Finding value in longer hotel stays

Different hotel rewards programs have different ways of incentivizing longer stays.  If you're the kind of person who like to stay in one place for two or more nights, it pays to know how to make the most of your points.  In this post I'll give a brief summary of each chain's approach towards longer stays.

Club Carlson: Second Night Free

As anyone following this blog knows, US Bank's co-branded Club Carlson credit card has one of the most lucrative incentives for award stays of 2 or more nights: the last night is free.  This benefit is more lucrative the shorter your stay: for a 2-night stay, it's a 50% discount on the points required, and the discount decreases the longer your stay lasts.  In cities with more than one Club Carlson property, you can make 2-night award reservations at each property in order to take full advantage of this discount.

Starwood and Marriott: Fifth Night Free

When you make a Starwood Preferred Guest or Marriott Rewards redemption of 5 nights, the fifth night is free, a 20% discount on stays of exactly 5 nights.

Starwood Nights and Flights: 5 nights plus miles

Starwood's Nights and Flights redemptions are another way of getting value out of 5 night stays at Category 3 and Category 4 properties.  You can redeem 60,000 Starpoints at Category 3 or 70,000 Starpoints at Category 4 properties, and receive 50,000 miles in the program of one of their transfer partners.  Since you can redeem 40,000 points for 50,000 miles at any time (because of the 25% transfer bonus on transfers of 20,000 points), this is like paying 20,000 Starpoints for 5 nights at a Category 3 property (about a 29% discount) or 30,000 Starpoints for 5 nights at a Category 4 property (a 25% discount)

Marriott Hotel + Air Packages: 7 nights plus miles

For even longer stays of 7 nights, Marriott offers Hotel + Air packages, which allow you to redeem additional Marriott Rewards points for miles in their airline partners at extremely lucrative rates.  For example, instead of spending 150,000 Marriott Rewards points on 7 nights at a Category 5 property, a Hotel + Air package allows you to redeem an additional 120,000 Marriott Rewards points for 120,000 miles in one of their airline transfer partners.  This radically increases the rebate value of paid stays at Marriott properties!

Hilton American Express and Elite Redemptions: stays of 4 or more nights

Elite members of the Hilton HHonors program receive a discount on stays of 4 or more nights at Category 3-7 hotels.  The discount is 15% of the points required for a 4-night stay, 20% of on a 5-night stay, and 25% of on a 6-or-more night stay.

Hilton American Express cardholders also have access to an unrelated set of discounts for stays of exactly 4 nights.  For 4-night stays in Category 6 hotels Hilton American Express cardholders pay only 125,000 points, instead of 160,000 points.  At Category 7 hotels Hilton American Express cardholders pay 145,000 instead of 200,000 points.

Hyatt and Priority Club

Hyatt and Priority Club have no discounts for longer award stays at their properties.