When should you use points and when should you pay for hotels? It’s a common question if you’re a reward traveler and you’re a travel hacker.
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Hello Debra, have you stayed at the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort? Not sure if the Hyatt in Phuket is worth $90 a night or 12,000 points or if paying $90 is better.
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I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort for three nights in March as I traveled through Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Some people want to set an arbitrary value to a point. For example, one Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth 1.5 cents.
And that value is not a set number. It can vary depending on how much it costs to use the point.
If you have a stack of points or are hoping to earn a certain amount of points for a trip, you need to know how much you’ll pay for each point.
When You Should Use Points & When To Pay Cash For Hotels
Calculate how much it would cost you to use those points versus how much it would cost to pay in cash.
You can even find out how much it costs to earn points.
Everyone loves the Park Hyatt Maldives. Who doesn’t? The hotel is located on a private island with a white sand beach. It is simply paradise.
You can pay up to $1,000 per night depending on how long you stay. Yes, $1k per night for a standard room.
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If you don’t have Hyatt points saved on a World of Hyatt credit card or transferred from a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® credit card, you can buy Hyatt points. 2.4 cents each.
Pro tip: Check to see if the hotel offers a points + cash rate. You can save both points and money.
Even if you’re not staying in fancy hotels, staying in a hotel during the holidays, summer or spring break in cities like New York and Los Angeles can be expensive.
Spending New Year’s Eve at the Hilton Times Square costs $1,719 a night. But it’s only 80,000 points.
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If you have a large family or are traveling with your older children and need more rooms, it may be cheaper to earn points for the hotel than to pay a cash fee.
You can save big when hotel programs have points sales, discounts when you earn points, and select hotels at lower points rates.
If you’ve done the math and know that paying for points with cash will save you money, you’ll save more money if you buy points at a discount.
Right now, IHG is offering an 80% bonus on points. So, instead of paying 1.15 cents to 1.35 cents per lakh, you pay 0.56 cents to 0.64 cents per lakh!
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Not only will you save money, but you’ll get more nights for less. Think of it as your own version of a free fifth night program.
If staying at the same hotel for multiple nights, it may make more sense to pay with points instead of cash.
This means your one week vacation just got cheaper. Whether you stay in expensive hotels, moderately priced hotels or cheap hotels.
Pro-tip: Running short? Book the first four nights with points, get the fifth night free, and pay for the last two nights.
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Being able to use points to stay at well-known hotel chains in some countries means you don’t have to give up on your travel dreams.
Places you might hesitate to travel to are not as safe as other cities so you can visit.
Using points allows you to stay in central locations rather than places you want to see or things you want to do.
Pro Tip: You don’t pay taxes or resort fees on your stay. No money will be collected after your stay. So your wallet stays safe in your wallet and no one knows how much money you are carrying.
Ihg Hotels: Pay With Points, Cash … Or Both?
The best time to use points over cash is when you are cash rich and cash poor.
Saving points for a specific trip is a good plan. But hotel programs constantly change their award charts.
Those points you saved for your dream trip may not be worth as many free hotel nights as you thought.
Using my point value calculation at the beginning of the post, if Jose purchased 12,000 Hyatt points for his stay at 2.4 cents, he would spend $288 per night.
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He gets 5x points when he pays with his Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. He has to spend $2,400 to earn 12,000 points. That’s over $90 a night!
Because even if a free night costs you 5,000 points, you’re spending $120 to get 5,000 points.
When you pay for your room, you earn more points that can be used for future stays.
Pro tip: Although hotels allow you to earn VIP night credits for one room, you can earn points for up to 3 paid rooms per night.
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If the Citi Prestige card has a benefit like the fourth night free perk you should consider paying cash.
If you pay for three nights at that hotel with your Citi Prestige Card, the fourth night is free.
Just because you get a free night, paying for other nights may be more expensive than if you used points.
Not all hotels offer this fee and some do. But when you find one, sometimes it’s a good deal.
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The points+cash rate saves you points and money because you pay half the points value and a fixed cash rate for your hotel.
Compare the value of a points+cash ratio to see if you’re really saving money or paying more.
This happens when the prices are low, like in the off-season. Or when the combined cost of using points and cash costs more than paying for a room.
I recently stayed at the Hyatt House across from the Universal Orlando Resort. The cash rate for my stay was $247 per night. Or I can pay 8000 marks. I chose points.
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Currently, their cash rate is $137 per night and they offer a points+cash rate of 4,000 points + $55 per night.
It costs $96 to buy 4,000 Hyatt points and $55 in cash, so your total cost is $151.
Better if you can charge the room and your company will pay you. You can earn points and bonus points on stays for using a hotel-branded credit card.
Pro tip: You can deduct cash expenses for travel on your taxes, but you can’t deduct them with your points.
How Can I Book A Hotel For Someone Using My Credit Card?
When you book your hotel with programs like Hyatt Prive, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, and Visa Signature Hotels, you get special benefits like resort credit.
You can get a $100 resort credit at the Delano Las Vegas when you book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. On some days, cash prices are as low as $90 a night.
Pro Tip: When you book a Hyatt Prive Rate you get VIP Stay Credit and all Hyatt benefits.
If you don’t have enough points or are saving points to use for an expensive trip, it’s okay to pay cash.
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Knowing when to pay with points and when to pay with cash requires simple math. You need to calculate how much it costs to use points versus paying cash.
Because there is a cost associated with using points, even if you have a stack of points from great sign-up bonuses from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Preferred.
When you know how much it costs to redeem points versus paying cash, you can decide if using points is cost effective.
Although it may seem cheaper to use already earned points, it is not. Because sometimes hotel points like Hyatt and Hilton can be bought cheaply.
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Sure, you’ve racked up spending to earn points and miles. So you can enter it as the amount spent.
But if you plan to travel a lot, sometimes it’s cheaper to pay now and save your points for another trip.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. The welcome bonus is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, so this is the first card you need to start earning free travel.
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My favorite benefits of this card are 5X points earned on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X on direct purchases), 3X points on dining, $50 annual credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no
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