Fabulous Fridays: Large Savings By Using Points & Cash Hotel Awards (Including Qualifying Stay Credit)

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It’s another Fabulous Friday and this week LoyaltyLobby will look at possible large savings when booking Hotel Awards with the cash & points option that many programs offer.

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Most big hotel chains and their loyalty programs allow their members to substitute a number of points that would usually be required for an full points award stay with a cash payment.

Such awards allow members to stretch the balance of their points and make more award reservations than they’d be able to when using full points awards.

The way that programs handle these awards varies and especially since one of the most important things for members is to chase elite status this mostly requires going after qualifying stays whenever possible.

So far Hyatt Gold Passport is the only major hotel loyalty program that doesn’t count award stays as elite qualifying for their members. Starwood Preferred Guest, Hilton HHonors and IHG Rewards Club for example do count points only funded award stays towards Elite Status and there is no distinction (qualification wise) between full awards or cash and points stays.

The difference for Cash & Points stays with Hyatt Gold Passport however is that you earn Gold Passport points for the cash payment that goes to the hotel. You are also able to use a Diamond Suite Upgrade for this reservation and a Hyatt C&P stay earns the coveted qualifying credit. Other programs do not credit you with points for the revenue portion which is a bit of a bummer.

Nevertheless what all cash&points awards have in common are the savings. I always make a comparison how far my points get me at various locations so I won’t waste them at properties where a paid rate would be available at very reasonable cost.

For an upcoming trip where I will stay at several Hyatt Hotels to seal my Diamond requalification I made the following comparison:

Grand Hyatt Incheon

Paid Rate: 155$ ; Cash&Points Rate: 7,500 GP Points + 85$ -> 7,500 Points save you 70$.

Park Hyatt Seoul

Paid Rate: 360$ ; Cash&Points Rate: 10,000 GP Points + 135$ -> 10,000 Points save you 225$.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

Paid Rate 440$ ; Cash&Points Rate: 15,000 GP Points + 355$ -> 15,000 Points save you 85$.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Paid Rate 380$ ; Cash&Points Rate: 12,500 GP Points + 175$ -> 12,500 Points save you 205$.

As this example shows values can vary greatly and in some cases it’s better to forego the small savings and rather pay a cash rate, keeping the points entirely for a worthwhile occasion.

Needless to say in the examples above I chose to pay cash at both the Grand Hyatt Incheon as well as the Park Hyatt Tokyo.

At Park Hyatt Seoul however I decided to use Cash&Points:

 

ph-sel-capSince I still have all four annual Diamond Suite Upgrades in my account I decided to just use it on this one night stay since I really like the Park Suite at this property.

Conclusion

It’s always been the case that the decision of when to use points and miles is a science in and of itself. Generally you should only use your points currency when it gives you the most financial benefit, which usually means either premium bookings or reservations you need to have flexibility with.

I’m a big fan of cash & points awards across the board of all programs out there. Not only hotels but also airlines who offer this option such as Avianca LifeMiles & Gol Smiles.

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