Hotel Travel Gift Cards – In the absence of travel during the pandemic, hotels are asking travelers to plan future trips and sweetening the incentive by offering discounted gift certificates.
For those who have the means to spend, the offers are attractive. For example, the beer-themed Painted Lady Bed & Brew in Albuquerque, N.M., offers a $75 certificate redeemable for $150, enough for one night in a suite, including happy hour. A $250 gift certificate to the 10-room boutique Eco Lifestyle + Lodge in Barbados costs $200; spend $600 and the deal includes a free massage and yoga or surf lessons (email reception to purchase).
Hotel Travel Gift Cards
Even luxury hotels like the Sixty SoHo in New York City are participating, selling $300 certificates for $200. (Rooms start at about $275.)
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“Since everything happened so quickly and the hotels went from being open to being boarded up the next week, we kept thinking: How do we provide value to the hotels?” said Caitlin Zaino von Durante, the CEO of Porter & Sail, a mobile concierge program, who helped create Hotel Credits, a website that sells discounted hotel gift certificates for 21 hotels, from resorts in Thailand to Sixty SoHo . “We wanted to bring cash flow to the owners now with the incentive to travelers who get a discount.”
Most of the discounts offered are substantial, often 25 to 33 percent. But can you trust the deal?
“Consumers don’t want to risk money they can barely afford with the risk of losing where they have no idea of refund policies if the hotel never reopens,” said Jonathan Treiber, CEO of RevTrax, a management platform of the promotional offer.
Another risk is that hotels may decide to compensate for the discount by increasing their rates in the future; Mr. Treiber said the industry is notorious for raising rates based on demand. “Consumers are challenging travel companies in terms of prices to begin with, and suddenly too good to be true can be too good to be true,” he said.
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Although many hotels are closed during the shelter order in place, and a few potentially can not reopen, most analysts say that the market is reliable in the long term.
“If a consumer feels comfortable and confident enough in their own work situation, then yes, absolutely, gift certificates are fine,” said Jan Freitag, senior vice president of housing insights at STR, a hospitality industry analytics company.
The structure of hotel financing, he added, means that most will reopen instead of being foreclosed by lenders.
While hotel sales are rare, gift cards are common. To maximize their value, travelers should manage them as investments.
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“Choose the ones you know you’ll use,” said Shelley Hunter, gift card consumer specialist for GiftCards.com.
If you received one as a gift, he added, decide if you are likely to use it. If not, consider redeeming or cashing in at a reduced rate at resale sites like CardPool.com and Raise.com.
To make sure you use them, keep gift cards at the top of your mind by putting them next to your credit cards in your wallet or, if it’s an electronic certificate, in a folder on your computer.
Gift cards with expiration dates must clearly state these terms. Otherwise, federal law says that the life of a card is at least five years. Put reminders and due dates in your calendar.
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“The longer you hold on to a gift card, the higher the chance you’ll forget it or lose it or something will happen to the retailer,” Ms. Hunter said.
Hotel Credits offers $300 gift certificates for $200 at a variety of hotels, including Entre Cielos Wine Hotel & Spa, a 24-room boutique hotel amid the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina, where rooms normally start at $235 the night It also sells gift certificates to Acre, a resort set on 25 acres of palm trees, orchards and farmland in San José del Cabo, Mexico, where treehouse rooms start at $275 a night, including breakfast and yoga morning
A group of hotel public relations firms have come together to form Buy Now, Stay Later, a website that sells discounted “hotel bonds” at a dozen hotels from Nantucket to Paris. Until August, the certificates will sell in increments of $100 and can be cashed out after a 60-day waiting period for $150 per $100 spent. The offer includes LondonHouse Chicago, a downtown hotel with a popular rooftop bar, where rates usually start at $220.
Most hotels that sell gift cards do it themselves and represent a wide range of hotels from urban boutiques to destination resorts.
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Near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lynchburg, Virginia, the 44-room Craddock Terry Hotel on the Bluff, housed in a former shoe factory with two popular restaurants, is offering $150 gift cards for $100 throughout April for any stay future in 2020. Rates start at $149 a night. Buyers must call the hotel to get the deal: (434) 455-1500.
Some hotels make extra amenities their value proposition. In Burbank, California, the 132-room Amarano Hotel is offering $100 gift certificates to be redeemed for future stays that include the guest’s choice of free valet parking, a room upgrade or a $25 food credit and drinks, until the end of the year.
In Nashville, the 144-room Bobby Hotel has a range of deals with extra benefits. For $75, shoppers get a $100 gift card and two cocktails; for $150, they receive a $200 gift card and a bottle of champagne; for $250, they receive a $300 gift card and a reserved pool cabana or igloo in the winter. (Rooms start at $249.)
Some hotels link their gift cards to charitable causes. For example, La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, N.M., will donate $10 of every $100 gift certificate it sells to a first responder support fund that provides meals to emergency medical workers.
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In some cases, donors receive a night or two in a hotel and a meal in exchange for their contributions. In Chicago, the Robey hotel set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for laid-off employees in which a $500 donor gets a one-night stay and a $100 food and beverage credit to use at the hotel’s restaurants and bars; a $1,000 donation covers a two-night stay and a $250 food and beverage credit. (Starting rates average $240.)
In Washington, Virginia, the 42-year-old Inn of Little Washington, home to a three-star Michelin restaurant, offers gift certificates up to $5,000 and donates 100 percent of proceeds to an employee relief fund . The inn effectively secures the fund by offering to honor gift certificates at full value upon reopening.
James Lintott, of Great Falls, Va., contributed to the fund and plans to celebrate his son’s acceptance to Stanford University as soon as possible.
“My family and I have celebrated numerous milestones and milestones here for nearly 20 years,” he said. “I knew we had to do something to thank you.” A white circle with a black border surrounding a chevron pointing upwards. It indicates “click here to return to the top of the page”.
Gift Cards & Vouchers
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Amazon.com: Hotels.com Gift Card $50
As the new coronavirus continues, so does its impact on the travel industry. Large-scale vacations continue to be canceled, weddings postponed, and large family gatherings have all been called into question.
And while some are planning to travel closer to home, many of us are back on hiatus as cases continue to spike across the country.
It’s a disappointing situation, but to help keep spirits up in the meantime, travel gift cards make a great future-focused present for this holiday season. They are a symbol of something positive and happy to look forward to, plus they also help support the hospitality industry and employees affected by the pandemic. Best of all in these uncertain times, the gifts can use your present whenever the time feels right, whether from three months, from next year, or beyond.
If you are someone who thinks that gift cards can be impersonal, consider recommending a great hotel that you have loved (or consult our many hotel reviews for inspiration) to accompany the present. After all, few things feel more desirable right now than escaping to a beachfront resort with a warm ocean breeze lapping your face. Alternatively, you can pair a gift card with a new travel or travel accessory.
Travel And Holiday Gift Cards
We’ve compiled a selection of travel and hotel gift cards representing the top lodging brands for you to use whenever the time suits you.