Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hotel Program Stay Point Earnings

Point Earnings Program Comparison

One thing to consider when deciding which hotel to stay at is the number of points you can collect for your stay.  Again, we'll look at the Starwood, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt programs for comparison.

The base (entry) level Starwood Preferred Guest program offers 2 SPG points per $1 spent at their hotels.  Gold and Platinum members get 3 SPG points per $1 spent at their hotels.

Hyatt Gold Passport offers a much higher 5 points per $1 spent at their hotels to their base (entry) Gold level members while Platinum's get a 15% bonus on top of that (5.75 points per $1) and Diamond's get 30% on top (6.5 points per $1).

Marriott Rewards offers an even higher 10 points per $1 at almost all of their chains aside from a few that give just 5 or 2.5 points per $1.  For Silver elite members, 20% bonus is added, Gold members get an additional 25% while Platinum members get 50% bonus.

Hilton offers up to 15 points per $1 at almost all of their hotels (assuming the Points & Points option is selected) and offers an additional 15%, 25% and 50% to Silver, Gold and Diamond Members respectively.

Assuming the very base level for each program, a $1000 hotel stay would net 2k SPG points or 5k HGP points or up to 10k MR points or up to 15k HH points. Given the free night redemption options available for each program, the value of these points would be most useful with the Marriott or Hilton programs. Even with the added bonuses at the elite levels, Marriott and Hilton's elite programs retain their advantages over the competing Hyatt and particularly the Starwood programs. Obviously, the value of Starwood also lies in their flexibility in using Cash & Points redemptions and other valuable features but all things being equal, the Marriott and Hilton programs would probably be the most effective way to collect points for hotel stays.

Credit Card Point Earnings

Aside from earning points at hotel stays which is primarily beneficial to frequent business travellers, the second most popular way to collect hotel points is likely with the co-branded credit cards. This is especially important to those of us who don't go on frequent business trips, as credit cards can become the primary workhorses from which we generate our points.

As a quick rundown, Starwood offers an American Express Credit Card, which offers 2 SPG points per $1 spent at Starwood and 1 SPG point per $1 for all else.

Hilton offers three options: a no-fee American Express Credit Card which earns 6/3 HH point per $1 and a Surpass version of it which offers gold status and a 9/6/3 earnings structure with 9 HH points per $1 at Hilton hotels. The Citibank version of the card only offers a 6/3/2 earning structure which is less appealing than the Surpass Card but is still equivalent to the no-fee Amex version for Hilton-related spending.

Hyatt offers two credit cards: the Chase Hyatt card which earns 3 Hyatt point per $1 and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which earns 2 hotel points per $1 (transferable to Hyatt).

Marriott similarly offers three credit cards, the Chase Marriott Premier which gives 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott, a lower version of the Chase Marriott card which gives 3 points per $1 and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which earns 2 hotel points per $1 (transferable to Marriott).

Assuming we select the highest earning credit cards (which include fees for all above programs), this would mean that, for our $1000 hotel stay example earlier, we would net 4k SPG points or 8k HGP points or up to 15k MR points or up to 24k HH points at the very base level. Once again, it seems fairly clear that Marriott and Hilton come out ahead as having the more competitive programs.

No comments:

Post a Comment