Hotels at Half Price Programs
Nov 30, 2000
Traveler's Advantage is a " hotel's at half price" program promoted mainly through credit card companies affiliated with a retail establishment. For an annual fee of close to $60, you are issued an Entertainment "hotel's at half off" list and ID card, airline, rental car and cruise discount coupons and a free hotel night voucher.
I recently learned about Traveler's Advantage through a credit card offer. Not knowing too much about it, I decided to sign-up to receive my free hotel night stay and learn more about the program during a three month trial period (they will automatically bill your card in 90 days, so keep track of the time). I was also curious to see how it compared to the hotel section of the Entertainment Book, which I purchase every year for $40. To my surprise, the "half off" program offered by the Entertainment Book was identical to that offered by Traveler's Advantage. Even the cruise, airline and rental car coupons were the same. The only difference was the free hotel night voucher, included with the Traveler's Advantage program and a (minimal)cash-back rebate program associated with it's travel agency. Both offered a list of hotels here in the US as well abroad that accepted the "Entertainment" discount.
I have used our Entertainment Book discount at hotels here in the US as well as in Mexico and the Caribbean. Depending on where I vacation, I always compare the cost of airline tickets and accommodations to those available in a package. Using the "hotel's at half off" discount isn't always the least expensive way to go. But I have gotten great deals, especially when combining it with frequent flyer miles, like the time we got a room for a week in Cancun at the Fiesta Americana for $500!
After looking at what both programs have to offer, I am convinced that the Entertainment Book is more cost effective and works well only if you live in an area where you can take advantage of its restaurant coupons - mainly metropolitan areas. However, those of you who reside in rural areas, too far to go into town on a regular basis to take advantage of restaurant coupons offered by Entertainment, the Traveler's Advantage is a more practical choice. Both programs offer excellent hotel discounts, and depending on where you stay, could pay for itself the first time you use it. But please keep in mind that if you travel infrequently, it won't pay to invest in Traveler's Advantage. Even with the free hotel night voucher good only at budget hotels/motels (which I estimate to be worth around $30 dollars), it's not a good deal if you never use it! With the Entertainment Book, even if you never use the hotel section, you still have the "two for one" restaurant coupons. Since both basically offer the same service, choose the one that makes the most sense to you.
I recently cancelled the Traveler's Advantage program during its free trial period, and I was not billed. It didn't make sense to have both memberships. Yes, the free hotel night voucher was mine, but I never got a chance to use it. It was only honored at budget hotels and expired before I had a chance to take advantage of it. I had no idea how similar the two programs were. I'm hoping this input helps you in deciding which program is right for you. Good luck!