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On the danger of sounding previous, I’m going to say that the miles & factors recreation was so much simpler 15 years in the past. Again then, most journey loyalty packages nonetheless had fastened award charts, worldwide flight upgrades weren’t rarer than unicorns, inns didn’t (normally) play video games with elite advantages, and ‘Bonvoy’ wasn’t a verb.
Within the years since, we’ve seen each airline and lodge packages transferring to extra revenue-based fashions, and with this alteration got here the concern that the times of reserving good worth award redemptions had been quickly on the best way out.
Effectively, there’s excellent news on that entrance.
Sure, discovering wonderful or simply good-value lodge awards is now more durable than it was all these years in the past, however regardless that three of the 4 main lodge packages now hyperlink the price of an award evening to the money charge being charged (to various levels), and regardless that the fourth large program has devalued its award chart significantly for the reason that sunshine-filled days effectively over a decade in the past, good offers can nonetheless be discovered.
A fast little bit of analysis
Whereas I used to be caught on a snow coated taxiway just a few days in the past, I made a decision to move the time by trying to see what sorts of offers may nonetheless be discovered utilizing the currencies issued by IHG, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt, and whereas some currencies had been so much simpler to make use of successfully than others (this isn’t information), my outcomes (restricted as they had been) confirmed that we haven’t but misplaced all the worth out of the lodge factors recreation.
We might must work just a little more durable than prior to now (this is applicable to some packages greater than others), and the variety of ‘wonderful offers’ on supply could also be noticeably a lot decrease these days, however the recreation remains to be alive and effectively if you happen to’re ready to play more durable.
Listed here are just a few examples of what I imply (needless to say I used to be intentionally looking for dates on which the worth that every level supplied was as excessive as doable so I’m not suggesting that these are ‘customary’ outcomes).
Right here’s an instance the place a property is charging $484/evening earlier than taxes …
… which rises to over $604/evening when taxes and charges are added in:
The identical room may be booked (for a similar evening) with 75,000 IHG factors + a rip-off amenity charge:
If we strip out the amenity charge from each charges, we’re left with the selection of paying $562.44 or 75,000 factors for the evening and reserving this as an award evening would see us getting ~0.75 cents of worth out of each level.
Spectacular? No. However that’s nonetheless fairly good for a forex that I worth at simply 0.4 cents/level, and which is steadily on sale for simply 0.5 cents/level.
The screenshot that you simply see beneath is the price to remain on the Hilton London Park Lane on New 12 months’s eve 2024, and whereas a minimum of two of the opposite Hilton properties in London need 200,000 – 450,000 factors for a room on the identical evening, this property will let members use simply 80,000 factors to e-book a room costing $752. (together with taxes).
This can be a reserving that may get a Hilton Honors member 0.94 cents of worth out of each level used, and as it is a forex that’s steadily on sale for simply 0.5 cents/level, that’s a fairly incredible redemption.
Right here’s the West Hollywood EDITION charging $808 (together with taxes and rip-off charge) for a single evening in Could …
… and right here’s the identical evening on supply for 85,000 factors + rip-off charge:
Adjusting for the rip off charge, the EDITION is giving Bonvoy members the choice of paying 85,000 factors to cowl a money charge of roughly $768, and a member selecting the factors possibility would get ~0.9 cents/level in worth.
As soon as once more, this isn’t a spectacular return, nevertheless it’s a return that I discovered with out a lot hassle and as most individuals who play this recreation appear to worth Bonvoy factors at 0.7 cents or beneath (I worth them at 0.6 cents every), that’s fairly good redemption.
With Marriott, issues can generally look slight higher on the
flawed different coast.
Right here’s the St. Regis New York charging $1,148 (together with taxes and rip-off charge) or 108,000 factors + rip-off charge for a single evening in June (full with butler service):
Adjusting for the rip-off charge, an award reserving right here would see a Bonvoy member utilizing 108,000 factors to cowl a $1,098 money charge which equates to ~1.02 cents/level in worth.
Sure, I can keep in mind the times when you would get double that worth out of Marriott or Starwood factors so I’m not suggesting that that is an unbelievable deal.
What I’m suggesting, nevertheless, is that it is a whole lot (Bonvoy bought factors for beneath 0.85 cents final 12 months) and one which exhibits that utilizing Bonvoy factors can nonetheless supply first rate worth regardless of all of the devaluations this system has foisted on us over current years.
On the time of writing, Hyatt is the outlier program out of the 4 packages talked about on this article as a result of it’s the one one which doesn’t tie the money charge to the price of an award whereas additionally making awards moderately simple to search out (at most properties).
Right here, for instance, is one other New 12 months’s Eve reserving the place the money charge is $995/evening (together with taxes and charges) …
… and the place the award price for a similar room on the identical evening is 29,000 factors:
That’s the equal of getting ~3.4 cents of worth out of each level … and that’s fairly spectacular.
Right here’s one other instance.
Right here, the money charge for an additional New 12 months’s Eve reserving is $491…
… whereas the identical room on the identical evening may be booked for simply 23,000 factors.
That’s the equal of getting ~2.1 cents of worth out of each level and, whereas that’s not as wonderful as my first instance, that’s nonetheless fairly good for a forex that’s usually on sale for beneath 1.85 cents/level and which may be earned with exceptional ease by playing cards that earn Final Rewards Factors (e.g. card_name, card_name, card_name, and so on….).
Lastly, I couldn’t resist throwing in one of many extra ridiculous offers that I noticed*.
Right here’s the Grand Hyatt Tokyo charging $1,630 for a customary room in April (no, I don’t know why it’s so costly both):
And here’s a customary room with Membership Entry obtainable for 33,000 factors on the identical evening:
That’s a reserving that may see a World of Hyatt member getting over 4.9 cents of worth out of every level, and that’s earlier than a real like-for-like comparability is made.
That calculation assumes that each bookings could be equal when, in reality, the factors reserving provides Membership Entry the place the money reserving doesn’t, and with the money charge for the Membership entry room coming in at over $2,000, a like-for-like comparability really exhibits a WoH member getting over 6.0 cents of worth 🙂
*In equity, this might solely be a very wonderful deal if you happen to actually wished to remain at this property as if you happen to didn’t actually care which Hyatt you stayed at in Tokyo, different cheaper choices could be obtainable.
What I’m not making an attempt to do right here is counsel that it’s nonetheless extremely simple to get nice worth out of all the main lodge currencies, as a result of that’s merely not true.
What I’m making an attempt to indicate, nevertheless, is that the lodge factors recreation isn’t lifeless and that with a little bit of utility, flexibility and ahead planning, good/excellent offers can nonetheless be discovered.
The sport lives on … for now.