I wanted to share a story from 1TP reader Ben who shared his personal experience of redeeming points, and how he determined whether to use points or not. When I hear stories like this, it makes my day…
Just wanted to share this with you, you have taught me well! I have to go to Midland, TX in a few weeks and for some reason, all the Marriott properties in the area are crazy expensive, like $250/night for a category 2 hotel. Even the Holiday Inn Express is $263! Usually, my stops in flyover country offer cheap Marriott options but this time, it’s so expensive that I’m going to be smart and use points. Because it’s a category 2 Residence Inn, I can spend 15K points per night (2 nights). If a Bonvoy point is worth .7 cents, then I’m only spending a little over $100 in points per night which is totally reasonable. It seems backwards to use points on a stay like this but as you have taught me, you have to look for and locate the value, and it may not always be in the place you’d think. Thanks as always!
For clarity, Ben and I have exchanged a fair amount of emails. If you read his message above and feel completely lost, it’s ok. This is a topic that I haven’t covered in depth on this blog.
However, you should always think of points/miles as another form of currency. For example, Hyatt points, Delta SkyMiles, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Amex Membership Reward points, etc. all have an associated value.
In this case, Ben is valuing Marriott points at .7 (or 7/10ths of a cent). Personally, I value Marriott points at .8. The Residence Inn (a Category 2 hotel) is charging 15,000 points/night. Given those numbers, the value of the points are “worth”:
- Ben: $105 (15,000 x .007)
- Jamal: $120 (15,000 x .008)
In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a lot of difference between .007 or .008 but it gives you a framework in determining whether you should pay in cash or redeem points. In other words, we’re both valuing those points at roughly ~$112.
Ultimately, Ben is determining if he wants to “pay” $112 (in points) or pay $250 (in cash) PER NIGHT.
As I said in my reply email, “points all day!”
Although, I tend to reserve my points for redemptions that I could not afford otherwise (see Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace), $250 is an absurd amount of money to spend on any Residence Inn regardless to where it is located in this world. And this is the best part about points, they give you the freedom to make alternative decisions.
Imagine if Ben did not have any Marriott points…he would be forking over $500+ to stay at a Residence Inn (or $520+ to stay at a Holiday Inn Express). Ouch! Is the complimentary breakfast really free if you’re paying that much!?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the rate for the Residence Inn was $90 (in cash), he could obviously redeem points in that scenario also. However, I wouldn’t categorize it as a great redemption given the fact that he would be “paying” more in points than the cost of simply buying the room outright ($112 vs $90).
I was curious if his specific dates were just expensive or if that was the norm in Midland, TX, so I picked a random weekday next month and these were the results:
As you can see, Ben made a great redemption!
Again, this is a topic that we have not covered on this blog yet but here is an introduction…I guess. 🤪
I will add a page soon that identifies how I value various points so you can use it as a reference when you redeem your points.
Have you had an experience where points have saved you a lot money?I want to hear more stories. Tag me on IG or contact me if a blog has led to an amazing vacation or you just want me to see you living your best life!