I’ve never used vacation packages, wondering if it’s a better use of my 270,000 points to book rooms separately and just buy my airline tickets (round trip now $260.) thanks in advance Debbie
You dont have to use the miles in the same trip where you will use the hotel nights. The best use of points is to use them for travel packages.
The miles are just deposited into your FF account, so you use them how you wish. You can use them for a higher cost ticket later (instead of the $260 round trip ticket) and you'll have your hotel stay covered. A travel package is definitely the way you want to use your points, and if you use them on United before the RewardsPlus promo ends (Nov. 30th), you'll get a 30% bonus (25k max bonus), or 157k miles (vs. 132k).
Travel packages can be a great use of points as you can transfer up to 120,000 points to airline miles at Par which is a truly unique opportunity with those hotel schemes that pay out on the basis of 10 points per $ (Hilton, IHG and Marriott). By the sounds of it you’re looking at the Cat1-5 package giving you a 7-night certificate valid for any Cat1-5 property and 120,000 miles to most airlines, though not all. With USA airlines 120,000 Miles should get you a transatlantic return ticket in Economy for you and your loved one, with a pretty low taxes and fees charge of maybe $50pp and saving approx $500pp. But the value in airline miles lays in the business cabin where for double the miles you can travel in the kind of style that costs quadruple the cash price of economy saving more like $2,0000pp. In other words your 120,000 Marriott points can save you about $1000 in Economy flights with your significant other or $2000 travelling alone in Biz, all with that low $50 taxes and fees.
However the miles can be awful value. Take a trip I’m planning to DC in April. I found that for $400 return with Lufthansa via Frankfurt. Redeeming, say, 60,000 UA per person on that trip would be foolish. After UK taxes the saving would be $300 which is terrible value for 60,000 UA miles, or for that matter the equivalent 55,000 Marriott points (You get 10% extra miles if you transfer to UA).
Here in Europe our mileage schemes operate differently, our copays are egregiously high, but the miles to redeem are lower. Taking my premium economy redemption last month LHR-LAX return at only 30,000 miles per person. That’s only 60,000 Miles for 2 in Premium Economy! Alas, the copays are huge, $600pp. Nonetheless against the $1500pp seat price it still represented a saving of $900pp, $1800 total for my 60,000 Miles which is 3c per mile, considering I value Marriott points at 1c each that’s storming value!!!
My concern in your post is that you’re considering this redemption to secure a $260 fare. I‘m not sure I see the value here especially as there are very few Cat1-5 hotels I’d want to spend 7 leisure nights at. Now Cats 7, 8 or 9 have much nicer choices.
In short, the Travel Packages can be great value, they can also be poor since their real value is determined by the value you extract from the miles bit since you’ll find it difficult to get a big value out of the Cat1-5 cert...
I'm not following the basic premise of this package. Are we to assume that if I get the package, that there is availability for the dates that I want to travel? Are there blackouts? If there are, why would I blindly select one of these packages if the hotel is available but the air isn't.
No you just get the points associated with the airline of your choosing. You can do whatever with the points.
The only thing that matters is hotel availability. As long as the hotel is bookable (wih award space) for that 7 day window, you should be fine.
The cost of getting both airline miles and hotel award is pretty good (and much better with United).
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