When one hotel chain says there’s a 2,000 point bonus per stay, it doesn’t mean much, but when another does, it’s almost worth going out of your way to lock in. Why? Hotel points from each loyalty program are worth vastly different amounts.
Don’t fret, it’s simple. It’s because 2,000 hotel points with one chain can be vastly more valuable than 2,000 with another, and even 30,000 with one hotel loyalty program may be less valuable than 10,000.
One of the larger misconceptions with points is that they’re all basically same, so let’s take a second to break down why you might want to look more closely at the hotel points offers you see flashed into your loyalty accounts, and which points are best to collect…
One Hyatt point is at least 3X more valuable than one Hilton Honors Point, and therefore the Hyatt promotion is even more valuable on the surface than the points difference would suggest. In fact, even if it was Hilton offering 3,000 and Hyatt offering 2,000 the Hyatt promotion would still be more valuable, by a long shot!
That doesn’t mean one loyalty program is better than another. It just means they do things different when it comes to points. Just like countries do money different…
Why are Hyatt Points worth more than Hilton Points, you say? Because the highest end Hyatt hotels you can book top out at 40,000 points per night.
Almost all the standard five star hotels you’d want to experience, like the Park Hyatt Tokyo, or Andaz New York will be just 30,000, 25,000 World of Hyatt Points or fewer. Make 10 stays with the 3,000 bonus points, you’d have enough for one night, maybe even with a few left over in a top tier hotel.
Hilton on the other hand, tops out at an astronomical 95,000-110,000 points per night, and at 2,000 points per stay, you’d need 46 nights or more to earn the points needed by the bonus alone. Hilton has other great ways to earn points, like credit cards which offer over 150,000 points as a welcome bonus, but it’s a great illustration of the basic differences.
Is it the same with other hotel chains, like IHG, Marriott, Accor and others? You bet! Here’s a little breakdown of how each program’s points are valued…
The Overall Picture Isn’t As Simple
In this example, you’d think Hyatt is obviously the loyalty program for you. It might be, but it’s just not quite that simple, unless you happen to earn most of your points via Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards, which can be turned into Hyatt Points 1:1.
For actual stays, you typically earn more points per stay on the face of things with the other programs like Hilton which charge more points for free stays but mean you earn more points when you do stay, in similar proportion. If the way you earn free nights and perks is from hotel stays, all the loyalty programs are actually really close in the rebate you get as a reward.
A general member of a hotel program typically earns 7-8% back in points on each stay. If you have the time, I highly suggest reading this comparative guide which explains that much further. Basically, the easiest way to think of hotel points is as a cash back rebate, in the form of points.
Each hotel chain offers varying level of rebate for general members, and for members who earn elite status. Statistically, Wyndham, Hyatt and Marriott offer the best rebate, with each above 7%, whereas IHG and Hilton are more around 6%.
Now, onto calculating the respective values of each points program. This is how you figure out what kind of value you should get for your points with each program, and helps to explain why fewer points from one, can be more valuable than more points from another.
For simplicity sake, you can work with the assumption that your points from various hotel programs are worth…
- Marriott Bonvoy Points are worth around 0.6 cents per point.
- IHG Rewards Club Points are worth around 0.5 cents per point.
- Hilton Honors Points are worth around 0.4 cents per point.
- World Of Hyatt Points are worth around 1.5 cents per point.
- Radisson Rewards are worth around 0.4 cents per point.
These points valuations may be off by 0.1 or similar margins in some instances, but that all depends how you use the points, and see the trajectory of loyalty programs. Don’t worry about it. Just use the figures as a baseline of value, and try to do better with your stash of points.
Think: 100,000 points at .5 cents per point should be worth $500.
Knowing the minimum value you should be deriving from your points in each loyalty currency can help you to understand better what things like credit card bonuses are actually worth, or if a hotel bonus offer is worth going out of your way for and worth doing if it’s easy and in the wheelhouse.
How To Calculate Value Of Hotel Points
If you’re unsure how to make sense of those calculations, let’s use the 110,000 point Marriott Point Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card bonus as a guide.
To understand the minimum value you’d hope to extract from that bonus, you’d multiply the number of points by the point valuation they offer above, like (100,000 x 0.006), for a total of 600, which you can then stick a dollar ($) sign in front of.
For that bonus, you’d hope to extract at least $900 worth of hotel nights, upgrades, or other ways of using points. How to figure that out? Check the price of the same night you hope with points, with cash. If the paid cash rates add up to more than the value of your points, you’re doing it right.
Back to the comparative value of different programs, It’s why something like a 50,000 point World Of Hyatt Credit Card offer might not sound nearly as exciting on the face, compared to 150,000 from Hilton, Marriott, IHG or others, but at (50,000 x 0.015 value, you’d expect $750 of value, which is a better return.
Hopefully, this will give you a clearer understanding of just “how good” or how “underwhelming” an offer might be.
If you have the time, it’s really worth diving deeper into the rebates each hotel group brings on actual stays, since it can really paint a clearer picture of what you should be focusing on. The more you know!