Buy Hotel Points For Cheap With Daily Getaways 2015

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As was initially reported in mid-February, Daily Getaways will be returning this year, which is a promotion sponsored by the US Travel Association. The promotion is intended to encourage US tourism, and gives people the opportunity to purchase travel packages, from a set number of nights at a certain hotel, to outright being able to purchase hotel points at a discount.


There are a couple of things that are different about this year’s Daily Getaways promotion than in the past:

  • The promotion is being run earlier than in the past — this year it’s being run from March 23 through April 24, 2015, while the past few years it has been run a couple of months later
  • American Express is no longer a sponsor — in the past you’d get a 10% discount when paying with an American Express card, which isn’t an option this year

With that in mind, Daily Getaways has published the details of their first three weeks of travel promotions, so I figured I’d recap them quickly.

I was excited when I quickly browsed over the calendar at first, since I noticed that IHG Rewards Club, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Best Rewards Rewards, Choice Privileges, and Hyatt Gold Passport are all selling points in the first few weeks.

Below I’ve prepared a simple chart for each of the programs which is selling points with the cost per package, cost per point, and number of packages they’re selling.

Daily Getaways March 23-27


IHG Rewards Club points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
15,000 IHG Rewards Club$900.6 cents/point1,000
25,000 IHG Rewards Club$1500.6 cents/point1,000
50,000 IHG Rewards Club$2930.586 cents/point1,500
100,000 IHG Rewards Club$5650.565 cents/point3,850

Is it worth it? IHG Rewards Club points can always be indirectly purchased for 0.7 cents each, which is still a very good deal with promotions like PointBreaks. At ~0.6 cents each or less I’m actually a buyer, I think.

Club Carlson points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
50,000 Gold Points$2250.45 cents/point100
100,000 Gold Points$4500.45 cents/point50

Is it worth it? Typically I value Club Carlson Gold Points at ~0.4 cents each, though keep in mind you can double the value of those points if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, since the second night of every award redemption is free.

So at a rate of 0.45 cents per point I’m a buyer. While I’ve seen Club Carlson sell points directly for a bit less, you can purchase a maximum of 40,000 points with them per calendar year. Points purchased through this promotion wouldn’t count towards that cap.

Put another way, 100,000 points (which you can purchase here for $450) is enough for two nights at some of their top properties in London and Paris. If you have the credit card, you can turn that into two sets of stays for two nights each. $112.50 per night for a decent hotel in London or Paris is tough to beat. But without the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card I probably wouldn’t be a buyer.

Hilton HHonors points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
100,000 Hilton HHonors$5000.5 cents/point160
150,000 Hilton HHonors$7500.5 cents/point200
250,000 Hilton HHonors$1,2500.5 cents/point200

Is it worth it? I value Hilton HHonors points at ~0.4 cents each, so at 0.5 cents each I’m not really a buyer. There’s no denying you can get more value than 0.5 cents per Hilton point, but for my redemption patterns that’s simply not a rate at which I’d speculatively pick up Hilton points. But there’s no denying that price will make sense for others.

Daily Getaways March 30-April 3


Best Western Rewards points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
10,000 Best Rewards Rewards$550.55 cents/point835

Is it worth it? In this case they’re just selling really small increments of points. The mileage conversion ratio for Best Western Rewards isn’t very good, so unless you’re looking for a stay at a low end hotel which is extremely expensive on a paid rate, I’d pass on this one.

Choice Privileges points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
20,000 Choice Privileges$900.45 cents/point220
32,000 Choice Privileges$1320.41 cents/point655
36,000 Choice Privileges$1550.43 cents/point785
40,000 Choice Privileges$1600.4 cents/point380

Is it worth it? This is actually a better price per point than we saw last year from Choice, as they’re now selling points for 0.4-0.45 cents each. Choice points can be a decent deal for hotel redemptions, though beyond that the points can be converted into airline miles at a 5,000:1,000 ratio. On the low end that means you could indirectly purchase airline miles through this promotion for 2.0 cents each.

That’s not a rate at which I’d speculatively pick up most miles. Personally I’d pass on this promotion, though I know it will interest others.

Daily Getaways April 6-10


Hyatt Gold Passport points promotion:

Number Of PointsPackage CostCost Per PointNumber Of Packages
24,000 Hyatt Gold Passport$2601.08 cents/point95
30,000 Hyatt Gold Passport$3301.1 cents/point35
40,000 Hyatt Gold Passport$4151.04 cents/point15
72,000 Hyatt Gold Passport$7751.08 cents/point15

Is it worth it? I value Hyatt points at ~1.5 cents each, so picking them up at a cost of 1.0-1.1 cents per point is a no brainer, in my opinion. I suspect this one will be a lottery of sorts, given how few packages are available.

Bottom line

Despite the lack of a 10% discount for paying with an American Express card, the deals have actually gotten better compared to last year in some cases. I suppose that’s not really surprising, given how many travel packages stayed available for weeks last year.

So I guess in terms of my excitement level with this promotion:

  • I’m most excited if I can purchase Hyatt Gold Passport points, though I assume they’ll be difficult to pick up
  • I’ll definitely try to pick up Club Carlson points, given that I have their co-branded credit card
  • I’ll probably pick up IHG Rewards Club points, since you can’t go that wrong at the rate at which they’re selling

How about you? Which Daily Getaways travel packages interest you most?

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I have the IHG card and the ambassador status package, so that gives me 20% point redemption rates. Considering the 100,000 points will give me 120,000 in the end, I’m definitely in on this deal.

  2. last year Hyatt packages we impossible to get… and I think Hilton packages didn’t even sell out last two years.

  3. Remember, in 2014 IHG announced: no devaluation for 2014! But now we are in 2015, hopefully, the IHG deval is not devastating !

  4. HI Ben, i reside outside of Us, i recall non-US residents can’t purchase these packages, that is still the case ?

  5. As an alternate to @Lucky’s highly SUBJECTIVE point valuation, which I think is pretty much worthless as a result, consider the following:

    Hilton Honors is currently running a promo that’s good to April 22, 2015, in which one gets a 20% point bonus when one purchases 1K-9K HH points, and 40% bonus for purchasing 10K or more HH points [max allowed 80K HH points].

    So, if I purchase 80K points, they’ll cost me $800 or 1 cent/point (cpp), which is how much Hilton values each of their points (not @Lucky’s 0.4 cpp]. However, because I purchased 80K points, I will get a 40% point bonus which is 32K points.

    My total number of points for spending $800 during the HHonors promo period at HILTON will be 112K points or 0.7 cpp.

    With the deal being offered going for 0.5 cpp. I think that it is a decent deal because you save 0.2 cpp compared to buying the points directly from Hilton DURING the promo. Without Hilton’s 20%-40% promo, you’d be saving 0.5 cpp, which would be huge…

    If you want to know the objective value of a loyalty point, just buy it directly from the program that issues it 🙂

  6. @ DCS — So now points are worth whatever the loyalty program is willing to sell them to members for? LOL!

  7. @Lucky — Not funny at all because I will again have the last laugh…

    The programs CREATE the points out of thin air, which means that the points are worth whatever each program says they are worth. Your valuation based on whether one is willing or able to spend the asking price for something make little sense. The asking price is what it is regardless of one’s ability or willingness to pay for an item. Several people did chime in to make the point I just the last time you made your claim about how you determine the value of each point.

    The strange thing is that your valuation is exactly the same as Gary Leff’s, which makes one wonder whether you and Gary are the same person, since that is the only way your valuation and his would be the same based on your highly subjective “method”…

  8. @Lantean sez: “Your logic escapes me.”

    Well, this is not the first time nor will it be the last that happens, considering the source of your logic…

  9. Nathan, I have the Chase IHG card and AMB status. The Chase card gives 10% points refund; how do you get 20% redemption bonus?

  10. @DSC

    please stay away from insults…

    if your posts are actually meant to be serious… you’re contradicting yourself. if Lucky’s points valuations are similar to Gary Leff (and they are also similar to TPG and other bloggers), doesn’t that actually mean that’s the OBJECTIVE valuation of the points?
    the consensus of what people are willing to pay for something seems like pretty fair valuation of that commodity to me.

    it’s like the stock market. you can calculate equity value based on PE, PB or what not, it’s all nice and dandy… but ultimately the real value is what the buyers are willing to pay for it.

  11. @Lantean — No contradiction at all if you knew anything about how @Lucky described his valuation “methodology.”

    Find out and maybe you’ll see what I am getting at…

  12. Is anyone else bothered that IHG is offering 6,350 packages and all of the other hotels combined are offering 3745 packages. Hyatt is only offering 160. At that level, they shouldn’t even bother.

  13. @Lantean — Also, remember that the travel blogosphere is an echo chamber in which claims with no basis in reality get repeated again and again and again until they become established dogma… 😉

  14. I got the IHG 100K points last year. I think they cost more last year. Used them for the IC Singapore. I think I will probably try to get in on those again.

  15. @ Lucky – Are you sure about the need of a US billing address? In the faq there is mention of only be 18 or older and have a credit card.

  16. @Lucky—

    If you are converting hotel points to miles than sure that will be an issue with some hotel chains.

    The Best Western is actaully a very good deal if you have certain hotels in mind.

    there are some hotels near tourist destinations that are 20K/night. Some are near national parks in their gateway towns. the walk up cost for the hotels are $200/night or more.

    The same is true with Choice hotels. They are located near national parks and other tourist destinations. With the 20K for $90 offer. Many hotels are 20K or less and baseline rate is > $90–more like $130-$200 in some locations. Remember using points you dont pay taxes added.

  17. In reference to the Las Vegas properties that are the certificates that include 2 or 3 nights, do you think the value covers all costs? I won’t be charged resort fees upon check-in?

  18. @DCS:

    Allow me to suggest that paying 1 cpp for HHonors points means that for many hotels in the Hilton chain, you’re better off paying cash and skipping sending money to Hilton for the points

    Let’s say that I buy HHonors at 1 cpp. I then redeem for a hotel in Las Vegas. A very likely vacation spot.

    For Homewood Suites by Hilton near the airport, I’d be redeeming 30,000 points, so I’d have paid Hilton $300 for those points. Hmm, their cash rate for a room is $114. That’s probably not so good a deal.

    Maybe it’s better at Elara on the Strip? 103,600 (so over $1000 in purchased points)… or a cash rate of $229. Hmm.

    OK, let’s try Singapore. Surely we’ll get better value there, right?

    I have three choices at Conrad Singapore: 60,000 points ($600 USD), $90 + 24,000 ($240, so $330 total), or $248 (prices converted from SGD to USD.

    Oh dear.

    The SIngapore Hilton’s not any better either: 60,000 points ($600 USD), $90 + 24,000 ($240, so $330 total), or $208 USD.

    So… I think you’d be a fool to buy Hilton at a cent a point. You’d be better off with cash.

    In the above examples, even at a half cent a point… cash and points in Singapore starts being viable, but it’s still pretty horrible.

    None of this seems to contradict Lucky’s logic. But please, feel free to show me some examples of where if I buy Hilton points at 1 cpp, I can save money on cash rates. In other words: at a rate of 1 cpp, why shouldn’t I prefer cash that I can spend on other things than Hilton hotels, especially if the redemption values are so poor compared to just spending cash?

    I’m sure lots of companies are willing to sell overpriced goods and services. Just because that’s the price they are being sold at doesn’t make their “valuation” reasonable, when the alternative is buying the exact same product with cash at less cost than points.

  19. @Lucky — who are these points sold by? the hotel chains, or Daily Getaways, and will I earn 2x on my CSP/Citi Premier?

  20. Hi Lucky,

    Do you have any suggestion to take advantage of this offer on IHG or Hyatt? Any good hotel to redeem?

    Best Regards,

  21. @eponymous coward — The usual confusion. Points have values when you earn them and they have values when you spend them. If you went strictly on earned points from stays at Hilton, e.g., your earning would be 10 points/$, which is absolutely awful! Would it then not be cheaper to just go and purchase points directly from Hilton’s website for 100/$ rather relying on points earn from revenue stays or CC spend? If not? Why not?

  22. @Lucky

    Did you notice that IHG points purchased through Daily Get Aways does count toward elite status qualifying? They don’t have the disclaimer under Terms and Conditions like Club Carlson and Hilton.

  23. @DCS:

    “Points have values when you earn them and they have values when you spend them.”

    But I’m not earning them during stays when I buy points from Hilton, I’m buying them with cash that I could also spend on that same hotel room. I’m not clear why asking a question like “Does buying Hilton points at 1 cpp and redeeming at (insert name of hotel here) make sense compared to a cash purchase of that same hotel room?” is not a way to determine value.

    “f you went strictly on earned points from stays at Hilton, e.g., your earning would be 10 points/$, which is absolutely awful!”

    Points earned during stays represent (in effect) a rebate on the cost of stays. Incidentally, I’ll happily concede a point you tirelessly make on MP: Hilton’s effective rebate on stays isn’t horrible compared to other chains. 20% or more isn’t out of reach with the right set of promos/credit cards/status/redemptions. I’ve done it without HH Diamond or the credit card. That being said, you could get those kinds of rebates/discounts other ways too ( + cashback portals, Priceline/Hotwire + cashback portals, different chains) without being tied to Hilton.

    But the thing is that when I earn points for staying, I get points AND a hotel room in exchange for my cash. You can’t ignore the value of the hotel room when you’re bemoaning the fact that you don’t get as many points as when you send Hilton a check for points. If I send Hilton a sum of cash for points by buying them outright, I get points, which then gets converted to a hotel room. So asking questions like “hey, what if I spent cash for Hilton points and used them for a hotel room ? At what price point does that work out better than just paying cash for the room?” seems like a fair way to determine value. Not one that you like, apparently, but one that a lot of people use to judge “OK, at what point does buying Hilton points make sense?”

  24. @DCS

    you should try to learn and not waste your time trying to justify a less than optimal purchase you made.
    As eponymous coward has pointed out correctly, the only meaningful way to value points/miles is by figuring out what cash value they have for you. This will vary and generally each program has their sweet spots and you can learn about that from Lucky.
    You will likely find a way to get the 0.7 cents per points that you spent back in actual value when you redeem. But in no way does it make sense to consider the asking price of Hilton to be the “fair value” of the points. The would actually be stupid to sell them at fair vaiue because then the transaction would not make them money.

  25. “This will vary and generally each program has their sweet spots and you can learn about that from Lucky.”

    Well, Lucky is admittedly not a Hilton fan, so I wouldn’t expect a lot of coverage from him.

    But let’s try an exercise with the Conrad Hong Kong assuming his valuation for HHonors (0.4 cpp).

    Cash rate: $327 (plus tax, so around $350 USD), though sometimes the cash rate goes up to $650 USD (!)
    C&P rate: 32,000 (*.4 cpp) + $150 USD = $278 (plus a bit of tax, so around $300 USD)
    Points rate: 80,000 (*.4 cpp) = $320

    Keep in mind that C&P probably means a lower occupancy and lower rate, so it seems to me that C&P is pretty close to a wash with cash (at best) when you count in earning points for a stay… but since points has last room availability and thus could be available at times of high room prices, it could be a VERY good deal.

    That being said, here’s the thing: $320 might still get you a pretty decent room in Hong Kong if you’re not wedded to Hilton status and points (and there are ways to get rebates that are chain-independent, like and cashback portals). So Lucky’s “meh” about Hilton makes sense to me.

    (Of course, you could probably do the same exercise with a bunch of other chains in Hong Kong as well. Including Hyatt or SPG. ;))

  26. @ DCS — Usually I at least follow your logic (even if it’s spot off), but now I’m not even getting what you’re trying to say anymore…

  27. Where do you think the folks selling loyalty points that prompted this blog post get those points from? Do you think they created Hilton points they are selling? Of course not. They purchased the points from the loyalty programs, very likely at a huge discount because of volume purchasing. That is the only way it would make sense for them to sell the points to your at a discount. Short of that you’d have to believe that these folks that the altruists of the century. Loyalty points are created from thin air by each program, which is free to set its value. To think otherwise to be delude one self.

    The reason it is not wise to purchase points directly is not because the value of the points as set by each program changes, but because it is a lot more efficient to purchase point as part of spend that one was going to do anyway. Under that context, the value of points can be magnified because it becomes part of something that is a lot bigger than just the points themselves. The whole, so to speak, becomes bigger the sum if its part (aka “gestalt”), one of which are the points. Not only that, one’s spend in hard cash stretches even further when coupled with other programmatic elements like elite bonus or any promos that a program may be running at any given time. I could put all of these things together and come up with a pretty good estimate of what the points are worth, not just to me, but for anyone does what I did to earn the points…It is no different than what happens with hard currency.

    But, the above is just one side of the equation. One has to then estimate what the points are worth when they are redeemed. There is absolutely no reason why one has to assume that a point is worth what one is willing or able to pay for them. The market value of the points is whatever it is. The subjective value, which is what is peddled by bloggers, does not change the actual value a point. It just “personalizes” it to where the whole concept loses any practical utility.

    So, the next time @Lucky says that “I value SPG points at 2.2 cents”, just shrug and say “okay…” and move on because his valuation has no practical utility. In fact, few people who play the mile/point game atually micromanaging the value of each points. One usually goes with what feels “right” at the time based on personal goals… I ought to know. I do a Big-Time Redemption every year and I seldom worry about what a HHonors or Hyatt GP point or UA mile is worth. I just do it!


  28. @Lucky — The same logic that you usually follow is still in there except that the subject matter is a lot more complicated than the bloggers think it is. My point is that the valuations that are thrown around have no practical utility, if only because no one really micromanages loyalty points…

  29. Can this blog implement an “edit” utility? I am used to just writing posts without thoroughly proofing them and then editing after I have posted, but I keep forgetting that there is no “editing” utility here, so I apologize for the missing words in my long post above…

  30. Ben, thanks for the thorough and speedy analysis of the deals. As is often the case, I don’t agree 100%, with Choice and Best Western being a bit unappreciated, but very much respect and appreciate your work.
    @DCS – Just because Delta will sell you a Skymile at 3.5 cents does most emphatically not make them worth 3.5 cents. If you feel that whatever the program charges is the value, have fun loading up on Skymiles. let me know how that works out for you.

  31. Actually the Hilton points did sell out the first day in 2014 (I remember cuz I had outpatient surgery that morning, and by the time I got home they were gone). They did not sell out in 2013, the year of the Great Devaluation (I bought some a few weeks later to top off for an award stay).

    Another good use of Choice points is to transfer to Southwest Airlines (6000 Choice points = 1800 WN points – so you’re de facto buying WN points at about 1.33-1.4 cents each, which is a small discount on their current redemption value). The big benefit is that they do count towards Companion Pass. (Those of you who didn’t know this before – please wait a few minutes so I can get mine. 🙂

  32. @Christian — Every Skymile out there belongs to DL; they created the “currency” out of thin air and own it. Therefore, anyone selling Skymiles for less than what DL thinks they are worth is a “counterfeiter” because they would have to manufacture their own skymiles in order to be able to sell them cheaper without losing money…or…

    …to do as AMEX does and purchase billions of $$$ worth of Skymiles, which they can sell cheaper if they wish because DL quite likely gave them a huge discount. The “resale” value of the Skymiles for AMEX, because there is a resale value, is highly complex and only AMEX knows what it is, so it is even more subjective…

    If the counter-argument is that the value of skymiles depends on what AMEX thinks they are worth, either based on their willingness/ability to pay or on how much they think the “resale” of SM would boost finances, then the concept of “value” becomes so “personalized” as to have little practical or real-world utility…just like @Lucky’s valuations 😉


  33. @DCS – Do you realize you are mixing up value with price? I mean, I will pay the price of something because it is smaller than the value I get out of it. As you said, value is extremely subjective and changes for each person.

  34. @Denis — You mean price and value like in [Oscar Wilde]: “there are people know the price of everything and the value of nothing?” 😉

  35. BTW, @Denis, you’re right that I used “value” to mean price or value (subjective), but not interchangeably, however, because the context made the difference clear.

    “there are people WHO know the price of everything and the value of nothing?”

  36. @lucky on March 13, 2015 at 10:20 am said: “@ DCS — So now points are worth whatever the loyalty program is willing to sell them to members for? LOL!”

    Was this truly a LOL matter? How off the mark was I in saying that the MONETARY — because that is really what we are talking about here — value of loyalty points is best approximated by how much the point issuer thinks they are worth? Not too far off according to a document prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analysts titled:

    “Loyalty analytics exposed: What every program manager needs to know”

    [PDF; link is too long and may break after the cut and paste]:

    [ ]

    Here’s the relevant bit:

    “Because of diverging accounting practices, International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee 13 (IFRIC 13) was issued in 2007 (effective July 1, 2008) to provide more specific guidance and to bring greater consistency regarding the treatment of loyalty program liabilities. The two major concepts underlying the application of IFRIC 13 to loyalty program accounting are:

    1. The issuance of credits or points must be accounted for as a separate component of the sale. In essence, this requires a deferred revenue approach, whereby the income statement immediately recognizes the portion of revenue related to the sale of a good or service and defers the remaining revenue allocable to the value of loyalty points. This deferred revenue is recognized when the loyalty points earned at good/service purchase are redeemed, forfeited or have expired. [DCS says: this is one reason for why loyalty programs devalue their points, promote the redemption of points by pushing all sorts of ancillary merchandises, or set an expiration date — all designed to decrease ‘liability’ and boost real profits]

    2. The process of calculating the amount of deferred revenue when issuing points must be based upon the FAIR MARKET VALUE of those points to the customer. This guidance means that a company must defer the value of the points (less expected “breakage”) according to the value that customers put upon them. In contrast, US GAAP allows an alternative approach for the recording of points at a value that is based upon the program sponsor’s internal cost of goods sold.

    IFRIC’s starting position for determining fair value is “the amount for which the award credits could be sold separately.” In practice, this definition can require significant estimation and judgment by management, particularly in the absence of significant sales of points to third parties. Where third-party point sales are significant, the cost of the points in the sales transaction is often the most appropriate and compelling evidence of the fair value of the points. In the absence of third-party point sales, the estimated fair value of the goods and services for which the points may be redeemed likely would be used to determine the fair value basis of the points.”

    Got that? “Where third-party point sales are significant, the cost of the points in the sales transaction is often the most appropriate and compelling evidence of the fair value of the points.”

    Loyalty programs sell a whole bunch of points to various entities (banks, individuals, etc) from which they estimate how much their point is worth. Therefore, the FAIR MARKET VALUE of a loyalty point is best approximated by the value which is set by the point issuer, because it is estimated from “significant third-party point sales.”


  37. @DCS

    And by your own citation, the FMV used by airline and hotel programs in their financial reports is often much less than the price they sell to retail customers like you or me (even taking promos into account). So you cannot go by the price you see when you click “buy miles” to determine “value”.

    Value of points can only be determined by each individual based on the utility they gain from the points. This is very much tied to how efficiently the points can be used for redemption COMPARED to other options for obtaining the same thing, e.g. using cash for a room or ticket. Has nothing to do with earning via stays/flights or buying outright, except in the sense of how easy it is to obtain the points.

    Obviously if you obtained points basically free by staying/flying using other people’s money, they may not be worth much to you since you got them “for free”. But if you can get twice as much for the same point, and you choose not to then you’ve (consciously) left money on the table. Just like objectively $1 = $1 but if you make $500k then $1, is worth a lot less to you then someone who makes $20k.

    Arguably, if one type of point can be used to get more than another, even if you get points “for free” as a result of flying/staying with OPM or money you were going to spend anyway, by choosing to stay/fly with a company that provides points that get less there is an opportunity cost. Your time and cash could have been spent elsewhere to get a greater value. That’s why some points like SPG are “worth” more than say, Hilton points.

    Honestly, I don’t even know what you are trying to argue. All I know is you seem to be conflating things.

  38. @DCS Please know that I actually do micromanage my points which is one of the main reasons I follow this and other blogs. I don’t think I’m the only one.

    I value Ben’s valuations of points because he micromanages even better than I. Furthermore, I add my twist to his valuations to form my own. For example, I value Delta SkyMiles slightly higher than he does because I live in ATL. Having reliable hourly service to a giant number cities from an airport that is 7 miles from my home makes those more valuable to me. But I also also appreciate his logic/methodology and have learned ways to maximize my points by following his logic (and thus squeeze a lot more value out of them).

    I’ve tried hard to follow your logic on your postings here and I apologize but you’ve lost me. I can tell that you want to be critical of this and other travel points blogs but it unfortunately falls flat.

    I did appreciate your Wilde quote. I think it applies well to what this blog and others do precisely because I’ve learned more about price and value of points programs on this blog than anywhere else on the planet.

  39. @Phil in ATL — That I comment here at all means that I too do “follow” Ben, but apparently not as blindly as you would want me to.

    My logic on the issue of loyalty point “valuation” is quite simple and so is the math, especially with the CC example.

    SPG points are valued at 2.2 cents each and HHonors points are valued at 0.4 cent each, causing folks to run around and claim that this makes SPG points the most valuable in the loyalty business. The problem is that none of these valuations take into account how hard or easy it is to acquire the points. So, I came up with a factual example: according to their respective terms, the HHonors AMEX Surpass awards 6 times more points than the SPG AMEX for spend on gas or restaurants, e.g. What this says, rather trivially, is that if I want to compare SPG points to HHonors points, I can either multiple the value of HHonors points by 6 to find out what they are worth as SPG points or I can divide the value of SPG points 6 you to find out what they are worth as HHonors points. Doing this would allow me to compare apples and apples.

    Average value of SPG points: 2.2 cents each
    Average value of HHonors points: 0.4 cents each.

    HHonors points are worth 0.4 * 6 = 2.4 cents each as SPG points
    SPG points are worth 2.2/6 = 0.4 cent each as HHonors points

    meaning that contrary to what is constantly claimed in the blogosphere echo chamber, HH and SPG points are worth exactly the same…

    I hope I made better sense this time but the point is really quite simple.

  40. @DCS

    Uhh… No. I think you’re missing several key points.

    1) Ease of acquiring points is already factored into the points valuation by Lucky and others (and myself)

    2) In your example you neglect to consider the redemption costs. If it also, on average, costs 6x the points to redeem, you’re back where you started. 0.4 for HH and 2.2 for SPG.

    Valuation is very tricky as we can see from this thread– and each person has a different utility which gives it some variability. (Eg some may only travel to cities where there are Marriotts and no HIltons, so HH points are not worth much to them).

    Imperfect information will lead some to purchase points at a price above the valuations given by Lucky et al., and marginal points to top off for an award are also worth more because you can’t spend an individual point, only at certain thresholds. Lastly, the valuations given by bloggers assume optimal redemptions where someone should be willing to pay cash if it’s suboptimal, BUT if you are points rich and cash poor (or want to use cash for something else), then you might redeem suboptimally and get tons of value out of that redemption.

    Anyway, I think the previous poster who said you are mixing up price with value is correct, and it is leading to your “off” conclusions. Especially where you say “Loyalty points are created from thin air by each program, which is free to set its value. To think otherwise to be delude one self.” Switch out “value” for “price” and that sentence would be correct. And then it makes sense how I and others value a point has nothing to do with the price that programs try to sell them for.

  41. @V — Of “v” stands for victory, you’ll be disappointed. You completely missed this one.

    “1) Ease of acquiring points is already factored into the points valuation by Lucky and others (and myself)”
    I have no idea how bloggers come up their valuations but it seems to be just the mean of room rate in $$ divided by award rates in points. I very much doubt that “ease of acquiring points is already factored in” because my math comparing SPG and Hyatt to Hilton based on points from CC spend or revenue stays would have not come out as consistently as it did.

    More to the points is that it is simply ridiculous for anyone to believe that SPG points can be worth 5.5 times more than HH points. Here’s a simple example that illustrates (a) why SPG points cannot possibly be worth that much more that HH points and (b) why loyalty points must be expressed in the units to enable meaningful comparisons of their relative values:

    I go to very same restaurant in NYC a couple times and order exactly the same dish – spaghetti and meatballs, which costs me $20 each time. The first time I paid with my SPG AMEX and got $20 * 1 point/$ = 20 startpoints. The second time I paid with my HH AMEX Surpass and got $20 * 6 points/$ = 120 HH points. Because the merchandise purchased was exactly the same, 20 SPG points must be equivalent to $120 HH points or someone negotiated a very bad deal. The same goes for valuing starpoints at 2.2cents vs. HH points at 0.4 cent. If those are the true “values” of those points then someone is getting a bad deal upon redeeming the points for a similar product. The preceding should be self-evident, I think.

    “2) In your example you neglect to consider the redemption costs. If it also, on average, costs 6x the points to redeem, you’re back where you started. 0.4 for HH and 2.2 for SPG.”

    If you love SPG, you really do not want to go there because that’s where it gets absolutely clear that SPG is the least rewarding (read: more expensive) program in the business. Your spend in real cash simply does not get you very far toward earning a free night at SPG properties, especially at “aspirational” ones. I did the math so that no one would have to. Please check out the brutal truth about the limitation of starpoints as a loyalty currency at the following link:

    One consequence of starpoints being pretty much useless for getting free nights from one’s spend is that whatever points are earned would just be sitting in member accounts, thereby increasing SPG’s “liability.” Therefore, SPG had to devise a way for people to redeem their points. The solution? To make the transfer of starpoints to partner airlines and others very favorable so that SPG points can be efficiently unloaded from member accounts. It seems that SPG would rather have their members redeem their points elsewhere and not on free nights! Viewed as such, there simply is no reason for bloggers to give starpoints extra “value” for being favorably transferable. Other programs have better systems for limiting their liabilities. Hilton, for example, just makes it very easy to get loads of points through revenue stays — this is arguably a lot better than folks getting their points through general co-brand CC spend — which members can then easily redeem for award nights because Hilton offers a very favorable “spend per free night” ratio.

    I have done the math for all the other programs and the argument in my post upthread about the requirement to take both the earning and redemption sides of the equation in valuing loyalty points is solid…

  42. @DCS

    Sigh… it’s really hard to explain this when you make the opposite point but fail to see it. You can do all the math you want but if your logic is faulty you’ll get to the wrong conclusion.

    In your own example:

    “I go to very same restaurant in NYC a couple times and order exactly the same dish – spaghetti and meatballs, which costs me $20 each time. The first time I paid with my SPG AMEX and got $20 * 1 point/$ = 20 startpoints. The second time I paid with my HH AMEX Surpass and got $20 * 6 points/$ = 120 HH points. Because the merchandise purchased was exactly the same, 20 SPG points must be equivalent to $120 HH points or someone negotiated a very bad deal. ”

    SPG Amex awards fewer points because they are “worth” more. HH Amex awards more because they are worth less. Your own example illustrates that: $20 in spend gets you 20 SPG vs. 120 HH. These two are equivalent (by way of CC earning). Thus, the 2.2 cpp vs. 0.4 cpp is about right.

    Now the 2.2 cpp for SPG and 0.4 cpp for HH also factors in other things, such as ease of redemption… NOT JUST for hotel stays, but also transfer partners (which can be hugely valuable), and other things that a person might value like availability, not just price. If I can only find a Hilton property in my city of choice for 120,000 pts per night but I can get a similar caliber SPG property for 12K, or if no Hiltons are available but there are many SPGs where I stay, that makes SPG more valuable for me.

    If this still isn’t making sense (and the fact that half a dozen other posters have disagreed with you and tried to explain), I don’t think we will get anywhere, so this is my last comment here on this topic. You’re free to have the last (misguided) word.

  43. @V — continues to argue implausibly: “SPG Amex awards fewer points because they are “worth” more. HH Amex awards more because they are worth less. Your own example illustrates that: $20 in spend gets you 20 SPG vs. 120 HH. These two are equivalent (by way of CC earning). Thus, the 2.2 cpp vs. 0.4 cpp is about right.”

    Funny: SPG points are worth more except that they are worthless for booking award nights at SPG at hotels? Did you follow the link I provided you?

    Here is why SPG points are worth 2.2 cents ON AVERAGE, which seems high if uncorrected for the ability to earn them: SPG has some of the highest priced (in $$) top-tier hotels in the business. If “value” is defined as (room rate in $$)/(room rate in points), and SPG’s room rates in $$ are high in relation to the rates in points, then the AVERAGE value of the SPG point would be high. Got it? The scale arbitrary. It has nothing to do with how “valuable” the SPG points are. It is simply a different scale. Period. Hilton prefers to encourage members to earn points through revenue stays, so they make their award rates very high so that spending on CC alone would not enable people to afford free nights at Hilton properties. They could just as easily use scale that would make their “value” seem bigger but that won’t change the actual value of their points…

    Please tell me you got it this time.

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