Last week I saw a travel blog comment on a points purchase sale where some reader wrote, “I never buy hotel points.”
To each their own. I bought 240,000 IHG points for $1,200 this week.
This post is a summary of my 56 hotel nights for 2022. It reinforces my reasoning as to why I find great value in buying hotel loyalty points with Choice Privileges and IHG One Rewards. These two chains accounted for 53 of my 56 hotel nights in 2022. I used hotel loyalty points for 48 of these 56 nights. Buying hotel loyalty points is the primary reason I was able to book $10,000 in hotel stays for less than $4,000 in 2022.
2022 sees the return of my annual hotel stay summary after an absence for 2020 and 2021, when I only managed about 20 hotel nights during those two years.
2022 was a different kind of year for my hotel travel with my loyalty focused almost solely on IHG and Choice Hotels using points for hotel stays. I managed 56 hotel nights in 2022 with only six hotel nights booked at cash rates.
Paying $709 cash for my five night stay at Hotel Indigo Krakow, Poland a few weeks ago was my biggest hotel expense of the year. After deducting the value of 55,000 points earned ($275), my 5-night stay actually cost me $74 more than if I had kept my 72,000 IHG points reservation to pay for the 5-night stay.
2022 Hotel Stays By the Numbers
My Total Spend for 56 Nights = $3,969
- Includes $3,215 cost of points redeemed for 47 nights.
- Includes $289 total annual fees on hotel branded credit cards with annual free night that I used for 3 hotel nights. This is actually a higher expense than I should use for 2022 stays since it ignores all the points I earn from annual spend on these cards.
- Includes $465 spent on 6 cash nights ($434 net IHG; $31 Accor and 120 EUR with 6,000 points credit).
- Average price per room night = $70.88.
Hotel Nights in 2022 = 56 nights
- 41 nights at IHG hotels.
- 12 nights at Choice Hotels.
- 1 night at Hyatt Hotels.
- 1 night at Marriott Hotels.
- 1 night at Accor Hotels.
Hotel Stays in 2022 = 23 stays
- Lisbon, Portugal = 5 stays
- Gdansk and Sopot, Poland = 3 stays
- Las Vegas = 3 stays
- Krakow, Poland = 3 stays
- Madrid, Spain = 2 stays
- Thessaloniki, Greece = 2 stays
- Venice, Italy 1 stay
- Toronto Airport = 1 stay
- Munich Airport = 1 stay (This stay at NH Munich Airport is not in my spreadsheet below. Lufthansa covered the stay after a missed flight to Venice, which caused us to miss the first night in our booked $400 per night Hotel Aquarius suite that cost 16,000 Choice Privileges points.)
- San Francisco Airport = 1 stay
- Ventura, California = 1 stay
Hotel nights paid with loyalty points = 48 hotel nights (1 Accor, 12 Choice, 35 IHG)
Choice Privileges Points
- 232,000 Choice Privileges redeemed for 12 nights.
- 232,000 points cost me $1,206.40 with 2022 U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways purchases.
- $4,466 Best Flexible Rates for 12 nights at Choice Hotels. (6 of these nights were in a $400+ per night suite at Hotel Aquarius in Venice, Italy and 3 nights at M Resort, Las Vegas over weekend during a major music festival.)
- $1,206 to buy 232,000 Choice Privileges points saved $3,260 on room rates for these 12 nights at Choice Hotels.
IHG One Rewards Points
- 401,750 points redeemed for 35 nights.
- 401,750 IHG points cost me $2,009 purchased during Daily Getaways and IHG buy points with 100% bonus points promotions.
- $3,895 Best Flexible Rates for 35 nights at IHG hotels. This number is actually a low-ball amount since it does not account for room upgrades I received as an IHG Platinum and Diamond member (since Oct 22) or free breakfast for 2 persons on 14 of 35 nights at IHG hotel restaurants at Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo and Crowne Plaza hotels.
- $2,009 to buy 401,750 IHG points saved $1,886 compared to the lowest Best Flexible Rate for the entry level room category at these hotels during the 35 nights I stayed.
- As a specific IHG accounting example: I used $71 nightly rate for 8 nights at Holiday Inn Gdansk in my $3,895 total IHG room rates for 2022. This $71 rate was the price to book a Queen Courtyard View room, whereas, I actually stayed in a King Premium River View Room and each morning for 8 days we had complimentary breakfast as my IHG Diamond welcome amenity choice. King Premium River View Room was a $109 Best Flexible Room Rate and breakfast for 2 was a $40 per day added value benefit of IHG Diamond elite status. This is why the $3,895 best flexible room rate total I used for my accounting is a low-ball value that does not account for our IHG room upgrades and free breakfast.
In 2019 I paid 25,000 IHG points per night for a 2-night stay at Holiday Inn Krakow. In December 2022 I paid 11,000 per night for a 4-night stay using 44,000 points for Chase Mastercard 4th night free rate. I find IHG points far more valuable in 2022 than they were pre-pandemic.
Hotel paid nights = 5 nights (IHG)
- $709 paid for Hotel Indigo Krakow, Poland stay that earned 55,000 points. I deducted the $275 value of 55,000 points for a net rate of $434 used in my accounting for what I paid.
- I originally booked Hotel Indigo Krakow using 72,000 IHG points ($360 cost), then changed to a paid stay package rate with 5,000 bonus points per night. This stay also earned 10,000 bonus points with IHG stay 4 nights 2022-Q4 promotion. At the time I booked the paid stay the exchange rate favored the pay stay as the better value. The value of the dollar dropped against the Polish zloty in the two months before I completed the stay and I ended up paying $78 more than the price at time of booking.
- Even worse than overpaying for our stay at Hotel Indigo compared to redeeming points is the 5,000 points per night, considered a hotel special package rate, prevented the use of applying my IHG confirmed suite upgrade. I learned a lesson with this stay.
Hotel Credit Card Annual Free Night = 3 nights
- Design Hotels Memmo Principe Real – Lisbon Portugal. Marriott American Express card annual free night. Points rate for hotel was 35,000 points and my free night certificate had 35,000 points value. Hotel rate was $350 when I booked four months before stay. Hotel was sold out for months prior to our stay.
- Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki – Thessaloniki, Greece. Chase Hyatt Visa annual free night worth 15,000 points. I redeemed this certificate for a category 2 hotel that was priced at 8,000 points. Best flexible room rate was $260.
- Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach – Ventura, California. Chase IHG annual free night certificate worth 40,000 points. Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach was priced at 35,000 points or $230.
2022 Loyalty Traveler Hotel Nights Summary
56 Nights at $70.88 per night.
How I managed 65 hotel nights in 2019 at $53 per night.
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