Following my introductory piece on hotel points today, I figured it was a good idea to go all out and get the creative juices flowing by highlighting some of the best hotel redemptions available using points.
I am not going to include examples of hotels or resorts that are theoretically possible to book with points, yet require a massive amount of points to do so, such as the newly opened St Regis Maldives where one of their overwater villas will set you back 90,000 Starwood points (SPG) per night! I’m also not going to list properties like the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea or the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora where standard room reward availability is nigh on impossible to find.
Instead, I am going to take a look at various luxury hotels with prices to match and how you could use points to avoid those prices altogether.
1.) Conrad Koh Samui
Koh Samui is on most people’s bucket lists but you may have thought a luxury hotel like the Conrad was simply too pricey.
Here is the price for a 5-night stay in September 2017:
It actually is much better than that. The cash price of £577 per night does not include taxes and charges, whereas on a reward stay there are no taxes or service charges to pay.
This means the final prices look more like this:
At today’s rates, the room total of 148,375 THB is about £3,360.
Since Hilton Silver, Gold and Diamond members get the fifth night free on reward stays (here’s how to get free Silver status) the total for the stay would be just 76,000 HHonors points per night.
So you could pay £3,360 or redeem 380,000 HHonors points – giving you a value of over 0.8p per Hilton point – which is excellent.
2.) Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
I searched for a 3-night stay in June 2017:
As you can see the total for the 3 nights would be 494,262.00 or just over £3,500. Alternatively, you could redeem 210,000 Marriott Rewards points. Following the Marriott/Starwood merger, you can transfer Starpoints at a 1:3 ratio to Marriott.
Doing so would mean a total cost of 70,000 Starpoints for the stay or just 23,300 per night as opposed to paying over £3,500.
If I had a pound for every time a picture of the Maldives popped up on my Instagram feed, I probably wouldn’t be bothering with points and would just book the cash rate!
However, the Maldives is a stunning place to visit and judging by the reviews, the Conrad Rangali Island isn’t half bad either. Cash rates though can be eye-watering.
Here is a 5 night-stay I pulled up for January 2018:
The cheapest prepaid cash rate is just under $2,000 before tax. After taxes and charges, the total cash price for the stay looks like this:
A total of over $12,000! Alternatively, you could book the very same stay for just 380,000 HHonors points.
4.) St Regis New York
The hotel market in New York is notoriously expensive and the St Regis is no exception.
Here is a random example for a night in May 2017:
As you can see cash rates start at over $1,000 for a basic room + taxes and charges. Alternatively, you can redeem 30,000 Starpoints for a free night or use a mix of cash and points as highlighted above.
5.) The Gritti Palace, Venice
Rates at hotels in Venice can climb extremely high especially at peak times. It’s at times like those that redeeming points comes into its own.
I had a look at prices for a random night in August:
As you can see the cash rate is over 850 EUR on the night that I selected. Or, as this hotel is a Luxury Collection property and part of the Starwood chain, you can redeem 30,000 Starpoints for a free night.
I find tremendous value in hotel redemptions and have used them to great effect including recently at the InterContinental Times Square where I redeemed IHG Rewards Club points for 2 free nights over New Year. Cash rates were approaching $850 per night for the base level rooms at the time I booked.
The majority of points bookings are also flexible and cancellable until close to the date of arrival. I make use of this feature regularly to lock in rooms and can cancel with no penalty closer the time if I see I won’t be needing the reservation.
In due course, I will look at the best ways of earning hotel points, but for the time being, it may be useful to take another look at destinations you may have ruled out previously and see whether there is a St.Regis, Waldorf Astoria or Ritz-Carlton etc where you might be able to stay – without paying!