Hotel loyalty points have no value until you redeem them for something of value.
This article examines the value of hotel loyalty program points based on my 60 reward nights in 2017 and 52 reward nights so far in 2018.
This is a continuation of my article:
What are hotel points worth? In my case, far more than average value (Sep 26, 2018). This previous article goes into more detail about how to buy hotel points at low rates used in my own loyalty programs reward nights chart shown in this post.
Forget Average. Unlock potential value.
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.
Frequent Miler, One Mile at a Time and The Points Guy all have a page on their websites detailing their estimated value of hotel points. These point values are frequently used in their respective blogs as the basis for analyzing promotion value and credit card offers.
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. Points and miles sitting in my accounts only have potential value. Frequent flyer miles and hotel points have no absolute value until redeemed and then their value can be pegged to the hotel room rate for my stay.
Rather than assess hotel loyalty programs’ value of points by an arbitrary estimate, my approach to the value of hotel points is based on my actual redemption value based on the 113 hotel reward nights I booked and stayed in 2017 and 2018 using hotel loyalty points across 9 different hotel loyalty programs.
My simple travel philosophy is concentrate on the potential value of points one redemption at a time for hotel stays. There is far more potential locked in hotel points than average values I see tossed around on various blogs.
The points I redeemed for award stays in 2017 and 2018 provided a significantly higher redemption value than the average points value estimates for nearly all hotel loyalty programs by the major bloggers shown in the previous chart.
Loyalty Traveler – My 2017/2018 Redemption Value of Hotel Points
Best Western Rewards
120,000 Best Western Rewards points redeemed for 8 reward nights valued at $1,702.00*.
$14.18 per 1,000 Best Western Rewards points ($1,702/120 = $14.18).
- Best Western Hibiscus Key West, Florida 3 nights x 10,000 points. Room rate 3 x $240 = $720.
- Best Western Premier Miami Airport 1 night x 10,000 points. Room rate $240.
- Best Western Krakow Old Town, Poland 1 night x 20,000 points. Room rate $180.
- Best Western Hotel Art Deco, Rome, Italy 2 nights x 20,000 points. Room rate 3 x $188 = $564.
- Best Western Premier Hotel Rome Airport, Fiumicino, Italy 1 night x 20,000 points. Room rate $186.
* I used lowest flexible rates when determining hotel reward value. Cancellation penalties for reward nights are the same as the flexible rate.
182,000 Choice Privileges points redeemed for 17 reward nights valued at $3,404.00.
$18.70 per 1,000 Choice Privileges points.
- Star Inn Wien Schonbrunn, Vienna, Austria 3 nights for 28,000 points (2 x 10,000 + 1 x 8,000 points). Room rate 3 x $127 = $381.
- Clarion Congress Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic 4 nights in suite for 38,000 points (3 x 10,000 points + 1 x 8,000 points). Room rate for suite 4 x $191 = $764.
- Clarion Prague City, Czech Republic 3 nights for 42,000 points (1 x 10,000 + 2 x 16,000 points). Room rate $120 + $122 + $122 = $364.
- The Cove Ascend Collection, Long Beach, California 3 nights for 24,000 points (3 x 8,000 points) $166 x 3 = $498.
- Clarion Collection Pacific Grove, California 1 night in suite x 8,000 points. Room rate = $329.
- Skt. Petri Hotel, Ascend Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark 1 night x 20,000 points. Room rate = $670.
- Two hotel reward nights in October (Atlanta and London) for 24,000 points. Room rates = $398.
- Nordic Choice Club loyalty program 1 night for 10,000 points Comfort Hotel Vesterbro, Copenhagen $306 room is separate hotel loyalty redemption to Choice Privileges.
I purchased over 200,000 Choice Privileges points during the 2018 Daily Getaways paying an average $5.00 per 1,000 points.
59,000 Hilton Honors points redeemed for 9 reward nights valued at $948.00.
$16.07 per 1,000 Hilton Honors points.
- Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport, Poland 2 nights x 10,000 points. Room rate = $249.
- Hampton Inn Bakersfield, California 2 nights x 10 points. Room rate = $244.
- 5 reward nights upcoming 5 nights x 3,800 points = $455.
Hilton Honors is a program where I booked many more reward nights in 2018, however, most of these stays were canceled when I did not travel to Romania in April 2018. Most of my Hilton Honors points were purchased for $5 per 1,000 points.
World of Hyatt
7,500 Hyatt points redeemed for one Points+Cash reward night valued at $109.
$14.53 per 1,000 Hyatt points.
- Hyatt Regency Amsterdam 1 night at 7,500 points + 1 free credit card night. This room redemption value is an underestimate since I actually had higher value due to using a suite upgrade and being offered complimentary breakfast for two nights and a welcome amenity tray. I used $109 standard room only value for 7,500 points, however I had a large room and complimentary breakfast included, so probably 50% more added value in stay benefits.
Primary reason I don’t stay at Hyatt hotels is I have not visited many cities in 2018 with Hyatt hotels at a competitive room rate or reward price to other hotel chains. For several years, until around 2015, I held Hyatt Diamond elite status. I have been slowly burning through my points balance over past four years. I purchased 24,000 Hyatt points for $260 in 2015 during Daily Getaways.
IHG Rewards Club
20,000 IHG Rewards Club points redeemed for 2 reward nights valued at $630.
$31.50 per 1,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
- Upcoming hotel stay for 2 nights.
IHG Rewards Club is a program where I booked 6 PointBreaks reward nights for 90,000 points in April 2018 for London and Kiev, Ukraine. I ended up canceling that trip and those stays.
Most of my IHG Rewards Club points were earned from paid stays during IHG Accelerate promotions.
25,000 Marriott Rewards points redeemed for 1 reward night valued at $327.
$13.08 per 1,000 Marriott Rewards points.
- Sopot Marriott Resort, Sopot, Poland one night for 25,000 points. This reward night was actually a free MegaBonus reward night I earned in January 2018 after two paid stays for $230 and redeemed for a category 5 hotel.
167,000 Radisson Rewards points redeemed for 8 reward nights valued at $1,423.
$8.52 per 1,000 Radisson Rewards points.
- Park Inn Prague, Czech Republic one night for 15,000 points. Room rate $203 on New Year’s Day.
- Park Inn Kaunas, Lithuania 3 nights at 13,500 points per night Business Class Upgrade. Room rate 3 x $147 = $441.
- Radisson Blu Klaipeda 3 nights at 22,500 points per night Business Class Upgrade. Room rate 3 x $195 = $585.
- 1 night upcoming at 44,000 points. Room rate $194.
Most of my Radisson Rewards points were earned from paid stays during high value bonus points promotions.
Starwood Preferred Guest
5,000 SPG points + $75 redeemed for 1 Cash&Points reward night valued at $139 saved with 5,000 points after deducting $75 copay from $214 room rate.
$27.80 per 1,000 SPG points.
- Sheraton Sopot, Poland one Cash&Points night for $75 + 5,000 points.
15,000 Wyndham Rewards points for 5 GoFast reward nights at 3,000 points + 62eur per night for room valued at 730eur.
$31.33 per 1,000 Wyndham Rewards points.
- Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Panoramic View Executive Room for 5 nights.
Most of my Wyndham Rewards points were earned through high value bonus points promotions offered over past two years.
Probably the most significant impact of 2018 for my hotel points is the change in Wyndham Rewards GoFast reward nights from a fixed copay amount to 65% of Best Available Rate for the date of the stay.
This change means the €310 ($360) copay I paid for 5 nights at Ramada Apollo Amsterdam in Feb 2018 would have been €474 ($550) based on the room rates at the time. The change from $72 to $110 per night was a significant devaluation to Wyndham Rewards for me for my favorite hotel for reward nights with Wyndham points.
The main benefit of Wyndham Rewards is there are often higher category room types available for points. This used to apply to GoFast rewards at hotels where a suite might be the same copay as a standard room. Program changes in 2018 only impacted GoFast cash and points rates with the copay pegged to 65% of the Best Available Rate (BAR), so it means the copay changed from a fixed rate for a hotel reward night to 65% of the BAR room rate for a standard room or 65% of the BAR room rate for a suite.
Good news is GoFree reward nights for 15,000 points still offer higher category rooms including suites at some hotels.
Hotel points offer the potential for hotel rate discounts at thousands of hotels using points for reward nights and discount reward rates compared to the published room rates.
Most of my hotel nights during the year are reward nights paid with points. The key to getting these hotel rate discounts is using promotional sales to buy hotel points.
I don’t think of my hotel points in terms of a fixed value for my IHG Rewards Club points or Choice Privileges points. I think of where I am planning to go and what hotels are there that allow me to stay in hotels for less than the posted room rates for those dates and usually for a lower rate than otherwise available for that city for comparable lodging.
Buying IHG Rewards Club points for $5 per 1,000 points is a no-brainer when you can stay at a $300 hotel for $50. Last weekend I paid for a $300 hotel night with $40 in Choice Privileges points.
Generally I find high-end hotels a better deal to stay when room rates are low during a high value promotion and pay for the room rather than pay a large number of points for a reward night. This post only shows my reward nights for 2018. Over summer in Poland last July I paid cash rates for 7 nights at Hilton hotels due to that being the best deal compared to points rates for comparable hotels.
Basically I redeem points when those are the best value deals and pay for hotel nights when low rates and high value promotions make those the best value deals for my travel.