Why Using the Fewest Number of Points for a Hotel Stay Is NOT Always Worth It!

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Traveller Tomcommented:

Is it better to use 90,000 Marriott points for a 2-night stay at The Cove Atlantis, Autograph Collection or book the stay through the Chase travel portal for ~56,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

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!

Book Hotel Stay With Points
Consider the Value of Your Points Before Booking a Stay at Hotels Like The Cove Atlantis

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?

Link:   Beginner’s Guide to Using Flexible Points for Big Travel With Small Money

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

Link:   Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

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.

Book Hotel Stay With Points
Flexible Points Are Terrific for Saving Money on Travel! You’ll Typically Get the Most Value Transferring Points to Travel Partners

This means Tom is likely better off using Marriott points to book an award stay at The Cove Atlantis instead of redeeming points through the Chase travel portal.  Even if it costs more points!

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.

Book Hotel Stay With Points
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, You Can Earn 3X Points on Dining. This Can Help You Quickly Replenish Your Points Balance If You Eat out Often

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?

I mentioned you do NOT get any elite benefits when booking hotel stays through a travel portal.

So if Tom has Marriott elite status and books his stay through the Chase travel portal, it might NOT come with:

  • 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!

Bottom Line

Deciding which points are best to use for a hotel stay depends on your personal situation.

For example, you might use fewer flexible points booking through a bank travel portal compared to redeeming hotel loyalty points directly.  But you’ll miss out on elite status benefits!

And transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, are extremely valuable!  So you might be better off saving those to help achieve other travel goals!

Thanks for the question, Tom!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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