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Remember when bonuses for online bookings were the norm?
In the early days of the Internet, bonuses were travel suppliers’ way of retraining consumers, who were accustomed to booking by phone, to book online instead. While the marketing messages were all about convenience, it was really about the bottom line. Migrating reservations to the web lowered operating costs and increased profits.
But when online booking became the new normal, there was no longer any need for extra incentives and they were dropped.
These days, when an airline or hotel offers a bonus for booking online, the goal is slightly different: It’s not just to get you to book online, it’s to get you to book on the company’s own website, rather than on the website of an online travel agency or other outlet. Once again, it’s all about profit. Since there’s no commission payable to a third party, the travel supplier banks the full amount charged for bookings on its own site.
The latest to bring back a bonus for online bookings: Best Western.
Between November 19, 2012, and June 30, 2013, Best Western Rewards members will earn 250 bonus points for every qualified stay booked on bestwestern.com. There is no limit to the number of bonuses that can be earned.
Deal or No Deal
By itself, a 250-point bonus is paltry. But for travelers who stay at Best Westerns regularly, the points could add up to meaningful numbers. Since hotel stays booked through third-party sites generally don’t earn frequent-stay points, it’s always prudent to compare prices available on the hotel’s own website to those offered elsewhere. Hotel points are nice, but you don’t want to overpay to earn them. That advice applies here as well.
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