Home | Deals | News | Store | Community   Search our site:
Receive our frequent
flyer e-newsletter



 Bonus Promotions
 DealWatch
 Mileage Mall
 Products & Services


 Award/Upgrade Index
 Head2Head
 Mileage Converter
 Program Guide
 Program Questions
 Program Timeline
 Ratings & Reviews


 Flight Schedules
 Flight Tracking
 Glossary
 Mileage Calculator


 Ask Randy
 Late-Breaking News
 Travel Information
 View From the Wing


 AirPoll
 Community
 Newsletters


 Funnies
 Postcards



WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)


La Quinta Returns


4.83
(20 ratings)

7.00

This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in August 2010. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

The Villa
La Quinta has its roots in Texas soil as the first La Quinta hotel opened in 1968 to provide lodging for guests of the HemisFair '68 World's Fair in San Antonio, Texas. The headquarters have remained in Texas ever since, although the company has since moved its offices from San Antonio to Irving, Texas.

La Quinta is a mid-priced hotel group and offers a complimentary continental breakfast to guests, in addition to other amenities such as free high-speed Internet and fitness room access. La Quinta is known as being pet-friendly and pets can stay without any additional pet fee or deposit.

Compared to other programs with hotel properties in the same price range, La Quinta is a relatively small player. Best Western Rewards has over 4,000 participating hotels and Choice Privileges has over 5,500 properties worldwide. There are more than 780 La Quinta Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites hotels in 46 states plus Canada and Mexico. La Quinta has added over 200 new La Quinta properties in the last 30 months and has an additional 250 plus hotels in their development pipeline, which makes La Quinta one of the fastest growing hotel brands in the United States. This makes La Quinta Returns a useful loyalty program for domestic travelers. Another mostly domestic competitor by comparison, Red Lion R&R Club, has only 45 hotels.


EARNING ABILITY:

5.65
Our
Rating:

5.00
Members earn 10 points per dollar spent on eligible room rates only at La Quinta Inn or La Quinta Inn & Suites. Most eligible room rates include best available rates, AAA and AARP and most corporate discount rates. Taxes and other incidental charges such as movies and long distance phone calls do not earn points. In lieu of points, members can choose to collect miles with airline partners. Members can choose to earn miles for the stay at check in, or they can earn Returns points and later redeem those points for miles or other awards. Returns points are automatically added to an account within 72 hours after check-out. Miles are posted by the airline partner within seven days of the stay or redemption.

La Quinta Returns members can also earn points from spending with a co-branded credit card. There are currently no other ways for members to earn points such as through car rentals or shopping; however, there are indications that these options may be coming soon.

^top
AWARD CHOICES:

5.5
Our
Rating:

7.50
La Quinta divides its properties into six tiers for a one-night award stay at the following point levels: 6,000, 8,000, 11,000, 15,000, 18,000 or 24,000 points. Only two properties are set at the 24,000-point tier--the flagship property in downtown Chicago and the property in downtown Manhattan. Most properties fall into the second and third categories at 8,000 or 11,000 points.

Before you book a paid stay at a 6,000-point property, be sure to compare the price you're quoted to how much it would cost in La Quinta Rewards points. In some rare cases, it's actually cheaper to buy the points than it is to pay cash. For example when we searched, a stay at the La Quinta Inn Fort Collins in Fort Collins, Colo. was $95 but members can buy or gift points for $11 per 1,000 points, up to 40,000 points per year. Which means you can buy 6,000 points (the amount you need for an award night) for $66, resulting in a better deal than paying the best available rate of $95--again, this is rare and can depend on the season. Residents of Canada must pay GST/HST (Goods and Services Tax) in addition to the cost of the points so if you live in Canada, you should factor that in when deciding whether to buy points.

The La Quinta Returns earning and award structure is comparable to competitors Best Western and Choice Privileges. All three programs offer 10 points per $1 spent (some Choice properties only earn five points per $1 spent) and award stays at Best Western start at 8,000 points whereas Choice Privileges free nights start at 6,000 points--the same number of points La Quinta Returns requires for its lowest tier award. La Quinta Returns offers bonus point opportunities with double and triple points at select properties offered every month and members can take advantage of stay bonus offers on a frequent basis.

We unscientifically determined that the average room rate at a La Quinta property, based on a random sampling of various properties in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, is about $90 a night. Therefore each paid night is equivalent to earning 900 points, so with free nights beginning at 6,000 points, members can earn a free night (on average) after seven paid nights. Members staying at double or triple point properties, or receiving other bonus point offers may earn free nights more quickly.

Members may also swap their points for airline miles. Redeeming 6,000 points will translate into 1,000 miles with most airline partners (one credit for 5,000 points with Southwest Rapid Rewards).

La Quinta Returns partners with over 150 retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues that offer $25 gift cards or gift certificates for 7,500 points. Participating partners include Red Lobster, Regal Cinemas, Amazon.com, Regis Salons, Albuquerque Little Theatre and Bed Bath & Beyond, among others including a very practical Chevron and Texaco gift card.

Members who like to save up their points to splurge can redeem points at select luxury resorts and hotels at popular vacation destinations across the U.S. For example, a stay at the Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, N.M. is available for 50,000 points or a night at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Fla. starts at 30,000 points per night. Other possible properties include the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif. (50,000 points); Resort at Squaw Creek at Lake Tahoe (55,000 points) or King George Hotel in San Francisco, Calif. (50,000 points), to name a few. These properties are not branded La Quinta but have a partnership with La Quinta Rewards.

^top
PARTNERSHIPS:

4.45
Our
Rating:

5.50
La Quinta partners with five major airlines in the Americas: American, Continental, Delta, Mexicana and Southwest. Returns members who choose to earn miles can earn 250 miles per stay on all airline partners except for Southwest Rapid Rewards members who can earn 0.5 credits per stay.

La Quinta has a number of different partners but instead of earning points for partner transactions, members can take advantage of special offers and discounts, such as 30 percent off at RandMcNally.com. Other retail partners include Office Depot, Domino's Pizza and Michael's.

Car rental partners offering special deals for Rewards members include Avis, Budget, Hertz and Enterprise Rent a Car. For example, members can get a 25 percent discount plus a free car upgrade with Avis.

Members who sign-up for the La Quinta Visa Rewards co-branded credit card from Chase can earn enough points for up to three free nights (20,000 points) with their first purchase. In addition to the normal 10 points per dollar spent earned by La Quinta Returns members, cardholders earn five points per $1 spent at La Quinta properties and one point per $1 spent everywhere else. The card has no annual fee.

^top
ELITE-LEVEL PROGRAM:

5.05
Our
Rating:

6.50
La Quinta's elite program is essentially two-tiered, but even entry-level members are designated as Silver members and receive express check-in, late check-out and have access to a members-only 800 number.

Complete 10 paid nights a year and you can graduate to Gold level, where you'll earn 20-percent bonus points per $1 spent, two free room upgrade certificates per year and free faxes (up to 15 pages per fax). Gold members also have access to a dedicated service line for Gold members only.

Stay 25 paid nights in a year and you'll earn Elite status, which offers all Gold benefits plus a 30-percent bonus on all base points earned, guaranteed availability when you reserve 48 hours prior to arrival (special events require 30 days), no blackout dates for free night certificates (limited availability), automatic free room upgrade based upon availability at time of check-in and an in-room welcome gift. Elite members also have access to The Elite Private Line, a dedicated service line for Elite members only.

Once earned, Gold and Elite status is valid through the end of the calendar year following the year in which status was earned.

^top
RULES AND CONDITIONS:

4.1
Our
Rating:

8.00
Awards are transferable to anyone, but the member will need to call to make reservations in their name and give the name of the person who will be using the free night. Members may receive credit for up to three rooms per stay that are booked under their Returns membership number, provided that the member stays and occupies a room during the visit and is paying for the additional rooms.

Rooms booked through a third party Web site such as Hotels.com may not be eligible to earn points.

Points do not expire but members who do not have any stay activity within an 18-month consecutive period may be removed from the program and forfeit all of their points.

Award nights are subject to capacity controls and some properties have blackout dates. Members must be at least 18 years old.

Members may use an award of lesser tier value than required by the specific hotel; however, an upgrade charge per hotel tier level difference will apply. Stays before you join La Quinta Returns cannot retroactively earn points.

^top
SERVICE SUPPORT:

4.55
Our
Rating:

8.50
Members can call the service center between 8am and 1am CST, seven days a week. We called three times and each time, there was almost no wait time and we received answers quickly and were always asked if there was anything else that we needed and were told to have a nice day. You can also contact the service center via email and receive a response within three business days.

^top
ONLINE SERVICES:

4.55
Our
Rating:

8.00
The Returns Web site, like the program itself, is straightforward and easy to understand and use. Online enrollment is available, and accounts may be accessed online. After logging into your account, you can track account activity, change your room preferences, check your balance and redeem points for award nights, gift cards and gift certificates. Missing point requests can be made over the phone or by sending your stay receipt to the service center.

^top
PLUS FEATURES:
For a fairly simple program, La Quinta Returns offers a surprising variety of award choices including being able to convert points to miles. And one free night after seven paid nights is a decent earn to burn ratio if you want to earn free nights quickly. La Quinta Returns points used to expire in 24 months, but the expiration policy has been revised and points remain alive indefinitely as long as a member stays at La Quinta once every 18 months. It's easy to switch between earning miles or points because you can make the decision every time you check in by giving your frequent flyer program number or not.

^top
MINUS FEATURES:
La Quinta Returns members can only earn points for hotel room rates and co-branded credit card spending. Points cannot be earned for renting cars, purchasing items from partner retailers and other transactions. Taxes and other incidentals such as dining and in-room movies are also not eligible for earning points. La Quinta partners with only five airlines and it would be nice to see additional airline partners, such as United and US Airways.

^top
INFORMATION:
La Quinta Returns
Service Center
909 Hidden Ridge Suite 600
Irving, Texas 75038
(800) 738-8767

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
Our
Rating:
5.00 7.50 5.50 6.50 8.00 8.50 8.00 7.00
Member
Rating:
5.65 5.5 4.45 5.05 4.1 4.55 4.55 4.83

(20 ratings)

^top

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Copyright | Help | Press Room | Privacy Policy | Products | Legal |

A Frequent Flyer Network site. All rights reserved.