Million Mile Secrets reader, Traveller Tom, commented:
On the surface, using the least amount of points sounds like the best idea. But Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely valuable!
For example, reader Traveller Tom will save ~$700 by using his Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a 2-night hotel stay through the Chase travel portal.
But just about the same number of points could get him a luxurious 2-night stay worth ~$2,000+ if he transfers points directly to Hyatt for an award stay at top-tier hotels like the Park Hyatt New York!
I’ll explain a few things you should consider when deciding which type of points to use for an award stay.
Use Hotel Points or Flexible Bank Points for a Free Stay?
I’ve written how earning transferable points gives you more options for booking award travel, including free hotel stays.
And with certain flexible points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can avoid blackout dates by booking hotel stays through the bank’s travel portal. That’s one reason Chase points are my favorite!
That said, you’ll typically get the most value for your flexible points by transferring them directly to a travel partner and booking award travel. Also, you will NOT enjoy any elite status perks by booking hotel stays through a travel portal.
But here are some other factors to consider.
1. How Many Points Do You Have?
If you only have a limited number of flexible points, you might not want to use them all. Although, some folks don’t mind using their flexible points if they can replenish them quickly.
For example, team member Keith frequently redeems Chase Ultimate Rewards for free hotel stays. Because he can boost his points balance by earning 3X points on travel & dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
But other folks might have a stash of Marriott points set to expire. In this case, it makes sense to use these points to book an award stay. So it really depends on your personal situation.
2. Will You Miss Out on Elite Status Perks?
- 4:00 pm late check-out
- Free continental breakfast
- Lounge access
- Room upgrades (if available)
For folks without elite status, using fewer points through the travel portal could be a better option.
3. What Are Your Future Travel Goals?
There are many ways to make use of your points to achieve your travel goals! And planning ahead can help you get the most value for your points.
For example, if Tom has other trips in mind for the future, it might make sense to hang on to his Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This way, he can transfer his points directly to travel partners to get the most Big Travel with Small Money!
Deciding which points are best to use for a hotel stay depends on your personal situation.
Thanks for the question, Tom!