There seems to be a lot of interest and effort in this forum to value points based on a comparison of the points cost versus the cash cost of hotel rooms. But successfully doing so would require some consistency in the points pricing of rooms. Looking to make reservation in New Orleans for next week, I tried it both ways with "flexible dates" at the New Orleans Marriott. The cash rates ranged from $94 to $219 per night depending on the date, while the points required were 40,000 regardless of the date. Thus, the points value ranged from .00235 to .005475. Like the rates, the difference is more than double. Is there any explanation for this? I guess what I'm most curious about is not how much the points are worth, but why the "points" rate never changes.

In a nutshell, it is "impossible" to value or cost points on a level platform as there are too many variables and assumptions that must be made to satisfy all conditions when assembling the primary data. It is even more difficult to compare points between MR and HH for example, as this adds more variables to the comparison.

However, my attempts in past posts to calculate the "cost" of points had to make several assumptions, the most important being that the member had top status (to earn maximum points), used the premium VISA (to maximize points), earned every mega-bonus, etc.- in short, a maximized point earnings calculation. Ditto for an HH earner. Even so, the "data cleaning" effort to make the HH/MR data points comparable were subject to challenges by other MRIs. (I limited the number of assumptions to what I believed were driving value within 2 standard deviations - even so, I had to eliminate some variables to have a reasonable and manageable data set and it was these outliers that were most challenged.)

Similarly, I attempted to value the points and found the most direct comparison on value to be the marketplace of each program where the number of points was compared to "purchase" identical gadgets. But of course, not all members use points to buy Weber Grills or Nikon DSLRs, etc. To address hotel spend value, I found the top 20 world destinations and used TripAdvisor to identify the top-rated hotel of each program in each city - an assumption that can also be challenged, but it was in my effort to normalize the data elements in a comparable fashion. I assumed also that the stay was for 10 days (to maximize the stay 4 get 1 free) while also crossing weekends (oftentimes more points) and during high season. This allowed me to compare top-rated hotels of each program during identical itineraries. Again, thinking I had normalized the data within 2 SDs, other MRI members challenged the assumptions.

I did my last comparison using the 20 most populous cities in the USA (my world-wide analysis was challenged) and used the same criteria as above hoping to normalize the data. Again. MRI members challenged many of the assumptions and had pointed out that several "important" assumptions were not evaluated or included in my population of data. (Those may be important to some individuals but I thought I had found enough data elements to account for 2 SDs of value drivers.)

IN SUMMARY- I have over 60 hours in gathering and analyzing of data in my previous posts in an attempt to statistically assign points a cost of acquisition and a spend value, but not all MRIs agree with the methodology or assumptions. I am glad to report they liked my analysis, but too often challenged the data - enough so that I do not want to spend the time to provide an updated analysis, because as you say,Is it really possible to value points?No.