Advance Purchase vs. Points Stay….

I’m hoping to get some thoughts on this, as I can’t decide what to do. I’ll be staying at the Conrad Hong Kong for one night in early March. I was planning on using 40,000 points for the stay, but as part of Hilton’s January 50% off sale, it’s only $210USD all-in ($183USD pre-tax). While it includes the breakfast buffet (which I doubt I’ll take advantage of, since I’m hoping for a club upgrade), it’s also an advance purchase rate, which means it’s non-refundable. Generally I never book non-refundable rates, but the flexible rate doesn’t qualify for the sale, meaning a flexible revenue booking would be around $400.

So, which would you do? For what it’s worth I have about 300,000 Hilton points for which I have no other immediate use….

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Well, for $210 for the Conrad is a steal, and the 40K is probably ‘worth more’. But over at U:TB, Mr. Ashley seems to think a hotel points devaluation is coming (http://www.boardingarea.com/osblog.php?id=2), so maybe if you got ’em, burn ’em?

    Basically, I’ve been no help at all yet so… I say (as long as the plans are rock-solid) pre-pay the cash, save the points.

  2. Hi Ben, I just realize that you are going to HK in March. Guess what, I’m going to HK in March as well. I will be there from March 1st to March 23rd. I’m going to buy the air tickets next Monday. It’s $820 with taxes from Cathay Pacific.

  3. I woud go with the $210 rate– as an earlier poster suggest you can get more than $210 worth of room elsewhere.

    ps–I will be staying at the Conrad HKG in middle of March as well

  4. I agree … it’s a toss up. Basically, it’s all about what your cash-flow situation is like right now. Me … I don’t like having too high of a hotel points balance. It’s good to spend a bit once in a while.

  5. Hi Lucky,
    I would pay for the room. I am a Hilton Diamond member and although the Conrad HKG is a very nice hotel I like to use the points when there is no reasonable rate. I used 40k points to stay at the Waldorf NYC where the least expensive room was $600. I am not sure of your status and I know you are the king of upgrades but with Hilton I always call the desk after I book and have them request an upgrade on your reservation. I know there is no formal process at Hilton for this but it works for me 100% of the time. Worth a shot and it costs nothing.
    Met you at the SFO Fleet Week in October, wife and I had a great time! Thanks again.

  6. It’s funny. I have the same conundrum. I already have a free night booked at the Conrad Hong Kong in early March, necessitated by the 18 hour layover in Hong Kong on our way to India on Cathay. You and I have both stayed at this Conrad in the past so we know how GOOD it is. I’m actually thinking of staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Wanchai. It gets good reviews but, of course, won’t be in the same league as the Conrad. I’m thinking of doing it since it’s fairly cheap (about $125), it helps me qualify for the 3,000 Priority Club points promo and, most importantly, it is smack in the middle of Wanchai, giving me a better chance to know that neighborhood. (Although the Conrad is fantastic, it’s a bit removed.) I suppose if my wife puts a kabosh on the Holiday Inn idea, I will go the paying route at the Conrad since I think 40,000 points are worth at least $300. Enjoy Hong Kong on your way to the Philippines. (Be sure to visit Boracay if you have the chance. I was there several times in the early ’80s before it was “discovered” and there are few places that I have seen that are as beautiful as Boracay.)

  7. I had a similar conundrum of points vs cash (discounted non-refundable rate) in Vienna where it was a toss-up in value. I went for points (even with a smaller stash than yours) in part because the points stay is refundable.

    However, your stay is only 6 weeks away – how likely is it really that you’ll benefit from having a refundable booking?

  8. I appreciate all the thoughts, thanks folks! I’m fairly certain I’ll take the trip, so the non-refundability isn’t a huge issue for me (in general). With the economy I just have a hard time deciding between the two. I’ll post back when I make a deicision. Thanks again!

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