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Which Hotel Points Are the Most Valuable?

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Which Hotel Points Are the Most Valuable?

Caroline LupiniWhich Hotel Points Are the Most Valuable?Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: IHG, Marriott, and Hilton all offer some kind of discounted award stay (either fourth or fifth night free). You can stretch your hotel points a lot further with longer stays.

Not all points and miles have the same value. Even when comparing some hotel points to other hotel points, you’ll see a range of value. Which hotel points are the most valuable overall? We’ll get into this and more.

Some of the most valuable points are transferrable point currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards that give you have the option to transfer to Marriott, Hyatt or IHG. One of my favorite cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Or, if you’re looking to top up some of your point balances, both the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card have great limited-time sign-up offers right now. Also, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is a great choice if you need more Marriott points. You can also check out some of the other best hotel credit cards.

Just like all hotels aren’t created equal, all hotel points are not created equal. (Image courtesy of Hilton)

 

Which Hotel Points are the Most Valuable?

Before you get too caught up in numbers, think about where you want to travel and which hotel chains have hotels there. If hotel points are the most valuable on our list but you can’t use them anywhere you want to travel, they’re effectively worthless to you.

Although 100,000 Hyatt points will generally go a lot further than 100,000 Hilton points, if there’s not a Hyatt hotel in the cities you want to visit, it’s not going to matter how many you have.

1. Hyatt — 2.0 cents per point

The Palacio Duhau — Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is my favorite Hyatt hotel, all thanks to points from my Chase cards. (Photo by Caroline Lupini)

Even though Hyatt isn’t my favorite brand because they have fewer properties, I’ve gotten some insane value from my Hyatt points. One of my favorites was a two-night, $1,000 stay at the Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires for only 50,000 Hyatt points. That rate of 2.0 cents per point is a pretty standard Hyatt points value.

Hyatt points are incredibly valuable, but with only 850+ hotels worldwide, there may not be a Hyatt hotel where you want to go.

2. Marriott — 1.0 cent per point

Marriott points aren’t worth as much as Hyatt points, but with over 7,500 properties around the world, there’s probably a Marriott property near where you want to be. The  value of Marriott points is generally less than 1.0 cent each.

My favorite Marriott stay to date was at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, with a great redemption of only 35,000 Marriott points per night.

My seven-night stay at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc was my favorite hotel stay ever. (Image Courtesy of Caroline Lupini)

Additionally, when you redeem your Marriott points for long stays, you’ll get your fifth (and 10th, 15th, etc) night free. That means that if you always redeem your points in five-night increments, you’ll essentially be getting a 20% discount on all of your award nights.

Note: As of Sept. 14, 2019, Marriott is changing its fifth night free to “Stay for 5, Pay for 4.” That means that when you book five nights with points you’ll get the cheapest night free.

3. IHG — 0.5 cents per point

Although IHG points and Hilton points are both worth about 0.5 cents each, I find my IHG points easier to use. IHG and Hilton have around the same number of hotels worldwide, but IHG has more transparent redemption rates. And IHG has a few more international properties than Hilton.

The Holiday Inn where I stayed in Munich wasn’t glamorous but it did save me a stein-full of cash. (Image by Takashi Images/Shutterstock)

I haven’t redeemed points for splurge-worthy IHG hotels, but I have gotten some seriously good value from IHG points. In 2017, I spent five nights at the Holiday Inn in Munich during Oktoberfest. Hotels are notoriously expensive during that time.

Additionally, if you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you’ll get your fourth night free on award stays. That means that you could be getting 0.625 cents per IHG point in value if you always redeem in four-night increments.

4. Hilton — 0.5 cents per point

As I mentioned above, IHG and Hilton are pretty similar. We value Hilton points around 0.5 cents each and both chains have a similar number of hotels. However, I find Hilton points to be the most difficult to actually use because the Hilton award chart doesn’t exist anymore. It’s possible to get decent value out of Hilton points, but it takes more work.

I haven’t ever made a big Hilton redemption, but that’s because I’m saving up for a splurge.

Hilton also offers members with elite status their fourth night free. It’s not hard to snag Hilton status because you get it just for carrying a Hilton credit card. Here’s the status that comes with each card:

Right now three of these cards have limited-time increased offers that expire on August 28, 2019 Check out this post to learn more about the Hilton credit card offers.

Summary

For a quick reference to the point values for each hotel programs, plus possible bonus nights, how many properties there are and some luxury and budget brands within each chain, check out this table.

Hotel ProgramPoint Value5th Night Free OptionProperties in the USProperties WorldwideHigh-End Luxury BrandsBudget Brands With Free Breakfast
Hyatt2.0 cents per pointNo~700850Park HyattHyatt House, Hyatt Place
Marriott1.0 cents per pointYes52317571JW Marriott, Ritz-Calton, St. Regis, Autograph CollectionFairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Springhill Suites, Element
IHG0.5 cents per point4th Night Free With Chase IHG Premier Credit Card~30005723InterContinentalHoliday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites
Hilton0.5 cents per point5th Night Free With Elite Status45625757Conrad, Waldorf AstoriaTru, Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites

Bottom Line

The first step in knowing which hotel points are the most valuable is knowing which hotel points you can actually use. Not all hotel brands are in every location, so even the most valuable hotel point won’t be right for everyone. But as a general rule, here are the values you can expect to get out of your hotel points:

  • Hyatt — 2.0 cents per point
  • Marriott — 1.0 cent per point
  • IHG — 0.5 cents per point
  • Hilton — 0.5 cents per point

You can stretch the value of your points by redeeming them strategically. Keep these values in mind and make sure you are at least meeting them when you’re redeeming your points, and remember you can get your fourth or fifth night free at Marriott, IHG, and Hilton hotels, which bumps the value of your points a little higher.

Recommended Reading: 

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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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What I’ve noticed about Hyatt, is that their price for a room changes drastically depending on the season. Their points however remain the same, which I love. The hotel Im talking about in particular is the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale AZ

What about Marriott 5th night free with status? We’re staying at Protea in Walvis Bay, Namibia, at this very moment 5th night free with status.

This analysis is great, but it only looks at half of the story – redemptions. You have to look at how easy it is to accumulate points and factor that in. For example, Hilton points amass very quickly with the Hilton Surpass bonus, earnings category bonuses on regular spend (groceries, dining, gas) and other earnings opportunities like surveys. I find , Marriott points actually harder to accumulate and their award chart is pricey.

That said, Chase Ultimate reward points are still my fave beyond any of the hotel points programs. Simply because they are more valuable, Flexible and easy to accumulate. They transfer 1:1 to Hyatt, IHG, Marriot and Hilton (only Hyatt is worth considering doing!)

Excellent point and I agree. I’ve usually found that welcome bonuses make for a great way to earn a bunch of points, even for those deemed hard to accumulate.

I agree with RSNFAN that the ability to earn miles is a huge factor. In that regard I would rank Hilton a little higher since it is possible, with various bonuses and the right Hilton Amex card used for stays, to build the account very quickly.

I’m Titanium Marriott and Diamond Hilton and find, as a rule, the Hilton properties take more points for similar stays. However, as noted above it is easier to earn Hilton points so that may offset the cost of the stays.

You mentioned you hadn’t done a large Hilton redemption. I’m leaving tomorrow for Dubrovnik and staying at the Hilton Imperial just outside the Pile Gate. Total for 5 nights was 280,000 points but the stay would have cost $3000-$3500 so getting 1.1-1.25 cent per point which I consider good value. I definitely use value charts when looking at redemptions (or deciding to just pay cash) to ensure I get the best value for my points.

You’re in for a treat! The Hilton Dubrovnik is an excellent hotel! The offerings at the club lounge and the breakfast are outstanding.

Thanks AC,
I too am Hilton Diamond. I’ve been banking most of my points for retirement, (1 mm points as of now) but use them when it makes sense.
Love the perks with the Aspire card. Last stay was the Key Largo Curio resort in June for our 40th.
Two weeks to to go for a Hilton Bell Tower stay in Sedona Az.
Enjoy YOUR stay at the Imperial.

What needs to be considered is how much you need to spend to earn those lovely points to use instead of paying for a hotel stay (or air fare).

As an example:
The AMEX Hilton Surpass earns 3x per $ at restaurants (My AMEX Hilton Aspire earns 7x) The IHG card mentioned earns 2x per $, yet the average valuation mentioned in the article for both chains is 0.5 cents.
So for a 90K room I would need to spend $30,000 on the Hilton card at restaurants vs $45,000 spend on the Chase IHG card. (only $12,857 spend on the Hilton Aspire though)

Personally I would much rather stay at a Hilton property than a IHG property.

How much in spend, depending on what card you have, to what value you get from that spend amount is the question. With most annual fees being easily recouped with card benefits, although that too should be valued, I don’t consider it a major factor.

Would love to see a deep dive article on ALL cards with value of each to the spend amount needed for average Hotel stays or Airline flights. (The REAL value.)

There will always be those special bonus offers to capitalize on for the most BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.
That’s where MMS is helpful.

Actually my bad, Surpass is 6x on restaurants, the no annual fee Hilton Amex is 5x.

Surpass is 5x on restaurants.

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