertile grounds for hilarity to ensue. I can already imagine all the shenanigans, you being you, will get upto when mixed in with the unwashed masses. the ‘commoners’ are always ripe for some pure comedy gold. this is the perfect formula for more of what we actually want from this blog: entertainment 😀

    so thinking about it from that perspective, I could care less about the actual reviews — but from a periphery view I can almost guarantee you’ll run into a lotta interesting and fun situations, that only you as a comedic writer can properly capture for our entertainment! in short: DO IT. but please dont bother with writing about the mundane.

    OTOH, I agree with ppl like EC — that you need to perhaps do a RTW in Y. esp in carriers renowned for good primo cabins, but those that dont nearly have as good service/experiences in Y. now that would be something, and I believe you’ll have come full circle as far as this blog and you personally go. I would even be intently keen and interested in reading the actual reviews and how you maneuver your way thru the best and worst of what Y has to offer around the world, after being accustomed to the high life over the last 6-8 yrs. I believe a lotta comedy gems could be found in such an experience. it would be a such a cool and fun challenge, if you can get thru it, I’d be the first to give you mad props. I think your goal should be to try every form of transportation at every level. I mean whats the point of reviewing the same cabin or the same seat config week in and week out? I’m sure even you want some new experiences and we sure would like to read about your perspectives if it indeed turns out to be a fun experiment and/or lands you in hilarious situations aka comedy heaven lol.

    short of that, I agree with wendy, meegabroad — considering the title of your blog, the slowest forms of transportation are as literal as it gets to one mile at a time. if you can gather the energy, I’d love to read about your road trip adventures cross country or cross (north american) continent. throw in some walking, driving, buses (greyhound), trains (amtrak) — and that’d be a series I’d follow, no matter how long it takes you to publish it all. cause I know the potential for the hilarity quotient is gonna be sky high putting you in any given situation. and of course we can count on you to recap it without ever having the feeling of ‘you just needed to be there to get it.’

  25. I think a review of low-cost hotels is a great idea. I stayed at a nice interstate LaQuinta this summer on our way to a luxury hotel and it was free because years ago I took a moment to join their rewards program and then they had some Facebook promo that gave me enough points for a night.

    Sometimes I just want to pull into a clean place with a comp breakfast along the highway and it’s nice when it’s free.

  26. Lucky, I enjoy the first class travel reviews. Those are the destinations and products I aspire to visit and experience with points & miles.

    If people want low budget travel reviews then they should read Frugal Traveler here on Boarding Area.

  27. I second the idea(s) proposed so far of trying to live how the other half lives, at least the other traveling half. Spend time at hotels without status, airlines without priority boarding, etc. And some of the lesser known airlines/hotel chains too. I remember you were dreading your Southwest flight you bought in the last year or two but you still paid up for priority boarding, so that doesn’t count. Try it for real this time, no pre-boarding, no lounges, no upgrades.. see how a United 747 in economy (which my company put me on next month) will be without the status.

    I seem to remember a posting a while back where you wanted to try just this – traveling without inputting your frequent flyer numbers – to see how the rest of the world does it. I don’t think you ever tried. Now that you’re living in hotels full time, I say this is the opportune time to try this out. Heck, might even save some money over your Park Hyatt lifestyle :).

  28. Sure, please do a week of “Common Man” reviews for a change. Perhaps we can pick up some tips on the way most of us live.

  29. Nobody knows your audience better than you lucky but I suspect this would be a huge waste of time and energy. I personally have no interest in it. I’ve stayed plenty of nights in low end hotels and flown my share of spirit/frontier flights. I know exactly what I sign up for when I choose those options.

  30. Umm, no. I can’t think of anything more useless than reviews of Red Roof Inn, Days Inn, etc. What perspective would you provide that TripAdvisor would not?

  31. I agree with @samjess. I fly business class internationally for work. I might fly first occasionally but business class is where the majority of my travel is. I just did a QR trip, DFW-DOH-HKG and had to go to another site to read reviews on their business class product.

  32. Lucky, I just like reading what you write. You could make travel by camel interesting. Yes, sprinkle in some business class flights and lower-cost hotels. Visit some places that you haven’t visited before. Your perspective would be fun and potentially funny.

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