For the 2nd year in a row, I’m going to Europe the 1st week in September. The crowd is a bit smaller and temperature has gotten a bit cooler. However, also for the 2nd year in a row, when looking into hotel redemptions several months out (as early as March), many dates in early September were already fully booked. This happened last year at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. I reached out to ask what that was about and they said all the rooms had been booked up for an event almost a year in advance. I had to be flexible with my itinerary to make it work for the only 2 dates that had availability. Similarly this year at other hotels, the dates I wanted weren’t all available and I had to adjust my itin accordingly. Availability was much better in July and August – the peaks of summer vacation. There’s something about beginning of September that makes it highly amenable to large events.
So if you’re thinking of using hotel points for Europe in September, book early. Like, a year early if possible. Or consider 1-2 weeks earlier or later. In any case, don’t assume the hotels you want will have availability just because it’s past prime vacation season; check availability before making flights and other commitments.