One of the best known events in Monterey, California is the annual Monterey Jazz Festival and the weekend of September 21-23 is the 61st annual jazz fest. This post compares hotel reward rates as an alternative to the high priced room rates prevalent that weekend. The results will likely surprise you.
My reward rate analysis compares the cost to buy hotel points during periodic sales that happen throughout the year and more specifically promotions that happened over the past 60 days. The cost to buy hotel points provides a common base for the cost of points acquisition across different hotel loyalty programs.
Even if you had no points in any of the programs being compared, you could have purchased points in each of the following programs in the past month or two at discount rates during their hotel loyalty promotion discounts.
Choice Privileges 40% bonus Aug 31 – Sep 13, 2018. Buy points rate = $7.86 per 1,000 points (maximum purchase 70,000 points).
Hilton Honors 50% discount. July 4 – Aug 15, 2018. Buy points rate = $5.00 per 1,000 points (maximum purchase 80,000 points).
World of Hyatt 40% bonus July 30-Aug 21, 2018. Buy points rate = $17.14 per 1,000 points (maximum purchase 77,000 points).
IHG Rewards Club 100% bonus July 18-Aug 22, 2018. Buy points rate = $5.00 per 1,000 points (maximum purchase 200,000 points).
Marriott Rewards 35% off SPG points sale ended July 20, 2018. Buy points rate = $22.75 per 1,000 points (maximum purchase 30,000 points, which exchanged into 90,000 Marriott Rewards points).
Best Western Rewards is excluded due to high reward rates at 20,000 to 36,000 points for this area and a 10,000 points purchase limit at $10 per 1,000 points at time of booking.
Radisson Rewards is excluded since no hotels near Monterey.
Wyndham Rewards is excluded due to high room rates for Jazz Festival weekend and free nights cost 15,000 points. Members are limited to buying 5,000 points per year.
Monterey Jazz Festival Weekend Rates
Kayak.com pulls up 70 hotels with Fri Sep 21- Sun Sep 23 2-nights weekend room availability of 179 hotels in the area.
The lowest priced hotel room is the one-star Gateway Lodge Motel in Seaside, California $174.60 after tax.
Being local and familiar with most hotels in this area, there are better deals with better locations for Jazz Fest; especially when redeeming points.
Let’s start with top tier chain hotels:
IHG Rewards Club
InterContinental Monterey The Clement on Cannery Row
HIX Monterey-Cannery Row Sep 21-23 $382.84/night = $850.37 after tax.
InterContinental Monterey $563.60/night = $1299.99 after tax.
IHG Reward Rates
HIX Monterey-Cannery Row 50,000 x 2 nights = 100,000 points = $500 ($5/1,000 points).
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $850.37 = $500 = $350.57 saved.
- Redemption rate $850/100,000 = $8.50 per 1,000 points.
InterContinental Monterey Standard Room 70,000 x 2 nights = 140,000 points = $700 to buy points.
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $1,299.99 = $700 = $600.01 saved.
- Redemption rate $1300/140,000 = $9.29 per 1,000 points.
Monterey Marriott Sep 21-23 $1,002.03 after tax.
50,000 x 2 nights = 100,000 points = $762.13 (if a couple had purchased 33,500 SPG points at $22.75/1000 points.)
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $1,002.03 room rate – $762.13 buy points = $239.90 saved.
- Redemption rate $1002/100,000 = $10.00 per 1,000 points.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt Carmel Highlands = $1,260.50 after tax for two night weekend.
(this hotel only became available today since I started analysis two days ago).
30,000 x 2 nights = 60,000 points = $1,028.40 buying points at $17.14 per 1,000.
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $1,260.50 room rate – $1,028.40 buy points = $232.10 saved.
- Redemption rate $1260.50/60,000 = $21.01 per 1,000 points.
Embassy Suites Monterey Bay/Seaside = $961.18 after tax.
60,000 x 2 nights = 120,000 points = $600.00 for a couple buying points at $5.00 per 1,000.
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $961.18 room rate – $600.00 buy points = $361.18 saved.
- Redemption rate $961.18/60,000 = $8.01 per 1,000 points.
There are ten hotels available with points in Choice Privileges for Monterey Jazz Festival.
Rodeway Inn Monterey Fremont Street is one block from Jazz Festival fairgrounds combined with low 10,000 points per night reward rate.
Rodeway Inn Monterey = $501.50 after tax.
10,000 x 2 nights = 20,000 points = $157.20 to buy points at $7.86 per 1,000 points.
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $501.50 room rate – $157.20 buy points = $344.30 saved.
- Redemption rate $501.50/20,000 = $25.07 per 1,000 points.
Rodeway Inn is a bed and a great location for proximity to the Monterey Fairgrounds, but I would choose a different hotel, Clarion Collection Pacific Grove as the best value with a better location in Pacific Grove within walking distance to Pacific Ocean beaches and shoreline.
Clarion Collection has a suite for 8,000 points per night in an old style Pacific Grove motel in one of the premier forest settings for the Monterey Peninsula. This hotel provides a bed, great location and still within easy drive or taxi to the Jazz Festival.
Clarion Collection Pacific Grove = $545.58 after tax for Queen Suite.
8,000 x 2 nights = 16,000 points = $125.76 to buy points at $7.86 per 1,000 points.
- Buy Points Rate Savings: $545.58 room rate – $125.76 buy points = $419.82 saved.
- Redemption rate $545.58/16,000 = $34.10 per 1,000 points.
In each of these reward night examples, the price to buy hotel points is far less than the paid rates for the same room type. In every case the redemption rate for points is more than the cost to buy points.
If you want romance, then Hyatt Carmel Highlands is the setting, but if your main objective is a hotel for the Monterey Jazz Festival, then Clarion Collection Pacific Grove is a bed in a good location for visiting Monterey Peninsula at $60 per night on one of the year’s most expensive weekends to visit Monterey.