My Updated Analysis on What a Mile/Point is Worth: Hotel Points

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Introduction
Credit Card Points
Airline Miles
Hotel Points


I made a post about which credit cards to use for hotel stays back in March, and I included what I value the major hotel points currencies at. That being said, I didn’t explain the reasoning behind my valuations, so hopefully this helps in that regard. After careful consideration I’ve also rethought some of my valuations based on comments left by readers, as I’ll explain below.

To provide a really rough explanation of my thought process, my points valuation is somewhat based on the assumption that one values a free night at a top hotel around $300-350. Ultimately I’m all about the “aspirational” award, so I think one important aspect in valuing points is comparing how many points are needed for a redemption at a top hotel. The “base” value of $300 goes up for me when hotels honor elite benefits on award stays (free breakfast, internet, room upgrades, etc.), count them towards elite status, etc., which can add a lot of value to a stay.

With that in mind, here we go:

Hilton HHonors — 0.8 cents/point

While Hilton does have some pretty decent properties, they also have among the highest award costs. Their category 7 hotels are 50,000 points per night, so at 0.8 cents per point I’m valuing those at $320 per night. I think that’s a fair valuation for hotels like the Conrad Hong Kong, Conrad Maldives, etc. Best of all Hilton not only honors all elite benefits on award stays, but also offers points and stay credits.

But the real value in Hilton’s award chart comes with their AXON awards, which offer points discounts on longer stays at category 5-7 properties, for those with the Hilton American Express credit card. For example, four nights at a category 7 hotel would usually cost 200,000 points, though through the AXON award chart would only cost 145,000 points, which basically means you’re getting the fourth night free and then some. You can read more about AXON awards in this FlyerTalk post.

So I do think Hilton points are a valuable points currency, it’s just that they don’t have quite as many aspirational properties as some other chains, and their redemption costs are definitely on the high end.

Best credit card(s) for earning Hilton HHonors points: Hilton Surpass American Express Card, which offers nine points per dollar spent at Hilton properties, six points per dollar spent at gas stations and drugstores, and three points per dollar spent on everything else

Hyatt Gold Passport — 1.6 cents/point

On one hand I’m very tempted to value Hyatt points at more than 1.6 cents per point, though I do think this is the fairest valuation. Hyatt’s award costs are much lower than Hilton’s, though you also earn substantially fewer points for stays and through their credit card.

Their top hotels are 22,000 points per night, so at a valuation of 1.6 cents per point, that’s basically valuing a night at one of their top properties at $352. It’s worth noting that Hyatt also honors all elite benefits on award stays, so you get free internet, breakfast, room upgrades, etc., as a Diamond member on an award stay.

The thing that really makes Gold Passport such an amazing loyalty program is the ability to redeem points at Park Hyatt hotels. They’re among my favorite hotels of any chain, so being able to turn my points into stays at amazing hotels like the Park Hyatt Dubai, Park Hyatt Melbourne, Park Hyatt Seoul, Park Hyatt ShanghaiPark Hyatt Tokyo, is a large part of what makes the program so great.

But another great thing about Hyatt is the ability to redeem points for suites at a reasonable cost. While there’s a three night minimum for suite redemptions, Hyatt only charges a 50% points premium for a suite over a standard room. That’s a spectacular value, especially since some of these suites retail for $1,500+ per night.

While I do wish Hyatt would have cash & points like Starwood, they also have some very reasonable mid-tier redemptions. For example, the Grand Hyatt Santiago, which I’ll be staying at in a couple of months, is only a category two hotel, making it 8,000 points per night. Given that revenue rates are consistently $300+ including tax, that’s an amazing value as well.

Best credit card(s) for earning Hyatt Gold Passport points: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers two points per dollar spent on travel and dining and the Chase Hyatt Visa Card, which offers three points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties

Marriott Rewards — 1.0 cent/point

Yes, I admit it. In my previous post I undervalued Marriott points. I said they were worth 0.8 cents each, though I think they’re worth at least 1.0 cent each, potentially more depending on your travel patterns.

I go through phases with liking hotel programs, and over the years I’ve at one point or another loved Hilton, Hyatt, Priority Club, and Starwood. I’ve never loved Marriott even a little bit, given their stingy elite program and high redemption levels.

Marriott charges 40,000 points per night for redemptions at their highest tier hotels (category 8).

That alone makes me think my previous valuation of 0.8 cents per point was pretty fair. That being said, I failed to consider Marriott’s flight and hotel packages, which really are very tempting.

Basically you can redeem points for a combination of miles and free nights with several options, including the following:

Those are miles that can be transferred to Delta, United, and US Airways, among other programs. In my previous installment I valued United MileagePlus miles at 1.8 cents each. So assuming a Marriott point is worth 1.0 cent and a United mile is worth 1.8 cents, the 120,000 United miles you get are worth 216,000 Marriott Rewards points. That means you’re basically “paying” 54,000 points for seven free nights at a category 5 resort, which is less than 8,000 points per night (compared to the usual cost of 25,000 points). Now, the major frustration for me is that I don’t really want to spend seven nights at one hotel, so I do wish they had shorter packages. But still, given the value, it’s tough to beat, even if you were only going to spend a few days at a hotel.

Best credit card(s) for earning Marriott Rewards points: Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, which offers five points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, two points per dollar spent on dining, rental cars, and airlines, and one point per dollar spent on everything else

IHG Rewards Club — 0.6 cents/point

Up until a few weeks ago it was possible to purchase IHG points for 0.6 cents each. Basically they had a cash & points option whereby you could discount the cost of an award stay by paying $60 in place of 10,000 points. If you later canceled the award reservation they would refund you the 10,000 points in place of the $60.

So previously I couldn’t really value IHG points at more than 0.6 cents each, given that an unlimited number could be purchased at that price. That being said, just a few weeks ago the cost of purchasing points using this method was raised to 0.7 cents each, so that option isn’t there anymore.

In theory I’d actually lower my valuation of IHG points given that they devalued their award chart in January, though I don’t think it’s fair to value IHG points at less than 0.6 cents each. Redemptions at their high end hotels are 50,000 points per night, so at a valuation of 0.6 cents per point you’re looking at $300 per night. There are lots of great values at mid-range properties as well.

My biggest gripe with IHG is that they don’t honor elite benefits on award stays. It’s very frustrating to get accustomed to the fantastic Royal Ambassador benefits offered on revenue stays, only to redeem your hard earned points and be put in a standard room with no benefits.

Best credit card(s) for earning IHG Rewards Club points: IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which offers five points per dollar spent at IHG properties, two points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and at restaurants, and one point per dollar spent on everything else

Starwood Preferred Guest — 2.2 cents/point

Let me for a moment play devil’s advocate and downplay the value of SPG points. The reason I’m doing this is because everyone knows SPG points are the most valuable points currency out there, though I think a lot of people overvalue them.

It’s rather convenient that Starwood comes last alphabetically, since you can see a few themes from above. As I said from the very beginning, my basis of valuation in part is that I value a free night at a high end hotel at roughly $300-350. Here’s Starwood’s free night award chart:

The problem, as I’m sure you can tell, is that my valuation is completely out of whack for high end properties. Starwood’s category 7 properties start at 30,000 points per night, so at 2.2 cents per point you’re valuing those free nights at $660, just about double of what we’re valuing free nights at high end hotels with the other chains. Even when you go to category six hotels, at a valuation of 2.2 cents per point you’re still valuing a free night there at $440+. Neither of those valuations are fair, when I’m valuing a free night at the Park Hyatt Sydney and Park Hyatt Paris at ~$350.

One of the greatest values with Starwood is their Cash & Points program, whereby you can redeem part cash and part points for a hotel stay to get a great deal. The bad news is that unlike the option to redeem just points, Cash & Points is capacity controlled. But even that often isn’t a good deal. They don’t offer Cash & Points for category 7 hotels, and for a category 6 hotel you’re paying $150 plus 8,000 points, which I’m valuing at $176, for a total of $327. That’s for a capacity controlled free night and it’s not even their highest category, while that’s the equivalent cash value you’d pay in other chains for a free night at a top hotel without capacity controls.

All that being said, let me clarify I’m not bashing SPG points. They’re the most valuable points currency out there. I just don’t agree with the crowd that values them at 4+ cents per point.

The good news with SPG is that there’s quite a bit of value to be had at mid-range properties, especially category 3-5 hotels either on award stays or Cash & Points stays. There are plenty of hotels that are $300 per night but only cost 12,000 points per night, which is a great deal. But remember to factor in the points you’re not earning by booking an award stay, which can really add up, especially if you’re an elite member and Starwood is running a promotion. On the plus side, Starwood honors all elite benefits on award stays, and as of a few months ago even offers stay credit on award stays.

So I do think SPG points are very valuable for hotel stays, though I’ll say that I don’t fall into the crowd that values them at 4+ cents per point. Value them at 2.5 cents each? I can see that. 2.8 cents? Fine, I’m with you. 3.0 cents? You’re pushing your luck. 3.5+? You, me, parking lot after school. 😉

But my real basis for deriving the value of SPG points is in the ability to easily transfer them to airline miles. Points can be transferred 1:1 to several programs, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus. I valued American miles at 1.8 cents each, so when you factor in the 25% bonus you get for the transfer, that puts the value of SPG points at ~2.2 cents each.

So what it comes down to with Starwood is that I think most people can easily redeem in the 2.5 cent per point range, but when factoring in the points they’re missing out on by booking an award, it’s closer to the 2.2 cent per point range. And for higher end properties that has to be based on the price you’d otherwise be willing to pay, and not the retail price, in my opinion.

Best credit card(s) for earning SPG points: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, which offer two points per dollar spent at SPG properties and one SPG point per dollar spent on everything else

Anyway, hopefully you guys found this series of posts helpful. As I’ve said from the very beginning the above are my valuations of points, and I’m not for a second claiming they’re correct. I think reasonable people can easily disagree about the value of points +/-50% based on their financial situation and vacation style, though hopefully if nothing else it’s a decent summary for those of you that are new to the hobby.

If you have any questions, agree, or disagree, let me know in the comments section!

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Comments

  1. What value would you assign to Club Carlson points? Their recent promotion has certainly raised my awareness of some enticing aspirational awards, particularly in Europe.

  2. I have to disagree with many of your conclusions here because I don’t agree with your methodology; specifically, you focus on redemption rates, but nowhere do you appear to analyze the comparative earning rates between programs. Let’s take Hilton and Starwood as an example.

    You value Hilton points at 0.8 cents/point, vs. Starwood at 2.2/point. So doing the math, Starpoints are 2.75 times more valuable than HHonors points (but I’ll be generous and round up to 3x more valuable). So let’s keep in mind that 3:1 ratio.

    Let’s look at the earning rates. As a general program member, you earn 10 points/dollar at Hilton, vs. 2 points per dollar at Starwood. That’s a 5:1 earning ratio in favor of Hilton. So sure, their properties cost more points in relation to Starwood, but you earn more Hilton points per dollar on a relative basis vs. what you earn with that same dollar at Starwood. Let’s say you’re mid-tier (Gold) at both chains…now you’re earning 1.25 points/dollar at Hilton, and 3/dollar at Starwood. That’s still a bit better than a 4:1 ratio.

    So in both cases, the earning ratio of Hilton to Starpoints beats the redemption value ratio that you’ve come up with, so to me, Hilton points are the more valuable currency here.

    Let’s look at a Category 4 reward at both chains: 10,000 at Starwood, 30,000 at Hilton…right on that 3:1 ratio (so our starting point is an award that is an equivalent value based on your valuation). When you take into account the earning numbers, it’s again in favor of Hilton: If I was a general member and spent $3000 at Hilton, I’d have 30,000 points, enough for that reward. But if I spent those same $3000 dollars at Starwood, I’d only be at 6,000 points, 40% short of the points I’d need for an equivalent award! And the numbers are even more in Hilton’s favor when you get into the Category 7 awards, for example ($5000 in spend at Hilton gets you 50,000 points, enough for a Cat 7 award; $5000 in spend at Starwood gets you 10,000 points, a full 67% short of the points you need for the equivalent award!!)

    So enough math from me…I just don’t buy the argument that Starpoints are nearly as valuable as people make them out to be, with the GIANT caveat that I’m basing this argument on the value of Starpoints for Hotel redemptions ONLY, and not transferring Starpoints to airline miles, for example, where their value absolutely increases.

    Just my two cents!

  3. Andrew, that is an analysis of overall program value and helps to inform where to earn. The actual value of each point is what Lucky was evaluating. So if you have a choice between two completely identical hotels only one is a Hilton and the other a Le Meridien, you’ve got it right, go with the Hilton, but the value of each Hilton point is less.

  4. @Andrew:

    Well the point of the post is how much is each point worth. I think it’s left as an exercise for the reader to figure out how much a program is worth based on the earn rate.

    Despite what you say, would you be willing to trade me 50,000 Starpoints points for 50,000 HHonors points?

    The title of the post is “what’s a mile/point worth”, not “what’s the best mileage/point program”.

  5. @Andrew – redemption options determine point valuation. Earning does not come into play, although it influences the value of the whole program.

    Also, a category 4 Hilton is not really equivalent to a Starwood category 4. In a lot of cases, Starwood category 2 is about equivalent, but that varies. Even a Hilton category 6 might be an airport hampton inn down the road from a category 2 four points.

    The value is great at the very top properties, but lower and middle tier properties with Hilton are often terribly inflated. With Starwood it is the opposite – the very top hotels are prohibitively expensive to redeem at, but a lot of very nice properties just a notch below are priced quite reasonably in points.

    On the earning side, yes SPG is likely a bit weaker, although that depends on stay pattern and status. You also didn’t even factor in the double dip. As a primarily 1-night staying Platinum, the 500 point amenity goes a long way to closing that gap, and perhaps more importantly at the end of the day promotions make more of a difference than base earnings anyway.

  6. Lucky,

    First off, thanks for linking to my Hilton rewards FAQ on FT.

    You wrote that category 7 [Hilton] hotels are 50,000 points per night, so at 0.8 cents per point I’m valuing those at $320 per night. That’s 0.64 cents/point, so unless you’re assuming added taxes of 25% (which you don’t appear to do in the other hotel chain hypos) the math is off here.

    Finally, the Hilton award chart by itself omits a key (and unfortunately negative) factor. As I note elsewhere in the Hilton FAQ,

    as of fall 2011 Hilton has allowed several properties — including some of the most desirable desinations — to effectively violate the “no capacity controls” rule. With the recent addition of Premium Room Rewards, certain Hilton hotels and resorts have redesignated many of their standard rooms as premium rooms, and are charging exorbitant amounts (in some cases, double or triple the points) for these rooms. Members also report that some hotels have standard rooms available for cash purchase, but that these same rooms cannot be obtained using reward points.

    This represents a significant stealth devaluation of the Hilton HHonors program.

  7. @ David @ Mike, I understand what you’re saying, but I guess I still somewhat disagree. This exercise is more than just coming up with a simple value per point, as you’re arguing. If this was the case, Lucky would’ve stopped before he started talking about redemption options and values, etc., which I think played into his overall valuation of each point (as it should). The value of an individual point is meaningless without some redemption and earning context.

    @Matt, sure, stay pattern and status affects earning rates like you say, but that cuts both ways, depending on what the current bonus offers are with each program.

  8. Lucky,

    Are you sure about this or is Intercontinental Ambassador different?

    “My biggest gripe with Priority Club is that they don’t honor elite benefits on award stays.”

    I stayed a couple of times at Holiday using Priority Club Platinum level and both times I got upgrade rooms – once in a suite, once in a room with better view (there was no suite in that property).

  9. @andrew: redemptions are what determines value, you cannot discuss one without the other.

    Accrual determines cost (or opportunity cost), which is a separate but related issue. Program value is determined by, among other things, the balance between the two.

  10. For 4+ cents valuation of SPG, you have to redeem mid range properties category 3-5 and use cash+points exclusively.. Thats what I do. I wont redeem SPG unless it is atleast 4 cents/point. And I have found plenty of instances where that is true. An example :Element Times square was Cat 4, $60+4000 points. The hotel would go at ~$300 per night.

  11. This is a very sensible valuation scheme for all the programs you listed. I’m actually a little surprised as I’m used to people talking about “this hotel normally costs $1000 a night so you’re getting a great deal!” Not you, but it happens.

  12. This is a good analysis, thanks.

    I’ve had the “base” Hilton Amex (the brown one) for a year, having received 50,000 points at sign-up. This morning, logging on to my Amex account, I have an offer to upgrade to Surpass with 50,000 points on $3000 spend. I’m going to take it! But it might be targeted. But I somewhat agree with a previous poster – getting 9 Hilton points/dollar on Hilton spending with the Surpass card helps makes\s up for the lower point value

  13. Interesting post, thanks.

    Hilton also offers a cash and points redemption option.

    Is Hyatt short on promotions? I never see them advertised as much as the other brands.

    Why are Park Hyatts your favorite?

    Thanks.

  14. I think your valuations are very good and very helpful. But I’m disappointed that you didn’t provide a valuation for Club Carlson points. Are you not familiar with the Club Carlson program, or did you just think your readers aren’t interested?

  15. I agree with Andrew: You have to consider the ‘earning’ side of the equation in order to properly value the ‘redemption’ value.

    We recently had a 6 night, ~$3,000 stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Paid with my AMEX Hilton Surpass card.

    From this stay, with credit card bonus points, and Hilton’s Q2 promotion, we netted nearly 100,000 points.

    Yes, 100,000 Hilton points may be worth less than 100,000 SPG points.

    But what would you need to spend (with bonus’ etc.) to earn 100,000 SPG points?

  16. Informative post, Lucky. As another commenter mentioned, I would also like to see Club Carlson included in the calculus.

  17. Lucky,

    One thing you forgot to mention was that for Starwood, their last room guarantee can be worth far more than the numbers would show. 2 weekends ago I had to move my daughter to Chicago last minute. The city was basically sold out. The only rooms left were the Peninsula at $1400/night, the Ritz Carlton at $1372/night, and the Westin River North at $799 night- for a standard room. Basically, rack rate. I used 12,000 points per night for that Westin room and it was available to book by award because of SPG’s great “last room” policy.

  18. @ DBest — The reason I left them out is because I didn’t feel I had sufficient experience with them to assign a valuation. After doing a bit of research I’d probably value them somewhere around 0.4-0.5 cents each. Think that’s fair?

    @ Dave Op — They technically don’t honor benefits, though in practice many hotels do. That being said, it sucks to not be able to have any expectations on award stays. I think it’s just most noticeable at InterContinental hotels when you’re an Ambassador/Royal Ambassador, given all the concrete benefits one often misses out on.

  19. @ The Nomad — And that’s a great value, but would you really pay $300 per night to stay at the Element? That’s about the same I pay for much nicer hotels in NY, so I’d be hard pressed to base my valuation on the retail cost.

    @ Lord Fish — Sadly they have been short on promotions lately, while they used to be an industry leader.

    As far as Park Hyatts go, I just love their designs, elite treatments, and the service. They’re all modern and usually take great care of Diamond members, while offering service beyond what you get at other Hyatt properties.

  20. On think on the SPG valuation… I don’t think its fair to say category 7 properties are in the $300-400 range. One of the perks of SPG is their top-of-the-line properties are some of the nicer properties in the world, which come at a cost. Just doing a few random searches (mid-week in January), the ST. Regis Apsen is coming in at $899/nt, the W South beach is coming in at $709, W Paris at US$737, St Regis NY at $728 and the cheapest cat 7 i could find is the Chatwal at $564. when you use these prices in your valuations, i think there are some cases where a cat 6 or cat 7 redemption is worth it. Especially for folks that have lots of points and not lots of cash. There are more, in my opinion, aspirational properties within SPG than there are in some of the other brands.

  21. I do think that Andrew has an excellent point.
    My biggest issue with Marriott is how hard it is to build up the points. I would love to accumulate lots of Marriott points but I don’t spend 50+ nights a year on the road. More like 30-50. Hilton and priority points are much easier to earn. This is why I don’t focus on collecting Marriott points and hence they don’t have much of a value. It will probably take me 2+ years of pure focus on Marriott to get 300k+ points. I can get that with pure focus on Hilton in ~1 year. So yes the post is about spending, but the key is getting there (how can you spend something you don’t have much of?). Still a very valuable post. I wish I knew how to get a lot of Marriott points.

  22. @Andrew – I think one thing that you didn’t really consider is where you do your spending. Yes, you get very good bonus points for spending at Hilton, but what if most of your charges are for office supplies, or gas, or something other than the Hilton bonus (or the SPG bonus).

    We recently went to Hawaii and stayed at the Four Seasons. We used our Amex Plat to receive the room upgrade and free breakfast and also paid for some nights using our SPG card. Seemed like the best of both worlds.

  23. I really value Hilton points, regardless of what a lot of people say. One of the major factors is in their earning potential which offsets the higher cost. Plus entry level elites get a discount on 4,5,6+ night award stays. I can earn 15 points/$ as a HHonors non-elite or 16.5/17.5/20 at elite tiers.

    The general consensus is that SPG points are far more valuable which is true if comparing on a 1:1 basis. But you’ll earn a LOT more HHonors points, around 5x-6x the earn rate as SPG. Hilton has a huge network of hotels all over the world covering both budget and luxury resorts.

    When looking at the earnings potential of the points, someone with about 40k worth of SPG points could have earned 233k worth of HHonors points (enough for an entry level elite to have 6 nights a a Cat 7)

  24. @David, the problem is, SPG often lacks cat 7 point redemption and there is no cash & points option on cat 7. Try to search W Maldives between Jan to May and see if you can find any days for points redemption.

  25. Lucky,

    *Based on your methodology* I agree with your SPG analysis. (And I’m a 4 cpp’er, too.) I think SPG points generally suck for higher end redemption, so if that’s your thing, SPG ain’t worth much.

    But I agree with the Nomad. SPG’s sweet spot is in the low to mid range properties, particularly if you can get C&P. If you can’t, 5th night free can be a decent value, too.

    But this is why a “one size fits all” analysis is hard. It’s also why trying to even compare programs is hard. I think Hilton kicks SPG’s arse at the top end (I earn and save HHonors points specifically for Category 7 redemptions) but SPG really shines in the midrange. I won’t redeem SPG points for Cat 6&7 redemptions, but think that a Cat 7 AXON award for 145,000 points can really be worth it.

    One thing you could do is another post that focuses on each programs stengths and weaknesses. I don’t have to be in the best of the best — a midrange hotel + flying J is just fine. For my wife and I, it’s about how long we can stay at our destination, not just how nice 🙂

  26. My biggest problem with SPG is the redemption levels of the top tier properties. What I value most in a rewards program is the aspirational awards that I, quite frankly, couldn’t afford to pay for. With SPG properties costing 30k points for rooms in the $500 range vs 22k Hyatt points at a Park Hyatt going for $1000 dollars a night,I don’t feel like SPG aspirational award nights give as much value.

    At the same time SPG also increases prices on thier properties in peak seasons, even futher devaluing thier redemption offers.

    For cat 1-3 properties and using cash and points, I find them to be very valuable. Otherwise, I doubt I’ll ever redeem 10k-12k points for a $150-$200 dollar room, which seems to be the majority of redemtion options I find.
    All of that means that I’m not really getting any use for aspirational awards out of SPG.

  27. I would have to agree with those saying it is much easier to rack up a boatload of Hilton pts vs starwood and other programs. Plus, Hilton AXON awards are a great value for high end hotels

    Gary(view from wing)-you seem to rack up a lot of Hilton pts and then stay at high end Conrads, so I wondered what is your view on all this.

  28. Lucky,
    SPG is always worth only max 2-2.1c (the cheapest rate/cost) at which I can get them in unlimited quantities.
    Hilton is 3 miles per $ spend = 0.7c
    But you get much more for hotel stays = 0.8-0.9 value
    I think now you can buy PC for min 0.7, that becomes their value as well.
    Hyatt is about 1.5 as it is just a dump into your acct from Chase Rewards now.

  29. What do you value Amex Membership Rewards points at? Sorry if this has been answered before / elsewhere. I think I remember 1.25 cents?

  30. Another nice one Coins! Pretty much agree and the logic to you valuations is quite clear. While others have asked for a ClubCarl value I’d like to see your opinion of Choice Priviledges points… wait everyone hear me out. For me (someone who enjoys high end redemptions) the Choice points purchased from Disc Am have been an amazing find. The ability to purchase them for .3cents each and then redeem at near .9 has been awesome. Not for the crappy 8,000 pt Clarion in Paris as Loyalty Traveler has pointed out (not that that isn’t a good deal), but b/c the entire “Prefered Hotel Group” portfolio is available. For 40k-60k you can get nights at $400-600/night properties. Just did a $1000 2-night stay at the Fullerton Bay Singapore for around $200/night worth of pts. Just checked the Hotel 1000 Seattle for an upcoming visit and 40k CP buys a $430 revenue rate hotel.

    If you are looking for a boutique program with access to amazing hotels that has a high “arbitrage value” like what @Andrew is looking for then get you hands on a pile of Choice Priviledges points.

  31. Did Hilton stop honoring VIP/GLON rates? I was looking at the Bali Conrad and the standard room rate was 28k/nt even after logged in as Gold member.

  32. Just wanted to add that Hyatt is supposed to introduce a Cash & Points type redemption this year.

  33. @ Peter – Where did you hear this, and is it a fairly certain thing? I’d be quite happy if this happened.

  34. Well i am surprised to read royal ambassador pririty club are not getting elite benefits from their stay???i ve been royal dince the creation of the program after six continents club and not one single reward nice i ve been declined my benefit,from early check in to upgrade to free minibar,movie and recently internet and this apply to properties in europe,africa,middle east even the strictest hong kong intercontinental!!it is always mentioned st hotel discretion but believe me most properties will honor royal with their benefit.

  35. I think the omission of Choice from blogs and discussion is interesting. I understand that getting into a $2,000 suite is not really an option with Choice, but it’s a program with several roses that can be plucked. Maybe best for me that nobody talks about it. Picking up Choice points during Daily Getaway was relatively easy this year, despite so many other programs being so difficult. I think part of the reason why this is so is that most blogs and discussion are very heavily single-traveller (or two traveller) focused and ignore family travel. In places like Europe where a family often needs two rooms, you have to get more creative.

    On an unrelated subject, I think trying to bring earnings ease or lack of ease into the equation is a red herring. I agree that’s an important part of figuring out where and how to earn, or how to analyze a program generally, is important. But one shouldn’t let it infect the first analysis — which is the one Lucky does — of figuring out the value of the points no matter how acquired. Once you have done that work, then cost to acquire comes into play. I think it also can be a good test for whether one’s values were correctly derived.

    So, let’s take Lucky’s values of .8 for Hilton and 2.2 for SPG. That suggests that SPG points are worth 2.75 times as much as Hilton points. So, now let’s test these values by looking at acquisition. Can one acquire Hilton points at least 2.75 times easier than SPG? Yes. Elites staying at SPG properties using the credit card are looking at about 8 or 9 points per dollar tops. Hilton elites using the Hilton card can do better than 30 points per dollar. (Let’s leave out of the equation Starwood’s best rate guarantee or promos — obviously if you can get those to increase the points per dollar it changes things, but let’s assume that at least some stays do not qualify for these types of enhancements.)

    Ok, so what did we learn? Well, if the values we have assigned — 2.2 cents and .8 cents — are correct, it’s irrational ever to collect SPG points. So, what’s going on here? One might say that we’ve “failed to take earning into account.” I think that’s wrong. Though a subtle distinction, what’s really going on here is that earning has shown us that our values are actually wrong or, that the methodology is wrong. Why is that? I think it’s because trying to distill hotel points to a dollar value sort of assumes that all hotels have similar offerings. That’s just not the case. The value of points is at best an average value, because how I value Starwood relative to Hilton depends on how many I have of one or how few I have of the other. If both chains had hotels that I would like to stay in everywhere in the world, then distilling points down to a cents per point value would make sense. But they don’t. Sometimes I want SPG points. Sometimes I want Hilton. If I have 500k Hilton but zero starpoints, and need to go somewhere the starwood is much better than the Hilton, I value Starwood, at that moment, more than 2.75 times Hilton.

    For reasons like this, Lucky’s numbers just aren’t working for me. I do value starwood at more than 2.75x Hilton. Which is a relief, because otherwise my choice to accumulate starpoints even when I could earn more than 2.75x Hilton for the same dollar spent on a comparable hotel in the same city is not arbitrary.

  36. Wow, it is a great post. Love it so much. I really love the place in the first picture. Do you where is it? and what hotel is it?
    Thank you so much ^_^

  37. Great analysis. Just one question, wouldn’t one always be giving up the possibility to earn points when you use points, so why should that be factored in? I don’t think that devalues the points, because you couldn’t ever use the points unless you give up earning the points. Now I agree if there is a promotion you may be better off using your points at a later time.

  38. @ JL100 — Well some hotel chains (Starwood and Hilton, for example) credit points even when you’re using points, so that’s worth keeping in mind. Hilton even credits you points.

  39. Luck – any thoughts on Club Carlson? =)

    It would be nice if you compiled a chart with all your point and mile valuations. I am still looking for your thoughts on Club Carlson and Southwest Airlines points.

  40. I’ve got to say that Priority Club rewards are undervalued. I stated at the HI in the Algarve recently for 5 nights for 15,000 points per night. We did get upgraded to a sea front room and it was room only. However, the value was circa £100 – £150/night, or around 1.0 to 1.5 cents per point.

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