This week got off to an interesting start with my three-part series on Gobank, the new Bluebird competitor which can radically reduce your cost per point when manufacturing spend using a number of popular methods (part 1, part 2, part 3). I'l be returning to that subject as Gobank increases their accessibility and we learn more about the product's capabilities.
Today I'll take a look at three hotel redemptions that are lesser known, but potentially lucrative redemptions of your hard-earned (or not so hard-earned!) hotel points.
With Hyatt Gold Passport, you can use 3,000 Gold Passport points to upgrade to a Regency or Grand Club room for up to 4 nights during any paid stay. Similarly, you can use 6,000 Gold Passport points to upgrade to a suite. Moreover, you're able to guarantee these upgrade at time of booking, so you don't have to wait on pins and needles for an upgrade to become available.
These points upgrades can only be used when you're staying on a reservation that's at least the "Hyatt Daily Rate," the flexible, non-prepaid reservations business travelers and those making last-minute reservations tend to make.
Over at View from the Wing there's a great discussion of this feature, under the fitting subtitle, "Why Do I Ever Stay in a Regular Room at a Hyatt?"
Hilton Award Upgrades
A similar benefit offered by Hilton HHonors is per-night point upgrades on award stays. Each property prices these awards out different, but there are some great values to be had here. For example, in March I was able to book an executive floor room at the Hilton Prague, with access to what is arguably the best executive lounge in Europe for 39,129 Hilton HHonors points; that's just 4,129 more points per night, or about $17, for a self-serve open bar that runs from noon until late at night, every day.
You can spend your HHonors points on these upgrades after making your initial award booking, and the price can fluctuate quite a bit as the property gets a better picture of its upcoming reservations, so it's worth checking back periodically to see if the upgrade price has made it worth making an upgrade with your points (or if you've earned more points since making the original booking).
Marriott Instant Redemption Award
This next award needs the following caveat: if you are aggressive about redeeming your Marriott Rewards points for high-value award night redemptions, then Marriott Instant Rewards will not provide you with the same value per point as those redemptions. But as anyone who's read my book knows, the least valuable point is the one you don't redeem. In that spirit, I think Marriott instant rewards can be a great redemption if you have Marriott Rewards points that you don't foresee a more valuable use for in the immediate future.
So what is a Marriott Instant Redemption Award? According to Marriott you can:
redeem points instantly at any participating Marriott across the US (except Hawaii), Canada and Europe (includes the United Kingdom, France and Germany).
You can only redeem your points for an Instant Redemption Award during an eligible stay, which is most stays that you book as an individual and have provided your Marriott Rewards number with the reservation. When you redeem points for an Instant Redemption Award, you can apply a credit against charges made to your room during your stay, according to the following redemption chart:
As you can see, these Marriott Rewards redemptions give you between .2 and .53 cents per point in value. Low compared to award night redemptions, but high compared to letting them expire.