Nov282017

2017 Hotel Points Value in 9 programs

Over the years in the points and miles blogosphere, several bloggers developed estimates for the average value of a frequent flyer mile and hotel loyalty point.

ThePointsGuy.com posts a monthly update on the value of a mile and point in various loyalty programs. One Mile at a Time maintains a page of miles and points values. View from the Wing offered a more detailed thought process for valuing miles and points in this April 2017 post.

Forget average, unlock the potential value in points and miles.

Over the years I dropped the entire concept of pinpointing an absolute value for miles and points from my travel thinking. While I have redeemed millions of frequent flyer miles over the past 30 years, my Loyalty Traveler blog focus has been hotel points.

Frequent flyer miles and hotel points have no value until redeemed. There are many bloggers who will give you their opinion on the value of miles and points. There is far more potential locked in hotel points than average values I see tossed around. My simple travel philosophy is concentrate on the potential value of points one redemption at a time for hotel stays.

Hotel Point Valuations for 9 programs

Best Western Rewards

  • OMMAT – no valuation
  • TPG – no valuation
  • VFTW – no valuation
  • Loyalty Traveler – $15/1,000 points in 2017 actual redemption value for 85,000 BWR points redeemed for 8 hotel reward nights.

Last month in a lunch conversation, Randy Petersen mentioned Best Western as being one of the most reliably good property hotel chains for his travels around Europe.

BWR account balance

Over the past year I redeemed about 85,000 points with Best Western for 8 hotel room nights in Krakow, Poland; San Francisco; Key West priced around $1,300. That gives me an average point value: 1.5 cents per point.

I assume that is an unusually high redemption value for Best Western points. I have held on to most of my Best Western points for years waiting for good redemption value opportunities. I generally found better value in paying for Best Western hotels and earning points compared to the cost of a reward night for hotels I stayed. The past year turned the table when I found myself in several places where Best Western points redemption value was far better than the price of room nights.

The last time I was in Miami was Christmas 2012 when I stayed at St. Regis Bal Harbour for an SPG Amex gig on a complimentary stay when the room rate was $1,300 per night.

In January 2018, I will be staying in Best Western hotels where rates are running $240 to $300 per night using 10,000 points per reward night. Those stays provide 2.4 cents to 3.0 cents per point redemption value.

 

Choice Privileges

    • OMMAT – no valuation
    • TPG – .6 cents/point = $6.00/1,000 points
    • VFTW – no valuation
    • Loyalty Traveler – $13.46/1,000 points in 2017 actual redemption value for 156,000 Choice Privileges points redeemed for 15 reward nights.

The Points Guy gives Choice Privileges points a 0.6 cents value. I don’t like to think of point values in decimal number terms. Since redemptions are priced in thousands of points, I prefer to think of the value of points as the dollar amount per 1,000 points.

Regular readers of Loyalty Traveler know that I utilize Choice Privileges as one of my main travel programs due to frequent transits through Scandinavian airports, typically the lowest priced airline tickets between California and Europe.

In 2014, I spent 13 nights in Norway on Choice Privileges reward nights, half of those nights in suites. At the time, Norway was the world’s most expensive tourist destination. The posted room rates for those 13 nights was over $5,000. I redeemed 216,000 points for those hotel nights. That was a redemption value of 2.3 cents per point or $23 per 1,000 points. That is the kind of potential value to be found with Choice Privileges points in some places.

In 2017, I redeemed 156,000 Choice Privileges points for 5 nights in Sweden, 1 night in Copenhagen and 9 nights in Prague. Those 15 room nights had combined room rates at $2,100 for an average redemption value of $13.46 per 1,000 points in 2017.

I find great value in Choice Privileges in my travels.

 

Club Carlson

  • OMMAT – .4 cents/point = $4.00/1,000 points
  • TPG – .4 cents/point = $4.00/1,000 points
  • VFTW – .4 cents/point = $4.00/1,000 points
  • Loyalty Traveler = $7.34 per 1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 165,500 points redeemed for 7 reward nights.

There is no denying Club Carlson went through serious devaluation in 2017 for me personally with the elimination of Gold elite 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 weekend rates, but that is on the paid room rate side of the loyalty value equation. The elimination of Club Carlson Visa free night on reward stays was the earlier hit to the program on the redemption side.

Still, I find great value in Club Carlson points for several places I travel. Club Carlson also had some of the most lucrative promotions around in 2017. In January-February 2017, I stayed 8 hotel nights in Amsterdam, Prague and Wroclaw for $470 and earned Club Carlson 70,000 points. Over the summer I earned two free Fridays on 4 hotel stays. Those two Free Fridays were redeemed for hotel nights priced at $500 in Prague.

In April 2017, I went to Lithuania and stayed at the category 1 Park Inn Kaunas in a junior suite Business Class room for 13,500 points ($130 room night) and stayed 2 nights at category 2 Radisson Blu Klaipeda for 30,000 points ($115/night posted rates). Radisson Blu Gdansk for 38,000 points in June placed me in a suite ($250 room rate). Next month I have a reservation for three nights at 84,000 points for a room priced at $606.

My Club Carlson 2017 hotel stays with 7 reward nights for 165,500 points bought $1,215 in rooms.

Club Carlson average redemption value is $7.34 per 1,000 points.

The opportunity to buy 40,000 Club Carlson points today at $3.50 per 1,000 points is a great offer in my opinion. I know I can find hotel reward night deals and use those points to save on my 2018 hotel stays with Club Carlson.

 

Hilton Honors

    • OMMAT – .4 cents/point = $4.00/1,000
      points
    • TPG – .6 cents/point = $6.00/1,000
      points
    • VFTW – .4 cents/point = $4.00/1,000
      points
    • Loyalty Traveler – $19.23 per 1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 26,000 points redeemed for 5 reward nights.

Hilton was my primary loyalty program for several years, but those days of 6 nights for 100,000 points at nearly any hotel worldwide are a distant memory from 2003. I rarely stay in Hilton brand hotels the past few years.

I purchased 9,000 points for $50 in February 2017 to reach 16,000 points for a 16,000 points + $66 Points&Money reward night in Reykjavik, Iceland in April when the lowest posted rate was $224. Hilton Honors let me buy a room night for 7,000 points + $116 when $224 was a fairly common nightly rate in Reykjavik for most any hotel. I’d say I got $10 per 1,000 points redemption value compared to alternative hotel options.

My big score with Hilton Honors in 2017 was buying 20,000 points for $100. We stayed 4 nights for 20,000 points at Hilton Honors category 1 Hampton Inn Krakow, Poland in June 2017. IHG Rewards Club redemption value was $400 for 20,000 points or more concretely, I paid $25 per night for Hampton Inn Krakow when rates were averaging $100 per night at the beginning of summer.

Loyalty Traveler – Hotel review Hampton Inn Krakow Hilton Honors category 1 reward nights

My IHG 2017 hotel stays with 5 reward nights for 26,000 points bought $500 in room rates for an IHG Rewards Club redemption value = $19.23/1,000 points.

One of my travel plans I’d like to accomplish in 2018 is a trip around Romania using Hilton Honors points at category 1 and 2 hotels for 5,000 points and 10,000 points per night.

 

World of Hyatt

  • OMMAT – 1.5 cents/point = $15.00/1,000
    points
  • TPG – 1.8 cents/point = $18.00/1,000
    points
  • VFTW – 1.4 cents/point = $14.00/1,000
    points
  • Loyalty Traveler – $26.67/1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 15,000 points redeemed for 3 reward nights.

Hyatt is a program I held Diamond elite status for several years, but they made a decision a few years ago to focus their loyalty program on high spender frequent guests. I find the room rates at Hyatt comparatively high among hotel choices where I travel. The lack of Hyatt Hotels in places I have traveled the past two years is another reason the program has not been used by me too much in 2017.

In 2017, I found myself in Phoenix and Colorado Springs where I needed room nights. These places have Hyatt category 1 hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Three reward nights for 15,000 points saved about $400 on room nights at these Hyatt category 1 hotels for a 2017 average redemption value = $26.67 per 1,000 points.

 

IHG Rewards Club

  • OMMAT – 0.5 cents/point = $5.00/1,000
    points
  • TPG – 0.7 cents/point = $7.00/1,000
    points
  • VFTW – 0.6 cents/point = $6.00/1,000
    points
  • Loyalty Traveler – $11.11/1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 45,000 points redeemed for 4 reward nights.

IHG, Choice, Club Carlson and Wyndham comprised the majority of my hotel stays in 2017. Each of these programs allow members to earn free nights with relatively few stays compared to Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and SPG. Most of my IHG stays in 2017 were paid stays.

Holiday Inn Brno 3 nights for 15,000 points and InterContinental Warsaw on Points & Cash for 30,000 points + $30 were my only four reward nights with IHG on room rates around $550 total.

IHG Redemption Value on 4 reward nights for 45,000 points saved about $500 on room nights at InterContinental Warsaw and Holiday Inn Brno to give a 2017 average redemption value = $11.11 per 1,000 points.

Another aspect to be considered is the IHG Rewards Club Accelerate promotion. I earned 6,500 bonus points from my Points and Cash stay at InterContinental Warsaw in October. I will earn 30,000 points from IHG Accelerate bonuses after a $75 hotel night stay in London next month.

IHG PointBreaks thoughts

PointBreaks at 5,000 points per night can be a great leisure travel deal, and for me, it frequently means traveling to a place I really had not thought about going to before. That is the beauty of travel discovery motivated by travel deals.

Brno, Czech Republic twice, Clermont-Ferrand, France; Vilnius, Lithuania are some places I have visited on trips initiated with the availability of an IHG PointBreaks reward stay.

IHG Pointbreaks took me to Brno, CZ in 2015, a place I had never heard of before seeing the Holiday Inn Brno on PointBreaks. My only PointBreaks stay this year was 3 more nights at Holiday Inn Brno for 15,000 points in July. My wife liked Brno better than Prague. I think she will find Prague far more enjoyable next month when we visit without the summer heat and tourist crowds.

 

Marriott Rewards

  • OMMAT – 0.8 cents/point = $8.00/1,000
    points

  • TPG – 0.9 cents/point = $9.00/1,000
    points
  • VFTW – 0.8 cents/point = $8.00/1,000
    points
  • Loyalty Traveler – $13.33/1,000 points actual
    redemption value in 2017 for 15,000 points redeemed for 2 reward
    nights.

I rarely use Marriott Rewards points.

One of the loyalty deals I have taken advantage of with Marriott Rewards over the past few years is their two stays earn a free night promotion. I stay at Marriott properties primarily on promotion free nights or auction free nights. As a consequence, I accumulate few Marriott Rewards points.

This summer I stayed at Courtyard Pilsen, Czech Republic solely due to a category 1 reward opportunity at 7,500 points per reward night. I redeemed my accumulated 15,000 points over years of Marriott paid stays. The hotel was outrageously priced at $150 per night, which is one of the main reasons I don’t stay at many Marriott brand hotels.

One data point is insufficient data, but I did get $20 per 1,000 points redemption value for my two nights at Courtyard Pilsen. More reasonable would be to give the hotel a more average rate $100 per night and say I got $200 redemption value for my 15,000 points.

Marriott Rewards Redemption Value on 2 reward nights for 15,000 points saved about $200 on room nights at Courtyard Pilsen compared to other lodging choices to give a 2017 average redemption value = $13.33 per 1,000 points.

Marriott Pilsen bar entrance

 

Starwood Preferred Guest

  • OMMAT – 2.2 cents/point = $22.00/1,000
    points
  • TPG – 2.7 cents/point = $27.00/1,000
    points
  • VFTW – 2.3 cents/point = $23.00/1,000
    points
  • Loyalty Traveler – $32.50/1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 4,000 points redeemed for 2 reward nights.

Like Hyatt, SPG is a hotel loyalty program where I held elite status for more than a decade, but I find the focus on high elite frequent guests and higher than average room rates since the great recession has moved me out of the chain for most of my travel lodging. I don’t find the loyalty program too useful for me as a hotel traveler looking to earn and burn from my paid stays. Starwood Hotel stays do not earn anything near what they earned a decade ago when SPG offered many lucrative promotion bonus points offers requiring only a few nights to pick up 3,000 to 7,000 bonus points.

My only Starwood Hotel stays this year were at Luxury Collection Sofia Balkan Hotel in Bulgaria last month when I stayed two nights at the SPG category 2 hotel on Cash & Points reward nights for 2,000 points + $35 per night when room rates were 167 EUR per night.

On this limited SPG data, my 4,000 Starpoints for 2 reward nights saved $300 on the actual Starwood hotel rate. I could have probably found a comparably nice room in Sofia for $100 per night in a local independent hotel.

It seems reasonable to say 4,000 points + $70 for 2 nights at Sofia Balkan saved me $130 on 2 nights in Sofia for a Starpoints redemption value of $32.50 per 1,000 points.

 

Wyndham Rewards

  • OMMAT – 0.8 cents/point = $8.00/1,000
    points
  • TPG – 1.2 cents/point = $12.00/1,000
    points
  • VFTW – 0.8 cents/point = $8.00/1,000
    points
  • Loyalty Traveler – $28.57/1,000 points actual redemption value in 2017 for 42,000 points redeemed for 14 reward nights.

Quite a spread between The Points Guy and Ben/Gary valuations for Wyndham Rewards points.

Wyndham GoFast rewards provided good value for my Wyndham Rewards points in 2017 with 14 reward nights in Vilnius, Amsterdam and Bulgaria at 3,000 points per night plus a copay. Bulgaria was 23 EUR copay per night, Vilnius 52 EUR and Amsterdam 62 EUR. Even paying 62 EUR copay saved at least $100 per night for Amsterdam for the high category room I booked with points. These 14 reward nights saved about $1,200 for 42,000 Wyndham Rewards points after deducting copay amounts from room rates.

Wyndham Rewards redemption value is $28.57 per 1,000 points on 14 reward nights for 42,000 points with a $1,200 rate savings.

I earned 23,000 points on $260 in paid nights on 4 paid nights in 2017 at Wyndham Hotels in Riga, Latvia; Nice France and Plovdiv, Bulgaria during good value promotions.

 

Does the average value of a hotel point mean anything? 

The average value of a point as defined by points and miles blogosphere consensus is simply a basement-level estimate I consistently strive to exceed.

The Points Guy, One Mile at a Time and View from the Wing are blogs where you can find charts for the average value of a mile or point.

I don’t play this loyalty game for average returns. I try and keep my options open by maintaining points with multiple hotel loyalty programs since different places offer different redemption opportunities.

Loyalty Traveler is my attempt to unlock the potential high value of hotel points through regular earn and burn travel.

Forget average value, raise the bar and unlock potential value from your miles and 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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. All of these point valuation guides are just a “short cut” to thinking about the relative value of a points currency, IMO. Just like with actual currencies, people need a way to decide that 10 GBP is worth more than 10 Yen, they also need to know that 1K Marriot points > 1K IHG points (usually).

    YOU are getting more value from your points currencies than TPG, et. al., for a number of possible reasons and I think it’s worth mentioning those in this post. These include:

    1) You are willing to stay in lower category hotels (than TPG, etc.), esp when travelling alone, than these “more posh” travel bloggers. (No offense intended)
    2) You are willing to stay in a less desireable location, just to get better value
    3) You may be more willing to switch hotels than those guys (because you are typically travelling alone and don’t mind doing that for a particular promo, for example)

    These points are true for me (esp. the non-posh comment) and I suspect true for you too. (There may be other reasons you can list.)

    Anyways, I just thought they should be mentioned for a more complete story of how you are able to extract more value from your currencies

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    My thoughts on your points:

    1) I prefer low category hotels for reward stays to conserve the hotel points I have since I primarily earn points through hotel stays and points purchases. I spend relatively small amounts of money on credit cards (<$20,000 year), so not a big generator of points for me. 2) By less desirable I assume you mean not in the city tourist center. Most of my hotel stays are in 4 and 5-star hotels. I would say maybe 25% to 35% of my hotel stays are 3-star hotels. In many cities I find being in a neighborhood is more desirable. What makes a hotel suitable to me is easy public transportation access or enjoyable setting around the hotel. Grocery store nearby is a big plus. For example, Hampton Inn Krakow is a 15 minute tram ride to city center, but a major grocery store is across the street. I spend more time on a tram, but I can buy food or alcohol at the store across the street rather than walking 15 minutes to the market if I were in Old Town at Radisson, Sheraton, Holiday Inn etc. 3) Switching hotels is primarily for the purpose of accumulating stay based promotion bonuses. My wife spent 8 weeks in hotels with me in 2017, so less time alone than you might think. I tend to accomplish a lot more sightseeing when traveling alone and write more destination articles on my solo trips.

Comments are closed.