Ric Garrido is owner-writer of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler has been my travel writing business since April 2006. Loyalty Traveler blog is primarily about hotel loyalty program travel opportunities and destinations. Frequent flyer programs are covered to a smaller extent.
In 2022 this blog focuses on earning hotel points and miles through travel or simply buying them when offered at discount prices. Credit cards are another route to hotel points.
Inflation hovering at 40 year highs is even worse at hotels where many increased rates 40 to 60% after pandemic travel resumed in heavy numbers in 2022. Higher end hotels have increased at higher percentages than lower market segment hotels.
In short, hotel points can generally reduce your room cost by 20 to 50% for hotels in specific places. Which hotel points are best to hold depends in large part by where you want to go and the best deals for that location. When in Prague I want Choice points or IHG points. In Tallinn, Estonia Radisson Rewards points offer good value. Baltic Sea beach resorts in Sopot, Poland favor Marriott Rewards with two oceanfront hotels to choose between.
Good value destinations change with time in a dynamic interplay between the value of points and the hotels in a location.
Dynamics of hotel points and room rates
In 2015-19, I looked at great value hotel deals in Lisbon, Portugal with IHG when hotels were a initially a fixed rate of 10,000 and 15,000 points per night. Then these same IHG hotels in Lisbon increased over the years to 20,000 and then 25,000 points fixed rate per night.
In 2022, with floating reward night rates, and with the IHG Premier Mastercard 4th night free rate available in 2022, I stayed 8 nights at Holiday Inn Express Lisbon – Av. Liberdade (4 nights = 48,000 points) and Holiday Inn Express Lisbon Plaza Saldanha (4 nights = 42,000 points). These two hotels had room rates at $1,250 for these 8 nights. Buying 90,000 IHG points costs $450 during several sales period promotionsthroughout the year.
My average nightly rate worked out to 11,250 points per night or $56.25 per night based on the periodic IHG points sales when rates drop to $5,00 per 1,000 points to buy points for hotel stays.
Airline Frequent Flyer Programs and Banks
Nearly all my airline tickets are low cost economy class tickets. Airfare deals are focused on economy class travel, primarily covering limited time sales for discount airfare to international destinations.
While I used to focus personally on business and first class travel 15 years ago, I stopped striving for premium flights in 2007 due to my awareness of the climate change impact of a flight wasting so much fuel and space to move my ass around the planet. The travel destination is far more important to me than the flight to get there.
My focus in travel is the lodging aspect of where I sleep when away from home.
Europe is my preferred travel destination. Most of my travel is around Europe when I decide to get out of Monterey, California.
Deconstructing 85 hotel nights in 2018 by loyalty program points redemption value – about $4,000 spent for 85 hotel nights.
I jumped into the points and miles travel writing world in 2006 after years of extensive travel around the USA and globe, earning and redeeming several million frequent flyer miles, primarily through travel promotions like OneWorld 1999 (earned 300,000 miles), LatinPass million mile promotion in 2000 (earned 1,014,000 miles), Star Alliance 2002 5th anniversary promotion (earned 500,000+ miles) and many other travel deals.
Airline frequent flyer programs were far more interesting to me when flying, rather than credit cards, was the route to earning big caches of frequent flyer miles. The commercial airline industry shifted heavily into a big bank alliance by 2005 with card acquisition and spending the easiest route for many consumers to earn big miles balances.
When not traveling, I enjoy life in the oaks and pines around California’s Central Coast with my wife and cats in Monterey, California.
Loyalty Traveler Contact and Social Media Links
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Hotels, airlines, websites mentioned and brand products discussed and views expressed on Loyalty Traveler blog are the sole editorial decisions of Ric Garrido and his company Loyalty Traveler.
Nearly all my travel is self-planned and self-paid with a focus on earning and burning hotel loyalty points. Economy airfare for global travel is so cheap in 2020.
Any link that provides affiliate marketing income or complimentary media trip is clearly disclosed in my posts.
As a general guide for Loyalty Traveler, I only stay in complimentary hotel rooms if I am invited to attend a hotel conference or a hotel, or when a tourism agency for a destination invites me for a media trip.
I don’t seek out media trips. My last media/press trip taken was June 2016 with a 3-night tour of Louisiana. I paid $150, so not quite free.