I've poked around this message board, and I've seen different calculations.
Now my head is swimming.
Is there a general rule-of-thumb one can use when deciding whether to pay cash or use points?
Example: Cash price of $150 vs. 10,000 points?
To me, it depends on how many points I have and what I might be saving them for, and how good a deal the hotel is. In other words, every stay is different, depending on current state and future plans.
I think 10000 points for a value of .015 cents per point is pretty good --I think in that case most people would use points if they had plenty to use
I shoot for around that figure. I'd use the points.
Anything above .7 cents per point is a good redemption IMHO.
Keep in mind that awards stays typically also include the various taxes and fees that go along with the room. So using points on a $125 room rate often can approach a $150 savings by the time it's all said and done.
I have a different thumb rule for this issue:
I take the average of a nightly rate I'm used to spend and compare it to the rate in question - if this rate is much higher than my average than I'd prefer spending the points, especially if it's a very expensive rate which can be found in luxury hotels & resorts.
I regret that I may be one of those that caused your head to spin... Sorry
I would always redeem a night that costs $150(inc taxes) or more for 10,000 points. If I was heavy on points and light on cash I might use 15,000 points. I would never consider redeeming 20,000 points for a room at that price.
My minimum redemption target (inc taxes) goes
Cat 1 $75
Cat 2 $100
Cat 3 $150
Cat 4 $200
Cat 5 $250
Cat 6 $300
Cat 7 $350
Cat 8 $400
Cat 9 $450
In other words 1UScent per point. Note you can do better than these, popular times can see a redeemable cat 5 hotel room sell at $400, a cat 9 at $700. If you've got hundreds of thousands of points a Marriott Travel package can be a good idea, I recently redeemed 360,000 points for first class return tickets UK to Miami and 7 nights in the Florida Keys. The cash price was $7,500 (inc taxes), a return of 2.1UScents per point. More prosaically, last year I redeemed 400,000 points on a family roadtrip staying at Marriotts in Ottawa, Albany, New York, Oakville and Toronto for a total of 13 room-nights worth $5,300 (inc taxes), a return of 1.3UScents per point.
As usual, Bob, you have provided needed light to a murky subject. I have been collecting points and not using them while I'm working, but as I'm not approaching retirement, I'm getting to the point where I'll be using them. I will keep your calculations and suggestions in mind. My beloved and I thank you!
WWell, thanks for your kind words. Hope you find somewhere nice to redeem!
I try to use redemptions on five night stays. That 5th night for free has always improved the value of my stay.
I am yet to use the flight and hotel travel package option but you examples suggest I really should. I wish you were my travel agent!
I agree. About 100 points per dollar. Your 10,000 points is a bargain for a $150 room. (But why is a Cat 2 room so much? I'm writing this from a Cat 2 room that goes for $99/night.)
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