I wanted to write a post about available hotel options in Charlotte, NC for the upcoming DO and tried a little free hand illustration of the options. I copied a selection from Hotels.com, then hovered the mouse of the properties to learn the names, and cross checked those with the Chains that operate the individual brands. Obviously I know who runs the Westin, but I still don’t know who the heck Hampton and Holiday Inns are run by, since the only reason I would be in one of those would be at the personal invitation of one of the Kardashian cousins weddings, which happens most weekends during the spring when I am not cruising around the real Hamptons sipping fine champagne from the backseat of my UberX ride.
As you can see, my drawing above clearly shows what’s what in Charlotte for hotels, and I think perhaps my critics were being a little harsh when they said that it looked like a Hippopotamus high on hallucinogens trampled on a map with crayons stuck between his claw like feet, however, I can recognize when I have a knack for something, and when it might require a little improvement.
I must admit, it is quite a pain in the arse when you look at a city and want to check what points options there are available, I typically use a paid consolidator site like hotels.com for this, but it throws in a lot of ‘junk data’ since it includes boutiques. Though in fairness, this junk can offer some real value as I get a more robust feeling for pricing of the town, and can calculate a dollar per point value should I opt for a reward redemption vs paying real money.
Enter – AwardMapper.com
After much heckling, I decided to try out this tool again, and I ran a similar search for options in Charlotte, here is what they came up with (I added in the Green Star using my own under-rated crafting skills to show the location of the hotel:
As you can see, the AwardMapper.com interface is clean and easy to use, and it quickly shows the hotel options available from:
- Best Western
- Club Carlson
The interface is neat, you enter the city and you get all results, then you filter out the programs you don’t have access to by clicking on the names of the hotel chains. You can use a slider above to limit the range of properties available.
My verdict on AwardMapper.com
- Very simple to use
- Clean and friendly interface
- A very tool to drop into quickly to do exactly what I sought to do, and check all award options in a certain city
Nice to see improvements
The current criteria for filtering is ‘points required per night’ unfortunately I think this data set is too disparate between the various programs to be an effective filter, as it compares a 40,000 point mid tier Hilton with a 27,000 point top tier Hyatt, doesn’t work for me. As soon as different points systems are compared then the points per night feature becomes useless. Possible alternatives would be to use Hotel Category, there is still some difference across programs here, but the data set is tighter, or perhaps a curated list, where it is set to ‘Budget’, ‘Mid Ranged’, ‘High End’ and properties are put into these baskets based on a range within their own hotel category.
The final improvement (which would add revenue to the site) would be to bring up a short list of revenue options for the same town, so you can compare hotel point options and then show comparable dollar per point value vs just booking for cash (as I currently do using Hotels.com) I think if they brought that in, the sites value to the reader would skyrocket, and they could make a bunch of revenue from affiliated revenue ticket sales.
I’m adding AwardMapper.com to my list of sites that are pretty damn awesome, and suggest you check them out yourself.
Good stuff, the creator of the website, whoever he/she is, needs more help to publicize it. Like I told you on twitter I freakin love it. They are very receptive to critique as well, I use the Milepoint thread to point out errors and they are fixed quickly.
There is an app: All Stays Hotel Chains, but it is only for the U.S.
I have found it hard to manipulate the map. I can zoom in or out, but not move right, left, up or down. Maybe it is my old operating system or browser, but I found it very frustrating when I tried to find hotels in a bigger city like DC, which has more area and many more hotels than Charlotte. Do others have similar navigation issues, or is it me and/or my laptop?
Elaine – did you try just clicking on a point in the map, holding it (the cursor changes from an open hand to a closed hand) and dragging left, right, up, down?
No but I sure will! Thanks!
Great snag and another great post saverocity……………it is definitely now on my bookmarks and I think it will real be handy planning my international trip to the west……..big time saver I think……….
Andy Shuman @ Lazy Travelers says
It is a fantastic tool, and I absolutely love it. While the number of points obviously doesn’t work across all chains, all you need to do is to “turn off” all except one and do it for every chain separately. While it takes time, I don’t see how the developers could’ve done it better. I think it’s a near perfect product.
Wow – you weren’t kidding when you said you’d review it. Nice job!
We’ve used this extensively when traveling for our kid’s sporting events since it gives you a quick visual guide of the distance involved in traveling to/from the event. It’s a winner…
I like it, and I’m always happy to oblige 🙂
I love the too and use it all the time for trip planning. But I do notice that sometimes, the hotel locations are wrong on the map (but rarely). I noticed this for hotels in Beijing and Bangkok.
I think another site to add to your list should be rewardflyer.com. Very cool tool for award flights and also has a free award booking service!
Gee, that site is a bit dodgy, it forces you to select credit cards….
Yeah that’s the annoying part but you don’t have to apply for any of the cards so I use it merely as a search tool. The credit cards are probably more useful for people who are just getting into the CC game.