Ever been bamboozled by the jargon in hotel brochures or websites? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Terms like AP, MAP, CP, EP and so on seem to be part of some secret hotelier language.
These terms are more common when you are directly dealing with a hotel. For example, to book a stay for a group, for an event, or negotiating a stay for a longer duration.
But what are these terms supposed to mean? The good news is that they’re merely abbreviations for meal plans, indicating which meals are included in your room rate or not.
Here’s an overview of these plans before we dive into their merits and potential pitfalls.
|Hotel Meal Plan
|American Plan (AP)
|All three meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
|Modified American Plan (MAP)
|Breakfast plus either lunch or dinner.
|Continental Plan (CP)
|European Plan (EP)
|No meals are included.
|Club Access Plan
|Varies by hotel - includes Lounge Access.
Elite members are offered complimentary breakfast by numerous hotels, regardless of the booked meal plan. This is primarily due to the benefits of the loyalty program rather than the selected meal plan.
To stay informed about opportunities for higher elite status, you may want to subscribe to our free Points and Miles newsletter.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look at each meal plan.
AP or American Plan.
The American Plan is also known as Full Pension or Full Board in Europe and other places around the globe. As the name suggests, it covers all three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner in your quoted tariff.
Ideal for stays in resorts or remote locations where outside dining options may be limited due to location or hygiene concerns.
This plan also comes handy when hosting events where leaving meals flexible could end up with an unexpected gastronomical budget explosion! With an American plan under your belt, you know exactly what you’ll be shelling out at checkout.
MAP or Modified American Plan.
The Modified American Plan, also known as Half Pension or Half Board Plan in Europe and some other countries, includes two meals a day (breakfast and either lunch or dinner) in the quoted hotel rate.
This plan is a hit with tourists who like to fuel up with a hearty hotel breakfast before exploring local lunch options out in the town.
After a day of adventures, you can return to your hotel for a well-deserved shower and tuck into a delicious dinner.
CP or Continental Plan.
The Continental Plan offers just breakfast in the room rent. Should you wish to dine at the hotel for other meals, you’ll have to pay extra.
This plan usually comes with a buffet breakfast that includes tea, coffee, milk, juices, eggs, pancakes, local dishes, breads, cereals, etc. Some select service or budget hotels may offer a limited buffet or set/packed breakfast instead.
Also known as the breakfast inclusive rate, the Continental Plan is popular among tourists and business travelers alike.
EP or European Plan.
The European Plan has the lowest tariff on rate cards because it only includes room rent without any meals.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘room-only’ plan, the European Hotel Plan gives you an opportunity to explore local food at your own pace and budget. You can always choose to pay and eat at the hotel if you wish so.
You can also try out different restaurants within or outside the hotel for breakfast each day. It’s also good for occasions where you are supposed to leave early. For example, to catch an early morning flight, where you won’t have the time for breakfast anyway.
This plan is also suitable for guests with dining memberships like Accor Plus at certain hotels. The discount offered with dining memberships is often better than booking a meal included plan.
Club Access Plan.
Several hotel chains offer Club Access Plans that grant guests access to the hotel’s club lounge.
These lounges typically offer complimentary breakfasts, all-day beverages and light snacks during fixed hours – sometimes they even throw in free evening drinks and occasional meals!
Club Lounge Access plans can be booked online, and guests who book these plans are likely to be offered a room on the same floor as the club lounge.
Depending on the rate booked, you might have access to breakfast at the lounge as well as the main restaurant.
Even though the spread may be smaller compared to main restaurants but offer quieter spaces away from the bustling crowds, and long waiting time for a sunny side up. Club lounges are much quieter and emptier, especially outside the US.
Most hotel chains offer Club Lounge access free to their top-tier members. Keeping track of hotel promotions and upgrade offers can help you achieve elite status and reap these benefits.
It’s worth noting that Club Lounge Access is not recommended for group events due to the lounge’s limited space and expectations of quiet, considerate behavior. Most lounges also have a dress code that must be followed.
Some lounges do not permit young children or allow them only during specific hours. In such cases, alternative arrangements are often made, like offering complimentary drinks and snacks at the main restaurant instead of the lounge.