I'm fond of saying that what travel hacking needs is more facts and less data. Much of affiliate blogging is taken up with listing transfer partners and earning rates, without concern for the ways that people actually earn and redeem their miles and points, and how to do so as lucratively as possible.
If there is a good argument for data over facts, it's the website of Seth Miller, the Wandering Aramean. He has developed a number of tools, some more and some less useful, but one I've been spending a lot of time on lately is Hotel Hustle. Hotel Hustle allows you to search, by airport or city, for properties in eight major hotel loyalty programs. It has a number of bugs which require it to be used in conjunction with another tool like AwardMapper, but it's a great resource.
The other day I noticed that Seth introduced what had the potential to be a very fun addition to Hotel Hustle: Hot Rates.
When I saw him post about Hot Rates on Twitter, I thought it might be an interesting way to see which hotel loyalty points are really worth earning for "aspirational" properties. My thought was that since cash prices have no upward bound (a hotel can theoretically charge any amount for a night), but award prices do have an upward bound (the top of the award chart), outsized per-point values would be most likely to occur at the most expensive properties.
Oddly, that proves to be not at all the case. Since the Hot Rates are powered by users' searches on Hotel Hustle, it's impossible to tell how representative they are, but the vast majority of Hot Rate properties are either airport properties or random mid- and low-tier properties in cities that happen to host one or more huge events each year.
Here's the entirety of the Club Carlson Hot Rate list. Besides the Radisson Blu in Beijing, these are not properties folks are sprinting to redeem their last-night-free benefit:
Anyway, this post isn't meant to be an endorsement or an indictment, just a quick hit making my readers aware of this potentially useful resource.
Hopefully Seth will continue to introduce new features that will eventually make it truly valuable to the working travel hacker, and prove me wrong once and for all about the usefulness of data in this hobby!