I was just talking to Lilly about why I was writing a blog. Everybody seems to have a blog covering some subject or another. Travel blogs are loaded with tips, links and references to every aspect of Travel including Points and Miles. I’m doing this because I just don’t remember one that helped you get started. I should have called it “An Idiots Guide to PMs”. In the beginning, as you search for information, its like drinking from a firehose, totally overwhelming. I’m hoping to fill a niche. I am a niche filler. That’s all I have to say about that (Forrest G.)
I’m on Hilton’s Gloriously easy-to-use web page (IPhone). I’m thinking St. Louis, Missouri, February 24-25th (apparently I’ve decided to freeze to death), Two adults, Use Hilton Honors Points…Yes (toggle on) and I’ve checked the AAA circle. Engage!
And there it is, a list of hotels. Most offer two ways to reserve your stay, dollars or points and at least one of them, has three! Dollars, Points AND Dollars+Points. Like it wasn’t complicated enough.
Here’s what matters: You need to know the value of a Hilton Point and do some math. I love this part, it’s now me against Hilton. I do enjoy a challenge. All points and miles have a subjective value and every month www.thepointsguy.com publishes them. This site is great source of information.
Since, apparently I have no life, I know them all by heart. Hilton points are valued at one half of one cent (.005). As we go forward you will see that .005 is rather pathetic at best, but it is what it is. Hyatt, for example is valued at .019 (almost two cents each).
Looking at Hilton again, I see Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark (I hear they have a baseball team). The rate is listed at $177.00 or 40,000 points (AAA rate). Which is better?
This matters: When you use Points to book a Hotel room, taxes are included. This can be a huge value if you stay in an expensive city (NYC, New Orleans, St. Louis etc…).
Doing the math, 40,000 points has a dollar value of $200.00, (40,000x.005). At Hilton, just cut the points required in half and lose a few zeros. I then go through the motion of checking the Dollar rate, 1 King City View at $177, yes, next screen AAA Hot Deals, Yes and then finally on the next screen, Total for Stay $209.50. (Don’t go forward in the process as you will book the room. (which are very easy to cancel and usually will have no penalties this far out).
Ok, this deal is meh…I could go either way. Most likely I would just pay the dollar rate, earn more points and save them for a better deal, like a $350.00 room for 40,000 points.
What about the room with Three Options? Mathtime with Michael again… St. Louis Union Station, Hmmmm, $126.00/40,000 hhpoints/ $65+16,000 hhpoints. Wow!
$126.00 with tax = $144.58
40,000 points = $200.00 in value
$65.00 + 16,000 points (16,000x.005=$80.00) $65.00+$80.00= $145.00
Which is better? Definitely NOT the 40k points! Whether you use Cash and Points or just pay Cash is a toss up. Or is it? In my next post I will show you why though they may seem to appear almost equal in value, often times they are miles apart.