Carlson, Choice Upgrade Loyalty Programs

Two multi-brand hotel giants have enhanced their frequent-guest rewards programs. Carlson Hotels Worldwide has expanded its "goldpoints plus" program globally, so clients can earn and redeem rewards at all the group's properties, which total more than 960 in 71 countries. Carlson also said it has improved the program by increasing the number of points earned but not raising redemption levels. Throughout January, Carlson will give goldpoints plus members a bonus of 5,000 points for every five-night stay at any of its hotels. Regular reward of 15-20 points per dollar (depending on hotel) also applies. See

Meanwhile, Choice Hotels International is ending its separate rewards program for the Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands and adding those properties to Choice Privileges, the loyalty program covering all other Choice hotels, effective in the new year. Stamps earned in the current Econo Lodge/Rodeway Inn program, Ea$y Choice, can be redeemed for room credit or converted to Choice Privileges points until March 31. Redemption rate for switching rewards to the new program will be one stamp for 500 points.

Choice comprises more than 5,000 hotels worldwide in the Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands. Hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland and the Caribbean participate in Choice Privileges.

Choice also announced that it would become the franchisor for Comfort, Quality, Sleep Inn and Clarion hotels in the U.K. Franchise operations for the 78 affected properties will be transferred to Choice from Real Hotel Group on January 31. Earlier this fall Choice took over franchise operations for the chains in Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Choice has a total of 500 hotels in Europe.

In other news from Carlson Hotels Worldwide, the company said it had added eight properties in November, including Country Inn & Suites hotels in Panama City Beach, FL; Dover, DE; Dayton, OH; Pineville, LA; and Shoreview, MN. Other November additions to the Carlson portfolio were a Radisson SAS in Jersey, the Channel Islands, and Park Inns in Sheffield, England, and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. During the first 11 months of 2007, the company opened 70 hotels and signed contracts for another 134. (AO)

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