How I’m Using Hotel Points To Escape The Heat – And You Can Too…

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With record temperatures forecast for Monday and Tuesday next week (18th/19th July 2022) and no air conditioning at home, it occurred to me that it might be the perfect time to book a little break at a nice air-conditioned hotel.

Judging from the rates at hotels near me on Tuesday, I’m not the only one planning some respite… £250+ for a night at the Park Plaza in Leeds? No thanks:

The Hilton, IHG and Marriott options aren’t much more tempting:

Hotel points to the rescue!

Most of the the major hotel loyalty programmes have made unwelcome moves towards ‘dynamic’ award pricing, but it’s still possible to bag a (relative) points bargain when cash rates are through the roof.

I try to keep a small stash of points with each of the major programmes (enough for a night or two at a city hotel) to give myself maximum flexibility in these types of situations. If you don’t have the points to hand though, it can sometimes potentially make sense to buy them, as you can see below.

That £254 night at the Park Plaza can be yours for just 30,000 Radisson Rewards Points: 

Given the 3:1 transfer ratio, that’s equivalent to 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards Points (worth ~£100). Or, you can buy 30,000 Radisson Rewards Points for ~£180 ($210) at the standard rate. There are frequent sales though where you could get them a lot cheaper.

£274 for a night at the Hilton, or 30,000 Hilton Honors Points:

Due to the current 100% bonus (which seems to be more or less constant), 30,000 Hilton Points can be bought for just ~£128 ($150). That’s a saving of over 50%.

£219, or 36,000 IHG One Rewards Points for the Holiday Inn Express:

This example is less clear-cut as there isn’t currently a bonus points sale on and the standard rate for IHG One Rewards Points is vastly overpriced. Instead, let’s use my rule of thumb valuation for redeeming IHG Points, which is ~0.4p per point. You would effectively be trading points ‘worth’ £144.40 (36,000 x 0.4p), for a room costing £219. That’s still very expensive for a Holiday Inn Express, but if you’ve only got IHG Points, it’s an option.

£228, or 29,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for the Leeds Marriott Hotel:

Just like the previous example, the standard rate for buying Marriott Bonvoy Points is too high for it to really make sense, unless there was a bonus offer on. In fact, given my ‘fair value’ redemption target of ~0.7p per Marriott Point, this example isn’t an especially good use, even if you have the points available. It would be an ok redemption, but not great.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to escape the heat and enjoy air conditioning next week, a little ‘staycation’ could be a great idea. Do double-check that the hotel has air con though!

The broader point I wanted to make is that, despite repeated devaluations and ‘dynamic pricing’, understanding hotel points can still save you a lot of money – particularly when cash rates are high. In the example above, taking a few minutes to buy Hilton Points, instead of booking the cash rate directly, would cut the cost of your stay in half.

How are you planning to keep cool next week – please share your tips in the comments below!

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