Hyatt Eliminating AARP Discounts

Hotels offer all kinds of discounted rates to consumers — from advance purchase to corporate to senior to AAA, there are many ways to save money off the “sticker price” of a hotel stay.

While I understand the concept of a senior discount, for example, I’ve always been a bit puzzled by discounts for being a member of a club anyone can join at a low cost, like AAA, AARP, etc. What incentive does a hotel chain have to offer someone a discount because they spend $16 a year to join a club?

It’s one thing if there were exclusivity contracts and therefore clubs like AAA and AARP only offered discounts at one or two hotel chains, which could actually impact where someone stays. But in practice most major hotel chains offer these discounts, which makes you wonder how exactly they’re coming out ahead.