Sonesta is a small but expanding hotel chain primarily in the US. Recently it opened (or acquired?) quite a few properties in South America, including several in Peru that caught my eye (Sacred Valley, Cusco, Lake Titicaca). Travel Pass is their loyalty program.
Back in the day, they awarded the equivalent of 10,000 points for each new member referral. All you had to do was get people to sign up – no stay or spend required. That ended quickly after people (however limited number) found out and took advantage, as I did thanks to a Saverocity member who referred me. It was a great deal. They also had several extremely generous 50% off redemption promos for all or select properties over the years. In at least one such promo, all of their properties were 50% off. I know for sure that Royal Sonesta New Orleans – one of their flagship hotels and IMO one of the best locations in French Quarter, was in the promotion at least twice, because I booked it twice – and had to cancel it twice, due to other commitments. *sigh*.
They also allowed family pooling of points with a process similar to Hyatt (both parties fill out a form), which was a big help. My #1 Sonesta redemption was always the New Orleans one, which regularly retails for $300/night (as do comparable hotels in French Quarter). With our pooled referral points, I could get 4 free nights there during one of their promos. That’s an AWESOME deal, and it’s really free. I never spent a dime acquiring those points. Without the promo, I could get 2 nights in NOLA or 3-4 nights in Sacred Valley / Lake Titicaca.
Sadly, as mentioned I had to cancel New Orleans a few times due to other things going on. It didn’t look like another attempt there or to Peru was feasible in the near future. So, I decided to use it for 2 nights at Royal Sonesta Boston (weekend before a business trip there). Sonesta has been gradually increasing redemption rates without notice. I now had exactly the # of points for 2 nights at either French Quarter or Boston at the regular rate (I haven’t seen the 50% off promo for a while), if I didn’t use it now, there’s a high risk I would only get one night soon. The Sonesta location in Cambridge isn’t as good as that of my go-to hotel – Wyndham Beacon Hill, but it was good enough @ 20 min walk to Kendall Square, 30 min to North End, 40 min to Chinatown. I’m happy to save 30k Wyndham for a future high-value redemption, especially now that the Barclay Wyndham card seems to be subject to their 6/24 rule.
Royal Sonesta Boston was fine – nothing special this time of the year (November), although the riverside location will be nice in warm weather. Although not as exciting as NOLA this time of the year, Boston hotel prices can be outrageous – much higher than NYC at times, so it was a good value.
In a Nutshell
This was one of the easiest deals I’ve ever done with good payout. Most other hotel deals require spending some money and effort, such as the recent Atlantic City status matches (you have to physically go to AC) and the beloved Kimpton Inner Circle free night at new hotels (required 3 paid stays after status match). It would have been even more awesome to burn these points during a 50% off promo, but I’m thrilled nonetheless.
Did you take advantage of Sonesta’s referral program, and where did you reward yourself?