Hilton, Hyatt, IHG & Starwood – Buy Hotel Points & Get A Bonus

a large room with a glass roof and a staircase

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach we’re seeing more and more hotel programs bringing out their seasonal offers for those looking to top up their account balances. American Airlines have had their offer out for a while now but here’s a round-up of the hotel points-buying offers out there.

Hilton – Get a discount of up to 50% when you purchase points

Promotion Dates: Now – 15 December 2015

Promotion Type: 30% – 50% off regular points price

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Details:  Hilton has gone down the “mystery bonus” route with this promotion so you won’t actually know just how big of a bonus you can receive until you log into your Hilton HHonors account.

The regular price for Hilton HHonors points is $10/1,000 points so, with the various discounts available the costs come to:

  • 30% discount – 0.70 cents per point
  • 35% discount – 0.65 cents per point
  • 40% discount – 0.60 cents per point
  • 45% discount – 0.55 cents per point
  • 50% discount – 0.50 cents per point

Restrictions:

  • Must have account activity in the past 30 days
  • Cannot have a zero points balance
  • Maximum number of points you can purchase in this promotion is 80,000
  • Maximum number of points that you can purchase in a year is 80,000

Is it worth it?

Clearly it will very much depend on what discount you have been targeted for. I was only offered to 30% discount and, as I value Hilton HHonors points at somewhere between 0.4 cents and 0.5 cents per point, that was a poor deal.

If, however, you’re offered the 50% discount there’s some value to be had – but nothing amazing.

80,000 points would cost you $400 and, for that, you get you a night at a Hilton Cat. 9 Hotel – an ok deal when prices are high but hardly anything to get too excited about. Far better to use the 80,000 points at Category 1 & 2 hotels which cost 5,000/10,000 Hilton HHonors points per night.

Hyatt – 30% bonus on all points purchases

Promotion Dates: Now – 30 November 2015

Promotion Type: 30% bonus on all points purchases

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Details:

Hyatt points cost 2.4 cents each for non-bonused purchases however, with the 30% bonus added in, this reduces to 1.85 cents per point.

There are no tiers in place so no matter how many or how few points you purchase (in batches of 1,000) you will still get a 30% bonus.

To purchase Hyatt points access this page here.

Restrictions:

  • Maximum number of points you can purchase in this promotion is 71,500 (55,000 + 16,500 bonus)
  • Maximum number of points that you can purchase in a year is 55,000 (excluding bonuses)

Is it worth it?

I value Hyatt Gold Passport points at around 1.5 cents each (based on my own travel needs and patterns) so, at 1.85 cents I’m not that interested in purchasing any points.

I generally stay at Cat. 6 Hyatts which cost 25,000 Gold Passport points per night and, using the cost of points in this promotion, that would set me back over $460/night – I can easily book the hotels for less than that.

However, that’s not to say that you can’t get some pretty good deals out of this.

Hyatt has some great hotels in its comparatively small portfolio and, if you’re looking to stay at some of the very top ones (like the Park Hyatt Maldives) where the room rates can hit $1,000/night, you’ll definitely come out ahead.

Two nights at a top-tier Hyatt hotel would cost 60,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and, to purchase 60,000 points in this promotion, would cost you $1,128 (actually you’d be purchasing 47,000 points  + 14,100 bonus for that amount so you’d actually get 61,100 points). $564/night is a veritable bargain at the Park Hyatt Maldives.

IHG – Get a 100% bonus when you buy points

Promotion Dates: Now – 30 November 2015

Promotion Type: 100% bonus on all points purchases – Tiered pricing

Details:

This is just about as simple as it gets – IHG will give you a 100% bonus on whatever number of points you choose to purchase.

The pricing structure is tiered:

1,000 – 10,000 points costs $13.50 per 1,000 points or 0.675 cents per point (including bonus points)
11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points or 0.625 cents per point (including bonus points)
26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points or 0.575 cents per point (including bonus points)

To purchase IHG points access this page here.

InterContinental Amstel AmsterdamInterContinental Amstel Hotel – Amsterdam

Restrictions:

  • Maximum number of points you can purchase in this promotion is 120,000 (60,000 + 60,000 bonus)
  • Maximum number of points that you can purchase in a year is 60,000 (excluding bonuses)

Is it worth it?

Under normal circumstances and by using a small trick that one day I’ll get around to writing about (it’s well-known so you can Google it) you can pick up IHG points for 0.7 cents each. And that’s roughly how much I value the points at. That makes this a very enticing promotion indeed.

A top-tier IHG hotel (like the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam) will cost 50,000 points per night which, if you were to buy all the points using this promotion, would cost $287.50 (as long as you purchased at least 26,000 points) and that’s a very good price for a top-tier hotel.

If you take the InterContinental Park Lane London as a further example, you rarely see that hotel available for under $400/night so 50,000 points at 0.575 cents per point is a very good deal indeed.

Starwood SPG – Up to 25% discount on purchased Starpoints

Promotion Dates: Now – 31 December 2015

Promotion Type: 10% – 25% discount on all points purchases – tiered

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Details:

You can buy Starpoints in batches of 500 and starting from as few as 500 Starpoints – but the discounts don’t kick in until you purchases at leat 5,000 Starpoints.

Get 10% off 5,000–9,500 Starpoints – 3.15 cents per point
Get 15% off 10,000–14,500 Starpoints – 2.975 cents per point
Get 20% off 15,000–19,500 Starpoints – 2.80 cents per point
Get 25% off 20,000 Starpoints – 2.625 cents per point

To purchase Starwood Starpoints points access this page here.

Restrictions:

  • Must have been an SPG member for at least 14 days
  • Maximum number of points you can purchase in this promotion is 20,000
  • Maximum number of points that you can purchase in a year is 20,000

Is it worth it?

No – there you go, there’s the quick answer.

Starpoints are probably the most valuable loyalty currency around but I still only value Starpoints at around 2.25 cents each – so there isn’t anything in this offer to tempt me.

The Top Starwood hotels cost 30,000 Starpoints per night so, not only can you not purchase enough points for an award night at a top Starwood hotel, even if you were topping off an account you’d still be effectively paying almost $790/night! That’s ridiculous!

Even if you were to redeem for a mid to upper-level Starwood hotel (of which there are quite a few good ones), an award redemption would cost 12,000 – 20,000 Starpoints which would work out at $315 – $525/night – and you can easily book nights for less than that.

There is one very specific circumstance in which it may be a good idea to purchase points in this promotion:

Starwood allows you to book 4 award nights at a hotel at the regular number of Starpoints per night and will then give you the 5th night free. So, if you were to find yourself in a position where you only had enough Starpoints for 3 nights but you could purchase enough points for the fourth….those points that you buy would effectively get you two award nights – and that can be great value.

WARNING

Loyalty programs love to devalue their award charts so just because a tope tier property costs X points today don’t assume that it will cost the same in a week, a month or in a year’s time – it may well cost more. Do not buy points speculatively – always make sure you have a solid, near-term plan for what you’re going to do with them.