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Why are hotel points are more valuable than airline miles

by 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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8 comments for this entry:
  1. Hospitality bigwigs keen to open properties in karnataka like hotels in Bangalore!

    Karnataka would soon have world class hotels in all its important tourist destinations like the hotels in Bangalore. Karnataka government is seeking investments from the major players of the hospitality sector in the major tourist attractions to aggressively uplift the tourism department of the state.

  2. Use your United airline miles to upgrade and beat point inflation - Triangle Trip

    […] by Captain G on May.16, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel, Vacation Before booking an international ticket on United, I went through the Coach’s “Checklist for buying an international ticket.” In addition to the checklist, I went to UAL’s upgrade award chart and noticed UAL will be charging its customers a co-pay to use their airline miles to upgrade beginning July 1, 2009. Here’s the PDF and link for more details on how your miles are worth less and less in this economy. This is why I have been advocating to everyone to bank hotel points vs airline miles. […]

  3. Everyone’s offering Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), what’s the point of airline status? - Triangle Trip

    […] to an airline? Hence we recommend you book hotel points with your credit cards (see previous post) and choose the most efficient way to travel as status does not matter on US airlines. The entire […]

  4. Free SPG Weekend Night Redemption Experience - Triangle Trip

    […] is why hotel points are much better than airline miles — here’s a link to my previous post. (No Ratings Yet)  Loading … :excellent customer service, free […]

  5. Finally, Email notification from regarding SPG Free Weekend Nights status - Triangle Trip

    […] I finally received was a pleasant surprise.  Another reason to bank at Starwood (more reasons why hotel points are more valuable than airline miles), they respond to demand and […]

  6. Should you take Delta SkyMiles or Marriott Points for Marriott’s Triple Summer Miles offer? - Triangle Trip

    […] no promotions are involved, you may want to check out Captain G’s perspective on airline miles vs hotel points. (No Ratings Yet)  Loading … :airline miles, airline miles vs hotel points, calculate […]

  7. British Airways and Asiana Credit Cards, Worth the Hassle? - Triangle Trip

    […] I already have the SPG AMEX, which I think is the best travel credit card out there.  You get 1 point/$1 for everyday purchases.  You get an additional 2 points/$1 for stays at SPG properties (W, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridian, Four Points and more).  If you are Gold or Platinum SPG member, you get 3 points/$1 instead of 2 points for stays at SPG properties.  You can earn Gold status at SPG by spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.  A SPG night redemption runs around 10,000 points for a decent property.  So that’s about a $200 return for $10,000 spent on the card.  Not only that, the SPG AMEX allows you to transfer points to airlines miles at a 1:1 point to mile ratio, with a 5000 miles bonus for every 20,000 points transferred to miles.  So if you transfer 20,000 points to an airline mileage account, you would get 25,000 miles, usually good for a free domestic flight.  The card has an annual fee of $45 that is far less than the annual fees of airline cards, which run about $75-$100.  Lastly, I think SPG is the best hotel program out there and hotel points are far better than airline miles. […]

  8. Our point of view on the United-Continental merger - Triangle Trip

    […] United is merging with Continental to form the largest airline in the world (see news). United will carry the name, and probably its poor customer service, to the newly merged airline. I’m not sure how combining two non-profitable airlines will make the company profitable; the merger will create more United 1K and Global Service members. The merger will further dilute and devalue airline miles and making redemption of airline miles harder. This is why hotel points are much more valuable than airline miles. […]

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