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INSIDER SECRET: Airline miles and hotel points depreciate, just like currency. The longer you hold onto your points, the more likely it is that they will lose value when airlines and hotel chains periodically increase their award prices.
I did something I tell people never to do.
I hoarded my Hyatt points for too long and found that a few resorts I had been lusting after, now cost 20% to 25% more points per night.
That’s beyond frustrating, but I’m not too bothered, because Hyatt points are really easy to earn. However, if I had been a little more aggressive with my trip booking, I’d have saved tens of thousands of points.
Procrastination Dented My Hyatt Points Stash
The two Hyatt hotels I most want to visit are:
For years, they have been on my wish list. Not only do these five-star resorts have fabulous reviews, but also the award price is very fair. That’s a big reason I want to visit. They’re a sweet spot on the Hyatt award chart.
However, a few months ago these hotels jumped in price:
- The Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo was 15,000 points per night. Now it’s 20,000 points
- The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa was 25,000 points per night. Now it’s 30,000 points
If I want to stay four days at either of these hotels, I must come up with an extra 20,000 Hyatt points. I guess that’s the price I pay for postponing vacation plans for five years.
I’m miffed at the price increase, but I know that both hotels are still a great deal with points. A night’s stay for 30,000 Hyatt points can easily be worth $650 per night. No-brainer.
These cards are solid not just for staying at Hyatt hotels. I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited for years and I use them all regularly because they each have their own special powers. Read our card reviews if you want to know more about them.
What Are the Other Options?
Use Points to “Buy” Your Hotel Room
Award prices change often. If a change occurs, and you don’t have enough points to book your stay, you may still have options.
I love collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points and transferring them to Hyatt. That is how I booked a free stay at the Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive hotel (which cost ~$425 per night). I’ve also used my points on many occasions to book hotels through the Chase Travel Portal. Using this method, you don’t have to worry about award prices. Instead, you’re focused on the cash price. The lower the cash price, the fewer points you need.
Check Out Booking Sites Like Airbnb
Another option to check out if your free vacation will cost you more than expected is Airbnb. It’s an excellent way to save a TON on accommodations if you don’t have a sufficient points balance to cover the entire trip. If you’re not familiar with the booking site, Airbnb allows you to book home stays and experiences offered by local hosts.
Your dollar will stretch further if you book with Airbnb, rather than with a hotel. For example, in Saint Lucia I booked a villa through Airbnb for $190 per night.
The villa had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gigantic deck, a private swimming pool, a dedicated work room, insanely high vaulted ceilings and a kitchen that I swear I’ve seen on MTV’s “Cribs.” That simply can’t be achieved at a hotel for $190 per night.
Don’t stockpile your points unless you’ve got something in mind for them. It’s always good to have some kind of reserve for emergencies or last-minute getaways, but you’ve got to understand that points depreciate. Generally speaking, a point is worth less today than it was five years ago, because prices increase. If you’re saving for a dream vacation, don’t keep putting it off. It’ll cost you down the road.
You can subscribe to our newsletter for more miles-and-points musings like this in the future. We’ll always tell you when a good deal crops up.