Good morning everyone, I was looking through my recent American Express statement and saw an ominous message on my American Express EveryDay Credit Card. The message said, “See page 5 for a Notice of Change to the Membership Rewards Program Terms & Conditions.” Uh oh, that sounded pretty bad. I cautiously scrolled down to page 5 expecting the worst. What did American Express do?
Whether or not you buy hotel points when promotions are running, it’s good to know about your options. We all like to travel more, for less! Topping up accounts for an upcoming stay can serve us well when we can get more value from the cost of the stays than we spend on buying those points. I use up my SPG points and Hyatt points way faster than I drink my flat whites, so I keep a list of hotel point promos handy to see if they’ll work for me. Currently, three of the four major hotel chains are running their buy points promotions. Depending on your travel plans, these might be worth checking out.
Starwood Offer: Expires March 16, 2018
I find I can never have enough SPG points. They are extra valuable because when you transfer them to airlines rather than use them for hotel stays, for every 20,000 points transferred, you get an extra 5,000 points. That’s an inexpensive way to buy airline miles. Many people, given their allegiance to Marriott, use these points for Marriott stays as well. They transfer to Marriott in a 1:3 ratio. That’s another good value for these points. Starwood is currently running a 35% off promotion so you can buy the maximum amount of points for $682. And don’t forget, you can gift Starwood points as well. The 35% offer seems to be their standard offer. Starwood has a yearly purchase limit of 30,000 points per account. The offer runs through March 16, 2018.
On March 6, 2018, both Marriott and SPG have many properties going up in cost if you’re using points to book them. When we get advance notices like this, I wonder how many people book stays speculatively, knowing they might cancel them. I took a look at the lists of properties going up and found a few that I’ve enjoyed staying at and would return to, so this made me frown. Some even by 60-70%. That’s a lot! But I don’t have any visits to these locations planned right now. You’d think after all these years using points to stay at hotels, we’d get used to these unfavorable changes. I’m still sorting through properties and deciding if there are any to book now before they go up in price. Are you making any bookings before March 6 knowing they can be canceled at a later date? And at which properties? Has this worked out for you in the past? Let me know in the comments below.
Hyatt recently got in on the bonus season! Some opportunities to buy points are targeted, and some are publicly available. I’m sure we’d all agree that the public ones are more interesting and worth a look. Through February 23, World of Hyatt is offering a 30% bonus on purchased points. You have to purchase at least 5,000 points in your transaction.