The Basics Of Hotel Points Redemptions

A few weeks ago, I did a piece on redeeming miles. It can be a complicated process, if you’re lucky enough to get a seat at all.

Redeeming points for hotel rooms is a somewhat easier process, and a bit more rewarding. As a whole, rewards per dollar spent at hotels come at a higher rate than those spent at airlines. In other words, spending a dollar with an airline will get you 1-2 cents in rewards. At hotels, that number starts at about 3%. Why is that? Because when you stay at a hotel, chances are good that you have a lot of choices. When you’re flying, you will likely have far fewer options.

Redeeming Points at Hotels

The number of points that you’ll need is generally related to the cost of a room night. Different brands do it different ways, but most companies put their various hotels in categories. The nicer the hotel, the higher the category. And the higher the category, the more points it costs.

Hotels usually break down redemption levels one of two ways. First, many of them have a fixed chart. Levels don’t vary and prices don’t vary, although hotels can move categories each year. Some are easy, like Wyndham, which just went from “all rooms at 15,000 points” to a range:

wyndham, hotel points

Wyndham Rewards

And chains like Marriott, which have dozens of brands, are more nuanced. They’ve got eight categories, so be prepared to search.

Marriott Bonvoy, hotel points

Marriott Bonvoy chart

The other option is “floating rates.” That’s the direction that Hilton is going. It will likely be followed by the other brands. Floating rates give Hilton the option to change the price in points, depending on demand. They’ll no longer be locked into a chart. On the one hand, you’ll never know how many points your room is going to be until you do your search. On the other hand, though, they’ll probably be able to open up more rooms in the reward inventory. By controlling the pricing, they can offer rooms at high prices when there’s high demand.


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