If you’ve ever wished your small business could take advantage of the discounts on lodging that big corporations negotiate with hotels . . . you may be in luck!
If you have a small business credit card such as one of the Chase Ink MasterCards, there’s a little known benefit that can save you 20 to 40 percent on lodging costs.
I stumbled upon several seldom-publicized travel savings opportunities which I discuss in a three-part series of articles.
Part 3: Check Inn – CLC Lodging
The MasterCard Easy Savings program offers cash rebates for certain everyday business purchases. You need to register your business MasterCard (such as the Chase Ink credit cards) in advance.
One of the most attractive benefits of the EasySavings program is free membership in the Check Inn Card program run by CLC Lodging.
This program offers pre-negotiated “corporate discounts” of 20-40 percent on lodging with 17,000 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.
Here’s How it Works:
- Enroll in the Check Inn program and receive your membership card.
- Make advance reservations through the CLC lodging website or walk in to a participating hotel without a reservation.
- Print-out a folio showing your total charges including taxes and fees.
- Present your Check Inn card at check-in.
- Hotels swipe the Check Inn card to authorize the stay against the member’s registered credit card.
- CLC Lodging bills the discounted member rate, taxes and fees to your pre-reistered credit card.
- You receive an invoice by email showing the total amount billed.
What are the Rates Like?
You can check for available hotels and the discount rates from your online account with CLC lodging or via the mobile app. Rates are displayed for a 2-week period. Rates are updated weekly, on Sundays. You see the hotel’s “lowest published rate,” the member rate, and the savings. The “lowest published rate” does not include advance purchase rates. CLC Lodging adds a $4.95 per night fee to each stay.
Other benefits: 24 hour length of stay and no cancellation fee!!
Which Hotels and Locations are Included? The participating properties are predominately budget and mid-scale, and some upper midscale hotels. Brand names such as these below are common:
In some locations, you can also find availability with Sheraton Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Radisson, Hyatt Regency, Holiday Inn Express or Doubletree Suites, and other lodgings of their quality. You can even find some independent hotels!
The hotels tend to be located on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas but you may find a few of properties in the downtown area.
Are you getting a good price? CLC purchases more than 10 million room nights each year from hotels across North America. This purchasing leverage allows CLC to obtain significantly lower rates for business travel lodging than small businesses such as sole proprietorships can negotiate for themselves. As with other hotel discount programs, everything depends upon location and availability. Rates change from day to day, and from weekdays to weekends.
The chart below shows the typical savings you can expect at popular hotel chains.
CLC Lodging adds in a $4.95 per night fee, so you must factor that in to your final costs.
You will almost always do better on Priceline, if you are comfortable not knowing the name of your hotel in advance and an deal with nonrefundable reservations.
So What Does this Look Like for Real? I took a look at some locations to see what the availability looks like in the real world. First, I did a search for Reston, Virginia, my home town. The search pulled up 23 hotels within a ten mile radius, but the only hotel in Reston proper was the Sheraton.
If you click on each hotel, it pulls up the detailed rate information for a two-week period, as well as information on hotel amenities.
It you check the hotel website for these dates, weekday rates are running between $209 and $229. The standard weekend rate is is $99, but there is a nonrefundable rate of $79. The CLC Lodging website allows shows you what your nightly charge will be including taxes and fees — $93. For this particular example, it appears that the CLC Lodging rate is a good deal for weekdays, but less so for weekends.
Check Inn card member rates shown are based on single occupancy for business travel only and don’t include taxes, service charges, nightly transaction fees, extra person charges, or incidentals.
I wanted to look in a few other markets that I was familiar with. Recently, we spent two weekday nights in Salt Lake City. We had a Priceline room for $60 per night, and ended up at the 3.5 star Radisson in Downtown Salt Lake City. This hotel is conveniently located directly on the Trax line from the airport, and about 2 blocks from Temple Square and the City Creek Mall. It has been recently renovated with a pop art theme in the rooms.
The Radisson is also a contracted hotel with CLC Lodging. Here’s what there room rates looked like in September. Not as good as Priceline by a long shot, but still well below the rate on the hotel’s website.
The savings are about 20 percent on most days, while Thursday’s rate looks like about a 40 percent savings over standard rates.
For a third example, I looked at the Red Roof Inn in Westbury New York, in central Long Island, because I have stayed at twice in recent months. This is a budget hotel with modern furnishings — quite clean and comfortable. Here’s what CLC Lodging is offering for a sample week.
The CLC Lodging rates are indeed well below the rates available directly from the hotel website, though you can probably do better on Hotwire or Priceline.
You have to do you own research for your dates and destinations — but I think this is an option worth looking in to.
Discounts for Personal Travel
The Check Inn program also offers discounts for personal travel! Members can save 20 percent on lodging from all hotels in the Wyndham chain. These hotels include:
The 20 percent discount is available by going through the CLC lodging website. This inserts a corporate discount into the hotel search form. Further, there is a 10 percent savings at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. If you pay for your hotel room with a business MasterCard registered in the MasterCard Easy Savings program, you can stack an additional 5 percent savings on to your rate. Moreover, if you are using the Chase Ink Plus card, you earn 2x points on hotel spending.
That adds up to a hefty 27% savings on lodging at Wyndham hotels!
What’s the Catch?
The most obvious limitation is that you don’t earn hotel loyalty points on your stays, just as with other discount lodging vendors. There may be an extra charge for double occupancy. The hotels may not be in prime locations. You have to factor in the $4.95 per day fee when considering your total costs.
Don’t Qualify for a Free Membership? Enter a comment below and I can send you a coupon code to waive the membership fee.