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Do you save up hotel points?
Old 04-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #1
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Do you save up hotel points?

I belong to one of those hotel points things. Accumulating points for a future free nights stay. Have gotten the free nights in the past. So I booked a hotel for a couple of nights in June. Then see, my total current points is zero (expired due to inactivity). I know, that's part of the business...looks like it's the "use it or lose it" approach. I was a loyal customer with those free points deal, but now I wonder, is it even worth the effort since they expire on me.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:11 AM   #2
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I used to collect points with Marriott when I was w*rking and I frequently stayed in the same hotel, so it was an easy perk to pluck. Now I mostly use Priceline.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:26 AM   #3
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I've used three free nights so far this year. The Hilton Honors program is my primary one. I use their Amex card, which gives me both hotel points and FF miles, and seems to be a very good deal for me.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
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I don't think I travel enough now to accumulate enough for free nights before they expire. My new strategy will probably just put reservations on my Discover card (shop Discover 5% cash back on purchase) using Hotels.com instead of doing the points thing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:43 AM   #5
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I still travel for w*rk, and stay at Marriott hotels about 60-75 nights per year. Their rewards program is very good. They are very convenient to use--availability of rooms is good, and you can book right up to the last minute in most cases. I've got enough points now for about 15-40 free nights, depending on how nice the hotel is.

But, I don't accumulate hotel points using charge cards. I prefer the most flexible "reward": cash.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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We faithfully save those points. Our main chains are Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton and Priority Club.

Yesterday I was able to book using points at the following hotels:

Milan 1 night - Park Hyatt - used 22k points instead of paying 550 Euros
Florence 2 nights - St Regis - used 50k points instead of paying 860 Euros a night
Venice 2 nights - Westin - used 38k points instead of paying 560 Euros a night

You would be surprised how quickly your points accumulate if you start paying attention to which is having a promotion.

If you are having problems keeping track of expiry date sign up for an account at AwardWallet.com and they will alert you when they are about to expire.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
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I just had a free one night stay at a Hampton Inn. I don't make a special effort, but why not take advantage of the points?
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
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Also you should note that not all programs have an expiration date on their programs.

Hilton, no activity you will lose the lot after 15 months.
Starwood, think it is 12 months and they will take them.
Marriott, they have an expiration date but we went years beyond it and they left the points and account in tact.
Hyatt, have an expiration date.
Priority Club which includes Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn has not expiration date for points so if you are an infrequent traveller they might work for you.

Also you can try a program that credits points to your chosen airline like I believe Best Western do.
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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I participate in all the programs, but primarily Marriott where I have about 2 million points from when I w*rked.

Only Hilton will zero out your account in my experience. Easily preventable by having activity every 12 months.

Holiday Inn (Priority Club) points never expire. Marriott and Hyatt reserve the right to close your account for inactivity but in practice do not.

You should see the howls over on Flyertalk when someone loses a couple of hundred thousand Hilton points after 12 months of inactivity.
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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I have used Hilton and Marriot points that I earned while traveling for w*rk. I currently have Priority Club points that I collected via our FIRE travel and some carry over from when I was w*rking. Holiday Inns are all over the world. I am looking forward to using these soon. I better check and see when the expiration date is. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:32 PM   #11
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I just received an email offer from Marriott Rewards Card for 2 free nights plus 22,500 points after using the card.

I'm actually kind of suspicious of this email but when I hit the apply button, it goes to a https interface.

Does that sound like a legit offer?

If so it looks like the reward would be in the neighborhood of $1000.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:34 PM   #12
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I like the beds at Westin and Sheraton so I collect Starwood points and have had a few free nights. I am also a member of Fairmont President's Club and have had a few good deals on rates. I also have memberships in Hilton, Marriott, Preferred and Choice. Hilton points expired (I wasn't very pleased with the Hilton experience and it would not be my first choice).
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:46 PM   #13
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I just received an email offer from Marriott Rewards Card for 2 free nights plus 22,500 points after using the card.

I'm actually kind of suspicious of this email but when I hit the apply button, it goes to a https interface.

Does that sound like a legit offer?

If so it looks like the reward would be in the neighborhood of $1000.
It's close to what they regularly offer me: One free night and about 20K points. The last solicitation I got waived the fee for the first year (normally it's something like $70-90 IIRC). Each year comes with a free night, so that's about a wash.

22.5K points could be up to 3 free nights (at a Fairfield Inn) or a lot less at some of the more plush spots.

In my situation, I wouldn't place a value of $1000 on the reward you were offered. Yes, a "free night" at a resort might have a rack value of $300, so two of them plus another 22K points might technically be worth $1000. But the value to me (since I usually just want a clean, safe, comfortable room) would be a lot closer to $400, depending on location.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:12 PM   #14
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We haven't been doing any travelling for the last few years and I needed to buy some items. I used my hotel points for a new DVR and some Home Depot gift cards instead paying cash for items. You can also trade them in for magazine/newspaper subscriptions too. Always better than losing them to expiration.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:40 PM   #15
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It's close to what they regularly offer me: One free night and about 20K points. The last solicitation I got waived the fee for the first year (normally it's something like $70-90 IIRC). Each year comes with a free night, so that's about a wash.

22.5K points could be up to 3 free nights (at a Fairfield Inn) or a lot less at some of the more plush spots.

In my situation, I wouldn't place a value of $1000 on the reward you were offered. Yes, a "free night" at a resort might have a rack value of $300, so two of them plus another 22K points might technically be worth $1000. But the value to me (since I usually just want a clean, safe, comfortable room) would be a lot closer to $400, depending on location.
Thanks, I'm considering applying but wonder if the 2 free nights have restrictions like only being good for the low end hotels. I see they have a rating system and the points are from about 7,500 to 40,000.

So you are right, might be worth $400 tops.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:47 PM   #16
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While working I saved a lot of Priority club points and have had a fair few free stays. Now that I am ER'ed I still collect Priority club points occaisionally on our travels and since they don't expire I'm sure I'll get a free night one of these days.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:28 PM   #17
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I use pretty much only the Hilton & Priority CLub programs as a full time traveller. In the past 6 months my wife and I have stayed at the two Waldorf Astoria properties in Key West, New Years Eve in Times Square at the Doubletree, this weekend at the Embassy Suites Myrtle Beach and the coming week at the Doubletree Key West. All using Hilton points. In addition next weekend at the Crown Plaze La Concha Key West courtesy of the Prioirty Club program.
There will be some serious adjustments once we retire. At this point work is going well so retirement isn't currently on the horizon. ( easy to say when your on vacation).
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:44 PM   #18
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I used Holiday Inn Priority Club and Hampton/Hilton Honors program for 20 plus years and never redeemed any points until DD's basketball team started traveling. I used up all the Holiday Inn points in one summer. The Hilton/Hampton points got used up when we started doing college visits, so it was really a good deal. The thing I noticed was that the resort/luxury locations have a very hefty cost in points, so it was better to just look for the best cash deal and use the points for other personal stays at the non-tourist locations. Last year we were a few hundred points short of the requirement for a particular location and I noticed there was a way to purchase points. When I called to make the purchase, the agent "gifted" them to me which I guess was based on my long membership history. That was the Hilton Honors program. I don't bother with any of the others and don't wish to be bothered with much hassle.
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:50 AM   #19
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I use the points instead of paying cash all the time. I am taking a few weeks off so I'm driving down south to my brothers vacation home. I've reserved a free Marriott night on the way down and a Hilton on the way up. The DW and adult kids could only swing 4 days, so I bought three plane tickets for them with my Starwood points. My post FIRE plans this fall include travelling cross country and doing the whole three weeks using different hotel chains..
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:20 AM   #20
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We use Holiday Inn Express just about all the time when we travel, which is not very often. Over the past four or five years we have use about 4 free rooms. No problem with points expiring.
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