Back in mid-December, when Hyatt announced its "More Than a Bonus" offer for Hyatt stays between January 9 and April 30, I suggested, with equal parts hope and conviction, that it was the first of many hotel and airline promotions travelers could expect during the first part of 2009.
Today, Marriott added its name to the growing list of travel suppliers deploying loyalty program bonuses to promote travel in what is shaping up to be a disastrously soft market for hotel nights and flights.
With the newly announced MegaMiles offer, members of the Marriott Rewards program who earn miles for their stays can earn twice as many miles for the second and subsequent stays completed between February 1 and April 30.
The offer is attractive, if unspectacular. And it's better still if combined with a great room rate.
But it's more important as an indicator of the overall trend than it is in its own right. As we hear more stories of $1,200 hotel rooms going for $200, and steep airfare discounts on popular routes, it's all but certain that more such offers are on the horizon.
While it may be a grim one for the industry, 2009 could be a very rewarding year for those who continue to travel.