When to use points and when to pay cash for hotels? It’s a common question when you’re an award traveler and a travel hack.
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Hi Debra, have you ever been to the Hyatt Regency Phuket? The Hyatt in Phuket is only $90/night or 12,000 points, not sure if it’s worth it or better to just pay $90.
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I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Phuket for three nights in March while traveling to Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Some people like to set an arbitrary point value. For example, one Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth 1.5 cents.
And this value is not a set number. which may change depending on the cost of using the point.
Whether you have a bunch of points or want to earn points for travel, you need to know how much you paid for each point.
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Calculate how much it would cost you to use this point versus what it would cost to pay cash.
You can even find out how much it costs to earn these points.
Everyone loves the Park Hyatt Maldives. Who wouldn’t? This hotel is located on a private island with white sand beaches. It’s just heaven
Depending on the length of your stay, you can pay upwards of $1,000 per night. Yes, $1000 per night for a standard room.
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If you do not currently have a reserve of Hyatt points from a World of Hyatt credit card or have transferred from a card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can purchase Hyatt. Points are 2.4 cents each.
Pro tip: Check to see if the hotel offers points + cash rates. You can save both points and money.
Even if you don’t stay at luxury hotels, vacations, summer or spring breaks in cities like New York and Los Angeles can be expensive.
New Year’s Eve at the Hilton Times Square is $1,719 per night. But it’s only 80,000 points.
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If you have a large family or are traveling with grown children and need multiple rooms, getting hotel points is cheaper than paying cash.
When hotel programs sell points, you can save big, offer discounts when redeeming points, and offer select hotels at discounted points rates.
If you’ve already done the math and found that you’re saving money by paying for points instead of cash, you’ll save even more when you can buy discounted points.
IHG is currently offering 80% rewards on points. So instead of paying 1.15 to 1.35 cents per point, you’ll be paying 0.56 to 0.64 cents per point!
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Not only can you save money, but you can also get extra nights for less. Think of it as your version of a free fifth night program.
When staying multiple nights at the same hotel, it makes more sense to pay with points rather than cash.
That means your week’s vacation just got cheaper. It doesn’t matter if you stay in expensive, mid-range or budget hotels.
Pro tip: What about short spots? Book the first four nights with points, get the fifth night free, and pay cash for the last two nights.
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Being able to use points to stay at famous hotel chains in some countries means you don’t have to give up on your travel dreams.
You can visit places you might be hesitant to travel to because it’s not as safe as other cities.
Points can help you stay centrally located and closer to the places you want to see or things you want to do.
Pro tip: You don’t pay taxes or resort fees for your on-site stay. No money will be collected after the stay. So your wallet stays safe in your bag and no one knows how much cash you’re carrying.
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One of the best times to use points versus cash is when you’re rich and poor.
Saving points for a specific trip is a good plan. However, hotel programs often change their reward charts.
The points you’ve saved up for your dream trip may not be worth as much free hotel night as you thought.
Using the points cost calculation explained at the beginning of my post, if Jose bought 12,000 Hyatt points at 2.4 cents per stay, it would cost him $288 per night.
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Earn 5x more points when you pay with your Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. You need to spend $2,400 to earn 12,000 points. That’s over $90 a night!
Because even if the free night only costs you 5,000 points, you’ll spend $120 to earn 5,000 points.
When you pay cash for a room, you earn more points that you can use for future stays.
Pro Tip: While hotels only allow you to earn special nightly credit for one room, you can earn points for up to 3 paid rooms per night.
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If you have perks like the free 4th night gift from the Citi Prestige card, you should consider paying cash.
When you pay for three nights at the same hotel with the City Prestige card, the fourth night is free.
Just because you get a free night, you may end up paying more for other nights than you used your points for.
Not all hotels offer this price, and sometimes they do. But when you can find it, sometimes it’s a good deal.
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The Points + Cash rate saves you points and money by paying half the price of points and a flat cash rate for your hotel.
Compare the cost of points + cash rate to see if you’re really saving money or paying more.
This can happen when prices are low, such as during the off-season. Or when the combined points and cash price is greater than the room payment.
I recently stayed at the Hyatt House across the street from Universal Orlando Resort. My cash stay was $247 per night. Or I can pay 8000 points. I chose points.
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They currently have a cash rate of $137 per night and are offering a 4,000 points + $55 per night cash rate.
Since it costs $96 to buy 4,000 Hyatt points and $55 in cash, the total cost is $151.
Even better if you can charge the room and your company will reimburse you. With a hotel-branded credit card, you’ll earn points for your stay and bonus points.
Pro tip: You can deduct cash travel expenses from your taxes, but not use points.
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When you book a hotel through programs like Hyatt Prive, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, and Visa Signature Hotels, they get special perks like resort credit.
Get a $100 resort credit at Delano Las Vegas when you book with Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Cash is only $90 per night on select dates.
Pro Tip: When you book a Hyatt Prive rate, you get Elite Stay Credit and all World of Hyatt gifts.
If you don’t have enough points or are saving points to use for more expensive trips, you can pay with cash.
Guide: How To Decide Whether To Buy Points Or Pay Cash For Hotel Stays
Knowing when to pay with points and when to pay with cash requires some simple math. You need to calculate how much it costs to use points versus paying with cash.
Because it costs money to use points, even if you have some points from big sign-up bonuses from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Preferred.
Once you know how much it costs to redeem points versus paying with cash, you can decide if it’s cheaper to use points.
Although it may seem cheaper to redeem points in advance, it can be. Because sometimes you can buy hotel points like Hyatt and Hilton cheaply.
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Of course, you’ve already waived the fee to earn those points and miles. So you might want to think of it as money already spent.
But if you plan to travel a lot, in some cases it’s cheaper to pay cash now and save points for your next trip.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for travel hackers. This is the first card you should get for free to start traveling because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
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My favorite points on this card are 5x points 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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