Posted by Ric Garrido

U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways returns May 19-June 20, 2014. A preview of 2014 offers will post May 12, 2014. Daily Getaways are daily travel package offers where one travel company is featured each weekday (Mon-Fri)for a flash sale. Hotel loyalty points, airline discounts, car rental discounts and Las Vegas packages are common in the 25 days of sales.

These annual sales have allowed me to pick up hundreds of thousands of hotel points in Wyndham, Choice, Hyatt, IHG, Club Carlson and Best Western. Marriott typically offers discount gift cards and Hilton HHonors has high levels of points for sale.

In 2013, I purchased 152,000 Choice Privileges points for $579.60. These points are one of my primary strategies for budget travel in Norway on my trip in September. Most of the 85 Choice brand hotels in Norway are 16,000 points per reward night for Clarion Collection, Quality and Comfort Inn hotels. Many of these hotels are $200 per night and several are ranked as the #1 hotel for the location on TripAdvisor.

My purchase of Choice Privileges points in 2013 means I can stay at hotels in Norway for about $60 per night. Using my $600 in Choice points will save over $1,000 on published hotel rates in Norway.

Wyndham Rewards at $5.40 per 1,000 points

My purchase of 60,000 Wyndham points for $324 in 2013 Daily Getaways let me book a 5-night stay in New York City for $70 per night at the Wyndham New Yorker when the hotel was listed at 14,000 points per night last week. The hotel went up to 50,000 points in what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to my posting about the 14,000 points rate. The hotel has now floated back down to 30,000 points per night.

Wyndham New Yorker 30K

Wyndham New Yorker reward rates change in a New York minute. I booked this hotel for five nights at 14,000 points per night last week on the morning of March 5. the reward rate increased to 50,000 points on the evening of March 5 and is now back down to 30,000 points today. I figured the 14,000 points rate was a mistake last week and the hotel should have been priced at 30,000 points per night. Room rates were near $1,200 after tax. I am saving over $800 on the published rate for this stay and 80,000 points on the reward rate now posted for the hotel.

Other sample rates for hotel points in 2013 Daily Getaways.

Hyatt Gold Passport – great price at $10 per 1,000 points, but very few packages offered and difficult to buy.

  • 24,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $260 ($234 with 10% Amex discount). 100 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 30,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $330 ($297 with 10% Amex discount). 35 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 36,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $415 ($373.50 with 10% Amex discount). 15 available, maximum purchase = 1.
  • 69,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = $775 ($697.50 with 10% Amex discount). 15 available, maximum purchase = 1.

Best Western Rewards – These points did not sell out and were available for about one month after Daily Getaways ended. Hilton HHonors and IHG Rewards Club also did not sell out in 2013 on the day of the sale.

  • 10,000 Best Western Rewards points = $67 ($60.30 with 10% Amex discount). Maximum purchase = 5 for 50,000 points.

$60 for 10,000 points is not that great a deal when hotel rewards can be up to 36,000 points per night. Yesterday I studied Best Western hotel room rates and reward rates for Norway.

Norway BW Skei

Best Western Skei, Norway sits deep inland at the edge of a fjord in Norway’s fjord country.

  • 1,199 NOK = $201 USD
  • 20,000 points = $120.60 in Daily Getaways 2013

Most of the Best Western hotels I have checked in Norway have rates around $200 per night or 20,000 points. Buying Best Western Rewards points during Daily Getaways reduces the cost of a night to $120. I might be buying some more points this year for a couple of Best Western hotel reward nights in Norway.

Choice Privileges – Last summer I purchased Choice Privileges points on hopes that I was going to Europe in autumn 2013. Dozens of Choice hotels across Europe, even central Paris and London, dropped reward night rates to 8,000 points per night. Choice points were under $4 per 1,000 points in 2013 Daily Getaways meaning a week in Paris cost less $32 per night at one of the dozen Choice Hotels in the city. Those October plans to Europe fell through.

My current plan is to focus on Choice Hotels in Norway for my September 2014 trip where there are 85 hotels to choose from and most have reward nights at 16,000 points per night. $64 per hotel night is a bargain in Norway and all hotels provide a free breakfast and several Choice hotels I checked serve a complimentary light evening meal too. The food component on its own is a $64 value in Norway’s economy.

Loyalty Traveler Choice Hotel Points on Daily Getaways (June 27, 2013)

  • 20,000 points = $102 ($91.80 with American Express payment). 190 sets available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 32,000 points = $134 ($120.60 with American Express payment). 660 sets available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 36,000 points = $156 ($140.40 with American Express payment). 795 available, maximum purchase = 2.
  • 40,000 points = $166 ($149.40 with American Express payment). Purchase price is $3.74 or $4.15 per 1,000 points. 325 sets available, maximum purchase = 2. 

It was possible to stay 10 nights in Paris and/or London in September-November 2013 for under $300 with 80,000 Choice Privileges points. Currently most hotels in Paris are priced at 25,000 points.

Choice Privileges only allows international reward bookings within 60 days of arrival, except for high elite members. Choice Privileges also has seasonal pricing on reward nights which changes about every 10 weeks.

Clarion Collection Hotel Opera Pavillon, Paris, France
  • Feb 1, 2014 – Apr 15, 2014:  25000/room
  • Apr 16, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014:  25000/room

The next posted periods for Choice Rewards will likely run from July 1 – September 15 and September 16-November 30.

In 2013, the season Sep 16-Nov 30 saw the majority of Choice Hotels in Europe drop to 8,000 points per night. No guarantee we will see these low reward rates in 2014, but they have occurred at some season each year for the past few years.

Club Carlson

50,000 Club Carlson Points = $194 ($174.60 with Amex card)

  • Available: 142
  • Max quantity: 2

100,000 Club Carlson Points = $385 ($346.50 with Amex card)

  • Available: 71
  • Max quantity: 2

Club Carlson points are particularly good value for Club Carlson Visa card members who get one free night on reward stays. 100,000 Club Carlson points could buy 4 nights at some of the top hotels in the Radisson chain for $87 per night if that same price is offered in 2014.

Hilton HHonors was selling 150,000 points for $742.50 (American Express rate). Those packages did not sell out in 2013.

Marriott sold gift cards in different denominations at 20% off. A $100 gift card cost $80.

 

My Strategy: Bank Hotel Points during Daily Getaways

Since 2011, buying points in the U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways has been one of my primary strategies for acquiring hotel loyalty points. I don’t want to spend dozens of nights in economy and midscale hotels to earn points in chains like Best Western, Choice and Wyndham. Buying them outright and banking the points until a good hotel reward stay opportunity comes along is something that has saved me thousands of dollars in hotel rates over the past three years.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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8 Responses

  1. If you bought too many Choice points, you can transfer them to Southwest at a reasonable conversion rate (6000–> 1800) before they expire. You end up paying less than 1.5 cents each for Southwest points, which is like buying dollars for less than $1 each :-).

  2. There are a few best western hotels that are worth the buy because cash price > points buy.

    some of them )rates are based on last time I looked):

    Best Western Ruby Inn at Bryce Canyon—16,000 pts per night. rATE CAN BE $150 -$200 + taxes (which you dont pay on points stays)

    Best Western in Kalispell, MT for 20,000 pts where regular summer rate is $200+

    For choice hotels if you do the 36K+40K purchases for about $322…that gives you 76K points good for 3 nights ata 24,000 hotel or about $107/night. In some areas this is a good price:

    Choice hotel in Estes Park that last year in June was 25,000 per night where the rate was $150 or more. choice Hotel in Jackson, WY Moab, UT, Springdale, UT (Zion) also for 25,000. Thereis a comfort innin Page, AZ at $200+/night. In Port Angels, WA there is a Quality in for 16,000 points/night that is an easy walk to the ferry for an all day trip over to Victoria.There is a comfort Inn in Kalisepll. MT that is around $175+/night but by points its 16,000

  3. Ric:
    What’s your opinion on buying IHG points? Last year 100,000 IHG points were $562.50 with an Amex card. Thanks.

  4. @Steve T – IHG points are worth the price if you have a specific use for them. Since you can buy 10,000 points at anytime for $70 through Points & Cash bookings and then cancel, the savings is not that great.

    A person can pick up 100,000 points for $700 in a couple of weeks buying points and canceling the reward stays.

    Staying at IHG hotels with stackable promotion bonuses allows members to earn 10,000 to 20,000 points per stay every 3 months or so, and 5,000+ points per stay on several other stays.

    $562.50 for 100,000 points is a good buy for someone with no points who wants to have points available when a PointBreaks list comes out and book a week or two at an InterContinental Hotel.

    For regular reward nights, the price is not low enough to be a great savings at most IHG hotels. $282 per night might be a bargain at IC Amstel in Amsterdam at 50,000 points per reward night and some other locations, but not many places.

  5. @UAPhil – Choice Privileges does have a better exchange rate into Southwest points than other hotel programs.

    I’ll get better value in hotel stays in Norway. I purchased Choice Privileges points last year specifically for a Europe trip.

    @DJP – there are some hotels with good value rewards in the USA.

  6. Regarding Wyndham. Am I correct that w/o the 14K error your 60K points would most likely be 2 nights. That would be $324 in purchased points rather than paying paying $480 for the 2 nights (1200/5×2)? So $156 would have been the savings at the 30K rate?

    I just wanted to seperate the savings from the purchase from the savings from the “error”. Of course without the purchase you might not have been in the position to take advantage of the error.

  7. @Carl P – your statement is correct that without buying the points, I would not have been in a position to book Wyndham New Yorker at 14,000 points.

    My original rationale for buying Wyndham points is I travel across the western states in rural places where there are only Wyndham or Choice hotels in a town 50 to 100 miles from anywhere else. Most of these hotels are 10,000 or 14,000 points per night or $100+.

    I figure I can always get a Wyndham brand hotel for less through buying points rather than paying the high rates remotely located hotels can charge.

    Wyndham points were only $3 per 1,000 points when I bought them in 2011 and I bought over 100,000 points.

    Comment by Ric Garrido on March 12th, 2014 at 5:55 am
  8. […] The US Travel Association is bringing back Daily Getaways again this May.  Ric Garrido, who pens the Loyalty Traveler blog has a brief recap on previous year’s deals.  There are certainly great deals to be had, especially when it comes to purchasing hotel points for vacations.  I was able to save a bunch of money on Busch Gardens tickets last year and I’ll be paying attention again this year. […]

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