When I look at a redemption, I tend to consider things from many angles. The overall feeling is a combination of the following thoughts: How awesome will this trip be? How efficiently am I paying for it, and what is the opportunity I am losing in order to select it? In the past I did this with my Hyatt and Hilton hotel nights, comparing a single average night of the hotel, here’s an older list of this:
Truth be told, I wouldn’t bother writing another post like that, too labor intensive, and I’d rather check in real time to see value. However, what I liked about them was that you got to see an overall value for each hotel, and also a chance to cross check that with competitive hotels in the area to see if the brand name property was inflating the price.
How much weight should you put on price?
Let’s be honest, we’re traveling for fun, and way above the level average humans do. So you could say it is fine to pick any variable you like to help deliver a destination schedule. For example, you might pick the Paris Hyatt Vendome just because it is really pricey, and if you happen to need to go to Paris to make that work, so be it. Indeed, I often think that we are on borrowed time when it comes to the points game, so maybe getting in the trips you couldn’t otherwise is a good idea.
Using price alone though, can be a tricky thing. Hotels base price on demand. That was a big flaw with my three posts, I only took one random day, and if you do that you might find a crappy Kentucky hotel charging more than the Park Hyatt New York if its Derby day. That said, there’s something for the event rather than the hotel driving the decision to visit somewhere.
Where we are today
I decided to become loyal to Marriott this year, we may even have paid for a stay for a work trip (the horror!) so with that, we’re over 300k already, though I am unsure as to the exact number. We’re focused on the nights and flights awards. I’m trying to decide where to cash in a voucher… should we stop at tier 1-3, or go for tier 4-5 Ritz Carltons?
The choice to earn more or pivot to another program is based on the spread between what I can have today, and what I could achieve if I kept going. To be frank, there’s a pretty nice looking Marriott Cat 9 also… on Scrub Island.
What we’re doing when looking at sticker price is trying to find a diamond in the rough, is there a single property, in a place we haven’t been (so don’t know the relative costs) that stands out for some reason? It has a place in the process, because there are always going to be better and worse examples of a property within each tier/category bracket, but its not everything.
Recently we elected experience/location over cash discount. We made this decision when considering to book Europe or Alaska for a cruise, if it was a pure cash decision we should have done Alaska. As for the Ritz Carlton/Marriott stay, I imagine it will be a mix of many things again… so, perhaps rather than run the numbers constantly I could ask you, if you could stay at any Ritz Carlton for a week, where would it be? And would you push for the tier 4-5 range if you could cash in a 1-3 today?
Note, I believe that you can redeem today and later bump up the voucher to the next tier/s by paying the points difference, its a handy trick, if true.