One of the benefits of top elite in several hotel programs is a welcome amenity gift offered at hotel check-in. Points are an option with programs like Starwood, Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton. Other choices depend on the hotel brand and program and may include extras like a free pay-for-view in-room movie, $5 or $10 mini-bar credit, cheese and wine plate, $10 room service credit, or local gift.
I generally take the points, but now and then a bottle of wine and cheese plate is more impressive and appreciated as a gift to share with friends at the hotel. My wife and I have stuffed animals from Starwood Hotels in Australia and assorted Delft pottery around the house from stays at various Starwood Hotels in the Netherlands. Gifts are more common at hotels outside the U.S.
Fruit, cheese, bread, hors d’oeuvre plates are typical welcome amenities at full service upscale hotels.
Points are generally my choice since I don’t care too much for cheese, hors d’oeuvre or wine. How about a 6-pack of Stella Artois beer?
So, generally I bring my own beer and take points, unless I have friends visiting in the room.
The Value of Amenity Points
SPG Platinum and Hyatt Diamond amenity points really add up over the course of the year.
Assume 25 stays in 2011 (minimum qualifying stays to earn annual SPG Platinum or Hyatt Diamond elite).
SPG Platinum = 500 points per stay (250 points at Aloft, Element and Four Points brands)
25 stays x 500 points per stay = 12,500 Platinum elite welcome amenity bonus points.
Here is how I perceive the value of 12,500 Starpoints.
SPG Cash & Points reward night at any category 4 hotel requires $60 + 4,000 points.
My experience assures me there is high potential to save over $200 at a Starwood Hotel using 4,000 points for a SPG Cash & Points award with a $240+ nightly room rate. My stay at the W Chicago Lakeshore saved more than $200. I only paid tax on the $60 cash portion of the SPG reward night rather than 15% Chicago tax on the full $280 room rate.
SPG Platinum amenity points will likely have $300 to $600+ cash savings redemption value if 12,500 points are earned by the Platinum member in 2011 from 25 hotel stays. This is a high value opportunity for earning bonus points simply by checking in and turning down food or hotel credit.
Assume you take a $10 movie or mini-bar credit and you save $250 after 25 stays.
Points are generally worth more than the in-hotel amenity if you prefer earning free or discount reward nights from hotel stays.
Hyatt Diamond Amenity
Most Hyatt Hotels offer a choice of 1,000 points as a Diamond amenity. Hyatt Place and Summerfield Suites offer 500 points.
25 stays x 1,000 points = 25,000 bonus points
Hyatt category 6 hotel reward night is 22,000 points. Mid tier category 3 reward is 12,000 points.
25,000 points will likely have $400 redemption value.
Base points equivalent value shows the amenity points bonus is like having significant additional hotel spend on each hotel stay.
- SPG Platinum = 250 or 500 points ($125 or $250 base points equivalent value)
- Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond = 500 or 1,000 points ($100 to $200 base points equivalent value)
- Marriott Rewards Platinum = 1,000 points ($100 base points equivalent value)
- Hilton HHonors = 500 to 1,000 points ($50 to $100 base points equivalent value)
Bottom line is top level amenity points are equivalent to spending an extra $100 to $250 for your hotel stay and the value of points can add around $300 to $600 in free room night rebate value to your annual hotel spend for top elite status with Hyatt or Starwood. The value will likely be less for Marriott and Hilton members.