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Tag: hotel points better than airline miles


Free SPG Weekend Night Redemption Experience

by Captain G on May.30, 2009, under Hotels

I was recently redeemed my free SPG weekend nights (here’s the link to Big A’s post on how to redeem your free SPG weekend nights) and want to let everyone know that the process was extremely smooth even thought I encountered a few hiccups along the way. Here’s my experience:

I rang Starwood’s customer service line to redeem my free weekend nights plus a five-night point redemption reservation, but found out that I was not properly enrolled. The customer service representative knew I was in a hurry and split my reservation into two reservations:  one for the free SPG weekend nights redemption and another for my SPG points redemption. The customer service representative also reassured me that he would make sure my free SPG weekend nights enrollment would be retroactive.

At the Sheraton front desk of my destination, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise:

1.  My SPG free weekend nights were made retroactive

2.  The Sheraton hotel (Category 6) I booked allowed me to redeem 4 nights using my SPG points, and gave me the 5th night for free

3.  I also got my Platinum choice award (I opted for the 500 bonus points of course)

In summary, Starwood’s worldclass service should be held as the standard for the travel industry. The US airline industry should look to Starwood for some guidance.

This is why hotel points are much better than airline miles — here’s a link to my previous post.

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Why are hotel points are more valuable than airline miles

by Captain G on Mar.09, 2009, under Airlines, Hotels, Travel Partners

Following up to my previous post regarding depreciation of airline mile, I am sure you have seen tons of posts about which is the best credit card to earn airline miles or hotel points or getting cash back. Since 2006, airlines have adjusted blackout dates, limited the number of seats available for redemption and increased the number of miles required for a free ticket. Furthermore, most airlines are charging customers for ticket redemption. For example, I had to pay $150 plus 60,000 miles to redeem a ticket on Delta with less than a week advance booking. If you use the old method of one penny (USD 0.01 per mile), my ticket cost me $750 ($150 + $600). In addition, I had to pay for taxes and fuel surcharge. Despite the fact that my ticket was a last minute purchase and would have been around the same price, I don’t think airline miles are as valuable compared to hotel point.

Hotels unlike airlines have relaxed their redemption policies. Many hotels have adjusted their redemption requirements for 2009. Starwood never had blackout dates which makes them one of the best hotel programs. Marriott recently jumped on the same bandwagon by eliminating blackout dates. Since January 2009, hotels have been on a promotion spree and issuing bonus points to loyal customers. Starwood and Hyatt properties have multiple generous bonus offers that goes on to mid-April. Hotels also have generous cancellation policies. Here are the promotions:  Hyatt and Starwood. Most hotels allow you to book a room and cancel on the same day before 6PM without any penalties. Airlines however charges you a fee to redeposit miles.

If you are a frequent travel to international destinations like myself, hotel points will come in very handy. Most American hotels in international destinations are clean compared to local hotel chains – i.e., Thistle in the UK can be great if it’s new or a hole in the wall if it’s in an old building. American hotels are also consistent with service and generally cost more. Redeeming hotel points at international destinations gives you the best bang for the buck. You can always find a cheap fare to London (i.e., American and United has $200 round trip fares almost every week) but you will rarely find a hotel deal at a Marriott or Hyatt in central London.

In summary, we recommend banking hotel points which is going up in value vs. banking airline miles that is facing inflation pressure. The more airline miles you have with an airline, the more money you will end up spending on them.

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