Jul012008

Diners Club Comparison of Redemption Value Across Hotel Points Programs

Loyalty Traveler Original Research –
Diners Club Comparison of Redemption Value Across Hotel Points Programs

Hotel Points can be earned through credit card points exchanges with Diners Club/MasterCard Club Rewards points. Club Rewards points can be a valuable asset when planning the hotel component of a trip.

Loyalty Traveler is always seeking good hotel value. An analysis of Diners Club shows value is relative to the hotel program partner and the particular time and place of points redemption for a free hotel night.Diners Club Rewards points can be exchanged into hotel points for 7 major hotel loyalty programs at the following exchange rates for 1,250 points (transfers must be multiples of 1,250 Club Rewards points):

Best Western Gold Crown Club = 3,300 points
Choice Privileges = 2,400 points
Hilton HHonors = 2,000 points
Hyatt Gold Passport points = 750 points
Marriott Rewards = 1,500 points
Priority Club Rewards = 1,500 points
Starwood Preferred Guest = 750 points

In addition to point exchanges, Diners Club Rewards points can be used for free night redemption offers with Fairmont Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, and various luxury villa properties in Europe and hotels in Hawaii.
By the Numbers

Points Redemption Value

Summary of results based on an extrapolation of value for 50,000 Diners Club Rewards points exchanged into hotel points and redeemed for a free night in a particular location (San Francisco) and date (Tuesday, July 15, 2008) for a hotel stay using points.

Best Western = $1,399 for 4.7 room nights
Starwood = $1,197 for 3.0 room nights
Hyatt = $1,080 for 2.5 room nights
Choice = $905 for 6.0 nights
Priority Club = $811 for 2.4 nights
Hilton = $660 for 2.0 nights
Marriott = $270 for 1.0 nights
(Marriott Redemption Value affected by Stay Anytime reward as only available option for July 15, 2008 San Francisco).

Assume a Diners Club member has 50,000 Club Rewards points and wants to exchange these for a good hotel value. $50,000 in purchases earns 50,000 Club Rewards points under normal earning rules.

50,000 Club Rewards points exchanged into hotel points for:

Best Western Gold Crown Club = 132,000 points
Choice Privileges = 96,000 points
Hilton HHonors = 80,000 points
Hyatt Gold Passport points = 30,000 points
Marriott Rewards = 60,000 points
Priority Club Rewards = 60,000 points
Starwood Preferred Guest = 30,000 points

Calculating Hotel Points Redemption Value

Calculating the value of hotel points across programs is a complex analysis. There are too many variables: specific hotel program terms, hotel location, time of year, weekday vs. weekend nights, promotions, and redemption special offers for free nights using hotel points. That being said, the reality is –

hotel points have no value until redeemed.

Ultimately, the final decision for hotel travelers becomes whether to pay cash or use points for your all or part of your stay. Therefore, it is a valuable exercise to see real numbers for hotel free nights in a sample scenario. There will likely be hotels around the globe and the USA offering better value and hotels offering lesser value than the hotel points redemption sample.

Methodology for hotel program comparisons and the value of 50,000 Diners Club Club Rewards points.

Hotel points redemption value is based on using the same city and same dates for comparison across programs. I use San Francisco as a model for comparing hotel programs due to the large number of hotel members in a large number of hotel corporations in a highly concentrated area of downtown San Francisco. I frequently use international locations for redemption value options due to the high cost of hotels in most major international cities around the globe.

The limitation of the analysis that follows is I only look at one sample date for hotel rates and all data is extrapolated based on hotel rates for Tuesday, July 15, 2008 in downtown San Francisco. This analysis gives a snapshot of the comparative value in a real-time analysis of what kind of reservation could be booked with hotel points on July 1, 2008.

The points redemption values for the one night San Francisco stay are extrapolated to provide a common relative value across hotel programs. This allows a comparison of the relative redemption value for total hotel points earned through an exchange of 50,000 Diners Club Rewards points.

Obviously, a person cannot book 2.4 nights using points and I did not actually try to book 2 or 3 night stays using points. The total points redemption value found for San Francisco for Tuesday July 15 is extrapolated at the same rate to determine an overall points value for an exchange of 50,000 Club Rewards points.

Marriott is the only program that has skewed data because in this real time situation using July 15, the Marriott Rewards program was the only program requiring extra points for a free night (double points for a Marriott Rewards Stay AnyTime reward).

In real travel the probability that one program will be less favorable than another is common. The real value of Diners Club points is the ability to transfer your points into a variety of hotel programs and take advantage of the best opportunity for points redemption for the particular trip and hotel stay.
Example of Calculating Points Redemption Value for Free Rooms Using Points:

JW Marriott San Francisco is a Category 7 hotel in the Marriott Rewards program. Your points redemption value is determined by how many points you actually save when you redeem points for a free night.A free night for a Category 7 hotel costs 35,000 points using Marriott Rewards points. This next Friday night, July 4th, the lowest available room rate for this hotel is $199. After 14% hotel tax, your 35,000 points save you $227 for a free night in San Francisco.

The value of 1,000 Marriott Rewards points is about $6.50/1,000 points if used for a free room night to save $227 at JW Marriott San Francisco, July 4th Friday night.

A weekday Tuesday free night on July 8th is an entirely different value for 35,000 points. The midweek rate for the JW Marriott San Francisco is $319 per night and the value of your points redemption increases to $364 after 14% hotel tax. Your points redemption value is 60% higher at $10.40/1,000 points when redeeming 35,000 points for a $364 savings.

A good rule of thumb is to try and redeem your points at a value higher than the purchase rate of points through the hotel program.

Caveat and analytical limitation:
The analysis shown here does not take into account the value of points not earned by not paying for a room.

For example, a paid room at $199 base rate will earn 1,990 Marriott Rewards points plus promotional and elite bonuses. The points not earned will likely be 2,000 to 4,000 points that need to be included in a calculation of the value of your points when redeeming for a free night.
A more precise valuation for a $227 JW Marriott room savings would be 35,000 + 1,990 (points you would have earned if $199 base rate paid instead of hotel points reward).

$227 hotel savings / 36,990 points = $6.14/1,000 points redemption value for July 4.
$364 hotel savings / 38,190 points = $9.53/1,000 points redemption value for July 8.

Actual points redemption values will also be dependent on the date, location, current promotions, and elite status within the hotel loyalty program, so the points not earned will be higher than these basic calculations and result in points redemption values slightly lower than these given above. As you can see it is complex to calculate the value of points with a single hotel program and comparisons across programs are more complex.

The value* of 50,000 Club Rewards points exchanged for hotel points:
*calculations for redemption value do not consider points not earned for a paid stay.

Points Redemption Value = money saved/points for free night x 1,000

Best Western Gold Crown = 132,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $1,399.20 for 4.7 free nights

Best Western Hotel California, San Francisco
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Best Western, The Hotel California
28,000 points or $260.10 + 14% hotel tax = $297/night
or $10.60 redemption value/1,000 points.

Best Western members must be Platinum (15 nights) or Diamond (30 nights) elite to purchase points at rate of $10/1,000 points. ($1,320 points purchase value)

Choice Privileges = 96,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $905.28 for 6 free nights at Rodeway Inn Downtown San Francisco

Choice points purchase value ($10/1,000 points with 10,000 points annual limit)

Rodeway Inn Downtown San Francisco
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 16,000 points or $131.99 AAA rate or $151 after tax
$151/16,000 = $9.43/1,000 points

Hilton HHonors = 80,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $660 redemption value for 2 nights at Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Purchase Value: $800 for 80,000 HHonors points

All 3 San Francisco Hilton properties are Category 6 hotels costing 40,000 points for a free night.

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Tuesday July 15
$289 base rate. $330 after hotel tax.
$330/40,000 points = $8.25/1,000 points

Hyatt Gold Passport = 30,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $1,080 redemption value for 2.5 nights at Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Grand Hyatt San Francisco, A Hyatt Gold Passport Category 3 hotel = 12,000 points for a free night.

Tuesday July 15
$379/night or $432/night after tax
$432/12,000 points = $36/1,000 points x 30,000 = $1,080 redemption value

Marriott Rewards = 60,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $270 redemption value for 1 night at San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf

1 night Stay Anytime Category 6 hotel reward for San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf = $270 value.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf
Category 6 Stay Anytime award = 60,000 points

$237 internet only 14-day advance nonrefundable rate = $270 after tax.
$270/60,000 points = $4.50/1,000 points

This would be a quite poor redemption value for 60,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Priority Club Rewards = 60,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $811 redemption value for 2.4 nights at Holiday Inn San Francisco Golden Gateway

$811.12 redemption value for 2.4 nights at Holiday Inn San Francisco Golden Gateway
San Francisco charges 40,000 points for the Mark Hopkins and the new InterContinental San Francisco adjacent to Moscone Convention Center. The InterContinental hotels are not available for the July 15 date, however there is availability for the Holiday Inn San Francisco Golden Gateway on Van Ness Street for 25,000 points per night.

$296.65 + tax = $338/night
July 15, 2008
$338/25,000 points = $13.52/1,000 points

Priority Club PointBreaks

Priority Club has a special redemption offer called PointBreak for a 5,000 points free night award. There is a revolving list of participating hotels around the globe that is updated with new hotels every couple of months. There is potential to get 12 nights on PointBreaks awards at 5,000 points per night.

Example night: PointBreaks Reward for France at the Holiday Inn Toulouse Centre for July 15, 2008 where the regular rate is 99€ per night and a 5.5% tax is included in rate. The value of this PointBreaks redemption is about $160/5,000 points or $32.00/1,000 Priority Club points. With 60,000 Priority Club points from 50,000 Diners Club Rewards points the redemption value in the range of $1,920 value is possible. This is nearly a 4% return on the Diners Club credit card purchases of $50,000.

Purchase Value: $690 value for 60,000 Priority Club Rewards points.

Priority Club points purchase limit is 40,000 points per 12 months at rate of $11.50/1,000 points for purchases of 20,000 points or more.

Starwood Preferred Guest = 30,000 points

Diners Club Exchange Value = $1,092 redemption value for 3 nights at Westin Market Street
or
$1,197.00 redemption value for Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf

Purchase Value: 30,000 Starpoints x $35/1,000 = $1,050 value

This type of comparison for the relative value of using points compared to booking a paid reservation is facilitated by the simple design of the Starwood hotel rate search returns that also show availability of free nights using points or the even more valuable Cash & Points option.

The best value for July 15, 2008 is the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf, a Category 4 hotel available for 10,000 points or a paid rate of $350 + tax/night.
The Westin Market Street is also available for points at $319 + tax/night or 10,000 points.

Westin Market Street
$364/10,000 points = $36.40/1,000 points

Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
$399/10,000 points = $39.90/1,000 points

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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