Are you tired of staying at the same boring hotel chains trip after trip but reluctant to give up the opportunity to earn points in exchange for a more interesting location in which to lay your head? Thanks to Stash Hotel Rewards — a loyalty program for travelers who love independent and boutique hotels—you no longer have to forgo points in the pursuit of unique hotel experiences.
A New Breed of Hospitality Loyalty Program
Jeff Low, Stash Hotel Reward’s CEO, knew a thing or two about hospitality loyalty programs before he founded the company after a move from Seattle to California.
“I was at Expedia for four years and was tapped to set up a loyalty program for them,” Low recounted. “In doing that, I learned a lot about the impact points have on how people choose where to travel and how to book their flights and hotel rooms. I also launched their credit card, so I learned about that world as well.”
Low had always loved staying at independent hotels whenever he travelled for business. When he realized that a rewards program for this segment of the hospitality industry had never been created before, he knew he had a workable idea.
“I spent about a year-and-a-half talking to hoteliers and it turned out, a lot of them had already been talking about the need for something like this,” he continued. “These independents are competing with chains and know that the more someone travels, the more they are connected to loyalty programs. Without a rewards program, these independents were unable to attract the frequent travelers that make up more than 50 percent of all hotel stays.”
Low also spoke with travelers to get their perspective.
“We pretty consistently heard a couple of complaints,” he said. “One is that they hate blackout dates and the idea that the points they had been gathering for a dream vacation could suddenly expire. They were also frustrated by the fact that they could only use their points within a brand that they may have become tired of.”
The company launched in 2010 with 70 U.S. hotel partners and has grown substantially since, including expansion into the Caribbean and Central America.
Earning and Redeeming Points is Simple
Low’s Stash Hotel Rewards program addresses the needs of both independent hoteliers and travelers in a number of ways including the elimination of blackout and expiration dates.
Members can earn five points per $1 on rooms booked at Stash Partner Hotels. Thanks to an arrangement with Booking.com, they also earn one point per $1 on rooms at non-Stash partners booked through the portal.
“Stash Partner Hotels have a formal relationship with Stash Hotel Rewards,” Low explained. There are currently more than 150 independent hotels on the roster—all with extraordinary TripAdvisor ratings.
“That’s our obsession,” Low said. “Our feeling is that a four-star hotel with a 70 percent rating is not better than a three-and-a-half-star hotel with a 99 percent rating. If you look at TripAdvisor’s top hotels across the years, they’re mostly independents because travelers connect with that more personalized experience. The average Stash Partner Hotel has an 87 percent TripAdvisor rating. That’s higher than the average rating of any other set of hotels participating in a loyalty program.”
Members can redeem Stash Hotel Rewards points for free nights at any Stash Partner Hotel. The number of points required for a free night is set by each independent hotelier and is dynamic as well.
“A room is never just 10,000 points,” Low said. “If a hotelier has extra rooms on a Tuesday night, they can reduce the number of points needed for a free night even further. No other rewards program has done that.”
Use the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa to Earn Even Faster
Members can earn points and free nights even faster with the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa.
“Think of how much money you put on your credit card by using it as the recurring payment method for everything from your phone to your cable,” Low said. “It really starts to add up. I often use my mom as an example. She doesn’t stay at a lot of hotels, so she’s not going to earn a lot of Stash points that way. However, she’s already earned three free room nights because she has put her everyday spend on the card.”
New Stash Hotel Rewards Visa account holders can earn 10,000 bonus points when they make $1,500 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account. They’ll also earn three points per $1 on rooms booked at Stash Partner Hotels, two points per $1 on other hotels, dining and gas, and one point per $1 on all other purchases.
“Stay at a Stash Partner Hotel and pay with your Stash Visa and that adds up to eight points per $1,” Low concluded. “You can’t earn a free night as fast through any other program as you can with Stash Hotel Rewards and the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa.”