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Absurd as it may sound, Capital One miles can make a lot more sense than Chase Ultimate Rewards points in a few areas of the miles & points hobby.
One of those areas is paid hotel stays. There are multiple reasons for this.
The current best option for earning Capital One miles in a hurry is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. I have the card, and I’ve used the bonus for fun stays in a tree house Airbnb, as well as a castle near Galway.
Use Capital One Miles for Paid Hotel Stays
Here’s a simple summary: When you book with Capital One miles, you get all the benefits of booking directly with the hotel. When you book through the Chase Travel Portal, you don’t. That’s because the Chase travel portal is powered by Expedia, so you’re essentially using your points to book through Expedia.
When you book directly with the hotel, you’ll get the following benefits:
You’ll Probably Get a Better Room
Hotels like when you book directly with them. They can see who booked through a third party and who booked direct, and they prioritize folks who come straight to them.
For example, if a hotel is filling up, travelers who book direct will get all the preferred rooms before anyone who booked third party. I experienced this in Ireland when I booked a night at Clontarf Castle through Expedia. Looking at the floor plan on the back of my door, I literally had the smallest room in the hotel.
In all fairness, I can’t prove the reason I was given that room, but I strongly suspect they save it for third party bookings.
You Earn Hotel Points
When you book with an online travel agency like Orbitz or Expedia, you won’t earn any hotel rewards. So if you’re staying at a chain hotel like Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt, you won’t earn points that you can redeem later for free nights! Only travelers that book directly with the hotel will earn points.
You Earn Hotel Night Credits Toward Elite Status
You also will not earn elite night credits at chain hotels if you don’t book direct. So if you desire hotel elite status, booking through a third party is the worst thing you can do.
You Receive Elite Status Benefits
If you already have elite status, you won’t receive any of your status benefits unless you book directly with the hotel.
For example, if you have Hilton Gold elite status, you’ll receive the following benefits just for booking direct:
- 80% bonus points
- Potential upgrade to Executive room type
- Complimentary breakfast at all hotels
If you book through Expedia, you’ll get none of that.
Reservation Changes Are Much Easier
Need to change or cancel your reservation? You’ll have a WAY easier time if you book direct with the hotel.
You (usually) can’t call the hotel to make any changes to your reservation if you bought your room from a third party. You’ll have to contact the website from which you made your purchase, and then they’ll have to get with the hotel. It can be a nightmare.
If you simply book with the hotel, you can contact them for an immediate solution to your problem.
Capital One Miles Are Usually a Better Deal Than Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hotels
There is a way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book directly with certain hotels: Transfer your points!
However, with the exception of Hyatt, it’s usually a good idea NOT to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to hotel partners, namely:
You’ll often receive a value below 1 cent per point with these currencies. For example, here are both the cash and the points prices for IHG hotels in my area.
As you can see, you’ll spend significantly more Chase Ultimate Rewards points than you would Capital One miles for all these hotels. In the last example, you’ll pay ~11,000 Capital One miles for the room (after tax), and 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to IHG) for the same room.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are great for TONS of things. But in the hotel department, I’d only recommend you use them exclusively for Hyatt stays. Better to redeem Capital One miles for everything else.
You can read our post on smart ways to use Capital One miles here. And let me know your favorite card to receive free hotel nights!