I've been doing some searching for travel in Jan., and have found a number of locations that no longer honor the discount codes (such as LPGA, LL, etc.,).
When I do a search for a city with the code entered into the choice hotels search engine, some locations come back with no room price listed. When I click on that individual location, I get some prices, such as "best avail", "senior", but the "significant org" rate is greyed out, with the notation that the rate is not available.
I did a search for TPA, late Jan, with the LPGA code (00213740) entered in the rate code. Selected display 40 selections, and 3 locations came back with no rate displayed. Then when I selected individual locations, many more hotels had this on their rate page: "We're sorry. We could not find available rooms for your selected rate. Please check our room listings for other rates."
I've changed dates to 6 months down the road, and the discounted rates are still not available.
I get the feeling that individual locations now can pull the discounted rates if they so desire. Some places still honor the discount rates (such as LPGA) but some don't.
I've never run across this before to the extent I found in this recent search.
Anyone else experiencing this: booking a location that had previously honored a discount code but no longer does. This seems like a major change in the pricing of their product. Or perhaps some sort of website problem.
Dec 27, 10, 6:46 pm
I've seen the same outside of NY, so I've been booking the AAA rate.
Dec 27, 10, 10:07 pm
I did indeed replicate your specific experience, Donna49, but can't speak to your broader question.
Thank you for this as a tip.
Dec 28, 10, 9:41 am
Personally I think its at least partially a bug in the website. I've literally had situations where the code doesn't work in the morning and then works in the afternoon. Sometimes the LPGA code works sometimes the Little League and so on. Then sometimes you enter LPGA and it comes up "Internet User" which seems to work when it does come up but at a lower discount.
Personally I'm moving back to Hilton and the MVP code - its more consistent.
Dec 29, 10, 2:08 pm
As I understand it, each property loads whatever rates they wish to offer. There is no reasoning to their logic. Sometimes everything is fine and available up to the day of arrival, some require the booking to be days in advance (not advance pay), or require certain days of the week.
It does make it frustrating from the customer perspective, but it is their business to run as they please. I personally vote with my wallet, if a property is not offering a rate I like, I find another place to stay.
Dec 29, 10, 2:47 pm
When I click on that individual location, I get some prices, such as "best avail", "senior", but the "significant org" rate is greyed out, with the notation that the rate is not available.
Are you sure it's not the website bug that's been discussed several times before?
You need to do the following (on every visit to choicehotels.com where you want to book such a rate):
1. Sign in. Your rate defaults to Significant Org if that's how you last booked, but that defaulting does not work correctly, which is why you have to:
2. Sign out.
3. Sign back in.
4. Your rate now defaults to Best Available. Select Significant Org, type in your SOS code, then do the search, and this time it should work.
(I didn't try this with TPA, but did try it with SNA, and go greyed out when I only went as far step 1 but got working SOS rates when I continued to step 4.)
I know it's a bit annoying (hopefully your browser remembers your login so you don't have to type it in twice or even once), but in my experience it's a simple-to-do (if non-obvious) workaround that has been reliable for me.
Internally, I think what's going on is it clears some stale cookies when you sign out, but doesn't clear them if you time out or just close the browser/window/tab. (I used to work around this by manually clearing cookies, but signing out and back in is actually simpler.)
(The issue of some hotels not showing SOS rates on the summary is a different one. Those may indeed be hotels which don't have SOS rates. I have run into those occasionally in the US, and very often overseas. But claiming that they have it and then saying it's not available only after you click through, that is just a website problem.)
Btw, this is the same workaround that was required for another bug a few month ago (where the website would claim that a discount rate was not qualified for earning points or miles, when it was), if you didn't do these 4 steps.
Dec 30, 10, 2:26 pm
I did as you suggested, but I'm still not able to get the SOS rate at certain locations.
Tonight 12/30, I'm at the FLL Comfort Suites Airport on the LPGA rate. I've stayed there many times, and I have seen the SOS rate become unavailable when the property is heavily booked. But from 01/01/2011 on, trying to book that rate at that location comes back as unavailable, while I can book that rate now, for tonight. Even looking at dates well in the future - April-May; the rate is not available.
The other location in FLL I use is the Comfort Inn Airport, and I have also seen the SOS rate unavailable at times when roooms are tight, but I can find the SOS rate available there for most dates in 2011.
I have seen the SOS rates capacity controlled at a number of locations when demand is high, but now, at some locations I have stayed at for years, the SOS rate is not available at all, months down the road.
The same is true for St. Pete, FL. For years, I have stayed at the Comfort Inn at Tropicana Field (FL 484) on a SOS rate. Now it no longer available; yet the SOS rate is available at the Comfort Inn (FL 947) on most all dates.
I just get the feeling that certain properties no longer offer the SOS rate at all. As I can get the SOS rate for tonight at the FLL Comfort Suites, but never after 01/01/2011, it does not seem like a website problem.
I'm going to ask when I check in tonight about this.
Any hotel can set whatever rate they like, but the SOS rate was a very good deal and I hate to see that some of my favorite properties seem to no longer offer it at all.
Dec 30, 10, 3:02 pm
I was going to suggest that going in directly via...
...might bypass the problem. But thinking further on it, afterall, I think they do turn them off and on again, or their computer does. I remember that I have chosen and seen it on one page, got to the next page with the tabs, and not been able to open the LPGA tab, with the default "Best Available" the one open in front of me. I've let it sit, tried again later in the evening, LPGA was accessible, I booked it, and as an experiment immediately tried to do it again. No dice. Giving me the impression that I'd just booked the last one at that rate (for that time being). Or I've used the time to call customer service to ask about the GEICO rate, and yes, gotten it. Of course, it was probably the "same" room, so to speak, but the rate was different. (Yes, I can see most of the possible explanations, but this is what I've done and it's worked a few times.)
BTW, for my effort, I continue to "get what I paid for", including, "I'm sorry to give you this room, but it's what your rate is eligible for." (Among the worst rooms in the house, when the places are very lightly occupied.) ...Regardless of being a "ChoicePrivileges Platinum"! :p
Dec 30, 10, 7:38 pm
I did as you suggested, but I'm still not able to get the SOS rate at certain locations.
Oh, I see what you mean now. The properties that do have SOS rates have a "starting at" price above the Check Rates button. The properties that don't have SOS rate have no "starting at" price above the Check Rates button.
I hadn't seen that in a Costa Mesa, CA search for Jan 3 yesterday (when I previously responded to you), but when I did the same search today I see it for several hotels (fortunately not yet any of the ones I use most).
Yes, my technique (of signing out and signing back in) doesn't help with that. It only helps with the bug where a hotel which does list the "starting at" price above the Check Rates button still claims "no SOS" when you click Check Rates. That happens because when you click Check Rates you move from the Choice website to the specific-brand website, and there is a bug with clearing stale cookies of the specific-brand websites.
As I can get the SOS rate for tonight at the FLL Comfort Suites, but never after 01/01/2011, it does not seem like a website problem.
I just checked both Fort Lauderdale, FL and Costa Mesa, CA (SNA) for Feb 7 (just as a random date about a month later), and in both cases at this moment all 10 hotels returned for SNA show SOS rates for that day, but there are still a couple non-SOS hotels in the FLL search for that day, including the Comfort Suites. So it like some hotels in some areas are hard-coded to never accept the SOS rate again, while others are soft-coded to lock it out only based on demand or special events or such.
This new development makes it harder to compare prices at all Choice hotels in an area, since you can no longer get one list with all the prices. The AAA (or whatever else you qualify for) may not be so bad at some hotels, but you can't tell without either repeating the search or clicking through to a non-SOS hotel and then changing the rate on that page. How tiring! Much easier (if it fits in your plans) to simply avoid all the hotels that don't show a price on an SOS search.
OTOH, if you value $4 more than your time :) and you haven't yet, check out this thread about the phone-only GEICO rates:
Hey, now..... in this case it's not just about the increment between the SOS and GEICO, it's about the difference between GEICO and whatever (gov, sr, aaa etc.) rate is left available to you..... (And the next Big Mac is on me.) :p
Dec 31, 10, 7:30 pm
I checked with the desk clerk when I checked in last night in FLL, and also with the on-duty mgr on checkout this morning. Didn't really learn anything new, except that each hotel can specify how many rooms are available at a specific rate, and this can be changed on a daily basis.
Thus availability for a SOS or other discount rate can change every day, based on how mgmt thinks rooms will sell.
I just checked my 2 test locations, the FLL airport location and the one in St. Pete. Right now, I can get the SOS rate at both locations for next week; I could not do that yesterday.
As I say, I give up. If I can get the good rate, I'll book; if not, perhaps elsewhere, or perhaps just stay at the location on a higher rate.
It saves a bit of money, but overall, I'm happy with the choice hotels product. It is not luxury by any stretch, but this is my money, and I'm not paying for luxury. All I want is an OK place with a reward program that makes staying there worthwhile ( as opposed to, say, the BW down the road).
So I'll head into 2011 continuing to use choice hotels.
Thanks, Firewind, for the helpful advice and follow-up.