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My points, sharing room: what should friend pay?

My points, sharing room: what should friend pay?

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Old Jan 27, 07, 11:48 am
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My points, sharing room: what should friend pay?

A buddy and I go on a trip every year, share a room, and split the cost. This year, I will use my hotel points to pay for the entire cost of the room. Is it fair to ask him to pay me for his half of the room, and if so, how much?

Here are some details:

10 night stay. The room in question, if we paid cash, would probably cost about $300/night, or about $3400 after taxes for the trip. But if we were paying cash, we wouldn't stay at that property. We'd probably stay at a less nice place for about $150/night, or try to Priceline something for about $100 or so.

Instead, I am using 56,000 Starpoints. Most of these came from hotel stays and credit card spend, but some, I essentially "paid" for, for example, paying a convenience fee to pay my taxes with the credit card to get the points.

So what is fair and reasonable?

Half of the $300/night that the room would cost?
Half of the $100/night that we'd pay, otherwise, for a lesser hotel by Priceline deal?
Half of just the amount that I can trace to having "paid" for the points?
Nothing?

I'm thinking half of the $100/night seems fair to me, but what do you all think?
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Old Jan 27, 07, 12:06 pm
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IMHO, I don't think you should ask your friend for anything, and he should offer to treat you to a nice dinner or something like that.

Half of the $300/night is definitely not right, since the two of you would never spend that much oln your own.

I don't agree with half of the $150/night since that's not what it is actually costing you. Most of the points were free from other hotel stays and credit card spending. I'm guessing you didn't spend to much actual cash to accumulate those points (I know all about the argument that you may have stayed at a slighter more expensive hotel to get the points, etc. but I don't find that a compelling reason to charge someone money for something that is basically free).

I feel you shouldn't ask for anything from your friend for two reasons: (1) He's obviously a good friend if you go away every year, and (2) you offered to use your points.

Hope I didn't offend you but that is my opinion.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 12:14 pm
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I was in a similar situation a few months ago. my buddy offered to pay me money, but i felt wierd taking it from him. he ended up paying for two of the dinners, and that worked out well. we both felt like we got a good deal out of it, and there were no money issues (which can get sticky if he feels like he's getting ripped off)
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Old Jan 27, 07, 12:28 pm
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I would say that if you're sharing the "cost" of the trip, it would be appropriate for the buddy to pay one-half of what would have been paid (the cost avoided). In this case, the cost avoided would have been the $100 - $150 per night for 10 nights you and your buddy would have paid had you not stumped up your points.

Alternatively, if you don't want to make "money" on redeeming the award, I'd suggest the buddy agree to contribute something to the trip of a value equivalent to the $1000 to $1500 in cost avoidance you contributed (and that would be much more than a nice dinner) -- perhaps the transportation for the trip and maybe meals.

Alternatively, he could agree to pick up the lodging next year.

Saying that the hotel didn't "cost" you anything (or nothing except for the out-of-pocket convenience fee) is false economics. Not only are you "paying" the lost opportunity cost (you could have used a "cash-back" card), treating the award as "free" ignores the effort (and possibly sacrifice) in collecting the 56K Starpoints.

My opinion, FWIW.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 12:29 pm
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I agree with the the others. After all, if you were going on your own, it would still cost you the same amount in points. I'm sure your friend will make it up to you by buying meals.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 12:40 pm
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Whatever you end up doing, I would recommend that you address the issue up front before you commit to the trip. Otherwise, there will be hard feelings: either your own for feeling like you should have gotten something for your hard earned miles, or your friend for feeling that you "cashed out" on his back.

I know if I were sharing trip costs I would feel an obligation to make good somehow to the person who is cashing his in.

Does your friend accrue points and miles? Does he value them himself.

I might pose it this way: "Listen either we can both pay cash or I can use some points. But if we do use my points, I would like to be able to share at least some of the value with you. Otherwise, I should probably wait and use them for a speical occasion"

And bottom line, if your friend wants to use your points and disregards the value you place in them, you have to decide whether it's worth losing the friendship over the points.... of course you can withdraw the offer to use the points.

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Old Jan 27, 07, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by XStAnt View Post
Hope I didn't offend you but that is my opinion.
Not sure I am yet convinced, but offended? Certainly not. I asked for opinions. Thanks.

Originally Posted by braefoot View Post
I'm sure your friend will make it up to you by buying meals.
You don't know my buddy. A good guy, but he's usually the last to buy the round of drinks, if you know what I mean.

Originally Posted by rkt10 View Post
Whatever you end up doing, I would recommend that you address the issue up front before you commit to the trip. Otherwise, there will be hard feelings: either your own for feeling like you should have gotten something for your hard earned miles, or your friend for feeling that you "cashed out" on his back.
Certainly, good advice. I plan to talk to him before-hand, of course.

Originally Posted by rkt10 View Post
Does your friend accrue points and miles? Does he value them himself.
Not the way I (we all here) do. I'm sure he collects them as he travels, and cashes in the occasional free free domestic flight, like most of the non-FT population.

The other way I look at it is, if I get $3400 worth of value out of 56K SPG points, that's a pretty good value. If I get $1000 worth, that's maybe borderline, but still not bad. If I'm only saving $500, the folks on the Starwood board here would kick me off the island for sure. It'd be hard to justify using my points again on the same next year (tho the impending SPG category inflation may throw the equations off anyway). I'd be way better off even converting them to ~70K AA miles worth of domestic flights.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 1:33 pm
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I like the idea of having him pick up the hotel tab next year. Is that an option?

I've gone on trips with friends where I've expected them to pay half. I've been stiffed a few times and have actually lost friendships over it. I since decided that if I was going to invite someone on a trip, I would just pay for everything and whatever the friend decides to give me back is great. Without the expectation of getting anything back makes things a lot more easy-going.

Since I travel often, I'm able to typically stay at a lot nicer places than most of my friends would. I certainly would not expect your friend to pay half of the $300 cost. If you want do exchange some money this year I would base it only on the amount of money that you would have paid. Hopefully your friend would offer to do something above and beyond but if your friends are like some of mine then they might not have the financial ability to give you much.

Thinking about this a little more I might consider telling your friend that you're able to stay at a much nicer hotel that is going for about $300/night but you were able to get a deal at $150/night. He doesn't really need to know how you paid for it. In all reality you are paying quite a bit for the rooms even though you're using points.

Let us know what you decide to do. I'm really curious if there would be a better way for me to manage my own travels with friends.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 2:06 pm
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When we go with friends we don't make a big deal of calculating share of costs - we kind of just cover each other for things as we go and though we've never done the calculus we are sure it's as much close to parity as we need to be. If not we are still happy to spend the time together and it will eventually work out.

That's why we are friends to begin with, that's why we will stay friends.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 2:28 pm
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How good a friend is he? A friend and I tend to travel together periodically - I visit him, he visits me, we go somewhere together, he rents a car, I use points on a hotel. We never try to settle anything, just mentally note who's paying for what and next time around the other person steps up. We both assume that, in the long run, we'll do the right things and it will even out.

If you really want to put a $$$ amount on it - half of the $100-$150 range puts it at about $625. Half of the value of the starpoints is about $700 at 2.5 cents, or an estimated $5-600 at the new post 2/1 valuations. It sounds like it's converging on $600'ish
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Old Jan 27, 07, 4:49 pm
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A real friend will treat you right. Many possibilities: 1/2 of reasonable room rate, or treat you for alike room in alike hotel.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 6:15 pm
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If I were the friend, what I think would be fair is that you get credit for the $150 plus tax in the cost splitting and maybe I buy a few extra drinks if there's a real upgrade in hotel quality.

I don't really understand all the people suggesting that there's something wrong with your longstanding and mutually agreeable practice of splitting the bill. Given that you're sharing one hotel room to save $75 per night, I gather that neither of you thinks the amounts involved are too trivial justify doing an accounting between friends.

Personally, however, I would strongly suggest that you don't even bring up the subject of points and just pay cash and split the cost in the same way you've done in the past. As you can from comments here, a lot of people think frequent flyer points don't have real value and don't think that you're giving up something valuable by using your points. I think there's a lot of room for misunderstanding and hard feelings with your friend.

My suggestion is to save the points for a future trip where you would otherwise be paying the cost entirely yourself (think female roommate rather than buddy).

BTW, my opinion would be exactly the opposite if there weren't a cost (in lost points) to the OP of providing the "free" room. If he had some kind of expiring certificate or had access to unlimited free rooms as an employee benefit, then I might be taken aback if he expected to be reimbursed for the "cost" of something he got completely free. The difference is that I don't think using up valuable points is "free".
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Old Jan 27, 07, 6:44 pm
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So pay with your credit card and accrue more award points for yourself in the future.


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Old Jan 27, 07, 7:12 pm
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Some buddies and I do this semi-often. I end up picking up the hotels with points in a lot of cases. At first, the guys tried to give me cash. But they got tired of my declining, so now they just try to get even by picking up dinners, rounds of drinks, etc. It ends up working out okay... I figure this is why I collect the points to begin with - to use 'em on golf trips, baseball trips, marathon trips, etc.
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Old Jan 27, 07, 7:19 pm
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I would go with the $100 a night deal as he doesnt use his points for an airline ticket for you does he?
otherwise if you are flying there ask him to foot the air tickets and u will do the accom.
My friends never object to putting in a little cash to stay in fab hotels which they would otherwsie not be able to afford or they pick up the air tickets. they are never offended but keep coming back every year to do the same again so if they felt I was being unfair I am sure they would not come back for seconds.

Last edited by tinkybelle; Jan 28, 07 at 11:36 pm
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