This is the third part of my hotel points value series. The first article is an introduction to ‘Why I value hotel points at the lowest cost I can buy points‘ and how that results in some slightly different point values to The Points Guy. My second article, Comparing value of hotel points for Rome hotels shows an example of how I apply the cost of buying points to evaluating hotel reward nights on points for a city like Rome, Italy.
In this article and some follow-up pieces, I examine the application of combining the cost of buying hotel points with reward night rates and paying for rooms to earn points for promotional bonus points. I will be spending points or money with Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club, Choice Privileges and Radisson Rewards this summer. Those four chains over all my hotel needs with only one night planned for an independent hotel in a city with no major hotel chains to earn or burn hotel points. I have hotel stay plans for Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark and Sweden this summer.
I am using points for 12 nights and paying about $725 for 10 hotel nights. My points programs buying rooms are Choice Privileges 66,000 points for 5 nights ($338 points value), IHG Rewards Club 40,000 points for 3 nights ($200 points value), Radisson Rewards 84,000 points for 3 nights ($294 points value) and Marriott Rewards 50,000 points for 2 nights ($450 points value). Choice Privileges is the only hotel loyalty programs where I purchased points. All the other points I used were earned through past hotel stays.
About half the hotels I booked in April and May are now sold out and unavailable for dates I booked.
I use the points values shown below to determine whether a reward night is favorable for using points rather than spending cash.
Copenhagen is a travel budget buster for hotels. Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in Europe for hotel rooms. Perhaps Iceland and Switzerland are places priced higher. Finding any lodging in central Copenhagen for under $100 is difficult. $100 per night are hostel prices.
Choice Privileges points are the best value currency for reward nights in Copenhagen.
I value Choice Privileges points at $5.12 per 1,000 points, which is the price I paid for 250,000 points last month with Daily Getaways and Kids First Auction. Room rates at Skt. Petri are frequently over $300 per night. Last summer this hotel was over $600 per night when we stayed for 20,000 points ($102.40 in points price).
Comfort Hotel Vesterbro Copenhagen review (June 15, 2018).
There are also a couple of Nordic Choice Hotels at the airport with the former Hilton Copenhagen Airport recently rebranded as Clarion Copenhagen Airport (20,000 points), directly connected to the airport. Quality Hotel Airport Dan is a neighborhood airport hotel at 16,000 points.
If simply transiting through Copenhagen Airport in need of an overnight, then my preference is take the train directly to Malmo, Sweden and stay at Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance in Malmo for 8,000 points with free dinner and breakfast before heading back to the airport and flight to some other destination.
After considering all the hotel lodging options I settled for Choice Privileges reward nights again for our stay in Copenhagen.
It was not a sure thing. There were other reasonable hotel options with Marriott, IHG and Radisson Rewards for our stay in Copenhagen.
AC Hotel Bella Sky Copenhagen is an architectural curiosity located between Copenhagen Airport and city center. Wonderful hotel, but not the greatest location. You need to take Metro into city. I have a free credit card night I could have used for this hotel category 5 hotel at 35,000 points.
Loyalty Traveler – AC Bella Sky Copenhagen stay earned free MegaBonus night (Jan 21, 2018).
Moxy Copenhagen Sydhavnen is a new hotel that was only $113 per night when I checked rates in early May. This property is also category 5 at 35,000 points.
I value Marriott points at $9.00 per 1,000 points meaning 35,000 points is equivalent to $315 in points. I considered staying at Moxy on a paid rate, but without a good promotion (1,500 bonus points for 2-night stay), I wanted to be in a more centrally located Copenhagen hotel. I would have been able to earn about 4,000 points ($36 value) with a $226 Moxy stay. But the 1,500 bonus points promotion offer just came out this week. Moxy is sold out now for dates I will be in Copenhagen.
IHG Rewards Club has Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers, another hotel closer to the airport than city center for 35,000 points per night. I initially planned to stay here on an IHG Points & Cash stay to fulfill one of my IHG Accelerate summer promotion tasks for bonus points, however, changed my Points&Cash stay to another IHG hotel during my trip.
Radisson Rewards has two hotels with Radisson Blu Scandinavia at 44,000 points and Radisson Collection Royal Hotel Copenhagen at 70,000 points. I stayed at Radisson Blu Royal in 2015 when it was still only 50,000 points and Club Carlson Visa card members earned a free reward night on stays of 2 or more nights. Four nights cost me 100,000 points in July 2015.
Loyalty Traveler – Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen views and brews (Aug 2, 2015).
Hilton does not have a hotel in Copenhagen until the new Hilton Copenhagen City Centre property opens next year.
Best Western has two city center hotels with BW Hotel Hebron at 32,000 points ($176 points cost) and BW Plus Hotel City Copenhagen at 36,000 per night ($198 points cost) and rates a little over $200. I’d love to try the Best Western hotels, but reward nights and room rates have always been too high during my Copenhagen city stays.
In the end, Copenhagen will cost 20,000 points per night for our stay or $102.40 in Choice Privileges per room night. That is bargain basement prices for a hotel room in central Copenhagen, Denmark in summer.
Brief history of hotel loyalty programs over past ten years or ‘why I simply buy hotel points these days’
In late 2008 there was a seismic shift in the hotel loyalty program landsape when the ‘great recession’ resulted in a precipitous drop of hotel room occupancy and room rates. High end hotels were particularly hit hard. Hotels that had been pulling in $300 to $400 per night room rates around California dropped to $100 to $150. Upper upscale hotels that had been $150 to $300 were suddenly available for around $100 on some dates.
Those low rates also combined with some of the most lucrative hotel loyalty program promotions of the past 20 years when two or three stays with a hotel chain earned a free night redeemable at high-end hotels. Upscale and upper-midscale hotels like Four Points by Sheraton, Courtyard and Hampton Inn priced at $75 per night meant the opportunity to earn free nights a hotel loyalty program member could redeem for the best of the best hotels in each brand.
In the years since 2011 and the economy u-turn to profitability for hotels, promotions have generally been lacklustre for big points bonuses. Big bonuses of the past three years generally require a committment of 10 or more hotel nights during a two to three month promotion. IHG Rewards Club is one of the hotel loyalty programs still offering some members lucrative bonus points promotions. At least mine have been worthwhile and achievable with 3 to 5 paid hotel nights.
Simultaneously room rates have climbed to record levels.
Aside from IHG Rewards Club, a chain where I find it inexpensive to earn points, most of my hotel reward stays are based on purchased points and spending the points I acquired in the past ten years across a variety of hotel loyalty programs.