I’m in a Miles & Points Funk Part 1: Hotels

Good morning everyone, I apologize for my lack of blog posts recently, but I’ve found myself in somewhat of a miles and points funk. Usually, I’m in an upbeat, positive mood, but lately, I’ve found it hard to get excited about the miles and points game. It seems that everything that I once loved has changed for the worse (that might be a tad dramatic). Let me share what’s on my mind so you can see where I’m coming from. Let’s start with hotels first.

I recently spent 100,000 Radisson Rewards points for 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Crete, and I’m not impressed by the new Radisson Rewards program. Since the free night certificates for spending $10,000 (and $20,000 and $30,000) on the US Bank Club Carlson credit cards are only valid at hotels in the US, it’s not worth spending money on those credit cards. I tried to rally my fellow readers and travel blogger friends by sharing my dissa-point-ment with US Bank and Radisson Rewards on Twitter, but I got no response from either company. I plan on keeping both of my Club Carlson credit cards just for the 40,000 points on my cardmember anniversary.

Image source: https://www.fantasiescometrue.com/product/winnie_the_pooh_with_eeyore_under_rain_cloud_pin/

Moving on to Hilton, I loved using my 2 Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Cards and earning free weekend night certificates after spending $10,000 on each credit card. MSing on Citi credit cards is so much easier than MSing on American Express credit and charge cards (thanks a lot RATs). I already closed one of the converted American Express Hilton Aspire Credit Cards and I plan to keep the other credit card open for 2-3 more months to use during my Hilton stays in Kauai, Portland and San Diego. At that point, I will probably downgrade to no annual fee American Express Hilton Honors Credit Card.

Moving on to SPG, since the program is merging into Marriott Rewards in the next year or so, my small stash of SPG points is almost worthless. Part of me wants to keep my American Express SPG Business Credit Card and see what happens with the conversion, but the other side of me doesn’t want to pay American Express the annual fee on this credit card. I’ll probably end up closing that credit card and transferring my credit line over to my American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card (the best thing to come out of American Express in a long time).

Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG fall into the same bucket for me. They are all transferable partners from Chase Ultimate Rewards, but transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to Marriott and IHG is a waste of valuable points. I actually really like the Chase IHG Credit Card and the IHG program. I try to complete the easiest set of Accelerate offers every time they run a promotion (I already finished the current challenge) and I like getting 10% of my redeemed IHG points back. Let’s not forget about the best free night certificate currently available either. As of right now, IHG is my favorite hotel chain. OMG, I can’t believe I just said that. I do also have the Chase Hyatt Credit Credit Card but I rarely stay at Hyatt hotels. As soon as I see a decent category 1-4 Hyatt hotel, I try to use my free night certificate. As for my Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card, I haven’t received my free night certificate yet since I converted from my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card, but my strategy will be the same. As soon as I see a decent category 1-5 Marriott hotel, I try to use my free night certificate. I plan on keeping all 3 Chase hotel cards for now.

Lastly, I’m sitting on enough Wyndham Rewards points for 3 free nights, but all I see when I search for hotels are cheap Ramada, Super 8, Howard Johnson, and Travelodge hotels when I search on Hotel Hustle, and it makes me a little sick to think about using my free nights at one of those brands. Hopefully some nice Wyndham properties come along soon.

I’m sorry for being such a downer but I don’t see much excitement with any of these hotel programs (with the exception of IHG). Maybe I’m wrong, maybe everyone else is happy with the current state of hotel programs. If you are, try to cheer me up with something exciting regarding hotel programs. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

29 thoughts on “I’m in a Miles & Points Funk Part 1: Hotels

  1. John

    We get a lot of excitement from Hyatt, switch over and you will see how great points are again :). Most of my chase points are sent to hyatt, we have had some incredible redemptions usually at least 3c pp, and personally their loyalty program in my opinion is very generous. We share most of our redemptions on our Instagram feed @Checkingtravel , sometimes you just need a push to try something new, this may be that push. Best of luck :)

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Thank you John. I do enjoy Hyatt hotels, but I am a lowly discoverist with my Chase Hyatt Credit Card. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience with Hyatt and I know many people love that hotel chain.

      Reply
      1. John

        If you have any friends with globalist status try using their guest of honor program On your next big trip. Having globalist status really does change things, if you like value this is a great way to extract it without earning the status yourself. Happy travels

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Good tip, but I don’t want to impose on any of my Globalist friends. My last Hyatt stay was at the Andaz Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica and I had a pretty good experience with just Discoverist status.

          Reply
          1. Justin

            I am going there in 2 weeks and I made sure to use GOH so I wasn’t left paying for breakfast/worrying about what I was ordering. Very excited! If you have any tips feel free to share :)

  2. Brenton

    I feel the same way you do. I have London and Paris booked in 6 weeks on SAS and United business class, at some really nice hotels, and Japan in ANA first in Hyatt regency in Tokyo/Osaka. I’m excited for those, but have lost a lot of the excitement I used to have because I actually have trouble finding new cards where I’m eligible for the bonus. And 4 nights to use with Wyndham and I can’t find a single hotel that I A) want to stay at, or B) actually has availability…

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I’m glad to hear that I am not the only one who feels this way. Let me know if you find A) a good Wyndham hotel to stay at; and B) award availability and I might book it too :)

      Reply
  3. DaninMCI

    You’ve fallen victim to “The Game” or reading too much hype on blogs.

    Radisson used to be better but 40k a year is worth keeping the card for an odd night or so plus Gold status.

    Hyatt, I love them but…not enough properties. So I don’t want to waste my stays there.

    Marriott, I want to love them, they have properties everywhere but it’s too hard to earn top tier status but…once you do you can earn United Silver but…the free night certs are limited and expire too quickly. I’ve got about a dozen stays in with them this year but as a Silver i wonder why I’m not at other chains where my status is higher.

    SPG, you should have already moved your points over to Virgin to Alaska when you had the chance. They also have too many places where the hotel selection it too eclectic and it’s not my thing.

    IHG, I love IHG. They have properties everywhere, well they are weak in Hawaii (come on IHG) and you get a real free night cert that you can use for a year. In addition they have good promos. I also like buying up in points or cash to Intercontinental status for the free night rebates and free weekend BOGO cert although it’s not always the best deal. The IHG card also gives you Platinum status which is a nicer level than some others.

    Choice Hotels. They have been going down hill for years. The Cambria properties offer some hope but in general they are a fancy Wyndham motel or Ex-IHG,Marriott,Hilton. The card is OK I guess but I’m not a fan in general.

    Wyndham…..They lie on promotions and have for years. They have a few good properties but unless you work on a transient labor crew and are forced to do time in Super 8’s etc. then they are not a good place to be, trust me.

    Best Western. They are like an honest Wyndham with slightly better rooms. The future is bright for them as they seem to be putting in a real effort to improve the hotels but unless you do business travel in a region where they are all over it’s not my first, second or third choice and I’m Diamond with them.

    Hilton. You’ll notice they are lumped at the bottom. If it wasn’t for nice hotels they would be even with Wyndham or Best Western. They have devalued SO much I’m not sure where the bottom is. I want to love Hilton but they don’t love me back. The Hamptons are a weak HIX and they devalue faster than I can earn points and I’m a Hilton Diamond. Sure they offer free breakfast and free wifi but isn’t that like free HBO and air conditioned rooms? They also did away with the double dip in another devaluation.

    So bottom line is use the cards from the random hotel chains for the perks and odd location awards but Marriott or IHG should be your future. The dynamics change for certain types of travelers.

    Put your spend on a good card like CSR and forget much spending on hotel cards unless you need the hit to earn a promo, etc. Churn these cards to get points unless your a business traveler and if you are pick the best one that works for you everywhere you go or want awards.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      You hit the nail on the head! I have most of those hotel credit cards with the exception of Best Western and Choice. I do put all my travel expenses on my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card and love the Ultimate Rewards Points I earn. As long as I can eek out more value from the free night than the cost of the annual fee on the hotel co-brand credit card, I am happy. I have give up on Marriott since any Marriott hotel I want to stay at is a category 6 or higher. Hotel promotions, with the exception of IHG, have been really weak lately.

      Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Perhaps, the weather in Northern California has not be very good lately. Nothing to complain about compared to parts of the East Coast though.

      Reply
  4. Taryn

    Not to be a downer, but the game has changed a lot since I started in 2012. Sad to say I’ve switched mostly to cash back cards. I’d rather save up the cash and stay where I want to stay without all the red tape. The annual fees of all the cards I tried to leverage could add up to a weekend in a luxury suite. I just ditched my Hyatt card since it was only good for an airport night at a Hyatt Place. Now that they’re toying with charging for the mediocre breakfast, I’m out. I will keep my IHG card for a $49 night at a Kimpton or Intercontinental!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I love the IHG free night certificate. I used my for an upcoming stay at the Intercontinental Athenuem in Athens, Greece. The points rate was only 35,000 IHG points per night, but I don’t have any other great uses for the free night certificate. I would love to use the free night at a Kimpton hotel in the future. I am also in the process of convincing my girlfriend to get the Chase IHG Credit Card so we will have 2 free night certificates to use in the future.

      As for Hyatt, I recently booked the Hyatt Place / House outside PDX airport for an early morning flight, so the card comes in handy for certain (airport) stays, but not much more than that.

      Reply
  5. Mark

    Grant. As you probably know every Hyatt Memeber is allowed one free points transfer per 30 days. It is a super simple form to fill out and email in. Transfer takes a few days and then your globalist friend can use Twitter DM to book you as guest of honor. I’ve done this for about 5 friends and it is a really nice win-win. Don’t be shy and honestly Hyatt is one of the few hotel chains where I get real value for my points. There are a few hidden SPG gems like the Sheraton Grand Gold Coast that is only 12k/night for a pretty amazing ocean front property with great unobstructed views but not everyone can get over to Australia to take advtange of that one.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      During the Hyatt Gold Passport program, I transferred Hyatt points between my account and my parents’ Hyatt accounts and the process was pretty simple. I have a few GLobalist friends I could ask, but I like being self sufficient and don’t like relying on the help of others to book an award for me. You are a great friend and I am sure your friends really appreciate your Globalist status.

      Reply
  6. Kate

    Yes things are changing, but there is still some really nice discounted travel to be had. The ihg night is a winner (we are booked at the new intercontinental in Los Angeles next week) we just used our hyatt $75 nights at a hyatt resort in Florida, and I’m hopeful the aspire card will work out well. Getting into the right lounge with HIlton can save a pretty penny. I’m keeping both my club Carlson cards as well, using a bucket of points in Copenhagen in August. I’m just trying to focus on the discounted angle, not free.
    FWIW, I enjoy your blog, as I’m sure many others do too!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      You are rocking the free night certificates and hotel points! As long as you can earn the Hilton points and redeem this Hilton points before the next devaluation, you should be fine. Enjoy your trips.

      I’m glad you enjoy reading my blog, it is always nice to hear that from readers :)

      Reply
  7. Chris

    Grant, I wouldn’t rule out Wyndham points. They are undervalued in my opinion. Yes, the hotels are not good nor are there great options, but the value really comes in their vacation rentals and partnerships with cottages and condos in some high dollar locations. Think ski in and out condos with 1 bedroom and a kitchen in Colorado that usually cost $600/nt. That’s an amazing deal when using 15k Wyndham points per night.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Yes, I’ve heard the vacation rentals, cottages, and all inclusive resorts are where the real value is for Wyndham free nights :)

      Reply
  8. Christian

    70k points for Crete? The same as a top hotel in London or Copenhagen? I’d be down about that as well. I really like using my Club Carlson (or Radisson now) points on low level or massively expensive options. My favorite is Budapest at 15k points a night, but with the Royal in CPH being so pricey, I’m considering that as well soon. Either way, keep your chin up, bud.

    Reply
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  10. Dia

    Hi Grant,
    I totally feel the way you do, but for a different reason: vacation rentals. When I can rent a three bedroom house for less than a hotel room it gets hard to get excited about hotel points.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Vacation rentals can be a great deal if you travel with more than 2 people and want to spend more than a few days in 1 location. Thanks for sharing your travel strategy.

      Reply
  11. Lynn

    Yeah, everything has really changed over the years and keeps devaluing! I’m just glad I’ve been in this for several of the good years! I was kidding my husband about needing to go back to flying economy because I just can’t churn the cards like I used to, plus availability isn’t what it used to be. Guess I’ll look at it as a good run. One of my grandsons wants to learn in a few years, but not sure how much will be left to teach!

    Reply

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