I have been redeeming Starpoints since 1999 and I am familiar enough with the program to remember when SPG charged $50 per 1,000 points to buy Starpoints. The price today is $35 per 1,000 points with recurring promotions for $28 per 1,000 points.

Another longstanding view I have about SPG is the cost in points for Category 7 uber-resorts is so high that my analyses in the past usually conclude that paying the published rate is a better deal than spending Starpoints.

Does a 35% discount on award nights at seven category-7 resorts change that conclusion?

The SPG Award Discount Offer

Seven SPG resorts offer a 35% discount on award stays through March 1, 2014.

  • Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, Portugal (SPG Category 6) = 26,000 points.
  • W Retreat Koh Samui, Thailand (SPG Category 6) = 26,000 points.
  • Vana Belle, Koh Samui, Thailand (SPG Category 6) = 26,000 points.
  • Le Meridien Bora Bora (SPG Category 7) = 39,000 points.
  • Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, Greece  (SPG Category 7) = 39,000 points.
  • Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, a Luxury Collection Resort, Dubai, UAE (SPG Category 7)  = 39,000 points.
  • W Retreat and Spa Maldives (SPG Category 7) = 58,500 points.

The top end of SPG awards are a confusing landscape of award cost. Category 5-7 hotels have peak seasons with higher rates.

Read More…

Hilton HHonors “Grand Nights” promotion runs April 1 through June 30, 2011 with a 1,000 bonus points per night offer. All Hilton brand hotels worldwide appear to participate. Registration is required.

HHonors members may combine this points bonus offer with 2011-Q2 miles bonus offers running simultaneously. HHonorsRepresentative on FlyerTalk has confirmed points and miles promotions may be combines.

Loyalty Traveler Analysis

This HHonors 1,000 points per night promotion is simple and does not require extensive analysis.

What follows here is a detailed explanation of different ways to evaluate hotel loyalty promotion value.    

This 2011-Q2 HHonors promotion obviously pales in comparison to last year’s six month HHonors offer of one free night after 4 hotel stays. That promotion had the potential for the equivalent of 50,000 bonus points after 4 nights if you used the free night at a category 7 hotel. HHonors “Grand Nights” promotion requires 50 nights at 1,000 bonus points per night to earn 50,000 bonus points.

And for the extended stay guest this offer pales in comparison to the HHonors 2011-Q1 promotion offering  4x base points on stays of 4 or more nights. HHonors members were earning 30 extra points per dollar or 3,000 bonus points per $100 in hotel spend each night. Anyone paying $100 or more per Hilton brand hotel night and staying more than one night is earning a smaller bonus with this “Grand Nights” promotion compared to the 2x, 3x, 4x bonus points promotion ending March 31, 2011.

This “Grand Nights” promotion is weaker for the person spending more than $100 per night and staying more than one night. And “Grand Nights” also offers a promotion value only slightly better than double points for the one night stay HHonors guest spending less than $100 per night.

I thought Hilton HHonors was really getting back into the loyalty promotion game, but now it looks like the program has taken two steps back to its old ways. You have to go back to summer 2009 since Hilton HHonors had a less lucrative promotion with its 10,000 points capped bonus after 5 stays.

The Points Guy does a good job showing the earn rate for the HHonors promotion compared to Hyatt and Priority Club in terms of free night awards. Brian compares free nights earned in each program after 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 nights. I advocate the idea of having a redemption hotel in mind when planning out hotel stays for promotion bonuses.

What this type of hotel promotion analysis neglects are the differences in hotel category assignment distribution when correlating hotel categories from different loyalty programs.

For example, Hilton HHonors award categories are skewed heavily to the high end and proportionately few properties are assigned to the lowest categories.  In other words, Hilton HHonors charges 7,500 points for a category 1 hotel night and 12,500 points for a category 2 reward night compared to 5,000 points for Hyatt category 1 and 8,000 points for Hyatt category 2 hotels. But you will find few Hilton brand hotels assigned to category 1 and 2 with approximately 160 hotels, or fewer than 5%, out of 3,600 hotels in Hilton Worldwide. Compare that proportion to Hyatt Gold Passport where about 250 hotels are assigned to Gold Passport category 1 and 2 rewards or approximately 60% of all Hyatt brand hotels.

I like to think of hotel loyalty promotions  in terms of my potential rebate value of points earned. Hilton HHonors “Grand Nights” promotion will have a bonus points rebate value of about $4 to $8 per night for most HHonors guests who stay 9 to 11 nights (9,000 to 11,000 bonus HHonors points) during the three month promotion period.

In comparison, Hyatt Gold Passport members with 9 to 11 nights during Hyatt’s 2011-Q2 promotion from April 1 through June 30 will earn 20,000 to 25,000 bonus points. These are sufficient for the highest hotel category rewards at 18,000 points for category 5 or 22,000 points for category 6. Hyatt Gold Passport members can potentially earn around 2,250 bonus points per night for about $35 to $50 per night in bonus points rebate value.

Evaluating a Promotion by the Estimated Value of the Bonus Points

Estimating Hotel Point Value

Most analysts estimate the redemption value for 1,000 HHonors bonus points between 0.3 – 0.6 cents/point. This is the same as saying 1,000 HHonors bonus points per night has a promotion value equivalent to $3.00 to $6.00 per night.

UnRoadWarrior did estimated points value analysis for the HHonors promotion using a point value of $6 per 1,000 points. He rates Hyatt at 1.5 cents or $15/1,000 points and Priority Club at 0.6 cents/point or $6.00/1,000 points.

The problem I have with point value assignment is the randomness of assigning a fixed point value. Most fixed values I see for hotel points are generally undervalued compared to my personal redemption value averages.

I prefer to use a range when describing hotel point value. Each hotel redemption is different and you can easily maintain a much higher redemption value than typically stated in commonly used hotel point average.

Typical hotel points range of values (with Loyalty Traveler point value potential, if selectively redeeming points for hotel stays.)

  • Hilton HHonors = $2.50 to $6.00/1,000 points (Loyalty Traveler looks for $8 to $12)
  • Hyatt Gold Passport = $13 to $20/1,000 points (Loyalty Traveler looks for $25 to $30)
  • IHG Priority Club = $4 to $13/1,000 points (Loyalty Traveler looks for >$10)
  • Marriott Rewards = $5 to $13/1,000 points (Loyalty Traveler looks for $10 to $15)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest = $18 to $25/1,000 points (Loyalty Traveler looks for >$35)

NerdWallet.com Hotel Point Value Estimates

I like NerdWallet.com hotel fixed-point values since these values are actually taken by averaging the point values from a large data set of hotels using the reward cost for a free night and actual room rates. This methodology uses many data points to create a range as shown by this Nerdwallet paragraph describing the value of a Priority Club Rewards point.  

How much is a Priority Club Rewards Point worth? NerdWallet estimates at about 0.6 cents, based on our analysis of hotel room rates versus the number of points required to redeem a free night. Based on our large sample of data points, point values ranged from 0.4 cents to 1.3 cents, but most hotels clustered around the 0.6 cents number.

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/reward-program-reviews/priority-club-rewards-points/

Note on my Loyalty traveler notation for point value

I prefer to write point values as “per 1,000 points” to deal with just whole dollars and cents. and avoid commonly made decimal errors.  

 0.6 cents x 1,000 = $6/1,000 point

Another reason for thinking about point value in blocks of 1,000 points is hotel rewards are priced in blocks of 1,000 points and the math is simple to calculate in your head if you divide the cost of a $150 room by 25,000 points. 

$150/25 = $6.00 per 1,000 points redemption value.

The Nerdwallet value of 0.4 cents per Priority Club point means the same as $4.00 per 1,000 points.

A real travel example of $4/1000 points would be redeeming points for a free night at a Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn hotel at 25,000 points when the room rate is $100 per night.

1.3 cents/point is the same as $13/1,000 points and is like a Crowne Plaza hotel with a $325 per night room rate, but still the reward cost remains the same at 25,000 points for a free night.

My objective as a loyalty traveler is to try and redeem at the higher end of point value for free nights. I pay for hotel rooms whenever the redemption point value is too low, if I can afford the rates while staying within my travel budget. Leveraging my earn and burn allows maximum room rate savings over the course of a year’s travel.

I assume holding points for another time will provide greater cash savings on a future trip within the next couple of months. 

Advice to points hoarders: Remain cognizant of the loyalty program rules and spend points regularly to avoid losing significant value in your account balance when program changes lower the value of points. For example, HHonors reward night category changes in January 2010 meant an overall increase of about 20% in the cost of hotel rewards system-wide. Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton Rewards and changes to Vacation Club rewards in 2010 increased the cost for some hotels by more than 50% in an overnight change. Both Marriott and Hilton had some hotel awards increase in cost by more than 50% in 2010 through hotel category reassignment and award structure changes. Unfortunately, these types of program changes still happen with no member warning or program transparency. 

Typical Hotel Point Value Estimates with commentary

Hilton HHonors = 0.25 cents/point to 0.60 cents/point; which is the same as $2.50 to $6.00 per 1,000 points. Nerdwallet.com values them at 0.5 cents/point = $5.00/1,000 points. The problem with Hilton HHonors is the high number of low priced hotels in high reward categories. I have seen category 7 hotels at 50,000 points when room rates are $99. This is more of a problem with HHonors than other hotel programs.

Hyatt Gold Passport = 1.5 cents/point to 2.0 cents/point = $15.00 to $20.00 per 1,000 points. Nerdwallet uses 1.5 cents/point = $15.00/1,000 points. The best values tend to be low category rewards. Finding a category 2 hotel with room rates over $200 is not that rare ($25/1000 points redemption value).

IHG Priority Club = 0.6 cents/point (this hotel program has the most agreed upon number.) Nerdwallet uses $6.00/1,000 points too, but I like the range data they included for 0.4 cents to 1.3 cents.

Ranges are more valuable to give the savvy loyalty traveler a high-end target rather than average value. Priority Club Points & Cash reward nights allow any member to buy 10,000 points for $60. I typically average redemption values greater than $10 per 1,000 points, so I try and buy all the Points & Cash reward nights I can.

Marriott Rewards points = 0.7 cents/point to 1.3 cents/point = $7.00 to $13.00 per 1,000 points. Nerdwallet uses 1.0 cents/point = $10.00 / 1,000 points. Marriott’s best feature is its comparable size to Hilton with over 3,000 hotels globally while having a much more favorable hotel category assignment distribution with plenty of hotels in the lowest categories.

Starwood Preferred Guest = 2.0 to 2.5 cents/point = $20 to $25 per 1,000 points. Nerdwallet uses 2.3 cents/points = $23/1000 points. I personally value Starwood points at $35/1,000 points since I almost always save at least that amount when redeeming.  

Many SPG Cash & Points nights provide value in the $60/1,000 points range. SPG Cash & Points offer a room night at 60% fewer points for a fixed cash rate. An example is the Westin Georgetown where I stayed in Washington D.C. last month for $60 and 4,000 points instead of paying the $300 room rate or redeeming 10,000 points for a free night award at this SPG category 4 hotel.

$60 to save 6,000 points is equivalent to buying points at $10 per 1,000 while spending 4,000 points to save $240 is getting a redemption value for the same stay of $60 per 1,000 points. I do not like fixed point value estimates that tell me my SPG points are $23 or $25 per 1000 points since this Cash & Points redemption is more typical of my average SPG points value. SPG Cash & Points awards are one of the best hotel loyalty program awards.

In conclusion: HHonors seems back on track to move guests “beyond points” as it appears headed back to a pattern of lackluster hotel loyalty promotions with this major 2011-Q2 “Grand Nights” offer.

Hilton HHonors Grand Nights promotion link.

SPG made the program rule change in October 2009 to allow SPG Category 1 and Category 2 Cash & Points awards in the US and Canada.

Every couple of months since last year I looked and never found any category 1 or 2 hotel in the U.S. offering a Cash & Points award. I just checked today and went through eight states before I finally tried Wisconsin. Today is the first time I found a SPG category 2 hotel in the USA offering this elusive Cash & Points award opportunity.

Aloft Green Bay Wisconsin has a Category 2 Cash & Points award available this weekend for Friday, September 24, 2010. Green Bay Packers have a Monday Night Football away game in Chicago so the weekend football crowds are out of town.

There are only 10 SPG category 1 hotels in the USA. Good luck finding a SPG category 1 hotel, let alone a Cash & Points offer. There are about 100 category 2 hotels in the US and Canada. 

Simple calculation for hotel stay redemption point value  

Aloft Green Bay is $101 after tax for a paid stay or 3,000 points for a weekend rewards night or 1,600 points and $30 for a Cash & Points award. 

Points Redemption Value of a 3,000 points Award Stay

$101/3,000 = $33.67 per 1,000 points 

Points Redemption Value of Cash & Points Category 2 Hotel $30 + 1,600 points Award

$101 – $30 cash portion = $71 saved with 1,600 points

$71/1,600 = $44.38 per 1,000 points.

 

Advanced Points Redemption Value Calculations 

To be more precise you might want to consider the points for a paid stay not earned when spending points. Paying $89 for the Aloft Green Bay room will earn points and elite credit.

In general, I always try and pay when the room rate is around $100 to earn elite credit and points. But assume elite credit is not a concern and the value of points can be adjusted to include points not earned with a paid stay. The base points generally are not a big factor compared to the loss of SPG promotion points.

Currently SPG has the Every Night Counts promotion for double points or triple points. This promotion is really not a big effect on this stay. But sometimes promotions are worth 1,000 or more points per night or even credit towards a high value free night offer. High-value promotions can greatly impact the value of points calculations and should be considered when determining the value of a point.

Starpoints earned on paid Starwood stay: 

$89 x 2 base points/$1 = 178 points

SPG Double points promotion (Sep 8-Dec 15, 2010) = 178 points

Gold or Platinum elite bonus = 89 points 

  • Base member earns 356 points (with double points promotion)
  • Gold or Platinum member earns 445 points (assume double points)

 

SPG Platinum Elite 

  • Platinum member already requalified for 2011 status earns extra elite bonus point or 89 points = 534 points
  • Platinum member, requalified and with 10 nights in Every Night Counts (triple points) earns 712 points 

To keep this post shorter I will ignore the Platinum member who could potentially earn more points from a paid stay with the current promotions.

Two other points earning situations I will ignore since these are not relevant to the value of a paid stay vs. award stay:

  • Platinum member earns 250 points amenity regardless if paid stay or award stay so this is not included.
  • SPG American Express payment is also negated since 2 points/$1 earned for Starwood Hotel spend whether a paid stay or Cash & Points stay.

  

Redemption Value of Standard Award Stay for SPG general member:

Non-elite member earns 356 points paying $89 base rate ($101 after tax)  with the current double points promotion. 

  • $101/3,356 points =
  • $30.10 per 1,000 points.

This is still good redemption value.

Redemption Value of Cash & Points Stay for SPG general member: 

  • $101-$30 = $71 saved;
  • $71 saved ÷ (1,600 points Cash & Points Award + 356 points not earned for paid stay) =
  • $71 ÷  1,956 points =
  • $36.30 per 1,000 points

This is still excellent redemption value since you can buy points for $35 per 1,000 points from SPG.

 

Gold or Platinum elite member earns 445 points paying $89 base rate ($101 after tax)  with the current double points promotion.

Redemption Value of Standard Award Stay for SPG Gold/Platinum member:

  • $101/3,445 points =
  • $29.32 per 1,000 points.

This is still good redemption value. 

Redemption Value of Cash & Points Stay for SPG Gold/Platinum Elite: 

  • $101-$30 = $71 saved;
  • $71 saved ÷ (1,600 points Cash & Points Award + 445 points not earned for paid stay) =
  • $71 ÷  2,045 points =
  • $34.72 per 1,000 points

This is still excellent redemption value since you can buy points for $35 per 1,000 points from SPG.

The main point of this post is finding a Cash & Points for a SPG Category 1 or 2 hotel is a rare find in my searches. This is the first time I have seen a hotel offer this award in the U.S. since they were placed on the SPG award chart in October 2009.

Questions for readers:

Have you ever redeemed a Cash & Points award stay in the U.S. or Canada at a Category 1 or 2 hotel?

Do you even see them offered?

The average point value for hotel loyalty points is shown on credit card sites like NerdWallet.com and PlasticIQ.com. Lucky estimated the value of a point for several airline and hotel programs in his August 2010 InsideFlyer – The Value of a Mile or Point.

Lucky states in his article that it is useful to have a relative value of points and miles when trading or exchanging currencies between programs or choosing whether to earn miles or points for hotel stays.

The last time I seriously delved into the question of the value of a hotel point was last January. I want to develop ideas from that post more fully here.

Three Rules Governing the Value of a Point or Mile

Over the past decade I have developed three rules as Loyalty Traveler I believe govern the value of points for the hotel loyalty program member.

Loyalty Traveler Rule #1: Points have no value until redeemed.

This applies to airline – hotel – credit card – other loyalty programs.

Every hotel loyalty program has the ability to terminate its loyalty program. Your points can be gone tomorrow.

Look at Mexicana Airlines. I may have just lost 100,000 miles. I valued those miles at $10,000 seven years ago when I could have flown Cathay Pacific First Class across the Indian Ocean from Hong Kong to Johannesburg on miles. But I never booked that trip.

I’ll call your ½ cent and raise

So what does it really mean to say a Hilton HHonors point has a value of one-half (0.5) cent or seven-tenths (0.7) of a cent?

I taught junior high math for a couple of years. I know that working in decimals gets confusing for many people so I try to work in whole numbers when talking about the value of points.

Saying a Hilton HHonors point is worth ½ cent is the same as saying 1,000 points are worth $5.00. Since redeeming points usually involves multiples of 1,000 points I use whole dollar values per 1,000 points in Loyalty Traveler data to get away from decimal abstractions and confusion.

Now back to the question.

What does it really  mean to say Hilton HHonors points have the value of $5 or $7 per 1,000 points?

There is a discrepancy between HHonors point values of 0.7 cents/point by Lucky and 0.5 cents/point by NerdWallet. A cardmember who earns 100,000 points has $700 in points by Lucky’s standard or $500 in points by Nerdwallet’s valuation. PlasticIQ drops the value down to $4.30 per 1,000 points or $430 for that HHonors member sitting on 100K in hotel currency.

 

Calculating Hotel Point Value

 

          Value of 1,000 points = Room Rate / Points needed to buy room

Hotel point value is set by redeeming points. Every individual loyalty program member will have his or her own estimate of the average point value based on actual points use and personal history of point redemptions. Lucky states this idea in his article too.

Hilton Amsterdam

Let’s say I want to go to Hilton Amsterdam on November 5-7. I can pay the going rate of 199 EUR per night or use 50,000 points per night.  

Best Available Rate is 199 EUR per night. After tax the rate is €417.90 = US$532 for two nights.

Hilton Amsterdam is a category 7 hotel for 50,000 points per reward night.

My effective points value is $5.32 per 1,000 points when I save $532 by spending 100,000 HHonors points for the hotel stay. (Ignore the points that would have been earned for a paid stay to keep math simpler.)

But should I even use the BAR value of $532 to calculate the value of my points?

I could book the Hilton Amsterdam using an advance purchase rate for 169€ per night. This is a more restrictive rate than using points since there is no ability to cancel or change the reservation, whereas a reservation booked with points can be canceled and points returned to the account.

354.90 EUR = US$457.65 = 100,000 points.

My points value with this Hilton Amsterdam redemption is $4.58 per 1,000 points. This falls well below the $7/1,000 points value from Lucky and even below the $5.00 per 1,000 points used by NerdWallet.com.

The real points value in this example is somewhere between $4.58 and $5.32 per 1,000 points depending on which rate I use, prepaid or refundable rate,  for the cash saved on the hotel stay.

Loyalty Traveler Rule #2: The value of points is not a set value, but will objectively fall into a range of point value for the specific loyalty program.

Establishing the point value range for the different hotel loyalty programs is a challenge. This requires extensive data.

Lucky states Starpoints have a value of $25/1,000 points. NerdWallet states $23/1,000 points and Plastic IQ uses $21.50/1,000 points. These are considered average redemption values.

For example, some Starwood Hotels may only offer $10 per 1,000 points value when using points for a reward night. Other Starwood Hotels may offer $60 per 1,000 points value. The actual value of Starpoints may fall somewhere in this range from low to high reward values.

HHonors has a different range of point values for its program. You are highly unlikely to find a Hilton HHonors reward value in the $60/1,000 points range, whereas you can likely find a Starwood Hotel in that range. HHonors would require finding a reward for a hotel rate in the order of $2,175 per night with a category 7 hotel on an AXON7 four-night award at 145,000 points to have $60/1,000 points value. The upper limit of the value range for HHonors points will likely be somewhat below $60/1,000 points. But if you found any HHonors hotel reward with $60/1,000 points value, then the value of HHonors points objectively would have a range going up to $60/1,000 points.

Calculating the range is a matter of taking numerous hotel samples and analyzing the room rate divided by the cost in points for a reward night using points.

Value of 1,000 points = Room Rate / Points needed to buy room

Each hotel program will have a point value range specific to its hotels and loyalty program reward cost.

There are 1,000 Starwood Hotels. Rates fluctuate daily while the cost of a reward night is constant – as long as the hotel reward category does not change. Hotel categories shift over time moving the points cost up or down.

Special offers like Cash & Points, HHonors Pointstretchers, Marriott Rewards PointSavers and Priority Club PointBreaks also reduce the cost for reward nights during limited time discount offers.

Hilton HHonors – Show me the Money Value

What is the value of a HHonors point?

Lucky uses $7/1,000 points, NerdWallet.com $5/1,000 and Plastic IQ $4.30/1,000 points. While the average value of HHonors points may be in the $4 to $7 range for 1,000 HHonors points, loyalty travelers have the potential to get over $22/1,000 points.

Conrad Maldives

(HHonors category 7 hotel – 50,000 points per night)

Nov 5-9, 2010 = $3,276 after tax or 200,000 points

 

HHonors point value is $16.38/1,000 points (1.6 cents/point) for this redemption. 

HHonors elite members have access to VIP rewards. HHonors Silver elite membership requires just four stays in a calendar year. There is a 15% discount for HHonors VIP 4-night rewards reducing the 4-night rate for the Conrad Maldives to 170,000 points.

The HHonors VIP 4-night reward raises the point value to $19.27/1,000 points.

HHonors Silver elite is complimentary with any HHonors American Express card. As an HHonors American Express cardmember the hotel reward rate drops even more to only 145,000 points for an AXON7 award.

The AXON7 award raises the point value for this Conrad Maldives four-night stay to $22.59/1,000 points.

Conclusion: The average value of a HHonors point may be just $4 or $7 per 1,000 points. As a loyalty traveler you should not settle for average. There is potential to get over $20 per 1,000 points with HHonors. The range of HHonors point value has to go up to at least $22.59/1,000 points since I have found that potential value in a bookable HHonors reward.

And this leads us to rule #3.

Rule #3: You personally decide the value of your points when you redeem points.  

Do not settle for average value. You are the points redemption DECIDER.

The third rule of hotel loyalty program point value is you have the choice at what minimum value you are willing to redeem your earned points.

The objective of the loyalty traveler is to redeem in the upper end of point value range for your hotel (or airline) loyalty program.

Nerdwallet.com gives Marriott Rewards points the value of 1.0 cent/point or $10.00 per 1,000 points. Lucky states Marriott Rewards points are 0.8 cents/point or $8.00 per 1,000 points. PlasticIQ is in the middle with $8.80/1,000 points value.

So are 200,000 Marriott Rewards points worth $1,600 or $2,000?

Marriott Monterey

November 3, 2010

$279/night or $308.06 after tax. The Marriott Monterey is a category 6 hotel for 30,000 points per night. The value of points is $10.27/1,000 points.

But change the stay to November 19 and the AAA rate drops to $170/night or $188.16 after tax.

Marriott Monterey points value = $188.16/30,000 = $6.27/1,000 points.

If points are used at the $188 rate, then 200,000 points are worth just $1,254, far less than Nerdwallet’s estimated point value ($2,000) or Lucky’s estimate of 200,000 Marriott reward points ($1,600).

So which value, $10/1,000 or $6/1,000 is the more accurate point value for Marriott Rewards points?

Is the actual value somewhere between $6.27 and $10.27 per 1,000 points?

How many hotels, rates and dates need to be surveyed to get the full range of point values and an accurate and precise estimate of the average point value for any specific hotel loyalty program?

Loyalty Traveler has not determined the upper value for hotel points. I just know that it is much higher than the point values used by Lucky, NerdWallet and Plastic IQ.

 

Conclusion to the Value of a Hotel Point – The main takeaway idea from this post is your points need to be redeemed selectively to maximize value.

Loyalty travelers do not want to settle for average. All your redemptions should be in the top 20% to 30% of high value redemptions. If there is a range of $2 to $10 for 1,000 points giving an average of $6 per 1,000 points, then be the member who redeems only for $8 to $10 value and get better than average value for your points.

Loyalty travelers can get better than average value from hotel points.

There are 35,000 or so hotels in the top 10 hotel loyalty programs. Establishing a point value range requires much more data analysis than I have the ability to access. I do not know what the upper range of hotel point value is for different programs.

I do have an idea of where hotel rates are high and low and the hotel reward categories for hotels in the major hotel loyalty programs.

I was able to quickly find a number of high value redemption opportunities with just a few searches in each program. Each of the examples below had reward availability for the nights searched.

A loyalty traveler can get a much higher value for hotel points than the set values used by Lucky, NerdWallet and Plastic IQ.

Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel (Marriott Rewards category 5 = 25,000 points/night)

  • October 18-23, 2010 (5-night stay)
  • $2,698 after tax
  • 100,000 points reward (5th night free)

 

Marriott Rewards Point Value = $26.98/1,000 points (Lucky $8; PlasticIQ $8.80; Nerdwallet $10)

 

InterContinental Geneva (Priority Club = 40,000 points/night)

  • Monday, Feb 14, 2011 – Friday, Feb 18, 2011 (4-night stay)
  • US$10,078 after tax (advance purchase prepaid rate)
  • $10,078/160,000 points =

Priority Club Points Value = $62.98/1,000 points (Lucky $6; Nerdwallet $6)

 

Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport (Gold Passport category 2 = 8,000 points/night)

  • Monday, October 18, 2010 – Tuesday, October 19, 2010
  • $227.09 after tax (BAR)
  • $227.09/8,000 points =

Hyatt Gold Passport points value = $28.38/1,000 points (Lucky $15; Nerdwallet $15) 

 

Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo (Gold Passport category 2 = 8,000 points/night)

  • Monday, October 18, 2010 – Friday, October 22, 2010
  • 2,964 BRL after tax (BAR)
  • US$1,715.58/32,000 points =

Hyatt Gold Passport points value = $53.59/1,000 points (Lucky $15; Nerdwallet $15)

 
 

xe.com Brazil Reals to US Dollars Currency Conversion

 

Starwood Le Parker Meridien New York (SPG category 5 = 12,000 points/night)

  • Sunday, October 17, 2010 – Friday, October 22, 2010 (5-night stay)
  • $553.15/night or $2,765.75 after tax for five nights
  • $2,765.75/48,000 points (5th night free reward) =

Starwood Preferred Guest points value = $57.60/1,000 points (Lucky $25; PlasticIQ $21.50; Nerdwallet $23)

I found all these examples in random searches on random dates in about 45 minutes. There must be hundreds of hotels with similar reward night value. 

Having an idea of the value of a point is useful information. Lucky did a good job at pointing out relative value of points and miles in his article. These values are a benchmark you can use for trades, exchanges, and promotion analysis. Just keep in mind that points and miles have no set value.

Remember the three rules governing the value of points and miles:

  1. Points and miles have no value until redeemed.
  2. The actual value of points and miles is a range and not a set value.
  3. You decide the value of your points with your redemptions.

Loyalty travelers can get better than average value from hotel points.

The value of points and credit card ranking shifts when NerdWallet point values are used in the credit card tables from my previous credit card post using Lucky’s value of hotel points. The main shake-up here results from HHonors points being valued at just $5/1,000 points by NerdWallet.com. 

In this analysis the value of SPG American Express rises as annual spend rises compared to other cards. At the $48,000 per year spend level the SPG American Express ranks as the most valuable hotel credit card. Priority Club and Marriott Visa rank highest at the $6,000 and $13,000 spend levels respectively.

A 25% higher value given to Marriott Rewards points at $10/1,000 points by NerdWallet.com also improves Marriott’s standing in these rankings compared to using $8/1,000 points.

The credit card tables below include $240 added value to Priority Club Visa. This added value is the value of the annual free night certificate with the assumption that it will be used for a 40,000 points reward night at an InterContinental Hotel: 40,000 points x $6/1,000 points.

Marriott Premier Visa also includes an annual free night certificate at a Category 1-5 hotel and I gave this certificate an additional $250 value (25,000 points x $10/1,000 points) on top of the annual points earned for card spend.

Neither Lucky or NerdWallet.com gave Carlson Hotels Goldpoints plus a hotel point value estimate so I have used $4/1,000 points.

Loyalty Traveler’s Ranking of Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards based on NerdWallet.com Hotel Point Values

  1. IHG Priority Club Visa (tie)
  2. Marriott Rewards Premier Visa (tie)
  3. HHonors Surpass American Express
  4. SPG American Express
  5. HHonors American Express
  6. Hyatt Visa
  7. Carlson Goldpoints Plus Visa
  8. HHonors Visa
  9. Marriott Visa

Loyalty Traveler has a different take on point values for hotel loyalty points that sets my hotel point value at a much higher rate than given by either NerdWallet or Lucky.

See this Loyalty Traveler post on the value of hotel points (Sep 7, 2010).

Related posts:

Loyalty Traveler Hotel Credit Card Comparison by Value of Points (Sep 2, 2010)

Loyalty Traveler Compares Hotel Rewards Credit Card Benefits (Sep 1, 2010)

NerdWallet.com Hotel Credit Card Reviews

Loyalty Traveler ranking of hotel credit cards differs from NerdWallet.com rank due to differences in calculating the value of the cards. The main limitation of NerdWallet.com credit card calculator is there is no consideration of hotel spend in the card value calculations. The tables in this post consider hotel spend and the higher rate of points earned on hotel credit cards for hotel spend.

 

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Cash & Points awards are the best way to get excellent value out of your SPG points. Cash & Points Award Nights, when offered, provide a 60% discount in the points required for a free room night in exchange for a specific cash co-pay that is set according to the SPG hotel redemption category.

Free nights using points-only is covered by the SPG “No Blackouts” policy, but the Cash & Points option is not. Cash & Points may have blackout dates, and in fact, are frequently not offered on the SPG website when points-only rooms are available. [Tip from Gary Leff is to call the hotel anyway and check for Cash & Points even when they are not appearing on the website. He reports this frequently works for Cash & Points awards.] When you have the Cash & Points award option it is a great way to conserve points on a hotel stay.

Here are some important points regarding Cash & Points award stays:

  1. Cash & Points Awards are not applicable to the 5th Night Free Awards. A 5-night stay requires 5 nights of Cash & Points payment. A “Points-Only” 5th night free award requires only 4 nights of points-only payment.
  2. Cash & Points award stays do not earn Starpoints on the paid cash portion. You are eligible for Starpoints on other eligible hotel charges like dining. A Cash & Points stay may not even show up on your account. Check with the hotel or SPG if no points post on additional charges from your Cash & Points hotel stay.
  3. Cash & Points award stays are not eligible for elite qualifying credit. This also applies to points-only award stays.
  4. Cash & Points award stays may not be upgraded in advance with supplemental points. Points-only award stays may be upgraded in advance based on availability using additional points. As an SPG Platinum member I have frequently received very nice upgrades on Cash & Points awards.
  5. International hotels priced in non-US Dollars will be converted to local currency for payment. (Loyalty Traveler note – some exchange rates are wacky. I have ended up paying 20% less than the US dollar amount and I have paid 20% more than the US dollar amount for Cash & Points stays outside the US.)

 

SPG Cash & Points Award Table with Loyalty Traveler Excellent Quality Scale

SPG Cash & Points Award Table with Loyalty Traveler Excellent Quality Scale

Yesterday’s Loyalty Traveler post displayed a qualitative table based on a scale where an excellent redemption value for your points results in a cash savings greater than $35 per 1,000 points spent. The table points out the difficulty in getting a high redemption value in the range of $35 per 1,000 Starpoints when redeeming points for SPG high category hotels.

An SPG Category 6 hotel needs to be over $700 per night when spending 20,000 points for a free night in order to realize a cash savings of $35 per 1,000 points redeemed. Most Category 6 hotels are not priced that high in the present hotel travel economic environment.

 The value of Cash & Points becomes apparent when running the numbers for these awards at a Category 6 hotel.

 
 

For example, St. Regis Monarch Beach at Dana Point, California is a SPG Category 6 property. A check of rates for next week shows Cash & Points availability for the dates Tuesday, November 3 to Friday, November 6 for a 3-night stay.

Here are the options: (I am ignoring the $25 per day resort fee in these calculations. The resort fee is additional to numbers shown for the three options. Tax is a confusing issue. Sometimes I have been charged hotel tax on the Cash portion of the Cash & Points award and other times I have not paid the tax. In the past two years the hotel tax has usually been applied to the cash portion for my US hotel Cash & Points award stays.)

St. Regis Monarch Beach Payment Options

Cash & Points: $150 + 8,000 points per night = $450 + 24,000 points

Points-Only: 20,000 points per night = 60,000 points

Cash-Only: $470 per night (includes 10% tax) = $1,410

The SPG redemption options are either spend 60,000 points to save $1,410 or spend 24,000 points to save $915.

$1,410 cash-only rate – $495 cash portion  of Cash & Points rate = $915 equivalent value of points.

(I added 10% hotel tax to the cash portion of $450 for 3 nights = $45 tax for the award stay).

Spending 60,000 points for 3 hotel award nights gives a redemption value of $1,410 ÷ 60,000 = $23.50 per 1,000 Starpoints. 

I rate this as a “Fair” redemption value in my Redemption Quality table shown above for SPG Category 6 hotels.

Spending 24,000 points to save $915 gives a redemption value of $915 ÷ 24,000 = $38.12 per 1,000 Starpoints and now the redemption value rates as “Excellent” in the Loyalty Traveler Category 6 redemption quality scale.

At this rate of redemption value the remaining 36,000 points saved by using Cash & Points rather than 60,000 points for Points-only free nights at the St. Regis Monarch Beach next week has a value of $1,372 for future cash savings on hotel stays.  (36,000 points x $38.12/1,000 points = $1,372)

The economics of Cash & Points provides high value opportunity for Starwood Preferred Guests.

Here are SPG Cash & Points Redemption Quality tables to correspond with the Points-Only tables from yesterday’s Loyalty Traveler post.

SPG Cash & Points Redemption Quality Guide

Loyalty Traveler's SPG Cash & Points Redemption Quality Guide

Loyalty Traveler's SPG Cash & Points Redemption Quality Guide

One of the most common hotel loyalty program questions is, “What is the value of a point?”

Typically, I use the cost of points through the hotel program as the value of a point. This is an objective measure since buying points directly from the hotel program is one of the easiest ways to obtain hotel points. The purchase price of hotel points set by the hotel chain is an objective value for hotel points that can be applied across hotel programs.

Starwood hotel points purchased through SPG cost $35 per 1,000 points and there is an annual calendar year purchase limit of 20,000 points ($700). When I calculate the value of points earned from a loyalty promotion, I project the value of the points based on the purchase price from the hotel program.

 Alternatively, I should be able to calculate the value of points I spend at the same ratio of $35 per 1,000 points. If I am getting the value from my points that SPG charges for points, then I consider those spent points as getting excellent value. When calculating the value of SPG bonus point promotions or the value of points earned through a Starwood SPG American Express card, I can estimate the value of my points earned at $35 per 1,000 points.

Unfortunately, the value of my points in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program may not bring a $35 per 1,000 points return on some free hotel night redemptions. The SPG Redemption table shows that the room rate for a SPG Category 3 to 7 hotel reward needs to be an extremely high priced hotel rate to actually get a $35 per 1,000 points redemption value from SPG points. The redemption rate at Category 1 and 2 hotels is much better aligned with actual hotel room rates.

In other words, I am pretty sure I can find a Category 2 hotel on a Friday night where my 3,000 points will save me more than $105 on the published room rate for the Starwood Hotel. Remember that the reward night covers room tax so basically any Category 2 hotel with a room rate over $95 will be $105 after tax and I am receiving excellent value from my points redemption.

Finding a Category 6 hotel charging over $700 per night is going to be a bit more difficult for most SPG members. While spending 20,000 points to avoid spending $500 for a night in a Starwood Category 6 hotel may be considered a favorable exchange by many SPG members, the redemption value of your points will be quite a bit less ($25 per 1,000) than you could probably find by spending points at low category hotels.

 

 

SPG Free Night Rewards Quantitative Value Table (based on $35 per 1,000 points Scale)

SPG Free Night Rewards Quantitative Value Table (based on $35 per 1,000 points Scale)

 

Sample room rates for Starwood Hotels in New York City

Wednesday, November 18, 2009:

W New York – Times Square (SPG Category 6) = $499 (Best Available Rate) $576.10 after tax

Redemption value: $576 ÷ 20,000 points = $28.80 per 1,000 points.

AAA rate = $474.05 ($547.47 after tax)

Redemption Value for AAA rate : $547.47 ÷ 20,000 points = $27.37 per 1,000 points (Good Redemption Value).

 

Westin New York at Times Square (SPG Category 5) = $407.55 (AAA rate) or $471.16 after tax.

Redemption Value: $471 ÷ 12,000 points = $39.25 per 1,000 points (Excellent Redemption Value).

 

Sheraton Manhattan at Times Square (SPG Category 5) = $360.05 (AAA rate) or $416.66 after tax.

Redemption Value: $417 ÷ 12,000 points = $34.75 per 1,000 points (Excellent Redemption Value).

 

New York City hotels appear to refute my argument that obtaining a redemption value near $35 per 1,000 points is unrealistic. My counterpoint is New York is the highest priced hotel market in the USA. Finding redemption values in the $35 range in other locations may prove more difficult.

 

Los Angeles, November 18, 2009

 

SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (SPG Category 6) = $287.20 (AAA rate) or $327.61 after tax.

Redemption Value: $328 ÷ 20,000 points = $16.40 per 1,000 points.

 

W Los Angeles – Westwood (SPG Category 5) = $255.20 (AAA rate) or $291.13 after tax

Redemption Value: $291 ÷ 12,000 points = $24.25 per 1,000 points.

 

Westin Pasadena (SPG Category 4) = $159.20 or $183.19 after tax.

Redemption Value: $183 ÷ 10,000 points = $18.30 per 1,000 points.

 

Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles -LAX Airport (SPG Category 3) = $119.25 (AAA rate) or $136.03 after tax.

Redemption Value: $136 ÷ 7,000 points = $19.43 per 1,000 points.

 

I think Los Angeles is the more typical redemption value for US hotels using Starwood points. New York City, or major international destinations like London and Paris, or resorts like the Maldives and Bora Bora are going to have skyhigh hotel rates where there may be good redemption value in the range of $35 per 1,000 points at the upper SPG category hotels of 5, 6, and 7.

 

Most of us will likely find our choice is redeeming 10,000 points to save $200 which may be a desired exchange, but certainly not a high value exchange of SPG points for cash savings.

 

Table of Qualitative Value for Starwood Preferred Guest Free Night Redemption

My basic question as Loyalty Traveler has been, “What is the value of a SPG point?”

 

In an article earlier this month, “Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory”, I argue that hotel points only have potential value until they are actually redeemed for something of tangible value. A hotel room has tangible value and the value has a set dollar amount for the night you buy with your points.

 

Obviously a person who redeems 12,000 points for the Westin New York Times Square at a redemption rate of $39.25 per 1,000 points gets a better quantitative value than the person who redeems 10,000 points for the Westin Pasadena on the same night for a redemption value of $18.30 per 1,000 points.

 

In reality you need a hotel where and when you need a hotel and your redemption value will vary. So now my question is how do I compare the qualitative difference between the free night redemption at Westin Times Square, New York and Westin Pasadena?

 

I have set up a qualitative scale based on quantitative values. My standard of excellence is based on getting an “Excellent” redemption value when a SPG member can realize $35 per 1,000 points spent on a free night. SPG sells points at the rate of $35 per 1,000 points, so any redemption that saves money at a higher rate than $35 per 1,000 points is “excellent” in my opinion. You can simply buy points from SPG and get the room for less money than the room rate being charged (up to your annual 20,000 points purchase limit of course).

 

The scale drops in incremental levels of ½ a penny per point. In other words, $35 per 1,000 points is an excellent redemption value. When you realize $30 per 1,000 points you have made a “Good” redemption value. $25 per 1,000 points is an “Average” redemption value. $20 per 1,000 points is a “Fair” redemption value. $20 per 1,000 points is a “Poor” redemption value. Less than $20 per 1,000 points is a “Bad” redemption value.

 

The SPG table looks like this based on a standard where redeeming points for free hotel rooms at a rate greater than $35 per 1,000 points is considered an “excellent” value:

 

 

SPG Redemption Value - Qualitative Scale (based on $35 per 1,000 points)

SPG Redemption Value - Qualitative Scale (based on $35 per 1,000 points)

 

Working from this standard table of qualitative value I can now create tables for any SPG category hotel to show the qualitative value of a hotel free night based on the room rate being charged for the night at that particular hotel.

 

SPG Redemption Value for Free Nights Using Points

SPG Redemption Value by Hotel Category (based on $35 per 1,000 points being "Excellent")

SPG Redemption Value by Hotel Category (based on $35 per 1,000 points being "Excellent")

 

What I see in these tables is the use of points at a Category 7 hotel is less likely to provide excellent value (Is the room rate > $1,050 per night at the Category 7 hotel?) than a Friday or Saturday night at a Starwood Category 2 hotel where any rate over $105 (after taxes) is going to be an “excellent” redemption value based on the same quantitative-qualitative scale.

 

I have also ignored peak season rates which were suspended for 2009at the upper end SPG Category 5 to 7 hotels. If reinstated in 2010 there will need to be additional tables to account for Category 5 hotels at 16,000 points, Category 6 at 25,000 points, and Category 7 at 35,000 points. These peak season tables will be less favorable for finding excellent value redemptions.

 

Conclusion: You will likely pay more points for an equivalent cash savings when redeeming points for a high category hotel with Starwood compared to a low category hotel.

 

 

[correction 11:00am Sun, Oct 25 - original post used 70,000 as nightly Category 7 rate for Bora Bora all-suites properties which is incorrect for these uber-category 7 hotels. These Category 7 hotels are available for points on these dates, however, Le Meridien is actually 75,000 points per night or 300,000 points for 5 nights for the lowest category room SPG customer service could find. A different category room in overwater suite is 120,000 points per night or 480,000 points for 5 nights.

 

The St. Regis Bora Bora is available at 480,000 points for a 5-night stay.

 

Le Meridien Bora Bora (SPG Category 7 all suites hotel @75,000 points per night) November 16-21, 2009

All rooms are suites and are double points. 75,000 points per night with 5th night free = 300,000 points for a 5-night stay.

Published rate = 51,000XPF (after tax per night) = about $3,200 for 5 nights.

$3,200 ÷ 300,000 points = $10.67per 1,000 points redemption value. (Bad value on my qualitative scale)

 

St. Regis Bora Bora (SPG Category 7 all-suites hotel @ 120,000 points per night) November 16-21, 2009

Published rate = 70,000XPF = about $4,850 for 5 nights

$4,850 ÷ 480,000 points = $10.10 per 1,000 points redemption value. (Bad value on my qualitative scale)

 

On one hand you can just pay the cash for Bora Bora and save your points for higher value redemptions at other Starwood Hotels. On the other hand, blowing 300,000 to 480,000 points for an incredible 5 night hotel stay leaves you with $3,000 to $5,000 to invest in paid Starwood Hotel stays that can earn many of these points back while also earning high elite status.

 

Figuring the best value for your points is ultimately a personal decision.

 

 

Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory

A common question is “How much are hotel points worth?”

A frequent guest wants a variety of strategies for reducing the cost of a hotel stay. Your choices are dictated primarily by the investment of time you are willing to make to find the best deal. Traveling with a big picture view of your frequent hotel stay plan allows you to consider a variety of strategies to find lower hotel rates. A knowledge base of the different ways to earn hotel points combined with knowing your options for hotel points redemption is the basis for understanding and applying Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory.

Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory
Principle #1

Hotel Points have real value only when redeemed, or exchanged for an item in lieu of cash.

Principle # 2

Hotel points sitting in an account only have potential value.

Principle #3

The potential value of your hotel points is not a constant value.

[Note: The Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory is my own Loyalty Traveler construct so you won't find it in Wikipedia]

Hotel loyalty program changes throughout the membership year due to factors such as hotel category classification changes, hotel redemption changes or promotions, and special offers using hotel points creates a dynamic potential value for hotel points that rises and falls as redemption exchange rates and conditions change.

Applying the Theory in Consumer Hotel Travel

What is the value of 25,000 Priority Club points?

The cost to buy 20,000 Priority Club points is $200. There is a 20,000 point purchase limit per calendar year. If extrapolated, 25,000 points has $250 value based on simple purchase price of points through Priority Club. This is the elementary answer to value of points.

What is the potential value of 25,000 Priority Club points?

The potential value of hotel points is a range depending on money saved at time of redemption. 25,000 hotel points will have no value if they are never redeemed and expire from member’s account. 25,000 hotel points may have a value of $500 or more if redeemed for an award with that purchase price using cash.

Principle # 3 is the focus of my hotel loyalty program work.

The potential value of hotel points is dependent on the exchange rate when you decide to use them. My work involves keeping track of current exchange rates and sharing my analysis of the more favorable exchanges for your hotel points.

Enough with the theory.

Here is how Exchange Rate applies to real world hotel travel:

The simple value of 30,000 hotel points is $300. The potential value depends on timing and location.

Two examples of timing and location:

Example 1: Priority Club advertises the program feature allowing a member to use Priority Club hotel points for any hotel anywhere. The fact is true, but the details show the real value of hotel points. 29,000 hotel points can be exchanged for a $100 American Express gift card.
http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/1/en/c/2/content/dec/pc/0/en/points/us/anyhotel.html
This is a poor hotel points exchange rate. The potential value of 30,000 Priority Club hotel points is much higher than $100 if used differently.

Example 2 Scenario:

Michael Palin’s Eastern Europe travelogue made Romania look like an interesting destination. 30,000 Priority Club points have been sitting in a traveler’s account.

Will 30,000 points get a free night in Bucharest, Romania?

There happen to be two IHG hotels in Bucharest, the Crowne Plaza and the InterContinental. The security of a major hotel in a large foreign city is comforting. The hotel points exchange rate needs to be compared for different options at these hotels to determine which hotel offers the best value for 30,000 points.

First, look at the redemption levels for the two hotels.

Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood all categorize hotels by a number system to determine the amount of points for a free hotel night.

Priority Club structures hotel redemption by hotel brand and there is only variation in the redemption point level for InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express hotels. Some InterContinental Hotels require 40,000 points, while others are only 30,000 points. All Crowne Plaza hotels are 25,000 points for a free night standard redemption.

InterContinental Bucharest takes 30,000 points for a free night. My simple value calculation tells me that my points are worth $250 to use 25,000 points for the Crowne Plaza or $300 to use 30,000 points for a night at the InterContinental.

Second, check the hotel room rates for anticipated date of arrival to see if they are above or below the simple value of $250 per night for Crowne Plaza or $300 per night for InterContinental.

Hotel rates for April 15, 2008
Crowne Plaza, Bucharest is 743 RON/night (Romanian New Lei) = $299 USD/night +12% tax
InterContinental Bucharest is 300€/night = $437/night + 12% tax

The InterContinental Bucharest appears to be a better value with a hotel points exchange rate value of close to $500 for the 30,000 points. (Award nights generally include the hotel tax in the award redemption.)

Depending on my time I may have stopped my analysis here, checked some hotel reviews, and booked the InterContinental. (TripAdvisor shows Crowne Plaza ranks #8, however only 4 hotel reviews which is too low for statistical validity in my opinion, and the InterContinental ranks #10).

When you check hotel points redemption for Bucharest you should find that the Crowne Plaza has a PointBreaks special redemption offer available for April 15, 2008 for only 5,000 points.

Priority Club PointBreaks Hotel Award- 5,000 hotel points for a free night. http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/1/en/c/2/content/dec/pc/0/en/points/us/hre/pointbreaks.html?rateCode=IVANI

The potential value of Priority Club hotel points redeemed for the Crowne Plaza has increased to about $335 for 5,000 points compared to the potential value of $500 for 30,000 points used for a free night at the InterContinental. The real value of the hotel points exchange is $67/1,000 points if redeemed at the Crowne Plaza, Bucharest using a PointBreaks award compared to the real value of $17/1,000 points if redeemed for a free night at the InterContinental Bucharest.

The value of 30,000 Priority Club hotel points potentially is over $2,000 if used for a 6-night stay at the Crowne Plaza Bucharest.

Hotel Points Exchange Rate Theory shows there is no real value of hotel points until they are redeemed. Points only have potential value when sitting in a member’s account. The real value of hotel points when redeemed is all a matter of timing and location.

The Loyalty Traveler seeks out and writes about the higher potential values for hotel points.

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