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How To Decide Between Hotels When You Have Two Good Choices

by joeheg

There are times when no matter how hard you try to find a perfect hotel to fit your trip, you never actually find it. You book the best thing you can find and, honestly, what you booked is probably going to be fine. What actually might be worse is when you have two equally appealing perfect choices. How do you pick between the two? You researched both places and you like different things about each one. There are worse problems to have and I know there are more important things for me to be worrying about. I just need to make a decision and stick with it.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about the handwringing that went into making the decision.

Back before the Marriott devaluation and the addition of Category 8 hotels, I locked in a reservation at The Chatwal in New York City.


When I booked it, rooms cost 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points a night. The same room at the hotel will now cost you 85,000 points (until off-peak and peak pricing starts and rooms will cost either 70,000, 85,000 or 100,000 points a night).

Even then, I asked myself if I was crazy booking an NYC hotel for 60,000 points a night. To be honest, while I booked the hotel, I didn’t have enough points to complete the reservation. Marriott allows you to hold a reservation as long as you have enough points in your account 15 days before your stay is due to start.

I had a plan to get the points but that would require spending enough on a credit card and getting the sign-up bonus in time before the deadline. I’m not one to count on a plan coming through so I looked for a backup plan.

Just about the time I was searching for New York hotels, Nick wrote an article on Frequent Miler about an AMEX offer for Marriott hotels.

Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 7.38.21 PMI checked both Sharon’s and my AMEX accounts and we each had a card with the offer listed. I signed up our cards and I had my backup plan.

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I booked a Marriott brand hotel in New York for $450 for two nights. The property doesn’t charge a resort/destination fee and we won’t have a car so that’s the amount we’ll be charged. If we split the charge between our two cards, our bill will be $368 after the $80 in rebates from AMEX. $185 a night for a hotel in Manhattan, all in, is about as low as we’ll ever pay and I was totally fine with my choice. I just forgot to cancel the room at the Chatwal.

Just yesterday, one day before the deadline, I received an email from American Express. I finished the spending requirement and my bonus was deposited into my Marriott account. I now have enough points to complete the booking at the Chatwal.

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  • Option 1 – Stay at the Chatwal for 120,000 points for 2 nights since we’ll never get the chance to stay there again.
  • Option 2 – Stay at the run of the mill Marriott property and take advantage of the AMEX offer, saving $80 off our stay. We can save the 120,000 points to use for a different trip.

I don’t have a problem with dropping that many Marriott Bonvoy points on a room. The issue for me is I know the St. Pancras Rennaissance only costs 50,000 points a night and I can’t think The Chatwal is 10,000 or now 35,000 points a night better.

I really couldn’t decide so I let Sharon take a crack at it. After all, she’s the one who loves staying in old hotels, even more than I do. She took a look at pictures of The Chatwal and while it looked great, it just didn’t do it for her. The final decider was the fact she’s not a huge fan of Art Deco and that’s everywhere at The Chatwal. We’ll go and pay cash for our stay and take advantage of the AMEX offers. I’m sure we’ll be happy with our second, first choice hotel.

And the next time I can’t find any hotels I like for a good price, I’ll remember the time I was complaining about having too many good choices to pick from.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Cover Photo by siaronj on Flickr



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