The Only Time You Should Buy Hotel Points

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

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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 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 

Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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10 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Meagan September 9, 2017 at 9:41 am

    These reasons all make perfect sense – also, had no idea that buying points could actually be so much cheaper! Thank you for sharing your experience. Will 100% keep these tips in mind.

  • noel September 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Lol, I don’t even have a hotel points program, but I understand how it makes sense to do pay for the various reasons that you provide and it’s always a good thing during peak hotel stays.

  • amit September 10, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Some very valid points in this post. Although I’m a budget traveler and tend to stay more in hostels and couchsurf if I’m ever in this situation I will defo keep this post in mind.

  • Siddhartha Joshi September 10, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Wow! I might feel ignorant, but I had no idea one could buy hotel points…but it also makes perfect sense. I think for me it would be to keep my points from expiring, which actually happens more often than we think!

  • Linda de Beer September 10, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    3 great tips on when to buy hotel points, Debra. It makes perfect sense to do it if you are short for one night or to prevent your points from expiring.

  • Elena (@Traveling Bytes) September 12, 2017 at 5:40 am

    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!

  • Reshma September 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    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!

  • Rosemary September 12, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    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 🙂

  • Trisha Velarmino September 13, 2017 at 1:42 am

    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!!!

  • lisa September 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

    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.

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