A Hilton HHonors member spends 80,000 points for a two-night hotel stay at Conrad Brussels, Belgium this week. Next week Conrad Brussels is available for 24,000 points per night on HHonors Point Stretcher Rewards. The guest next week experiences the same hotel, same room comfort, same amenities, same staff and same restaurant. And the prospect of receiving a complimentary upgrade is increased during a low occupancy hotel period.
A shift of one week in hotel stay dates results in 32,000 points savings on a normally 80,000 points two-night reward stay. Even a three night Point Stretcher stay requires just 72,000 points for the HHonors hotel category 6 Conrad Brussels.
I burned over 2 million Hilton HHonors points in the past 12 years. More than 90% of those reward nights were reduced points rewards – either Point Stretcher nights or HHonors VIP discounted 6-night rewards. Singapore, Germany, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium are a few of the locations I stayed on Point Stretcher nights. These discounts allowed me to stay about 50 more nights at Hilton properties than if I had redeemed using standard rewards like 40,000 points for the HHonors category 6 Conrad Brussels.
Discount Hotel Rewards
Several hotel programs offer discount hotel reward nights. Marriott Rewards calls them PointSavers, Hilton HHonors trademarked Point Stretcher and Priority Club has PointBreaks.
Starwood Preferred Guest has Cash & Points and a similar reduced points and cash component offer is available for Priority Club at IHG properties and Goldpoints Plus for Carlson Hotels’ Radisson and Country Inn.
There are differences in each of these program’s offers. Here is a summary of how each offer works and what you can reasonably expect to find.
Three categories of hotel reward discounts.
Limited Date Discounts
- IHG PointBreaks = 5,000 points per free reward night. (IHG reward nights are normally 10,000 to 40,000 points per night.)
- Marriott Rewards PointSavers = discount to next lower hotel category reward level; for example, category 5 hotel (25,000 points/night) requires category 4 points (20,000 points/night) for free nights. 5th night free does apply to PointSavers rate.
- Hilton HHonors Point Stretcher = Pay 60% of standard reward points per night (40% discount); for example, category 6 hotel at 40,000 points is 24,000 points per night with PointStretchers. HHonors VIP Extended stay discount (4 or more nights) does not apply to Point Stretcher rewards.
Extended Stay Reward Discounts
- Marriott Rewards = 5th night free (pay hotel category level points for four nights)
- Starwood Preferred Guest = 5th night free (pay hotel category level points for four nights)
- HHonors VIP rewards for stays 4 nights (15% discount); 5 nights (20% discount); 6 to 14 nights (25% discount). VIP discount rewards are restricted to HHonors elite members Silver and higher.
- Goldpoints plus = 10% fewer points for additional reward nights after first night.
Cash and Points Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guest Cash and Points nights require 40% normal points and cash portion ranging from $15 to $150 depending on SPG hotel category level from 1 to 6. Not applicable to SPG category 7 hotels. Cash & Points have the potential for very high savings and points value. There are opportunities to save more than $200 on published room rates and receive a very high redemption value for your points, particularly at the category 4 ($60 + 4,000 points) and category 5 ($90 + 4,800 points) award level.
- SPG Cash & Points awards are capacity controlled.
- Category 1 = $25 + 1,200 points (only in U.S., Canada, Asia-Pacific)
- Category 2 = $30 + 1,600 points (only in U.S., Canada, Asia-Pacific)
- Category 3 = $45 + 2,800 points
- Category 4 = $60 + 4,000 points
- Category 5 = $90 + 4,800 points
- Category 6 = $150 + 8,000 points
- Category 7 = N/A
Priority Club – Points + Cash is a system for buying points to complete a hotel reward stay booking. Two options: Pay $40 for 5,000 points or $60 for 10,000 points. This option is available even if you have sufficient points for the hotel reward stay. This is a way to buy points at a huge discount and save Priority Club points for more hotel free nights. Buying points directly from Priority Club costs $230 for 20,000 points.
Goldpoints Plus Cash & Points offers the option to pay a cash supplement for reduced points reward nights. Category 1 to 3 hotels require 5,000 points and category 4 to 6 hotels require 10,000 points. Cash portion determined at time of hotel booking.
Important to Remember: Reward stays, including Cash and Points rewards, do not earn hotel stay credit for annual elite qualification, with the exception of Hilton HHonors and Choice Privileges where reward stays earn elite qualification credit.
These are the cheapest hotels available in hotel loyalty world at 5,000 Priority Club points per night, but I am wondering if Prioity Club members have seen the best days pass for this incredible reward discount. The last two PointBreaks lists may indicate a new pattern for PointBreaks with mid-month release in December and January for hotel stays through the end of the following month. The list released this week does not include a single InterContinental Hotel which I hope does not become a new trend.
June 7, 2010 – 118 hotels (79 US, 39 international) – stay through August 30, 2010.
August 2, 2010 – 130 hotels (79 US, 51 international) – stay through October 30, 2010.
October 4, 2010 – 126 hotels (77 US, 49 international) – stay through December 30, 2010.
December 13, 2010 – 35 hotels (15 US, 20 international) – stay through January 30, 2011.
The deal here is any hotel on the list is available for 5,000 points. All Crowne Plaza hotels have a standard reward cost of 25,000 points per night. A PointBreaks reward night for a hotel like Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport is an 80% discount.
InterContinental Hotels have standard rates at 30,000 points or 40,000 points per night. Landing a PointBreaks vacation at an InterContinental Hotel like IC Budapest (October 2010 PointBreaks hotel) means your 40,000 points can put you in a hotel room for an eight night Pointbreaks vacation rather than just a one night stay using a standard 40,000 points reward.
PointBreaks reward nights were an 87.5% discount at the normally 40,000 points per night InterContinental Budapest luxury hotel for stays October through December 2010.
Marriott Rewards PointSavers (Loyalty Traveler post 1/26 Marriott PointSavers)
Marriott Rewards PointSavers reduce the cost of an award night by one category level. A great feature of these rewards is the 5th night free is still offered with PointSavers. A category 6 hotel reward is normally 30,000 points per night or five nights for 120,000 points. PointSavers reduce the nightly cost of a category 6 reward down to the rate for a category 5 reward at 25,000 points per night or 100,000 points for five nights.
Biggest savings is 33% and results at Marriott category 3 level where a 15,000 points per night reward is just 10,000 points when paying the category 2 hotel reward rate. Five nights at a category 3 hotel for 40,000 points with a PointSavers reservation will likely have a high redemption value for your points in excess of $10 per 1,000 points (this occurs when the published rate of the hotel is more than $80 per night or $400 for five nights).
Marriott Rewards PointSavers Chart
PointSavers Free Nights
- Category 1 – Standard = 7,500 points; PointSavers = 6,000
- Category 2 – Standard = 10,000 points; PointSavers = 7,500
- Category 3 – Standard = 15,000 points; PointSavers = 10,000
- Category 4 – Standard = 20,000 points; PointSavers = 15,000
- Category 5 – Standard = 25,000 points; PointSavers = 20,000
- Category 6 – Standard = 30,000 points; PointSavers = 25,000
- Category 7 – Standard = 35,000 points; PointSavers = 30,000
- Category 8 – Standard = 40,000 points; PointSavers = 35,000
PointSavers are also available for select Ritz-Carlton Hotels offering 10,000 points per night discount.
Hilton HHonors Point Stretcher (Loyalty traveler Dec 3 post HHonors Point Stretcher)
Hilton HHonors published a long list of hotels in early December offering Point Stretcher reward dates through May 2011. This is a welcome change for a program feature that languished a couple of years with very weak offerings. The hundreds of hotels on the current Point Stretcher list make Marriott Rewards, at just 25 hotels currently posted as PointSavers, look like the Hilton HHonors of old.
But don’t count on finding a Hilton HHonors Point Stretcher Category 1 Reward anytime soon.
Point Stretcher Free Nights Chart
- Category 1 – Standard = 7,500 points; Point Stretcher = 4,500
- Category 2 – Standard = 12,500 points; Point Stretcher = 7,500
- Category 3 – Standard = 25,000 points; Point Stretcher = 15,000
- Category 4 – Standard = 30,000 points; Point Stretcher = 18,000
- Category 5 – Standard = 35,000 points; Point Stretcher = 21,000
- Category 6 – Standard = 40,000 points; Point Stretcher = 24,000
- Category 7 – Standard = 50,000 points; Point Stretcher = 30,000
Extended Hotel Stay Rewards
Carlson Hotels goldpoints plus (Radisson, Park Inn and Country Inn) discount every reward night after the first night by 10%. This is the best standard discount available for two or three night stays in hotel loyalty world.
Four night stays: Hilton HHonors steps in with a 15% total points discount available as an elite member VIP reward.
Five night stays: Hilton, Marriott and Starwood all discount five night stays by 20%. Hilton restricts all VIP discount rewards to elite members.
Hilton HHonors unquestionably wins the biggest discount contest with 25% off the reward cost for stays of 6 to 14 nights. Marriott Rewards was the best discount until they went to 5th night free in 2009. That being said, there is still competitiveness for Marriott with Hilton in that the hotel category reward distribution is much more skewed to lower categories for Marriott than Hilton. For example, there are many places where Marriott Rewards category 4 and 5 hotels are the same hotel market segment class as Hilton HHonors category 5, 6 and 7 hotels.
Marriott Rewards category 5 = 25,000 points per night or 7 nights = 150,000 points (5th night free).
Hilton HHonors category 6 = 40,000 points or 7 nights = 210,000 points (25% discount).
HHonors Points & Points earner at 15 points/$1 compared to Marriott Rewards at 10 points/$1 makes these two rewards nearly comparable in points cost for the respective programs. The promotions make all the difference for the member (or credit card earning).
Hilton, Marriott, SPG and goldpoints have the advantage over all the other hotel loyalty programs offering no discount for extended night hotel stays.
Conclusion: The value of your points increases when you take advantage of discount rewards. There are many hotels offering discount reward rates at any given time.