If you’ve ever searched hotel booking websites for various chains you’ve likely come across rates that include breakfast or parking. Those rate types are fairly common and straightforward. I’m going to explore the rates that are not so common. These are the ones that I typically ignore because I assume they represent poor value. However, I’ve found a few interesting rates at Maritime hotels that might be worth considering. Take a look and see what you think.
My search did not involve any assessment of whether each hotel’s rates were a good value in relation to other hotels in the area on that date.
I focused only on the package rate and how it compared to the best flexible rate at that hotel on a random date, July 30, 2019. Often the lowest rate is a prepaid non-refundable rate. I generally avoid those anyway but I did not consider them here because the package rates were all cancellable and I wanted to do a more direct comparison. So, in all cases I chose the best flexible rate with a member discount.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moncton
Best Flexible Rate (Member Discount): $193.03 ($221.98 after tax)
Costco Package Rate: $249.00 ($286.35 after tax)
The Costco Package rate comes with a $50 Costco Cash Card and a $50 gift card for The Keg. With a difference between the after tax rates of $64.37, the savings seem quite apparent as long as you planned to shop at Costco and dine at The Keg. This hotel also has a rate called “Costco and Keg” that includes a year membership to Costco and $50 gift card. That one is $338.10 after tax so it’s clearly a no go. Interestingly, Costco and Keg package rates are offered at other Moncton hotels but they are all bad deals by my calculations. With the name “Costco Package”, I suspect maybe this rate is not supposed to include both gift cards? Definitely bring a copy of the reservation confirmation details with you if you happen to book it.
Radisson Kingswood Hotel & Suites Fredericton
Members Only Rate: $143.10 ($164.57 after tax)
Family of 4 Fun Pass Package $189.00 ($217.35 after tax)
The price of a Family of 4 Fun Pass at Kingswood park is $59.95 plus tax. So it seems like a good deal if you have a family that’s interested in the fun this pass apparently offers. Interestingly, when I first checked this rate a couple of days before writing up the post, the amount saved was significantly more. It goes to show that rates are adjusted all the time.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Halifax Downtown
Member Discount Rate: $238.62 ($281.17 after tax)
Weekend Getaway Package: $326 ($384.13 after tax)
This package include parking for one car and a $100 gift card to Onyx, CUT, Waterfront Warehouse or Bistro Le Coq. The rate details say: “This package offers a $40 savings!” Parking at the hotel costs $23 and the “Best Flexible Rate” is $246. If you add $100 to that total you get $369. Subtract $40 brings it down to $329 so maybe that’s where the $40 number comes from. If you plan to spend at least $100 at any of these restaurants, it’s a rate worth considering. What’s especially interesting about this package rate is the favourable cancellation terms. The Member Discount rate allows for cancellation up to 2 days before the stay. The Weekend Getaway Package rate, however, allows you to cancel up to 4 pm on the day of check-in.
Do These Rates Earn Points?
One potential upside of booking a package rate is the larger number of points you would earn with the loyalty program. Loyalty programs typically award points on a per dollar (USD) basis. But points can only be earned on eligible or qualifying rates as defined in the program’s terms and conditions. These are usually rates booked directly with the hotel and those like CAA, senior or member rates are always a safe bet. However, the programs’ terms and conditions will often state something to the effect that certain package or discount rates will not earn points.
I believe these rates will indeed earn points. First, they are not deeply discounted rates of the type that would more likely be ineligible. The Holiday Inn Express package rate actually states how many points you will earn. The Radisson member rate allows one to upgrade to the package rate from the member rate which would also indicate eligibility.
Credit Card Considerations
If you have a co-branded credit card that awards extra points for hotel stays, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Amex, this would be an opportunity to maximize points when staying at a Marriott brand hotel. Same idea if you have a credit card that gives extra points for travel spending but not for dining or entertainment, such as the Amex Gold. It would make sense to combine that expense with your hotel spend. Or if you can redeem points for travel expenses, for example with Scotia Rewards, then a good package rate could help you save in that way as well.
I think it’s always a good idea to take a close look at all your rate options before dismissing them out of hand. It might only be the rare occasion that the package offered both suits your needs and represents good value. I can only once recall booking one of these rates. It included a gift card for a nearby shopping centre and a credit for the hotel restaurant. It seemed like a super deal. That’s probably why it was swiftly removed as an option on the website right after the stay.