I bet 2016 would be an industry record if data were analyzed for amount of weeks hotel points were on sale at discount rates. Hilton HHonors, IHG Rewards Club, Starwood Preferred Guest and Choice Privileges all have points purchase discount promotions running today. I link to those offers in this post and discuss features of each hotel chain’s buy points program for Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, SPG, Best Western, Choice, Club Carlson and Wyndham.
Calendar Year Limits for Points Purchases
Another aspect of points purchases is the annual limit for the amount of points a member can buy and/or receive is generally based on the Jan-Jan calendar year. You can buy points up to the 2016 calendar year limit in December, and then buy up to the 2017 calendar year limit again in January 2017. The purchase limit applies to both points you buy for yourself and points purchased by another member you receive as a gift.
This is why December is a good time to buy hotel points if you think you will need them in the next few months. If you wait until 2017, then any purchases count for 2017 year limit. If a fantastic 200% bonus hotel points offer comes up in late 2017, you might have already used up your calendar purchase year limit on a 100% bonus points or some other good deal earlier in the year.
That being said, I don’t recommend buying hotel points unless you know you will get a good redemption value out of them.
With the current deals available today, I think Hilton HHonors points at $5/1,000 points (120,000 points limit) and Wyndham Rewards points at $11 for 1,000 points (5,000 points limit) are the no brainer good value deals for hotel rate discounts somewhere. These two chains have well over 10,000 properties globally and there are many places their hotel points will give a good rate discount. IHG Rewards Club also offers a good opportunity for cheaper points purchases this week.
Drew at TravelisFree.com compiled a list recently of low category reward hotels across several chains – (New) Unbelievably Cheap Points Hotels.
IHG Rewards Club: normal buy points rate = $11.50 to $13.50 per 1,000 points dependent on amount of points purchased. Calendar Year Purchase Limit = 60,000 points.
Bonus Offer: Receive 100% bonus points when you buy 5,000 to 60,000 points. Expires Fri Dec 2, 8:00pm Eastern.
- Buy 10,000 to 20,000 points = $6.75 per 1,000 points.
- Buy 22,000 to 46,000 points = $6.25 per 1,000 points.
- Buy 52,000 to 120,000 points = $5.75 per 1,000 points.
Personally, I bought IHG Rewards Club points this week through the 15% Points & Cash reward discount as an IHG Mastercard member when I was able to buy 10,000 points for $51. In my post I show how that CyberWeek offer is a lower rate than the 100% bonus points CyberWeek offer.
Loyalty Traveler – IHG Points & Cash CyberWeek discount points $5.10 per 1,000.
Hilton HHonors: normal buy points rate = $10 per 1,000 points. Calendar Year Purchase Limit = 160,000 points.
Bonus Offer: 50% discount price at $5 per 1,000 points when you buy 10,000 points ($50) to 160,000 points ($800). Offer expires Dec 5 11:59pm ET.
This can be a very good deal for some hotels. For example, I stayed two nights at DoubleTree Bratislava, Slovakia for 35 EUR + 4,000 points per night with HHonors Points & Money reward in September. 8,000 points saved nearly $200 on my hotel rate. Deals like that make HHonors points a sound investment to me for $50 to $200 worth of points.
Wyndham Rewards: Normal Buy Rate = $11.00 per 1,000 points. Calendar Year Purchase Limit = 5,000 points.
If Wyndham Rewards is not on your radar, then you might want to take another look. While Super 8 and Days Inn might not be in your travel plans, there are some really good hotel rate discounts to be found with Wyndham Rewards GoFast rates, their version of a Points & Cash stay. Hotels are 3,000 points + copay. Wyndham and Dolce properties tend to have high copays, up to $150 per night, but other hotels are only about $30 per night copay. I have booked several GoFast reward stays in 2016 with room night savings ranging from $50 to $200 per night by having 3,000 points to redeem. I’ve booked GoFast rewards in Salzburg, Austria, London, Amsterdam and Las Vegas for several hundred dollars in room rate discounts in 2016.
Wyndham Rewards does not have a promotion offer at present time.
The deal with Wyndham Rewards is the low calendar year purchase limit at 5,000 points means you can pick up 5,000 points this month and another 5,000 points in January or sometime in 2017. That is only 3 GoFast reward nights. Even though I have about 30,000 points currently, I plan to buy my 5,000 points limit in December.
In terms of point value, Wyndham Rewards points have been my most valuable hotel night redemptions in 2016. A 4-night GoFast reward stay I booked for February 2017 reduces my nightly rate from 138 EUR to 51 EUR per night + 3,000 WR points. $33 to buy 3,000 points saves $92 for this hotel in Europe.
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Review Ramada Salzburg City Centre
Loyalty Traveler – Five Star Ramada Hotel & Suites Vilnius, Lithuania
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Review: Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre on Wyndham Rewards GoFast rate
Starwood Preferred Guest: Normal Buy Rate = $35.00 per 1,000 points. Calendar Year Purchase Limit = 30,000 points.
SPG Buy Points Offer: 25% to 50% discount rate when you buy 5,000 or more points. Expires Dec 31, 2016.
I really tired of seeing so many blog posts about the incredible 50% discount on SPG points when my offer was only 25% off.
Choice Privileges ($8.46/1,000) and SPG ($26.25/1,000) points purchase prices are not good deals for me, even considering 30% and 25% discount rate respectively for my accounts. These are targeted bonus amounts and your account may have a better offer (or worse?).
Choice Privileges: Normal buy rate = $11 per 1,000 points. Calendar Year Purchase Limit = 50,000 points.
Bonus Offer: Bonus Points when you buy 5,000 to 50,000 points at $11 per 1,000 points. Bonus points do not apply to annual purchase limit.
- 20% bonus points = $9.17 per 1,000 points. Max purchase = 60,000 points.
- 30% bonus points = $8.46 per 1,000 points. Max purchase = 65,000 points.
- 40% bonus points = $7.86 per 1,000 points. Max purchase = 70,000 points.
- Offer expires Dec 2, 2016 11:59pm ET.
Choice Privileges is no deal, unless you have less than 6,000 Choice Privileges points.
Members can book a Points Plus Cash reward night with 6,000 points and buy the remaining points needed at $7.50 per 1,000 points. Book a 20,000 points hotel reward night for $105 + 6,000 points. Cancel the reward night and you have 20,000 points in your account. This Points & Cash strategy works for IHG Rewards Club too.
Points Purchases in other hotel programs
Club Carlson: Normal Buy Rate $7.00 per 1,000 points. 40,000 points calendar year limit.
- No bonus offer at present time.
Best Western Rewards: Normal Buy Rate $10.00 per 1,000 points. 20,000 points per transaction.
- I can’t even locate a buy points link on their website. Information above is from BWR program FAQ.
Hyatt Gold Passport: Normal Buy Rate $24.00 per 1,000 points. 55,000 points calendar year limit.
Marriott Rewards: Normal Buy Rate $12.50 per 1,000 points. 50,000 points per transaction.