Starwood Eliminates a Very Valuable Discount

The Starwood and Marriott merger is in full force, as points are transferable between the two companies and some company policies are starting to merge. I’m hopeful that soon the stays at Marriott and Starwood will count towards each other. One of the casualties of the merger is a discount that I’ve used for years, and I’m sure that most people in the miles and points world have as well.

Discounts for Hotels

You should NEVER pay full price for a hotel. Ever. There’s always a discount.

Four Points Havana Hotel

In the past we’ve taken advantage of AARP discounts, AAA discounts, and even sometimes package discounts. The savings are often well above and beyond the normal 10% discount that you get in a prepaid booking, AND often when you book with AARP or AAA you get a more flexible cancellation policy.

RIP AARP 🙁

Starwood has eliminated the AARP discount on their hotel rooms, instead placing it with the Marriott standard Senior rate. Why does this matter? Because Marriott has never had an AARP rate, they’ve always had a senior rate, which requires that you’re 62 years or older to take advantage. SPG has called it a “Senior / AARP” rate, so either would work.

Now, that’s changed, as the website shows the Senior rate:

AARP discount

The website lets you choose the Senior rate, but AARP is *poof*

AARP discount

The app still shows AARP…

The only way that I was able to finagle this to still show AARP was through the app, luckily this hasn’t updated yet.

SPG APP AARP

Do hotels actually check?

This raises the old question, “Do hotels actually ASK?” The short answer is it depends, the longer answer gets more complicated.

We have been asked to present our AARP card before and also our AAA card, but mostly that’s overseas or at most luxury hotels. I’ve noticed that hotels didn’t seem to mind unless the discount is epic. Right now at the Costa Mesa hotel I used for this test, the rate was only $2 different from the prepaid rate, the exception being that the AARP rate is flexible until 6pm the day before arrival.

Do you use the AARP discount? How about any other discounts out there you regularly take advantage of?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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1 Comment

  1. I was only able to use the AARP discount at Starwood hotels four times(4 stays/6 nights, 4/5/17, 4/6/17, 9/6/17, and 1/25/18-1/27/18). I joined in August 2017. I used my mother’s membership for the first two stays since she was with me. I have used my mother’s membership to get the Hilton AARP discount at least twice, possibly three times. She was with me. Neither of us was ever asked to show our AARP card at Starwood or Hilton. The only places I have ever been carded are Outback Steakhouse, Denny’s, and Walgreens.

    The AARP discount was eliminated over a month ago. I called SPG on 2/17/18 about something else, but I also asked about the missing AARP rate. The rep confirmed that Starwood eliminated the AARP rate at Marriott’s request. At least a week before I called SPG, I did some mock bookings for Orlando and New Orleans and noticed the change to just a senior discount.

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