Should You Buy Miles and Points During Discount Promotions?

hotel promotional points

One thing about this time of year is that many airlines and hotels begin offering promotions offering miles and points for a discount. It’s exciting to receive an email or notification from your favorite hotel membership or airline rewards program telling you now is the time to stock up on purchased points for free stays and cash plus points discounts, especially since they’re cheap at the time. When a hotel or airline offers a promotional discount, you buy them. Let’s say that your favorite hotel sells their points for $15 in 1,000 point increments. Your job is to buy as many as you’d like. Let’s say you decide that 10,000 points will give you a great edge, so you spend $150. Now you have 10,000 points to use anytime you want.

Now let’s say that the hotel is offering a 30% bonus on points for the remainder of the year. What this means is you are getting your typical 1,000 points for every $15 you spend, in addition to another 300 points per 1,000 point purchase. You’re going to end up with 13,000 points instead of 10,000 for the same price. That’s a really nice treat.

To make it worth it, though, you have to do some math when figuring out your point redemption. Let’s say my husband and I want to spend a week in Hawaii at our favorite hotel, and we can do so for 25,000 points per night. We have 120,000 points in our account already, and we want to stay 7 nights. Our job is to figure out how to save the most money and make the most use of our points. Sure, we could save the most by just using what points we have no matter the cost of the hotel, but it might not be worth it in a cash manner.

If the hotel is $500 per night, and we can stay 4 nights free of charge and still have 20,000 points left over, we need another 55,000 points to make our trip free in its entirety. That’s a lot of points. The cash value to stay four nights free and only pay 3 nights is $1,500 out of pocket. Or, we could purchase 55,000 points during a promotion and receive 1,300 points for every $15 we spend. If we needed 55,000 points, that’s a little over 42,000 points we need to purchase, so 43,000 to purchase to make our points work, thanks to the promotion. During the promotion, the cost of 55,000 points would be $645 vs. the $825 it would cost us to buy 55,000 points without the promotion. That’s far below the retail cost of the hotel room, so it makes perfect sense to buy the points and stay the nights free of charge.

However, if the rooms were only $150 per night during our stay, we’d only pay $450 out of pocket for the room for those last three nights after using our free points – and that means that we’d spend more buying points to get free nights. Do you see how that does not work out?

You should absolutely purchase points and airline miles during promotions if you can make them work for you. If the price works out for what you want, and you are planning on taking a trip in the near future, I say go for it.

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