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Saving for travel packages vs splurging points

Saving for travel packages vs splurging points

Old Mar 2, 18, 10:20 pm
  #1  
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Saving for travel packages vs splurging points

Saving towards a travel package for 270k points. Probably wouldn't use it until next year.

Have about 130k so far. I reckon I should hit 270k by the end of the year partly buying 30k on an SPG promo, and partly from stays. I have definitely decided against transferring Amex MR points, which seems pitiful at 2:1.

That all said, there is a rather tempting Marriott hotel for 15k points I'd like to stay at for 1-2 nights or maybe more this month, which I suspect may be re-categorised upwards before long. It's not that expensive paying cash, but the points feel like a much better deal because of the recategorisation issue.

Sorry if this has been covered already, but is there a good way of breaking down the question of whether I should keep on saving towards the travel package or just splurge? Right now I feel like I'm guessing.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:29 pm
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If you know for sure that the hotel is recategorized then call and book for the days you might want but ask Marriott not to take the points out of your account. What category is the hotel at now and moving to? Next, I would book the hotel on revenue for the days you want but don't do advance pay and make sure you are at least 48 hours off from your stay or they will charge you. Get the cheapest rate you can get and look everyday because prices change every day. Look at AAA or seniors if it applies. When I went to NYC last month, I booked a Cat. 8 for $261 but also asked Marriott to hold it on points for the weekend I wanted but not to take it out of my account. One week before arrival in NY the price went down to $160 and then three days before NY it went down to $95. Naturally, I cancelled the points and did revenue for $95. Who ever heard of a Cat. 8 in NYC for $95? It was a fluke but that's the way to play this. I have a lot of points to spare but I would never use my points if I can get the hotel for $150 for under.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:42 pm
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There must be some secret fine or penalty that I don't know about that prevents people from including the name of the property in their posts.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by xerosum View Post
That all said, there is a rather tempting Marriott hotel for 15k points I'd like to stay at for 1-2 nights or maybe more this month, which I suspect may be re-categorised upwards before long. It's not that expensive paying cash, but the points feel like a much better deal because of the recategorisation issue.
The value you are getting for your points is based on the cost now, not what it might cost in the future. If the price in dollars is low, there's probably little reason to burn points on the stay. If you want advice on whether it's a good use of points, you need to tell us the cash price you would be paying if you did not burn the points.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 5:12 am
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I'd value 15k points at a minimum of $150, so IMO if your property costs more than that use points. Otherwise, just pay cash.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
There must be some secret fine or penalty that I don't know about that prevents people from including the name of the property in their posts.
Do you value MR points differently by property?

I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx Marriott or pay $150 cash.
I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx Courtyard or pay $150 cash.
I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx Residence Inn or pay $150 cash.
I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx SpringHill Suites or pay $150 cash.
I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx Delta or pay $150 cash.
I'm trying to decide whether to spend 15K points at the xxx Renaissance or pay $150 cash.

Which are good valuations and which are bad? Or do you need a specific city?
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by xerosum View Post
That all said, there is a rather tempting Marriott hotel for 15k points I'd like to stay at for 1-2 nights or maybe more this month, which I suspect may be re-categorised upwards before long. It's not that expensive paying cash, but the points feel like a much better deal because of the recategorisation issue.
The fact that the hotel might increase category at some point in the future is not relevant to your fundamental question of whether to pay points or cash. The primary things you need to consider are: 1) the value of the points if redeemed at the rates available today, and 2) how hard it will be to replace those points to purchase a travel package within whatever timeframe you deem necessary.

For me personally, I would pretty much always redeem 15k points for a Cat-3 if the cash price were $150/night or above, and virtually never redeem for $120/night or below.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
The primary things you need to consider are: 1) the value of the points if redeemed at the rates available today, and 2) how hard it will be to replace those points to purchase a travel package within whatever timeframe you deem necessary.
This.

And #3 ) How are your finances? I've had times where I would use points for a room even less than $100 as I just didn't want to spend the money. Other times I've paid cash for a room more than $200 because I was saving for a bigger award.

So at the end of the day, the answer is, it really depends on what your situation is and what is important to you now (and possibly within the next year as well.)
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Old Mar 3, 18, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
There must be some secret fine or penalty that I don't know about that prevents people from including the name of the property in their posts.
And there's a special place "down there" for people who insist on everyone sharing everything and do their best to bully and shame people into revealing it.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by xerosum View Post
Have about 130k so far. I reckon I should hit 270k by the end of the year partly buying 30k on an SPG promo, and partly from stays. I have definitely decided against transferring Amex MR points, which seems pitiful at 2:1.
Wait...2:1? Is there an SPG bonus I don't know about?
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Old Mar 3, 18, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Saidoh View Post


Wait...2:1? Is there an SPG bonus I don't know about?
It's 2:1 in a bad way...
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Last edited by t1c; Mar 3, 18 at 10:51 pm
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Old Mar 3, 18, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
There must be some secret fine or penalty that I don't know about that prevents people from including the name of the property in their posts.
It's the FT effect. If OP lists the property within 4 hours it will be completely booked out of award nights for the entire next 12 months.
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Old Mar 4, 18, 3:31 am
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Thanks all for the very thought-provoking posts. Knew I'd get more than I paid for here, at least Exposing all kinds of unknown unknowns in my points/rewards knowledge.

The $ value of the room is about $180. So judging by some of the responses here, that may be on the high side. However, I decided to pay cash and save the points towards at least a free fifth night kind of stay, and maybe even a travel package, pending further analysis. Agree with hhoope01 on this one. At least there's cashback, points on credit card, and points earned on the stay - which got a reasonable boost since I attained platinum very recently - to soften the blow.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 10:40 pm
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Just checking back in on this thread. Is 15k for a cat 1-3 >$150 (e.g. mentioned by hhoope01 above) still a reasonable benchmark since the recent changes? I recently splurged 35k for a cat 5 which would otherwise have cost $250. However, it was the second night of a stay, and they'd upgraded me to a suite (which they promised I could stay in), so the effective value was $550. Is it reasonable to think of it this way? (If I splurged 35k on a random cat-5, there's no guarantee of any particular upgrade). Thing is, although it definitely felt on the high side, I'm less motivated to save for travel packages, as they seem less of a good deal now. If I end up staying enough nights to maintain my current status or even one less, I should bank enough points anyway.
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