If you’re facing sticker shock from your travel this summer, earning points and miles is a great way to save on next year’s vacation. And while you might think airline miles are the best place to start, there are several ways hotel points can save you more with less hassle. They’re worth a look if you’ve given up on airline miles, or of you’re just getting started thinking about travel rewards.
1. Finding rooms with points is easier than flights with miles.
Hotels aren’t as aggressive with blocking rooms from awards as airlines are. While there are some restrictions, most of the big programs let you book just about any standard room with points. If there’s a room for sale with cash, you can book it with points, and don’t have to pay double the points on popular days. It’s a lot easier to score one hotel room in a good location for your family than 4 award seats on the same flight at a reasonable time.
2. They’re more flexible.
Hotel rewards don’t have change fees, and you can often cancel them right up until a day or so before you arrive, so you have lots of flexibility. Adding or deleting a night is just a quick phone call.
And if you decide you’re just not interested in hotel rewards, most hotel points can be transferred into real airline miles, though they’ll get diluted some in the process.
3. You can earn them more quickly.
Many hotel credit cards let you earn bonuses in categories like dining and gas spending, while the big airline credit cards tend to only give you one mile per dollar spent on anything but tickets with the airline. So with the right card, you can earn miles a lot faster.
If you want to compare the best hotel credit cards, this calculator at MileCards.com lets you see what the hotel points you earn from various cards mean in dollar rewards, so you can compare more easily.
Several cards also throw in a free night each year, without having to use points.
4. You can share them easily.
Some of the big hotel programs let you share points with family for free or a small charge. So if your spouse has just enough points to top off your account to get a free night, you can combine your points. Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest let you do this free, while Marriott Rewards charges a small fee.
Airlines charge you for this privilege, often hundreds of dollars, so the cost of combining miles is often more than buying a ticket in cash without miles.
The downside to hotel points is they can be harder to compare than airline miles. A mile gets you pretty much the same thing at each of the big airlines. But with hotel programs, what a point means varies a lot more.
If you’re trying to pick a hotel points program, this tool lets you see a map of what hotels
Read more here: 4 ways hotel points beat airline miles
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