Hotel rewards programs

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4nursebee
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Hotel rewards programs

Post by 4nursebee » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Hello and thanks in advance.

I am making some travel plans, generally I sign up for hotel rewards but do not take advantage of the perks. I lost and got my Hilton rewards points restored. I think we also have a Club Carlson and a Marriott Card. So my questions:

What other reward programs are there for travel?
How do you benefit from each program?
What do you use the points on?
4nursebee

Jags4186
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:15 pm

4nursebee wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm
Hello and thanks in advance.

I am making some travel plans, generally I sign up for hotel rewards but do not take advantage of the perks. I lost and got my Hilton rewards points restored. I think we also have a Club Carlson and a Marriott Card. So my questions:

What other reward programs are there for travel?
How do you benefit from each program?
What do you use the points on?
Depends what type of travel you want, but in general I find hotel rewards lacking. I book all of my hotels through hotels.com. Every 10 nights you stay you get a free night equal to the average cost of the prior 10 nights. You can also buy hotels.com gift cards at a 10-15% discount, as well as purchase your stay through a cashback portal like topcashback.com. If you stack all of these you can get a room for generally 75% of it’s list rate.

Airline points are more interesting to me because I just want to get from A to B for as cheaply as possible. But once I’m in B I want flexibility of where to stay, not be beholden to wherever the Marriott or Hilton is.

Freefun
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Freefun » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:26 pm

I focus on flexible programs - Starwood, Chase ultimate rewards and Amex membership rewards. This provides flexibility in how I use my points - usually airlines but could be hotels if I find decent value.
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THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:41 pm

Honestly unless you are a road warrior or can put a *lot* of spend through credit cards you are better off being something of a free agent in my book.

You mention you have the Club Carlson and Marriott cards. CC which is Raddison Rewards now is not really good for credit card spend unless you have very specific redemption requirements (they are great for their Scandinavian presence) but in general you be better off putting spend on a 2% CB card. The CC card might be worth holding or the 40k points with each AF renewal (the only reason I hold it now). The Marriott card is worse for credit card spend outside of hotels since right now you earn 1 MR point worth about .8 cents though this is going to 2 MR points so 1.6 cents of value in August I believe, though still you are probably better off spending on a 2% card. The MR card might be worth holding for the free night cert if you use them. The status you get with the CC and Marriott cards are pretty useless. The SPG card used to be great for unbonused spend but that goes away on 8/1.

With the devaluation and absorption of SPG by Marriott the only hotel program I pay attention to now as a leisure traveler is Hilton. Their $95 AF card gives you Hilton Gold (good for free breakfast and possible room upgrades), a weekend cert (F/S/S night) at any hotel after $15k in spend and Diamond status after $40k in spend. It also gives you 6x Hilton points at grocery stores (and I can spend quite a bit there). Diamond status will get you executive lounge access and a better shot at a room upgrade. I am Diamond based on this card and I have gotten an upgrade all all full service hotels though usually just a higher level room or a better view (never got a suite not that, that is a big deal to me). The Amex $450 AF card gives you Diamond status just for holding it and I think a free weekend night. It also gives you rebates so that $450 AF fee can be offset a lot. If you travel is international than Hilton status can be very nice however if it is mostly domestic I am not sure I"d bother.

I agree with the above comment about hotels.com and I also use AirBnB. Personally I also focus on airline points over hotel points (most of my SPG points go to airlines).
Last edited by THY4373 on Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:43 pm

Freefun wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:26 pm
I focus on flexible programs - Starwood, Chase ultimate rewards and Amex membership rewards.
Just to point out the possibly obvious Starwood is going to take a 33% hit on the earn side for unbonused credit card spend come 8/1. Put another way it will take 50% more spend to earn the same as you do today. But I agree and I have focused on these three programs thought I"ll be dropping Startwood come 8/1.

Freefun
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Freefun » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:51 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:43 pm
Freefun wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:26 pm
I focus on flexible programs - Starwood, Chase ultimate rewards and Amex membership rewards.
Just to point out the possibly obvious Starwood is going to take a 33% hit on the earn side for unbonused credit card spend come 8/1. Put another way it will take 50% more spend to earn the same as you do today. But I agree and I have focused on these three programs thought I"ll be dropping Startwood come 8/1.
Thanks for the tip. Most of my Starwood points are from years of living in their hotels.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Watty
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Watty » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:14 pm

For personal travel I have found the hotel points to not be all that useful since I am always switching chains get the best property or price I rarely get to the point where I get a reward. Business travel is a bit different since your company may tend to use the same brand a lot.

There are pros and cons but I often use Expedia to make my hotel reservations and they have their own rewards program.

dbr
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by dbr » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:18 pm

I also don't find hotel rewards programs useful. Most of the places we go for personal travel either aren't in a program or we would rather make another choice anyway. Some people who travel extensively for business may find benefit.

Exterous
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Exterous » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:51 pm

Which ones are useful will depend a bit on where you travel and how you travel. If you're traveling to popular cities in the US, Caribbean or Europe point values are likely to be quite high compared to nightly rates so your ROI is low. Asia, Oceania or Africa are easier to find good values although hotel brand footprints have spottier coverage. For example I got some excellent use out of my Hilton points in New Zealand last year\early this year, particularly the Hilton Queenstown which was going for $650/nt over NYE 9 months in advance. The points rate was 60,000/nt (post devaluation even). But if you have Marriott or SPG points you're SOL because they have exactly 0 properties there (Although a think a single SPG hotel is opening later this year).

We tend to move around quite a bit so early check-in\late checkout are heavily used perks for us. Personally Hilton works well in terms of that, their coverage and earning potential. Yes their properties cost a lot with points but they are almost always running promotions and I regularly get around 50 pt/$ on stays as a Diamond using their Ascend (Old Surpass) card. I find that typically offsets their higher redemption options compared to Marriott, SPG or IHG. Hyatt just doesn't have the properties to make it worthwhile for us.

Beyond that its just a mash of expedia\cheaptickets, hotels.com and airBnB.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:30 pm

I'd say for leisure travel, and assuming you're also not a professional road warrior, just be a free agent but do make sure you've signed up for the rewards program the hotel you're staying at, just because you may as well. You'll probably get a better deal trying things like discount bulk resellers or just looking for the random promotions. It's generally not worth making a specific reservation like this solely because of the points or brand.

BUT, having said that, I do try to book Marriott when I can, mostly because I tend to like their hotels and their footprint is so large that they tend to be available in my destinations, so I at least eventually can eak out a free reward. But you have to stay a TON to get benefits worth much of anything, and for the most part hotel benefits aren't amazing. As I travel more for business, I have considered getting something like the Ritz credit card (they're partnered with Marriott), but it's expensive and the math doesn't yet work for me.

I try to focus most of my spending on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which has a $95 annual fee, accumulates points reasonably well, and is transferrable to several airlines and hotels. While I tend to stay at Marriotts for paid stays, if we want to use points for a hotel, we usually see if a Park Hyatt is in our destination city and, if so, transfer Chase points over to book a room. The redemption is a reasonable and pretty consistent value, and the hotels are amazing.

This by no means is an optimal travel rewards strategy, but it's low-cost and low-effort. You can really go down the rabbit hole on this stuff.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

TravelGeek
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:51 pm

4nursebee wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm
I am making some travel plans, generally I sign up for hotel rewards but do not take advantage of the perks. I lost and got my Hilton rewards points restored. I think we also have a Club Carlson and a Marriott Card.
So you may or may not have hotel cards with annual fees? And benefits such as a free night each year that may have expired if you are not sure you have the card? ;)

How many nights of travel are we talking about? And how much time do you want to invest into learning the rules of the various programs?
What other reward programs are there for travel?
How do you benefit from each program?
What do you use the points on?
Most chains have programs. Most programs have elite levels and credit cards, but whether any of that is worthwhile looking into depends on how much and where you will travel and how much time you want to invest.

Hotel programs let you earn points for free nights (or you can often earn a few airline miles, which might be an alternative if you have a greater need and would not get enough hotel points for award stays anyway).

Hotel programs also offer elite programs: better rooms, late checkout, free breakfast, more points are the typical benefits. Elite status can often be had by holding the right credit card. Whether it is worth the annual fee... depends on how much value you can extract our of the status. Which gets us back to how often and where you travel ;)

Tl; dr: it depends :twisted:

TresBelle65
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by TresBelle65 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:53 pm

The Citi Prestige card, I believe, gives the 4th night free but I have no experience with it, may be worth looking at.

jminv
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jminv » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:06 pm

I used to be into the hotel rewards programs (Hyatt and Hilton) but many of them began to be worth less when status was gifted through hotel credit cards (Hyatt, for example) and internet in more upscale hotels became free, negating that perk. I also prefer to stay in boutique hotels and do most of my travelling outside the usa.

My rewards strategy now is:
Cashback visa card (I use 2% card for dollar transactions, 1.5% card for other currencies)
Join a booking platform's reward program, eg, expedia and booking.com which will get you points you can apply later and perks if you reach certain tiers
Compare all room rates to ensure they are the lowest possible rate using tripadvisor, booking.com, hotel's direct booking site.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:15 pm

I travel often for business so collect points while traveling.
I didn't use Hilton for a year and they refused to re-instate my points so I now avoid Hilton properties like the plague (lost a lot of points with them).
I tend to focus the most on Marriott (most consistent experience - not because their points program is better than others) so I'm Lifetime Platinum with them (gives me free room upgrades, concierge lounge access for free breakfast and snacks, etc.)
I don't use any of the credit cards. (although have gotten them once or twice and then canceled - just for the sign-up bonus points).
I use my points for vacations - a week at a Marriott Resort in the Caribbean, several days at the Marriott in Rome, weekends at the Marriott Marquis right in Time Square, etc. - the price is right - free (although the parking fee in NYC is high and they don't let you use points for that).
If you only travel and stay at hotels on occasion (less than 4 - 5 times a year) it probably would take you too long to really build up enough points to do anything so probably not worth the hassle.
I also collect frequent flyer miles across several airlines - same benefit - free travel but also free first class upgrades. The benefits aren't what they were 10 years ago unfortunately. Again no credit card (signed up with some to get bonus points then canceled) - just collect points through regular business travel.

angelescrest
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by angelescrest » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:53 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:43 pm
Freefun wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:26 pm
I focus on flexible programs - Starwood, Chase ultimate rewards and Amex membership rewards.
Just to point out the possibly obvious Starwood is going to take a 33% hit on the earn side for unbonused credit card spend come 8/1. Put another way it will take 50% more spend to earn the same as you do today. But I agree and I have focused on these three programs thought I"ll be dropping Startwood come 8/1.
Yeah I’m so :annoyed about this. So much for my Starwood card that I’ve had for ages. What other cc are you looking at? I want a cc that gives luxury hotel rewards.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:06 pm

Before I retired, I was a road warrior, and I had elite status with Marriott and Hilton due to my frequent business travel. I was not impressed by the benefits. Since retiring, I almost never stay at any of the big hotel chains, either here or abroad. My strategy is to pay for all hotels using my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, earning three points per dollar spent. I then transfer the points to an airline frequent flyer program to be used for international award flights. For me, hotel spending is how I earn points, but I redeem my rewards for airfare. To do this, I don't have to belong to any hotel loyalty programs.

tulsuduke
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by tulsuduke » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:57 pm

I'm a fan of Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ultimate Rewards. Chase points get a 50% redemption bonus when you book through the Chase travel portal...though I think the kicker is that the redemption bonus only applies to the room rate, and not the taxes and fees (please feel free to correct me on this point).

I often transfer my Chase points to my Hyatt loyalty program, then book a Hyatt room with points. Hyatt has a pretty good value when you book with points (at the very least, you will save on taxes and any resort fees). For example, I booked a room at the Asheville Hyatt a couple of years ago during peak Fall season. At the time, it was a Category 1 hotel...a free room was going for 5000 points (essentially $50 worth of Chase points...Hyatt has since re-categorized the hotel, and a free room there now costs 12000 points). If you paid full rack rate during the same weekend, it would have set you back $400+ a night.

theplayer11
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:15 am

I like SPG stay 4 nights, 5th free. Traveled to Europe last 2 years and found good value staying at SPG properties. My strategy is to collect both airline and hotel points to travel basically free. Our 10 night trip to Germany last year was free..hotel points, airline points and sold some points before we left to cover all other spending.(which was only about $2k)

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am

I've been able to get quite a few free nights via hotel card sign-up bonuses. Mostly end up using the points when we want to be in a general area, but don't really care about specific location. We've kept the no fee ones and IHG cards as it gives a free night to offset the $49 fee. IHG also offers a status that includes free upgrades, just for having the card.

Other than using the cards for paid stays at the hotels and to create activity to maintain points, I don't find them to be worth using on an ongoing basis. When we are not working on bonuses, we can use cards with cash rebates of 4% gas, 3% grocery, 2% other (and 5% chase freedom, discover categories).

I don't know what is changing with SPG, but have never understood some people's love affair with SPG points, anyway. For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott and the card was not worth keeping with it's $95 fee. Have not gotten it yet, but the Marriott card might be one I would keep, as you get a free night in exchange for the $85 fee.
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vectorizer
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by vectorizer » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:37 am

I travel by car a fair amount on my own dime enjoying mobile ham radio and visiting family. I look first for Holiday Inn Express because they tend to be a good value for money, newer properties, day-of cancellations allowed*, and free breakfast helps too. So I picked a hotel chain not a hotel program, but sticking to Holiday Inns helps to build the points. I've only used points for free or discounted nights, but there are a number of other ways to use the points. The point ratio of paid hotel nights to free nights is about 10 to 1. This reward program is for the entire Intercontinental hotel chain (ing.com) which includes lots of business-class and suite hotels too. So I'd say if you can pick a hotel chain that works for you, the bigger the better, using a rewards program can pay off ... even more so if you also travel for business and have some influence over the hotel.

[* my go-to leisure hotel chain used to be Hampton Inn, until they started requiring 24-hour cancellations. Since then I've spent a few thousand dollars on Holiday Inn properties. How's that stupid policy working out for you, Hampton? :-) ]

THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:51 am

angelescrest wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:53 pm

Yeah I’m so :annoyed about this. So much for my Starwood card that I’ve had for ages. What other cc are you looking at? I want a cc that gives luxury hotel rewards.
For me my focus is going to be on Amex MR and Chase UR. I like Citi TYP but they don't really have a good option for unbonused spend so not really an SPG replacement. I run a lot of spend through my various cards so I will still do some hotel spend.

For hotel cards my main focus is going to be Hilton and I use the Ascend card which gives me 6x back at grocery stores where I can generate a lot of spend. I probably put north of $60k on it a year at 6x points. That nets me Hilton Diamond status, a weekend night certificate good at any Hilton and enough points to cover 5-7 at the highest end properties in HIlton lineup. I may up my spending on this given death of SPG in August. I am using my HIlton points to spend 6 days at Conrad Tokyo and 5 days at Conrad Osaka this year. With the fifth night free for elites my effective cashback rate on these days were around 4.5=4.6%. Which isn't bad. Actually I am spending one night at a Hilton property at Newark airport and getting 10% back which is way high for hotel points.

I will also use my Chase UR at Hyatt when it makes sense. I have an Ink Plus and Ink Preferred so I am regularly earning 3-5x UR on those. That is pretty much it for me hotel wise.

For unbonused spend to replace SPG card I'll likely move to Chase Freedom Unlimited or Amex Every Day Preferred both of which give you 1.5x back though with Amex you have to do 30 transactions a month to get this (easy enough to do for me). I'll probably do EDP because of the recent Chase closures that have been happening post approval for new cards combined with the fact that Chase is rumored to be considering stopping UR transfers between cards which would mean CFU points could not be used for travel (it would be a purely cashback card). However the Chase CFU also has a limited time 3x back first year offer which is pretty darn tempting.

THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:04 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am

I don't know what is changing with SPG, but have never understood some people's love affair with SPG points, anyway. For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott and the card was not worth keeping with it's $95 fee. Have not gotten it yet, but the Marriott card might be one I would keep, as you get a free night in exchange for the $85 fee.
The ratio from SPG>MR is actually 1:3 (edited to fix transfer ratio).

The love affair with SPG was:

1). Massive number of airline programs you could transfer to. There are many programs out there that US folks pay little heed to that often have incredible sweets spots for certain destinations. If you are willing to put the research in you can often find ways to get from A to B via some foreign carrier program that is much cheaper than the major US and European airlines North Americans tend to focus on. No other transfer program is close to SPG at least at the 1:1 or 1:1.25 transfer rate.

2). The 1:1.25 transfer to airlines in 20k chunks. For many airlines this was the only way to earn a spend bonus on their miles. When combined with point 1 this was very useful.

3). Access in the last 18 months or so to Marriott travel packages where any day for example you can turn you 90k SPG points into 132k United Miles + 7 night hotel cert for a Cat 5 property and below.

4). Frequent bonuses from airlines when transferring hotel points to their program. This combined with points 1-3 above could lead to some amazing deals. In the fall of 2016 for example I did a transfer from 90k SPG > 270k MR > 132k United + 7 night cat 4 certificate and United had a bonus on transfers from hotel programs capped at 35k miles. So my 90 SPG turned into 167k United miles + 7 night certificate which I used for about $1500 worth of a hotel stay.

As for what is changing with SPG credit cards come 8/1 you will earn 2 MR points vs effectively 3 MR points today. However for each annual fee you pay *post* 8/1 you will get a free night stay hotel cert for a 35k or below property.
Last edited by THY4373 on Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tainted-meat
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by tainted-meat » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:41 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am
I've been able to get quite a few free nights via hotel card sign-up bonuses. Mostly end up using the points when we want to be in a general area, but don't really care about specific location. We've kept the no fee ones and IHG cards as it gives a free night to offset the $49 fee. IHG also offers a status that includes free upgrades, just for having the card.

Other than using the cards for paid stays at the hotels and to create activity to maintain points, I don't find them to be worth using on an ongoing basis. When we are not working on bonuses, we can use cards with cash rebates of 4% gas, 3% grocery, 2% other (and 5% chase freedom, discover categories).

I don't know what is changing with SPG, but have never understood some people's love affair with SPG points, anyway. For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott and the card was not worth keeping with it's $95 fee. Have not gotten it yet, but the Marriott card might be one I would keep, as you get a free night in exchange for the $85 fee.
I do a fair amount of business travel and also got the IHG card for automatic Platinum status. I agree It's a great deal for $49 per yr.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:58 am

THY4373 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:04 am
jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am
For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott...
The ratio from SPG"MR is actually 3:1.
:confused

As for most of the rest, I guess since we have so obtained more airline miles/points than we need just from credit card sign up bonuses, I haven't seen the value in the transfers to airlines. We only fly once or twice per year an have not paid airfare in the past 7 years and currently have about 600,000 airline miles/points. Having excess airline miles was the reason I started on the hotel sign-up bonuses in the first place :happy .
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:24 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:58 am
THY4373 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:04 am
jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am
For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott...
The ratio from SPG"MR is actually 3:1.
:confused
Sorry I messed up like you. 1 SPG trasfers to 3 MR so 1:3 not 3:1 as you and later I put. This goes away 8/1 when all existing SPG points will be converted 1:3 to MR and the new earn rate on SPG CC will be 2 MR (unbonused).
Last edited by THY4373 on Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

THY4373
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:28 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:58 am

As for most of the rest, I guess since we have so obtained more airline miles/points than we need just from credit card sign up bonuses, I haven't seen the value in the transfers to airlines. We only fly once or twice per year an have not paid airfare in the past 7 years and currently have about 600,000 airline miles/points. Having excess airline miles was the reason I started on the hotel sign-up bonuses in the first place :happy .
Yeah it really depends on how you use them. I do 2-3 international trips a year and usually it is not a single round trip so there are multiple mid-long haul legs. My preference is to be in either Business or First class so your 600k is about what I burn in a year for airlines alone. Though this may drop as I get go for cheap cash fares instead of points for some trips. My trip to Europe next year for example is in BA First Class but I bought a cheapish business class ticket (only a few hundred more than the insane YQ on BA award tickets) and upgraded to first on BA Avios (I'll get about 60% of the upgrade points back based on earned points on the underlying cash business class ticket).

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:25 am

THY4373 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:24 am
Sorry I messed up like you. 1 SPG trasfers to 3 MR so 1:3 not 3:1 as you and later I put. This goes away 8/1 when all existing SPG points will be converted 1:3 to MR and the new earn rate on SPG CC will be 2 MR (unbonused).
Oh, if that's all you meant it's just semantics, I was thinking of it as getting 3 points for 1. :sharebeer

I can see how those who find value in earning SPG points would be annoyed. For us the earn rate change really means nothing as, for us, the SPG card is already not worth paying for or using.

My valuation is that a generic night (at Fairfield, 4 Points, Courtyard) that would typically be 15,000-20,000 MR or 7000-10,000 SPG points is worth about $80 to us. To get 15,000 MR points from spending on the SPG card, I would have to spend $5000. So at best, I see it as $80 value for $5000 spend, which is 1.6%, so not something that I would bother with.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

theplayer11
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:21 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:25 am
THY4373 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:24 am
Sorry I messed up like you. 1 SPG trasfers to 3 MR so 1:3 not 3:1 as you and later I put. This goes away 8/1 when all existing SPG points will be converted 1:3 to MR and the new earn rate on SPG CC will be 2 MR (unbonused).
Oh, if that's all you meant it's just semantics, I was thinking of it as getting 3 points for 1. :sharebeer

I can see how those who find value in earning SPG points would be annoyed. For us the earn rate change really means nothing as, for us, the SPG card is already not worth paying for or using.

My valuation is that a generic night (at Fairfield, 4 Points, Courtyard) that would typically be 15,000-20,000 MR or 7000-10,000 SPG points is worth about $80 to us. To get 15,000 MR points from spending on the SPG card, I would have to spend $5000. So at best, I see it as $80 value for $5000 spend, which is 1.6%, so not something that I would bother with.
before upcoming changes SPG points were valued at 2.2 cents/point, Marriott at .08 cents. SPG were the most valued of any hotel points.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:41 pm

theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:21 pm
before upcoming changes SPG points were valued at 2.2 cents/point, Marriott at .08 cents. SPG were the most values of any hotel points.
I assume you meant 0.8 cents. While some may find them to have that much value, they generally haven't for me. They have usually given me more like what I consider to be 0.5 to 0.6 cents of value per point for MR and 3X that for SPG.

Everyone has their own way of looking at these things and values different things. My personal valuations are based on the way we use the points, for us I try to maximize the number of free nights we get out of our points. I also base my personal valuations on what we would pay to stay in an acceptable hotel if we were not using points, not necessarily on what SPG or Marriott charges for their rooms. For us the cash price of a night in an acceptable, comfortable hotel has averaged around $80, with a range of about $60-100, so my valuation is based on one free night = $80.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

centrifuge41
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by centrifuge41 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:45 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am
I've been able to get quite a few free nights via hotel card sign-up bonuses. Mostly end up using the points when we want to be in a general area, but don't really care about specific location. We've kept the no fee ones and IHG cards as it gives a free night to offset the $49 fee. IHG also offers a status that includes free upgrades, just for having the card.

Other than using the cards for paid stays at the hotels and to create activity to maintain points, I don't find them to be worth using on an ongoing basis. When we are not working on bonuses, we can use cards with cash rebates of 4% gas, 3% grocery, 2% other (and 5% chase freedom, discover categories).
I second this. Getting some hotel cards for the bonus then using the points for hotels can be very valuable. No card is good enough for ongoing spend to me - even starpoints, which are worth about 2 cents each, aren't as liquid as having 2% cash in hand. Likewise, earning a given points currency in lieu of Hotels.com's buy 10 get 1 is also mostly useless - points are less rewarding in the absence of a nice promotion, such as Marriott's b2g1 free Megabonus, or a well-timed IHG accelerate promotion that could yield 30k to 50k points for 3 to 5 nights of stays.

It can be worth diversifying. E.g. if you had some IHG points, Marriott Points, and Radisson points, you could use them when cash rates are high, and points rates are low. Some cities happen to have a singular property that is a great points redemption. Where do you plan on traveling? Hilton points are almost useless domestically when compared to cash rates, but there are gems internationally. My last 2 stays, in Vienna and Bratislava, were 10k Hilton points each.

Quick program recap for non-elites. Note, my hotel point value assignments may tend low, but that encourages burning points in lieu of spending cash.

Starwood: earns 2 pts/$ spent on hotels, and 1 pt/$ spent on credit card. Worth about 2 cents/point. Small legacy footprint, but transfers to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. Some cat 1-2 hotels that cost 2k to 4k are a nice deal. I've never found it worth redeeming for 7k+ properties, but I'm not a luxury traveler.

Marriott: earns 10 pts/$ spent on hotels, and 1 pt/$ spent on credit card. Worth about 0.6 cents/point. Some properties cost 7.5k or 10k and can be a great value. E.g. Fairfield Inn Boston Tewksbury only costs 10k, which is really cheap for a Boston suburb.

Radisson: really small footprint. Earns 5 pts/$ spent on card, and 20 pts/$ spent at hotel. Each point is worth 0.3 cents. A handful of hotels cost 15k and are a great value. E.g. Park Inn Houston IAH airport or Radisson Narita Japan airport. 9k/night hotels are super rare nowadays.

Hilton: Earns 3 pts/$ spent on card, and 10 pts/$ spent at hotel. Each point is worth 0.4 cents. Not much value domestically due to very small footprint of properties that cost 5k/10k, but there are 5k or 10k a night international redemptions that are awesome, e.g. in Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, or Vienna.

Hyatt: Earns 1 pt/$ spent on card, and 5 pts/$ spent at hotel. Each point is worth 1.5 cents. Small footprint. Also transfers in from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Some 5k/8k properties can be a pretty good value, e.g. in Shenzhen China or Hyderabad India.

IHG: one of my favorites for earn/burn value with their quarterly Accelerate promos, ever since Radisson's b1g1 free using points died. Earns 1 pt/$ spent on card, and 10 pts/$ spent at hotel. Each point is worth 0.5 cents. You don't necessarily need the card since there are opportunities to buy the points for 0.5 or 0.55 cents each. Quite a lot of properties out there cost 10k or 15k a night. Examples: Prague near a metro station, Bali, Killarney Ireland.

Wyndham: all properties cost 15k, but there are so few nice properties in expensive areas. Don't actively collect these - the loyalty program is extremely volatile and not reliable. If you have La Quinta points, La Quinta got bought by Wyndham and your points balance could merge in.

Loyalty Traveler blog is a great place to read up about getting great hotel "rates" using points. You might even see a mention of Choice and Best Western, which I'm not familiar with.

Play with this tool: Awardmapper. You'll have a much better feel for the land.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:03 am

centrifuge41 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:45 pm
...even starpoints, which are worth about 2 cents each, aren't as liquid as having 2% cash in hand.
Ah, that's true...even if one believes they are worth something like 2%, can get 2% cash with just one card like Ctit double cash and 3, 4, 5% on some spending by having a few other cards.
...or a well-timed IHG accelerate promotion that could yield 30k to 50k points for 3 to 5 nights of stays.
Yes, had one of those last year and by paying for just 2 nights and double dipping on accelerate and "return" promo, I got 44,000 points. I paid $210 for the two nights and saved 35,000 points in addition to earning 44,000, so I figured that's 79,000 points for future stays and I can get at least 4-5 free nights with those points.
Hilton points are almost useless domestically when compared to cash rates, but there are gems internationally. My last 2 stays, in Vienna and Bratislava, were 10k Hilton points each.
Yes, they seem to have crazily high point prices at most hotels. I have used them for 10,000 point stays in the middle of nowhere as intermediate stops on driving trips.
Starwood: earns 2 pts/$ spent on hotels, and 1 pt/$ spent on credit card. Worth about 2 cents/point. Small legacy footprint, but transfers to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. Some cat 1-2 hotels that cost 2k to 4k are a nice deal. I've never found it worth redeeming for 7k+ properties, but I'm not a luxury traveler.
Same here, instead of SPG at 7000, can usually find Marriott at 15,000 (equivalent to 5000 SPG points). Or if SPG is 10,000 there's probably a Marriott property at 20,000.
You might even see a mention of Choice...
We've stayed at their Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn properties. To us, not being luxury travelers, they are usually a good value when we are paying cash. Did have one bad Quality Inn, though. I got their no fee card when it was 40,000 points for $1000 spend. We can usually find 8000-12,000 point per night hotels. They have had promos where you get 8000 points for two stays, so a buy two get potentially one free (or at least 67% of a free night).
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by stormswami » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:47 pm

I will say upfront that we are far from luxury travelers, but we have been very happy with Choice Hotel rewards which includes Comfort Inn/Suites, Sleep Inn, and Quality Inns (some of those are actually pretty good). Have their credit card and use it for a regular spending and especially larger payments such as insurance. On family trips and the like we end up staying out 5-10 times/year. Our built up Choice points tend to cover around half of those stays.

Bfwolf
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:24 am

I think the Club Carlson credit card is underrated for anybody that travels to NYC or Chicago on an annual basis. The points are worth somewhere in the $0.003 to $0.004 range, and the credit card earns 5x points per $1 spent, so you get 1.5% to 2% "rebate" value....certainly not as good as 2% straight cash back. BUT, for every $10,000 you spend up to $30,000, you get a free night at any of their USA hotels. A lot of their US footprint is not that great, but the Radisson Martinique in NYC and the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago are exceptions. And lodging in those cities is not cheap, so a free night is of real value. So if you put $20,000 of spend on the card, you're the 1.5% to 2% back in points AND you're getting 2 free nights worth $500 or more, making the true "rebate" value more like 4% to 5%. Now, it's not cash back and you've got to use the free night certificates in a year, etc etc. But I think it's easy to see how it would be better than a 2% cash back card for the right person.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:01 am

We use Hampton Inn rewards for free nights.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:12 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:41 pm
theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:21 pm
before upcoming changes SPG points were valued at 2.2 cents/point, Marriott at .08 cents. SPG were the most values of any hotel points.
I assume you meant 0.8 cents. While some may find them to have that much value, they generally haven't for me. They have usually given me more like what I consider to be 0.5 to 0.6 cents of value per point for MR and 3X that for SPG.

Everyone has their own way of looking at these things and values different things. My personal valuations are based on the way we use the points, for us I try to maximize the number of free nights we get out of our points. I also base my personal valuations on what we would pay to stay in an acceptable hotel if we were not using points, not necessarily on what SPG or Marriott charges for their rooms. For us the cash price of a night in an acceptable, comfortable hotel has averaged around $80, with a range of about $60-100, so my valuation is based on one free night = $80.
THIS is exactly how I value my points! The point values published by the frequent travel bloggers are much higher because the bloggers like to stay in overpriced luxury accommodations and use the regular published rate for those accommodations as part of their calculations of point value.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:36 am

tainted-meat wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:41 am
jeffyscott wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:05 am
I've been able to get quite a few free nights via hotel card sign-up bonuses. Mostly end up using the points when we want to be in a general area, but don't really care about specific location. We've kept the no fee ones and IHG cards as it gives a free night to offset the $49 fee. IHG also offers a status that includes free upgrades, just for having the card.

Other than using the cards for paid stays at the hotels and to create activity to maintain points, I don't find them to be worth using on an ongoing basis. When we are not working on bonuses, we can use cards with cash rebates of 4% gas, 3% grocery, 2% other (and 5% chase freedom, discover categories).

I don't know what is changing with SPG, but have never understood some people's love affair with SPG points, anyway. For us the best value was transfer at 3:1 to Marriott and the card was not worth keeping with it's $95 fee. Have not gotten it yet, but the Marriott card might be one I would keep, as you get a free night in exchange for the $85 fee.
I do a fair amount of business travel and also got the IHG card for automatic Platinum status. I agree It's a great deal for $49 per yr.
The IHG card is still a good value but the old one annual free night at any property has now changed to being category-limited, so as with the other programs there is always devaluation to be concerned about.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:44 am

4nursebee wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm
Hello and thanks in advance.

I am making some travel plans, generally I sign up for hotel rewards but do not take advantage of the perks. I lost and got my Hilton rewards points restored. I think we also have a Club Carlson and a Marriott Card. So my questions:

What other reward programs are there for travel?
How do you benefit from each program?
What do you use the points on?
My overall feeling on hotel rewards and hotel credit cards is that unless you always stay at a particular brand anyway, and stay very frequently, they're barely worth the effort vs. just looking for a good deal and having a cash back card . Occasionally there can be favorable bonuses but it's like with airlines: if you don't live at a hub usually the best flights won't always be on the same carriers, and with hotels usually the best place to stay won't always be at the same brand, especially outside of major city centers. With all these programs you have to be willing to work at them - you have to want it as a hobby. If you have a bunch of points accumulated a card can help keep some from expiring, but even then you have to monitor them to keep track, and some points expire even if you add new ones (points all roll off a certain time after they're earned.)

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jeffyscott
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:00 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:12 am
The point values published by the frequent travel bloggers are much higher because the bloggers like to stay in overpriced luxury accommodations and use the regular published rate for those accommodations as part of their calculations of point value.
Yes, they look at things like if you get one night at a $400 per night hotel for 40,000 points that means they are worth 1 cent.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

dbr
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by dbr » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:07 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:00 am
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:12 am
The point values published by the frequent travel bloggers are much higher because the bloggers like to stay in overpriced luxury accommodations and use the regular published rate for those accommodations as part of their calculations of point value.
Yes, they look at things like if you get one night at a $400 per night hotel for 40,000 points that means they are worth 1 cent.
And the "if" tends to be a rare event and the report driven by selection bias. There are bloggers who attempt a much more even handed evaluation.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jeffyscott » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:21 am

tibbitts wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:36 am
The IHG card is still a good value but the old one annual free night at any property has now changed to being category-limited, so as with the other programs there is always devaluation to be concerned about.
That's true, but for us the 40,000 point limit is not really an issue. So far we've used our free nights at places that would've been only 15,000 or 20,000. One problem being it's a single night, so we haven't wanted to spend one night at, say, a 45,000 point place then move to the 15,000 point hotel. We don't generally do single nights, unless it's just an intermediate stop on a driving trip.

Now that my wife has a card too, this might change as we can do 2 nights during a 6 month period where our free nights overlap. In any case, the free night is always worth more than the $49 fee.

They also cut back on the 5000 "point breaks" hotels under the new 5, 10, 15,000 system.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

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TinkerPDX
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by TinkerPDX » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:32 am

I’ve been using “rocket miles” when the rates are equivalent to Expedia/direct. It gives you miles on your preferred airline program when you book hotels through them.

TravelGeek
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:39 am

TinkerPDX wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:32 am
I’ve been using “rocket miles” when the rates are equivalent to Expedia/direct. It gives you miles on your preferred airline program when you book hotels through them.
I have used them once or twice when they had a first time customer bonus worth a few thousand miles, but every time I have looked their room rates were higher than the best rate (AAA, AARP, prepaid) I could get from the chain itself, pretty much defeating the airline points earnings. Also, I don’t think their bookings qualify as eligible nights, so no elite benefits and points credit with the Hotel program itself. I have basically stopped even looking at them.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by angelescrest » Tue May 01, 2018 11:54 am

THY4373 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:51 am
angelescrest wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:53 pm

Yeah I’m so :annoyed about this. So much for my Starwood card that I’ve had for ages. What other cc are you looking at? I want a cc that gives luxury hotel rewards.
For me my focus is going to be on Amex MR and Chase UR. I like Citi TYP but they don't really have a good option for unbonused spend so not really an SPG replacement. I run a lot of spend through my various cards so I will still do some hotel spend.

For hotel cards my main focus is going to be Hilton and I use the Ascend card which gives me 6x back at grocery stores where I can generate a lot of spend. I probably put north of $60k on it a year at 6x points. That nets me Hilton Diamond status, a weekend night certificate good at any Hilton and enough points to cover 5-7 at the highest end properties in HIlton lineup. I may up my spending on this given death of SPG in August. I am using my HIlton points to spend 6 days at Conrad Tokyo and 5 days at Conrad Osaka this year. With the fifth night free for elites my effective cashback rate on these days were around 4.5=4.6%. Which isn't bad. Actually I am spending one night at a Hilton property at Newark airport and getting 10% back which is way high for hotel points.

I will also use my Chase UR at Hyatt when it makes sense. I have an Ink Plus and Ink Preferred so I am regularly earning 3-5x UR on those. That is pretty much it for me hotel wise.

For unbonused spend to replace SPG card I'll likely move to Chase Freedom Unlimited or Amex Every Day Preferred both of which give you 1.5x back though with Amex you have to do 30 transactions a month to get this (easy enough to do for me). I'll probably do EDP because of the recent Chase closures that have been happening post approval for new cards combined with the fact that Chase is rumored to be considering stopping UR transfers between cards which would mean CFU points could not be used for travel (it would be a purely cashback card). However the Chase CFU also has a limited time 3x back first year offer which is pretty darn tempting.
Thank you for this. Can you elaborate on how you would use both the Amex MR and your Hilton Ascend card? How do you prioritize? I'm debating getting the Amex MR, the Hilton Ascend, or just CSR for UR points, which seem to work best with Hyatt. I have enjoyed sticking with Starwood and Marriott properties, and am wondering if I should just stay with them, go with Hilton (I'd be new), or doing both.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by KCjoe » Tue May 01, 2018 4:24 pm

Slightly different take on the question. The brands look at the frequency programs as a way to connect with their customers. I think it pays to enroll in any program even if you don't travel enough to ever earn rewards. If you are a basic member and use the App, you can use the chose your room feature at hilton, check in in advance, and use the digital key. Also use the text messaging feature to text the desk so you don't have to call and ask a desk person for more pillows. The points are not worth it for most people, they are like foreign currency, continually devalued. But being a memebr has benefits above and beyond the point accumulation. Most brands will happily enroll when you check in.

centrifuge41
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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by centrifuge41 » Thu May 10, 2018 3:25 pm

Just as I thought - without elite status, typical hotel rewards programs rebate you less than the 9% that a b10g1 program like Hotels.com would rebate you. Link.

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Re: Hotel rewards programs

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu May 10, 2018 4:26 pm

I am spending about $900 in room nights at Wyndham and Caesar's properties throughout the US to get one free night. When I get enough for a several night stay, I look for a Wyndham property with a $250-350 price tag.

I like teh Wyndham Rewards program a lot.

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