When talking to people about miles and points, I’ve found explaining the concept of a point in one program is not worth the same as a point in another program is one of the most difficult things for people to understand. Using two hotel chains as an example, why are a Hyatt point and a Hilton point not equal? You have 1 mile/point in each program so they’re worth about the same, right? Wrong!
I’ve gone over the different types of points you can earn in a previous post. Now let’s talk about how even the same type of points can have very different values.
I’ll use the above mentioned hotel points and two previous credit card offers as an example. Which one would you sign up for?
Hilton Ascend American Express 100,000 point sign up bonus
World of Hyatt 60,000 point sign up bonus
On the surface, it would seem the offer for Hilton is much better than the one for the Hyatt card. After all, it’s more points and more is better, right? Not necessarily. If I had to choose, I would pick the Hyatt points, as I feel they’re worth much more than those for Hilton. I can find places where Hyatt points will be worth over 2 cents each. The 60,000 points are worth at least $1,200 in value. When looking at Hilton redemptions, the best I’ve been able to find is around 0.7 cents per point making 100,000 points worth $700.
I’ve used my Hyatt points to stay in some wonderful hotels, like the Hyatt Centric Key West, where I redeemed 75,000 points for a 3 night stay. If I needed to pay for the room, it would have cost almost $1900.
I’ve also talked about our wonderful at the Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Piñon Pointe. Our 2 nights in an studio suite cost us 30,000 points. That was a steal for what hotels were going for in the area.
So with the 60,000 Hyatt points from the current offer, I could stay at either of these hotels again for at least 2 nights and still have some points left over. That’s a pretty good deal.
Let’s look at what I can get from the 100,000 point bonus currently offered for the Hilton Surpass AMEX card. To be fair, I’ll try to look at comparable hotels to the ones mentioned above.
What Are Hilton Points Worth?
While on Key West, one of the most historic hotels is the Waldorf=Astoria Casa Marina hotel. Hilton has changed the Honors program so it’s impossible to quote exactly how many points a room would cost, but when looking at rates I’ve found standard rooms available for between 70,000 to 120,000 Hilton Honors points a night. Remember, a night at the Hyatt which is on the other side of Key West closer to all the activities only costs 25,000 points a night. Are you starting to see why not all points are of equal value?
Let’s look at Sedona. One of the standout hotels you can book with Hilton points is the Hilton Sedona at Bell Rock. If you can find a standard room at the hotel, it will cost you 60,000 Hilton Honors points. The Hyatt Residence Club in downtown Sedona only costs 15,000 Hyatt points.
While 100,000 Hilton points will get you one or two nights at a nice Hilton property, 60,000 Hyatt points will get you two nights in Key West or four nights in Sedona.
With these examples, I’ve limited my comparison to two large hotel chains to show how much difference there can be in the value of a “point.” It’s easy to see that all points are not created equal, and it pays to do a little research to find out what value people are placing on points in a specific program before going out to earn them. That will give you a starting point for reference. When you’ve been at this for a while, you can factor in your travel patterns and needs. Then you can come up with your own values because, as always, Your Mileage May Vary.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary