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As the old saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. I find that to be extremely applicable to earning points & miles through credit cards. As things change, so should your strategy.
When it comes to hotels, I’m not super loyal to one brand. I think Hilton has done a great job as of late, but that doesn’t leave me only staying at Hilton properties.
My wife and I were recently able to book a great deal on Delta to fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia! After the flutters and excitement of our upcoming adventure dwindled away, it was time to start looking for a place to stay. I took a quick glance at my points balances across hotel brands, and I saw a healthy balance between Hilton and IHG. I’ve got tons of points from opening cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
We came up with a great plan to get the most from our hotel points. This is what we planned, and how we received two free nights from it!
The Plan: Stay at Hilton and IHG Hotels
Using Hilton Points
We decided to spend 5 nights in Sydney and 4 nights in Gold Coast.
So for the first part in Sydney, I looked into Hilton hotels. While there isn’t a ton of selection, we decided to stay at the Hilton Sydney. I cannot wait to see this hotel in person, it looks stunning!
The Hilton Sydney costs 65,000 Hilton points per night. However, if you book 4 consecutive nights completely on points, you get the 5th night free! So for 260,000 Hilton Honors points, we are able to stay 5 nights.
Most of these points came from the sign-up bonus from my brand new Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, which gives us automatic Diamond status with Hilton.
While this redemption isn’t mind blowing in terms of value of points, it is saving us about $1,100. Also, the Hilton Sydney does have a Executive Lounge which is available to any Hilton guest with Diamond status or higher, regardless of room. While that doesn’t affect the redemption value, it will save us money having a complimentary breakfast each morning in Sydney.
Using IHG Points
Next, we decided to spend 4 nights in Gold Coast. With incredible attractions and lots of activities, we figured we would take the quick hour and a half flight north.
After exhausting my Hilton points, we looked into IHG properties. We came across these two hotels at the same price point.
I was immediately drawn to Voco first, just because I had never heard of the brand before. It was just launched in the middle of 2018, and it is branded as an upscale hotel that is “the perfect mix of thoughtful, easy-going but attentive service, that allows our guests to get on with relaxing.”
After looking into it more, my impression was just another brand created to attract millennials. Unfortunately, these brands tend to be lacking in amenities and the full hotel experience. So, we decided to go with the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise.
Similar to Hilton, IHG has a long-running promotion for points users. If you book 3 nights completely on points, the 4th night is free! So for 90,000 IHG points, we are able to stay 4 nights. While this redemption is also not mind blowing, it is saving us about $450. However, the Crowne Plaza has a wide variety of rooms, and being an IHG Platinum Elite member through the Chase IHG Premier Credit Card, we have a good shot at getting an upgrade.
So from my divide and conquer credit card strategy, we were able to secure 2 free nights and stretch our points even further!
The credit card points & miles world can seem overwhelming for one simple reason: There is no one right credit card, airline mile, or hotel point that fits everyone’s needs.
However, the divide and conquer strategy has definitely benefited my wife and me in our travels. As brands continue to make efforts to devalue their points and loyalty programs, it is advantageous to remain nimble and be ready to shift your loyalty between brands (unfortunately…).
Do you have a story about dividing your efforts among loyalty programs? Throw it in the comments!