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The Only Time You Should Buy Hotel Points

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Readers often email asking, “Should I buy hotel points?” It can be hard to resist offers like up to 100% bonus on IHG points, up to 40% bonus on Hyatt points, and get a 30% discount on Choice hotel points. Just like buying airline miles, the only time you should buy hotel points is when it makes sense for you.

But there are some situations when it makes sense to buy hotel points.

The Only Time You Should Buy Hotel Points

Buying hotel points usually doesn't make sense. But there are 3 times when you should buy hotel points. | travel tips | travel hacks | TravelingWellForLess.com

Buying hotel points doesn’t always make financial sense. Because usually, you’re paying more than the points are worth.

But there are three times when you should buy hotel points:

1.  If you’re short on points for a free night.
2.  To book an expensive hotel or book a hotel during peak season like summer and the holidays.
3.  To keep your points from expiring.

If You’re Short on Points for a Free Night

You can buy hotel points if you're short on points for a free night. | when you should buy hotel points | travel hack | TravelingWellForLess.com

Photo courtesy: St Regis Princeville

You can buy hotel points if you’re short on points for a free night.

A free night at the St. Regis Princeville in Kauai costs 30,000 points. But you only have 25,000 points. Instead of paying $600 a night, you can buy 5,000 Starwood points for $175.

So for $175 you could be relaxing on the beach in Hawaii.

Book an Expensive Hotel

You can buy hotel points if you're short on points for a free night. Buy IHG points and get a 100% bonus. Stay at hotels like the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Traveling Well For Less. Photo Courtesy of InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. | travel hacks | TravelingWellForLess.com

Photo courtesy: Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa

Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy points and book an award stay using those points. Yep, you can save more money buying points and using those for a hotel stay than paying all cash.

Let’s say you want to stay at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa. The cheapest room at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa cost over $1,000 a night. Or you could use 60,000 points a night.

You can buy 60,000 IHG 60,000 IHG points for $345. So you’re saving over $655 a night paying points and using them for your stay instead of paying cash.

To Keep Your Points From Expiring

Another reason to buy hotel points is to keep your points from expiring. Hotel points expire if you haven't earned points after 12 or 18 months (varies depending on the hotel program). | travel hack | expert travel tips | TravelingWellForLess.com

Photo courtesy: La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino – Ascend Collection

Another reason to buy hotel points is to keep your points from expiring.

Hotel points expire if you haven’t earned points after 12 or 18 months (varies depending on the hotel program). If you haven’t stayed at that hotel or earned any miles from renting cars, dining, or shopping within 12 or 18 months you will lose all the points in your hotel account. And it would be a serious bummer if you had a dream vacation planned only to realize that all your points are gone because you didn’t have any qualifying activity.

You can keep those points from expiring when you buy hotel points. So if you’re coming up on 12 or 18 months of not earning any hotel points, buying hotel points is your best option to save all the points in your account. Some hotels like Starwood, post purchased points to your account within 24 hours.

If you buy points, be sure to look for buy points promotions. Frequently the hotels will offer bonuses when you purchase points.

What You Should Now About Buying Points

Buying hotel points don’t count as a travel purchase. This means you won’t get a category bonus from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. So you should a credit card that you have to meet minimum spending.

Pro-tip: You earn 3X points when you use your Chase Ink Business Preferred to buy hotel points.

Where to Buy Hotel Points

Here’s where you can buy and gift hotel points:

Conclusion

Should you buy hotel points? Normally buying hotel points doesn’t make a lot of sense.

But there are 3 times when you should buy hotel points:

1.  If you’re short on points for a free night.
2.  To book an expensive hotel or book a hotel during peak seasons like summer and the holidays.
3.  To keep your points from expiring.

Buying points can be a good deal especially if those points like Starwood points are hard to earn. Or if you’re using them to stay at expensive hotels in Europe or over the holidays.

Whether you need a few points or a lot of points, buying hotel points if you’re short on points for a free night or multiple nights can be worth it.

Where are your favorite places to use points?

Pin this to your travel, travel tips, and travel hack boards:

Whether you need a few points or a lot of points, buying hotel points can be worth it. Here are the three times you should buy hotel points. | travel hacking | expert travel tips | when you should buy hotel points | TravelingWellForLess.com

Whether you need a few points or a lot of points, buying hotel points can be worth it. Here are the three times you should buy hotel points. | travel hacking | expert travel tips | when you should buy hotel points | TravelingWellForLess.com

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 


Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of $200 after spending $500 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back at grocery stores the first 12 months (up to $12k), unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your points to travel for free.
 
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lisa

Thursday 14th of September 2017

Great tips! I am more of a pack packer but its interesting to know there are ways out there to get more. I had never heard of the hotel points programme its interesting.

Trisha Velarmino

Wednesday 13th of September 2017

All of these reasons make a lot of sense and are totally wise! Some think that buying hotel points is wasting money, but circumstances like what you have listed are reasonable enough to do it. I love this!!!

Rosemary

Tuesday 12th of September 2017

These are great tips and they definitively break the myth of buying points. I've never thought it would cheaper to buy points than pay the difference for hotel rooms. Truth be told, i've never looked into it because I thought it wasn't possible. Thanks for this enlightening article...as always :)

Reshma

Tuesday 12th of September 2017

I have never used hotel points until now, so I really can't speak for it, but what you mentioned makes sense. Plus these offers look good enough too. I have used the points that we get on a website but didn't use it after my first experience as I didn't get much discount. Would love to try this though!

Elena (@Traveling Bytes)

Tuesday 12th of September 2017

Interesting. Although I do have points account with Hilton, I never thought about buying points. Honestly, the second scenario would never occur to me - good to know that it could be cheaper to buy points for an expensive hotel. Thanks for the tip!

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