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When it comes to booking your next trip, travel planning is a bit more complicated these days. Restrictions at your destination could hinder the experience, and many hotels and airlines might not be offering the traditional amenities that travelers might enjoy.
The travel industry is taking a big hit with a slowdown in demand, but (as is often the case during hard times) creativity can come to the rescue. We found some hotels offering flexibility and sizable bonuses to get you back out on the road eventually. Many of these properties are still paying their staff despite being closed, which makes deals like these particularly lucrative for a property’s current operation until travelers return.
In many cases, you can contact the hotels directly to take advantage of these offers. Others are part of travel portals designed specifically for this pandemic, such as the Buy Now, Stay Later initiative. This program is selling "travel bonds" (similar to U.S. Treasury Bonds) for popular hotels like Jade Mountain in St. Lucia and Andaz Wall Street, which mature after 60 days.
For travelers who are able to lay out some cash now, deals like these can be a fun way to plan travel at a discount for later. We've organized the deals by region so you can find options that line up with your future travel plans.
Caribbean & Latin America
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s promotion gives you 25% more value on vouchers purchased by June 30, 2020. These are essentially gift cards that can be used any time before June 30, 2022. If you want to lock in a trip and get a nice cash boost (not to mention plenty of Marriott Bonvoy points), this promotion can be booked via the hotel’s portal.
Nobu Hotels Los Cabos is offering $100 in massage credits or a dining perk when guests purchase a $100 gift card.
Puerto Vallarta’s Casa Kimberly is selling $100 travel bonds via Buy Now, Stay Later that will grow in value to $150 after 60 days. They must be purchased before Sept. 30, 2020, and be used at the hotel (the former home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) by May 31, 2021. (Note that these dates can vary by participating Buy Now, Stay Later property; we'll note dates that were provided to us here, but you should contact a property you're interested in for specifics.)
Francis Ford Coppola’s Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala are also tacking on a $100 resort credit and room upgrade (based on availability) for all new reservations.
Ocean Club Resorts in Turks & Caicos has a book now, travel later opportunity, but it involves making a reservation rather than buying a gift card. If you reserve a three-night stay by July 31, 2020, for a trip before mid-December of this year, you get a 30% discount. Reservations for a three-night stay from Jan. 3 to April 30, 2021, will get a 20% discount.
The Godfrey Hotel Boston is also offering travel bonds; they cost $100 each, but eventually jump in value to $150 for bookings made by the end of August.
Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort north of Santa Barbara, California, is offering a 20% bonus on purchases of an Alisal Ranch Rewards gift card. These gift cards can be redeemed for a future stay, or expenses incurred on the property including meals, activities and spa treatments.
Many Napa Valley hotels are offering a similar promotion. The Hilton Garden Inn Napa, for example, is giving guests a $50 voucher to use at the hotel or on nearby experiences (like the popular Napa Valley Wine Train) with the purchase of a $200 voucher. The offer is available through June 30, 2020. And the North Block Hotel is giving a $100 bonus credit for every $500 in gift card purchases.
In Texas, the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio is offering a 25% discount on resort gift cards of at least $150 to those who buy one before its June 3 reopening date.
Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona, is enticing sun-seekers with its 80 acres of beauty in the Sonoran Desert. Travelers can buy a gift card for $100 and receive an immediate $150 credit that can be used at the resort any time before the end of the year.
The Harbor Hotel Collection is selling travel bonds that gain value over time through Buy Now, Stay Later. Like the other offers through this platform, a $100 gift card will be worth $150 after 60 days. Participating properties include the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in New York and the Portland Harbor Hotel in Maine.
Other upstate New York properties have similar offers, too. The Black Sheep Inn and Spa is topping up $100 gift vouchers with an extra $30 that can be redeemed anytime in the next three years. The Catskills’ Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is giving similar bonuses that depend on how much you spend. For example, a $500 e-gift card gets a $100 bonus; the promotion ends June 15, 2020.
Croatia’s Lošinj Hotels & Villas, a collection of classic and luxury properties on Losinj (dubbed the "island of vitality"), is selling gift cards with a "free top up" based on how much you spend. For example, buy a 200-euro gift card (about $220), and the company will add 20 additional euros (~$22). If you buy 1,000 euros (about $1,100) in travel gift cards, you’ll receive 150 extra euros (~$165). This offer expires May 31, 2020, but the vouchers can be used up to 18 months after purchase.
Some of the hotels, like the Boutique Hotel Alhambra, are part of Small Luxury Hotels of the Word, which participates in World of Hyatt.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy, has its own version of a travel incentive with the BeExcelsiorVittoria Certificate. For every 500 euros (~$550) in travel credit that you purchase, the hotel will add another 150 euros (~$165). This credit can be used for hotel purchases including room nights, spa treatments or food and beverage. The certificates are available for purchase through June 30, 2020, and can be used through May 31, 2022.
As a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, this is a jewel along the Amalfi Coast that’s especially popular in the summer months. If you can purchase ahead, you might as well do so to get a hefty discount on 2021 summer travel.
The Cape Fahn Hotel on a private Island in Koh Samui, Thailand, has an offer for a free fourth night when paying for three nights. Make a paid (not points) reservation from June 1 to July 31, 2020, for a stay anytime between Oct. 1, 2020, and Oct. 1, 2021, to take advantage.
Cape Fahn Hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and a Category 5 hotel in World of Hyatt (usually 20,000 points per night).
Many properties in The Pavilions hotel group are selling bonds via the Buy Now, Stay Later platform. The Pavilions Phuket, The Pavilions Himalayas in Nepal and The Pavilions Bali are all selling $100 travel bonds that grow in value to $150 after 60 days.
The Belmond portfolio of hotels, trains, safaris and river cruises is selling its Belmond Travel Pass with incentive offers. Buy a $500 gift card and receive a $100 bonus gift card, or buy a $1,000 gift card and receive a $200 bonus. The best part is that there is no expiration date.
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is offering a Stay Close promotion at several hotels in Western Canada and the U.S. Travelers will receive a second night free when booking a night at the Canadian properties before June 15. Those visiting U.S. properties have a bit longer: June 21 for Washington, D.C., or June 30 for Scottsdale, Arizona, and Austin, Texas.
Your reservation can be for a stay any time in 2020. If you only need one night, you can opt to simply enjoy two rooms on the same night (one that you pay for, and one that you get for free). Fairmont is part of Accor Live Limitless, which means you can also earn points for the paid room night.
Porter & Sail has been selling future travel credits with a big bonus. For example, If you buy a $200 credit, you can redeem it for $300 in value when you’re ready to travel (through 2022). The credit can be used at a variety of hotels, including:
Flemings Mayfair in London.
Entre Cielos Wine Hotel + Spa, Mendoza, Argentina.
Mondrian Park Avenue, New York.
Sixty Beverly Hills in California.
Hotel discounts that lend a helping hand
Several properties are offering a "win-win-win" scenario that supports relief efforts while also providing the property with revenue and travelers with discounts. Here are a few we found.
The incredibly chic Grand Hotel Tremezzo on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como is selling 10 gift cards valued at 5,000 euros (about $5,500) each for 4,000 euros (~$4,400) if you get in on the deal now. These can be used for anything at the property, from accommodations to dining and spa services.
For each gift card sold, 500 euros (~$550) will be donated to "No Kid Hungry," a charity that supplies meals to children in need.
Future Key is a new travel platform that sells discounted gift cards (as much as 20% off) for future hotel stays. The best part is that proceeds from the sales of these cards support hotel employee relief funds. Ace Hotels, for example, is donating the first $100,000 of its hotel gift cards sold through the site to support staff in need as a result of the current pandemic.
Ocean Hotels Barbados, a family-owned group of hotels in Barbados, is adding 15% in value to gift cards that travelers buy for its properties. Plus, 5%-10% of gift card sales go to support furloughed staff members.
If you buy a Montage Cares certificate for $500, it includes one night at any Montage hotel or resort with 100% of the value going to the Hearts of Montage International Associate Relief Program, which supports hotel staff and their families. Pendry Hotels & Resorts is offering a Pendry Cares certificate for $250, which covers a one-night stay while supporting this relief fund.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card