E-commerce, travel vets launch loyalty program for independent hotels

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Former travel and e-commerce employees at Expedia, Amazon, Microsoft and Zillow have launched Stash Hotel Rewards, a loyalty currency for independent hotels.

The program debuted May 20 with 65 client hotels in 50 cities. Its goal is to allow consumers who prefer independent hotels over chains a chance to earn nights for that loyalty.

“We've spoken with hundreds of travelers, and many said they felt forced to make a frustrating trade-off,” said Jeff Low, founder and CEO of Stash Hotel Rewards, in a statement. “They can either stay at an independent hotel with a more memorable, personalized guest experience, or check in to another big-box hotel – with the same bland room and the same white bed they found in the last city – just so they can earn points.”

Consumers can sign up for a free account at stashrewards.com. Points can be earned immediately and never expire. Members also receive exclusive travel deals, including point bonuses matched to a member's travel history or weekend getaway offers customized for a consumer's home city.

A Stash representative could not be reached for comment by press time.

Meanwhile, InterContinental Hotels Group, the owner of Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites, said May 18 that it will allow members of its Priority Club Rewards program to redeem points for rooms at non-IHG hotels.

“Instead of people splitting their business, staying at Marriott or Hilton to bank points for a Hawaii trip, we're making our currency universal,” Brian Ericson, director of loyalty program development at the lodging conglomerate, told DMNews.

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