Hotel points and airline miles vary in value depending upon how you use them. For example, you could spend 15,000 Hyatt points for a night at a $150 hotel to get 1 cent per point value, or you could spend the same 15,000 points for a $1,500 resort night (as I did in Costa Rica last year) to get 10 cents per point value.
Even though there is no right answer to how much points are worth (until you use them), there is a need to know. Which credit card signup offer is best? Which card should I use for spend? Is 15,000 points per night a good price for this award? These are just a few of the questions where the answers require point valuations.
My answer to what points are worth is found in our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) page. This page aims to answer: How much travel value can we reasonably expect to get from our points? If you’re not careful, you can get worse value. Or, if you cherry-pick the best awards you can get significantly more value. But if you try just a little bit to use points for decent value awards, you should be able to achieve these reasonable redemption values.
Last year, our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) for hotels came directly from a tool called Hotel Hustle. Hotel Hustle lets you search for hotels in a given city and it will show both the paid rate for the nights of interest and the points award rate. Hotel Hustle stores the information from all of the searches done on its site and calculates median point values for various hotel chains (found here). These median values became our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) for hotel chains.
Since then, Hotel Hustle has stopped calculating median values for a number of programs. But, I felt it was past time to update our RRVs. Fortunately, there’s another tool that offers very similar functionality and also calculates median observed hotel point values: Pointimize.
Pointimize’s 2017 hotel point valuations can be found here. And if you’re interested in an in-depth look at Hyatt point valuations, check out their article on that topic here.
The following table shows how our Reasonable Redemption Values for hotel chains have changed from last year to now. The left-most column contains last year’s RRVs which came primarily from Hotel Hustle. The middle column, for reference, shows today’s Hotel Hustle values, where available. The last column shows today’s RRVs, which came primarily from Pointimize:
|Program||Dec 2016 RRVs
(Hotel Hustle Values from 12/14/16 except where noted)
|Current Hotel Hustle Value
(as of 11/14/17)
|Dec 2017 RRVs
(Pointimize 2017 Values)
(Via ValuePenguin Post, not Hotel Hustle)
(From Hotel Hustle)
|Club Carlson Gold Points||0.36||0.37||0.38|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||1.70||N/A||1.74|
|SPG calculated as 3X Marriott||2.08 (I previously calculated this as 1.6 times 1.3)||N/A||2.16
(This is the number used for the RRV)
I find it interesting that there is very little difference between many of the values between last year and today. Many of the hotel chains have nearly identical RRVs this year even though the source of the RRVs is new. That’s good. It gives me some additional confidence in the methodology.
The biggest changes were as follows:
- Choice Privileges increased from 0.67 to 0.81 cents per point (a 21% increase). Pointimize’s report doesn’t cover Choice, so we were lucky that Hotel Hustle continues to offer this information. This increase in value doesn’t surprise me. Lately, I have often found opportunities to get 1 cent per point, or better, value from Choice points.
- Hilton Honors increased from 0.40 to 0.45 cents per point. That’s a 12.5% increase in value.
- Wyndham increased from 0.55 to 0.70 cents per point. That’s a 27% increase! In this case, though, we still have Hotel Hustle values to compare to and we see that Wyndham increased more modestly with Hotel Hustle (from 0.55 to 0.61, which is a 11% increase). This is the only case where the change from Hotel Hustle to Pointimize obviously changes the results in a significant way.
Top 10+ Hotel Credit Card Offers
As a reminder, we have a page titled “Top 10+ Hotel Credit Card Offers” where we display the first year estimated value of each card. All hotel cards are shown and sorted with the best first year value cards on top. This page (and others like it) automatically use our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) to calculate first year value. You can visit the page now to see results that are based on our latest RRVs. And don’t forget that you can page next to see beyond the Top 10.
[…] Frequent Miler, One Mile at a Time and The Points Guy, all have a page on their websites detailing their estimated value of hotel points. These point values are frequently used in their respective blogs as the basis for analyzing promotion value and credit card offers. […]
[…] Frequent Miler, One Mile at a Time and The Points Guy, all have a page on their websites detailing their estimated value of hotel points. These individual values are frequently used in their respective blogs as the basis for analyzing promotion value and credit card offers. […]
I’d been dancing around trying to get a good value for SPG points for more than a year. From what I’ve found in very expensive markets (NYC) you’ll see a lot of hotels that are relatively under-categorized and offer very good redemption rates. Combine with a 5+ night stay and you’re looking good. I probably would have actually shelled out $350 a night for the Times Square Sheraton and was able to score it for 9600 SPG points a night- a number of other Manhattan SPG hotels offered similar redemption options. Even if you want to imagine certain comparable non-SPG cheaper options it’s very difficult to say I got under 2.5 cpp.
I agree. I’m not a big SPG points person, but when I have them, I find that the sweet spot is NYC, especially midtown. When I have had to be there, but found prices for modest hotels too high, SPG points rates like the one you describe have been real deals.
It shows why best to have more than one points type in your portfolio, because although I normally get great value out of Hyatt points (enough so that 2x at restaurants with Hyatt Visa has always worked well for me), NYC is the one place where Hyatt points are never of any value (well, I suppose if you wanted to be at PH when nights are otherwise $1,000, but….)
So Greg per this guidance can you name a single hotel credit card that’s worth putting spend on vis-a-vis a 2% cashback card? I’m struggling to find one.
Best Western = 2 points per dollar = 1.16 cents per dollar
Choice = 2 points per dollar = 1.62 cents per dollar
Club Carlson = 5 points per dollar = 1.9 cents per dollar
Hilton = 3 points per dollar = 1.35 cents per dollar
Hyatt = 1 point = 1.74 cents
IHG = 1 point = 0.57 cents (the worst by far)
Marriott = 1 point = 0.72 cents (awful)
SPG = 1 point = 1.83 cents
Wyndham = 1 point = 0.70 cents
That’s exactly right. Many hotel cards are great for their perks, but not great for spend. For SPG, I don’t use 1.83. I use the 3X Marriott value: 2.16. That’s the card I would (and often do) use.
Why? If you truly value SPG at 2.16 or as you listed last year, if you value SPG at 1.6 or 2.08, then you are paying a $95 AF for the ability to barely exceed what a 2% cashback no AF card will give you while also limiting yourself to SPG vs cash.
At 2.16cpp valuation, you need almost $60k of spend on the SPG card to break even with a 2% cashback card…
Keep in mind that RRVs are intended to be a value at which it is reasonable to expect to get that much value or more. Lately I regularly find that I get more than 1 cent per point value from Marriott points, so the value I’m getting from SPG is more than 3 cents per point.
The hardest points to value are Wyndham points. That’s because every hotel costs the same 15,0000 points. Most of their properties are cheap (and bad), but several of them are expensive (and good). Wyndham also has a similar erratic dynamic with their cash & points redemptions (which I think have been a little devalued the past year as they’ve raised the “cash” portions of the award).
Bottomline, if you’re interested in staying at one of their nice Wyndham properties, their points are definitely worth more than .7 cents. If one of those somewhat rare properties are not in your travel plans, the points are worth much less than .7 cents.
Unfortunately, like you said most fall into the latter category. They have really been scraping the bottom of the barrel with Knight’s Inn, Travelodge, Days Inn, Super 8 and HoJo. Couldn’t pay me to stay at those bedbug hubs…
Right. If Wyndham were the only hotel loyalty program out there, it would be pretty bad. But if you accumulate only a modest number of points and use them only at their limited number of nice properties, you can get terrific value. It’s also worth noting that some of their unimpressive USA brands (HoJo, Ramada, etc) can be MUCH nicer overseas. These properties can be particularly attractive on cash & points, because the cash portion seems to somehow be capped based on the overall crumminess of the brand. I think Wyndham has fiddled with this loophole a bit in the past year, but there are still some c&p values.