Home Points & Miles How We Saved $500 On A Hotel Night By Using Points

How We Saved $500 On A Hotel Night By Using Points

by joeheg

There are several ways to estimate the value of a point in a hotel loyalty program. Many websites that publish guides giving you what each point is worth or its CPP (Cents Per Point) value. While these charts give you a starting place to figure if a hotel redemption makes sense financially, you’ll eventually make up your own mind about how much a point is worth to you.

Figuring out the CPP value of any booking depends on how many points the program is charging and the cash price to pay for the room. If either of those numbers are artificially inflated or deflated, it could drastically change the calculations.

If a hotel is charging peak prices for points but is discounting cash rates, it probably won’t be a good idea to redeem points. However, if you have points in your account that you have no other use for or if you have a free night voucher that’s expiring then you’ll probably save the cash no matter the value you’re getting.

The opposite can be true, as well. Maybe the hotel is charging an extraordinary cash price for a room but the price with points is the same as usual. This is when you can get an over average value and is the best time to book award stays.

This post is about a time when I booked one of those rooms.

Now, I didn’t get an overwater villa for $99 a night (but it would have been cool if I could have snagged that). I used my points to book us a room at the perfect hotel that was way overpriced for the night we wanted to stay there. This example isn’t for you to replicate what I did, but more to show you what’s possible if you have a stash of miles and points at your disposal.

This trip took place pre-COVID-19 and just looking back at it makes me yearn for the time when we can make this trip again.

We were headed to Tampa for a quick getaway and a dinner at what may be our favorite restaurant anywhere, Bern’s Steak House. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Central Florida  (here are some more of our faves, if you’re looking for great places to eat in the area) and well worth the 80-mile drive. Since dinners there can last several hours, it’s nice if you can stay overnight. Even more so in that you don’t have to worry about driving after sampling a glass of wine (or two or three) from their 500,000 bottle wine cellar.

The perfect hotel for that type of evening is the Epicurean Hotel, which part of the Marriott Autograph Collection and is located right across the street from Bern’s.

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Over a decade in the making, the 137 room hotel opened in 2013 in partnership with the owners of Bern’s Steak House. The hotel is focused on food and has an excellent restaurant of its own, right on-site, along with a retail store of Bern’s Fine Wine & Spirits and a rooftop bar, EDGE.

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We’ve stayed here before, in 2014, and it was perfect for a luxury weekend staycation (is it really a staycation if you had to travel an hour and a half to get there?).

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Imagine my dismay when I checked prices for the day we wanted to stay.

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Yeah, that’s a little (nope, that’s a lot) out of our price range for a one night stay. But there’s a happy ending to the story. Marriott Rewards Points to the rescue! At the time, a single night at this hotel cost 35,000 Marriott Rewards points (The Epicurean is now a category 6 property, costing between 40,000 to 60,000 points a night).

We had a stash of Marriott Bonvoy points we earned by signing up for the Chase Marriott Business card and this seemed like a perfect time to cash those in. For the numbers people out there, that’s a value of 1.5 cents per Marriott Rewards point. I look at any redemption over 0.67 CPP as good for Marriott, but the room’s high cash price skewed the value.

We thoroughly enjoyed our quick getaway for steak and wine (and dessert) while I once again was able to ponder what is up there in the corner?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary 

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