1. Ben,

    Your math is off in the Travel Sort column. The Westin Venice is a Cat 5 hotel, costing 12,000 points per night, or 48,000 under the 5th night free. The value is closer to 6.5 cpp.

    In your column, you say it costs 50,000 points for five nights, which really isn’t true.

  2. Lucky- I thought there was another great benefit, but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve cashed in my points to buy an airline ticket THROUGH spg ( Since its not booked as an award flight through the airlines, miles accrue and count towards airline status, plus you have a free flight. I’ve cashed in points for a free flight from IAD-SYD, so not only got a free flight to Sydney, but made close to 19k EQM’s to boot!

  3. Paul – the “free flights” is really not such a great deal. You only get an “exchange rate” of about 1.5 cents/point. You can do much better redeeming for free rooms, or transferring miles to airline programs to use for international cabin premium travel (when capacity controlled seats are available).

    Lucky – I’ve never gotten 6.5 cents/point on a high end redemption (congrats!!), but it’s pretty easy to get 4 cents/point or more on 5 night stays in expensive metropolitan areas such as Manhattan, with no availability hassles. To me that is the best consistently available value in our “miles and points” universe.

  4. @UAPhil- I agree, but don’t forget that use can’t use just miles for international premium cabin…there is always a “co-pay” for use. I guess it goes back to the question is how much a EQM mile is worth verses a mile. The 1:1 conversion is nice, but if I also have to pay $$$ to get in international premium cabin verses using “1.5” per point for a “free EQM generating” flight, it seems it would be worth it. For me, most of my hotel stays are for business and are paid for, so I have limited use for free/award hotel stays. If I can use points for EQM to lock in airline status, then thats cash I don’t have to spend for a MR.

    On a side note, if United adopts some of the parameters that Lucky previously referenced, I’d love to use points to buy a $4k flight to sydney to help my status spend rate!

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