As many of you know, I'm on my way in a few days to the good ol' USA visiting civil war sites with my son, Houston, and a County collecting trip around Texas. In October my wife and daughter are visiting New York staying in Times Square.
Question... And I always ask myself this one, I have the points, but do I use them? Do I pay cash or do I redeem? These are the best rates I could get, and I have the points to redeem against everything but that would leave me empty and I don't want that. I also have a Cat5 certificate expiring this year to use as well. All rates include taxes...
Let's see what you think, all y'all (still practisin' ma' Texan)
All rates are for 1 night:
01. Cat 1 Courtyard - 7,500 or $190
02. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $140
03. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $170
04. Cat 3 Marriott FS - 15,000 or $70
05. Cat 5 Courtyard - 25,000 or $100
06. Cat 5 Springhill Suites - 25,000 or $130
07. Cat 5 Renaissance - 25,000 or $180
08. Cat 6 Marriott FS - 30,000 or $160
09. Cat 7 Autograph - 35,000 or $220
10. Cat 9 Renaissance - 45,000 or $600
Personally, I chose to pay for some and redeem for others, but what would you choose?
Make your choices folks, pay or redeem?
People certainly redeem with different aims, moonflower
Some I know particularly save only for Travel Package which they then use on first class flights and a week or so away, the idea being to have a memorable outcome from all those nights on the road. Some argue that the value from that redemption is largely illusionary since they would never pay for anything other than the cheapest seats in the plane and as we all know economy flight redemptions generally offer the worst return on your miles.
Others, like you, save up for the 5-nighters that can also be very memorable and when redeeming at 5-for-4 often represent good value.
Others still redeem for brands and would say that a particular brand is so ordinary it wouldn't feel like a reward if they redeemed there.
And actually one of my stays in the list does represent the return on a 5-nighter which I've divided by 4 when putting forward the cash cost, thus reflecting the extra 5-for-4 value. Two are 2-night stays, again divided down by the average.
I Don't really have a firm price but when it gets up to 200 + I usually use points . I earned a lot of points when working full time and heavy consulting but tend to still wait until the rooms are expensive. I do look at the five for four deals when I stay a long time in one place . What's really nice is when you can get into a room in season when rates can easily get to 300-400 but points are still based on average. I wonder if Marroitt at sometime will make point redemptions based on seasonal or day of the week . Many times business type hotels are empty over weekends so why not drop the points at that time
Well, Hilton have certainly gone in that direction, making their higher tiers flexible. Overall I don't see such an approach benefitting the working road warrior, but the retiree with a flexible calendar and a shed-load of both cash and points may well see great value from that arrangement.
And of course I missed out your approach to redemptions, namely redeem when the cost goes over a certain cash threshold...
I actually remember yourself addressing this issue more than once in the past, and advising us all that the key here should be around 1 cent per point. Hence, If you calculate by 1 level of category = $50 - than:
01. Cat 1 Courtyard - 7,500 or $190: 190>50 (or even 75) so choose to redeem.
02. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $140: 140>100 so choose to redeem.
03. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $170: 170>100 so choose to redeem.
04. Cat 3 Marriott FS - 15,000 or $70: 150>70 so choose to pay.
05. Cat 5 Courtyard - 25,000 or $100: 250>100 so choose to pay.
06. Cat 5 Springhill Suites - 25,000 or $130: 250>130 so choose to pay.
07. Cat 5 Renaissance - 25,000 or $180: 250>180 so choose to pay.
08. Cat 6 Marriott FS - 30,000 or $160: 300>160 so choose to pay.
09. Cat 7 Autograph - 35,000 or $220: 350>220 so choose to pay.
10. Cat 9 Renaissance - 45,000 or $600: 600>450 so choose to redeem.
Awesome spreadsheet! I do the same thing each year when planning my vacations. Actual value (Cents/point) varies greatly among different countries and regions, but I try to pay whenever the value drops below .6 cents. I also look beyond just the published rate and factor the taxes which can also affect the true value of those points.
Including taxes is a MUST when calculating your point value. Depending on how much the hotel is, and where you are staying, the price can increase drastically once you factor in tax. Since you don't need to pay tax on redemptions, it is just extra savings.
For my stay in NYC in october, the taxes are about $500. An extra $500 I don't need to pay is always fantastic.
Absolutely brilliant spreadsheet trevfour, and like fistuk you identify my choices, but that spreadsheet is very readable and illustrates one of the issues with this, as it looks from my list like the worst point value (the no-brainer cash-buy of the bunch) is the number 4 Marriott FS at $70 but it is in fact that little Cat5 Courtyard at number 5 that costs more but saves more points - and your spreadsheet highlights that in fact the unassuming Cat5 CY is the worst redemption of the lot, it's the no-brainer of cash. Likewise that Cat1 Courtyard at number 1 is the no-brainer redemption at 2.53cpp
Only missing out on the Cat5 cert prevented an A*,
So it's a rock-solid A
Well, you've certainly gripped this one by the horns fistuk, but the teacher in me stays you could have presented your solution more clearly, viz:
01. Cat 1 Courtyard - 7,500 or $190:.................$190>50 (or even 75) so redeem
02. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $140:.......$140>100 so choose to redeem.
03. Cat 2 Residence Inn - 10,000 or $170:.......$170>100 so choose to redeem
04. Cat 3 Marriott FS - 15,000 or $70:..............$70<150 so choose to pay
05. Cat 5 Courtyard - 25,000 or $100:.............$100<250 so choose to pay.
06. Cat 5 Springhill Suites - 25,000 or $130:....$130<250 so choose to pay.
07. Cat 5 Renaissance - 25,000 or $180: .........$180<250 so choose to pay
08. Cat 6 Marriott FS - 30,000 or $160:.......... $160<300 so choose to pay.
09. Cat 7 Autograph - 35,000 or $220:............$220<300 so choose to pay.
10. Cat 9 Renaissance - 45,000 or $600:.........$600>450 so choose to redeem
Very good, however you didn't indicate how you'd deal with the Certificate...
Sorry for missing that, brightlybob.
I think the answer isn't straight forward as it tends to lean on your personal preference:
Either you use the certificate on the most expensive paying option you have (both cash wise and points value wise), which is the Cat 1 Courtyard - saving you $190.
you use the certificate on the most expensive possible category, which is the Cat 5 Renaissance - worth 25,000 points.
Since you got the certificate free of charge you just need to decide what's more important to you: having a gift equal to 25000 points or saving $190...
Of course I'd recommend you to use it in NYC, but it's unlikely you'll find a category 5 hotel in Times Square
The cert was one of the two little land-mines in the question, fistuk and both ensnared responders. The other one was the seemingly gobsmacking cash value offered by the FS Marriott, at only $70/nt. which was not the worst value redemption as easily revealed by trevfour excellent spreadsheet, that place actually mathematically belongs to the unassuming CY at number 5!
I went for redeeming the Cat5 cert at number 7... I'm simplistic like that
I only really use 2 hotels in the UK nowadays, as regulars on here know. One is in London, the other in York. Because of UK tourist destinations, they are both the same category 7, so 35,000 points per night. But the London hotel is massively more expensive than the York one. So I always pay at York, getting Rewards points on the hotel cost and the Marriott credit card. I do the same for London, until I have 140,000 points. Then my next London stay will be on a 5 for 4 deal. It works for me!
That's a great way to make it pay, Tommo781 earn on the lower cost nights, redeem on the higher. Last year when I was staying with the teens on our American monthlong roadtrip I redeemed Friday and Saturday nights costing 45k each at the Times Sq Marriott Marquis when rates were $550/nt and spent cash on the Sunday night when it was $220. Earn low, redeem high!!!
Variable points could be difficult to manage but many times they post cheaper cash rates in certain properties over weekends or longer times so maybe Marriott could post only on insider points discounts for certain hotels and times. This would also add a little value to people using insiders ( also could be called insider trading )
Probably only the first and the last. The thing with redeeming this year is the question of what the two for one nights credit does both in the short term and long term. For me, at the start of the year I thought I would be scratching to get into the mid 60s and hope they renewed me as a plat, and be scratching to get gold in future years. with the promotion, I am looking to carry over 15 or 20 which should put me in range to keep platinum in 2018. Lifetime, I can now see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel to get to gold before my travel days are over, however the meager mega bonus has dampened that a bit.
Aah you have your own reasons behind this, peymanagement getting as many of those double nights plays out far more strongly than for me, as I'm very close to lifetime Plat anyway, but it would have pushed me against 2 & 3. In your position I would probably just go for first and last, though the expiring certificate means even in your position I would have used that too.
brightlybob when in oct are you going? I'll be at the essex house Oct 21 - 26th.
That 7,500 point redemption sounds fantstic...great value there.
I only ever try to redeem points if I'm getting >1.3 cents per point, not counting free night certs, as if i get too close to the expiration date I'll use them for anything just to get some value.
Edited to add: I would only redeem 1,2, 3, and 10.Everything else is meh. Can get better value for your points elsewhere.
I'm not going to NYC in October Jsucool76, the missus and teen daughter are, for a Mother-and-daughter girls long weekend from 25th to 30th October. The total cost inc tax would be $2,500!!! Hence why I've redeemed at 180,000 points, its strong value and also the wife will have no problem checking in as with point redemptions I can simply place it in my wife's name, useful where as a foreign visitor to the US hotels require the passport for the name on the reservation!
Yes, the Cat1 reservation is for the CY Houston Brookhollow on 14th September which happens to be right next door to the Attorney Generals office where I will be the next morning... And I mean literally next door!
And your choices exactly reflect mine, except that Im also redeeming my Cat5 cert at number 7, the Renaissance EWR on 13th September...
Not my choice here painedplatinum but I assume you see the huge value in the dull Cat1 CY, and the clear value at the number 3 RI covering those choices and the sticker-shock of 9 & 10 lead to those two. I didn't choose to redeem for number 9 though. Points and cash was only offered on one of my dates, by the SHS, but my view is that an ordinary redemption has to be at least debatable (ie close to a cent per point) before I consider P&C which is basically buying the missing points. The value at P&C is to be found mainly at categories 4, 5, 6 & 7 where you're effectively buying the points at well less than a cent. If the SHS had been a good value redemption and been offering Points n' cash, I would certainly have bitten as Cat5 & 6 are the sweet spot for P&C...
All my rates include tax painedplatinum, after all that's what the points are saving us, rate and tax!
And no, the number 4 Full service Marriott at $70 per night including tax is no misprint, Marriott Rewards members staying on a Thursday and Friday, or Friday and Saturday can take advantage of a special 40% off members rate at the Marriott Houston North in Greenspoint (AKA Gunspoint) and that's what I'm doing as I have business there after my first night and am flying out from IAH (to which it has a free shuttle) after my second night. I'll leave IAHFLYR, nationwide and SeaTexan to help you decide whether its a suitable spot for a very cheap "full service" romantic weekend with the significant other!
And that's exactly what I did, razorbackfan, although not anywhere near my 1cpp value, the expiry of these certs mean I notionally value them at half their maximum 25,000 points, so anything above $125 will do the trick and at $180 it's a goer!
I would pay cash if: (1) the redeeming points value is less than 1 cent per point, (2) the property is running a promotion where you can earn 1,000 or 2,500 additional bonus points per night/stay, (3) I needed to accumulate paid stays to meet a minimum threshold for a megabonus promotion. I also tend to save points for longer stays where I can get 5 nights for the price of 4 nights worth of points.
I too, like you, mustanggt tend to weigh in the value of any promos, whether hotel offered or corporate such as megabonus, but in this case neither have an effect, so I'm only my standard criteria namely
1 to 1.5 cents per point I will consider redemeption
Above 1.5 cents per point I will almost always redeem
Below 1 cent per point I will almost never redeem
To be honest, phctourist, I tend to find that Cats 1&2 are pretty much always good value redemptions simply because the point cost is so low, whether on a single night or a few. Likewise I find that Cats 8&9 can present good value on single nights because their cash rates can regularly be so stupendously high. All the rest of the categories tend to need to get to the 5-for-4 to make the cut...
The first thing I would do is to consider where to use the certificate knowing that it will expire soon. I always go with the highest category property eligible on the list. With 3 cat 5s, I'd then pick the most expensive, so the cert gets used at the Renaissance.
There are a few obvious "pay" choices. The $70 FS Marriott and the $100 CY. The $130 SHS is also a good "pay" options. The $220 Autograph is a tricky one for me. The points redemption value is not that great, but my points balance is high enough that I might consider using points over cash. Looking at it from strictly a value proposition, it would have to be cash.
The clear "points" redemption is the cat 9 Renaissance. The cat 1 and cat 2 properties are good choices as well based on the value of the points redeemed. The only thing that might make me consider paying for any of these low cat rooms would be the MegaBonus. If I knew one or two additional nights would be enough for the next tier of points, I'd give that some thought and start switching from points to cash with the lowest priced rooms first. Anything more than 2 nights to reach the next level wouldn't be worth considering.
So my results are (with the caveats noted above)
Well done, student bejacob, here's a Gold star for your efforts, although I do wonder if this is at least somewhat attributed to copying from trevfour and fistuk, and adapting your final answer according to my replies. However your answer is 100% correct, at least in my opinion
BY way of explanation, looking at trevfours spreadsheet numbers 1,2,3 and 10 all easily reach my 1UScent per point value. As homoviator points out Megabonus could effect these but only one redemption (#3) falls within the promo period and won't effect it for me, so that's no consideration. Numbers 1, 2 and 3 may be pretty pedestrian places, but grabbing that value, saving $500 for 27,500 points means maximising my rebate from my spending. Number 10 is a 5-night trip to NYC in October at the Times Sq Ren and theres no way I'll pay the shocking $2,600 being sought, 180,000 points is far more palatable! I'm not so sticker-shocked by number 9, the $220 Houston Icon on 21 September, to justify spunking out the 35,000 points demanded!
Finally, number 7 is the EWR Ren on 13th September and although not in play at all to redeem for points (0.72cpp) I value certs at only half their top category (ie Cat4 at10,000 and Cat 5 at 12,500) because they expire quickly and redemption opportunities are therefore far more limited. So the Cat5 cert redeems there!
Of the rest, numbers 4 and 5 are undeniably good value cash buys in almost any category and numbers 6 and 8, whilst by no means cheap represent too poor value on points against the cash to justify redeeming.
So, bejacob, A*
Very well done!!!
I'd use points for 1,7,9 and 10.
I'd pay for the rest and it would also depend if you can get bonus points for them. So personally, for example, I'm going to try to hit the 20 night bonus so I'm going to need to be paying for all the rooms I possibly can during that time, but some of them, like #10 is just too rich for my wallet for 1 night, but seems like a nice use of points.
YYes, whenever I redeem I do bear in mind the effect on any promo. In my case I will make the 10 nights and possibly 15, but no more, so i won't reach the next milestone in the Megabonus. And as only one of the redemption candidates occur during megabounus season it doesnt effect my thinking here...
A Lot of great input here!!! I decided 2 years ago to not use points. I will be retiring in less than 12 years and I would like to have a nice "warchest" of points to take some nice trips with my wife. I am doing the same thing with my airline points.
SAfe and enjoyable travels to all!!!!