Given the choice, which reward would you choose for your next hotel stay: loyalty points or cash back?
That’s more hypothetical than realistic, since the great majority of hotels utilized by frequent travelers award loyalty points rather than cash. But there is one cash-back option that’s increasingly look-worthy.
When The Guestbook launched, just over a year ago, the service offered travelers a 5 percent rebate at over 300 independent and boutique hotels. By the standards of major hotel chains, that’s a paltry network, making those rebates a decidedly hit-and-miss affair.
But last month, the company announced the addition of the 500th property to its list of participating hotels, the Berns Hotel in Stockholm. Aside from being a nice round number, that’s a large enough group of hotels to accommodate a significant portion of many travelers’ trips, especially if they tend to be to larger population centers. And the addition of 200 hotels in just a year shows that The Guestbook is on the right trajectory to further reinforce its relevance among hotel customers.
Customers booking The Guestbook hotels can choose to have their 5 percent cash rebate in the form of a PayPal deposit or gift cards, or a 10 percent rebate on a future hotel stay.
There’s are clear advantages to choosing cash over points, not least of which is the ever-wrenching downward spiral of points’ value as programs raise rates for award stays.
In addition to the benefits of cash over points, there’s a lot to be said for staying at independent hotels that don’t conform to the predictable standards of the major brands. The list of hotels in Los Angeles, for example, includes The Redbury Hollywood, The Mondrian, and The Line—all properties with notably distinctive personalities.
Worth a look, and maybe more.
Reader Reality Check
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.