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More expensive hotel earning points OR cheaper hotel with no earning of points

More expensive hotel earning points OR cheaper hotel with no earning of points

Old Nov 30, 2023, 7:22 pm
  #1  
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More expensive hotel earning points OR cheaper hotel with no earning of points

Is it better to chose a hotel where the room rates are more expensive but you have the ability to earn points OR to chose a hotel (independent, non-chain hotel) where the room rates a cheaper but no ability to earn points?
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Old Dec 1, 2023, 6:23 am
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Which do you value more, cash or points?
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Old Dec 1, 2023, 11:32 am
  #3  
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I have an idea of what my hotel points and elite benefits are worth. Elite benefits can be worth a decent amount to me on some stays and very little on others - even if the benefits themselves are identical.

So at that point it's just a math problem.

The biggest adjustment I've made in the past few years is that I've reduced my expected value in any "soft" benefit. Hotels have devalued pretty much everything, including the availability and quality of almost every service - lounges, pools, restaurants, etc. I still value my points a certain way, and certainly having access to a breakfast is worth *something*, but more often than not I'm erring on the side of cheaper hotels unless I'm fully at the luxury tier *and* I know it's a hotel that has not watered down services in recent years.

Oftentimes I'm not comparing independent vs. chain, but rather a bunch of chain hotels at a bunch of barely-imperceptible brand tiers without their 25-30 brand structure. At that point, I'm usually picking the cheapest one in my desired location, provided it doesn't have bad hard product reviews. HGI's and Hyatt Places are winning over allegedly "full-service" Hiltons, Hyatts, and Marriotts.

And then there are some cases where it seems like ALL hotels are a bad value compared to what they were before, so I'm using alternatives like VRBO, Booking.com, or Airbnb.
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Old Dec 1, 2023, 12:41 pm
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As with many similar questions, it depends. If you are an infrequent traveler and will not have enough stays to qualify for any elite status with a particular chain, then cost and location would be my priority (after checking reviews). It can take a while to accumulate enough points for status and a worthwhile redemption, but if you are staying regularly then they can add up enough to be useful.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by senorrelax
Is it better to chose a hotel where the room rates are more expensive but you have the ability to earn points OR to chose a hotel (independent, non-chain hotel) where the room rates a cheaper but no ability to earn points?
Those are rarely the only two choices.

There are both high-end and more budget-friendly hotel programs.

I often find that I can get rooms in programs like Wyndham Rewards and Choice Privileges and Best Western for very close to the room price for independent non-chain hotels.

Last week I earned over 3000 points through a promotion on a two-night stay at a Wyndham Rewards property (Travelodge brand) that cost only about $78 per day. The free breakfast wasn't the best, but it also wasn't the worst. And I didn't pick the lowest cost room, only the second-lowest-cost room (because the lowest cost room didn't list a microwave among the amenities).

And I got stays at a nearby Comfort Inn in the Choice Privileges program for about $95 a number of times in recent months. That Comfort Inn has quite a decent free breakfast.

I'm staying at a Best Western just before Christmas in a far suburb of Nashville (Franklin TN) that costs only $76. I've stayed there before last year, and that particular Best Western has a good free breakfast.

All of those are pre-tax prices, but the tax rates aren't that high.

I don't find it worth staying at $200 properties just to earn points in another program when I can earns points in a program like Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards, or Best Western.

I belong to several other programs such as Hilton, Marriott, and IHG, but only do paid stays at those when the price is reasonably low (under $125 pre-tax most often) and there's a promotion going on, which isn't as often.

That's why I concentrate on those low-end programs the most.

And the other benefit of those three low-end programs: I do most of my vacationing at national parks and other remote places like that, and in many cases low-end programs are the only programs that have points hotels in the area. So often I redeem points I earned on more "mundane" travel for these vacation stays, which I couldn't do in many cases if I was only earning points in the "big" hotel programs.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 11:34 pm
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Originally Posted by senorrelax
Is it better to chose a hotel where the room rates are more expensive but you have the ability to earn points OR to chose a hotel (independent, non-chain hotel) where the room rates a cheaper but no ability to earn points?
It's hard to tell exactly what kind of hotel you're talking about. Assuming you're not talking about full-service hotels, what concerns me more about independent, non-chain, cheaper hotels is that quality is highly variable based on the owner and/or general manager, and it's difficult to tell in advance. You have some independent hotels that are very well run, but there are others that are operated by people that have no business running a hotel. The lack of brand standards, inspections, and secret shoppers make it much easier for such people to get away with this than in a branded hotel.
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