I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

I don’t spend much time in hotels (here’s a breakdown of where I’m sleeping as I travel 365 days this year), but I’ve been looking at booking some upcoming hotel stays. I carry several co-branded credit cards, but as I’ve crunched the numbers, my Citi Prestige® Card has come out as a better option for paying the hotel stay in almost all cases.

That’s especially true if I’m looking at a four night hotel stay, since the Citi Prestige® Card offers the fourth night free on paid hotel stays, which is an ~25% rebate (more if you’re doing it right.)

But even on a one night stay at a chain hotel where I have the hotel’s credit card, the Citi Prestige® Card‘s 3x hotel category bonus is usually a better option. Since I value ThankYou Points at 1.8 cents each, getting three points per dollar is like a 5.4% return for me. I can either use the points for 1.6 cents off American Airlines and partner flights or transfer them to 11 types of miles.

Let’s take a look at some major chain and non-chain hotels to see the return from using a co-branded card versus the Citi Prestige® Card. In parentheses is the card I’d use for a stay at that hotel chain. If there is nothing in parentheses, I’d use the Prestige. Here are there rankings by number of affiliated hotels according to Wikipedia:

1. Wyndham (Wyndham card for American properties)
2. Choice (Choice card for American properties)
3. IHG
4. Hilton
5. Marriott
9. Club Carlson
10. Starwood (maybe SPG Card for American properties depending on how you use ThankYou Points)
15. Hyatt (SPG Business Card for American properties)
Non-chain hotels

1. Wyndham

The Wyndham card offers 5x points per dollar on Wyndham stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.26.25 PM

I value Wyndham points at 1.33 cents each now that you can book any Wyndham property for 15,000 points per night. That’s a 6.65 cents per dollar return from the Wyndham card versus 5.4% from the Prestige.

But the Wyndham card has a 3% foreign transaction fee that the Prestige doesn’t have, so only use the Wyndham card at American properties, not abroad where the Prestige offers more value.

2. Choice

The Choice card offers 15x points per dollar on Choice stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.32.26 PM

I value Choice points at 0.5 cents each. That’s 7.5% back.

But the Choice card has a 3% foreign transaction fee that the Prestige doesn’t have, so only use the Choice card at American properties, not abroad where the Prestige offers more value.

3. IHG

The IHG card offers 5x points per dollar on IHG stays at the following brands:

  • Candlewood Suites
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Hotel Indigo
  • InterContinental
  • Staybridge Suites

I value IHG points at 0.7 cents each. That’s 3.5% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

4. Hilton

The Hilton Reserve offers 10x points per dollar on Hilton stays at the following brands:

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Embassy Suites
  • Curio, A Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Hilton Grand Vacations

I value Hilton points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 4% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

5. Marriott

The Marriott card offers 5x points per dollar on Marriott stays at 18 brands including Marriotts and Ritz-Carltons.

I value Marriott points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 2% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

9. Club Carlson

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 10x points per dollar on Club Carlson stays at the following brands:

  • Country Inns & Suites
  • Hotel Missoni
  • Park Inn
  • Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts
  • Quorvus Collection
  • Radisson Hotels
  • Radisson Blu
  • Radisson Red

I value Club Carlson points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 4% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

10. Starwood

The SPG card offers 2x points per dollar on SPG stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.47.17 PM

I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each. That’s 5% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back. But if you use ThankYou Points like cash toward American Airlines flights, they are worth 1.6 cents each, so you’d only get 4.8% back.

In any case, the SPG card has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so definitely use the Prestige at Starwood properties aborad.

15. Hyatt

The Hyatt card offers 3x points per dollar on stays at the following brands:

  • Park Hyatt
  • Andaz
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt
  • HYATT CENTRIC
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt House
  • Hyatt Zilara
  • Hyatt Ziva
  • Hyatt Residence Club

I value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each. That’s 4.5% back.

However you can actually do better by using any American Express OPEN Business card, which offers 5% off Hyatt stays. The best would be the SPG Business card because you’d get 5% off plus 1 Starpoint per dollar (another 2.5%) for 7.5% back total.

Non-Chain Hotels

Definitely get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

Bottom Line

The Citi Prestige® Card is always the best card to book hotel stays of four nights with the fourth night free, and is often the best hotel card to book any stay.

The only hotel credit cards that offer a better return at their own hotels are the Wyndham and Choice cards, and those only offer a better return at American properties because of their foreign transaction fees.

Check out my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

 

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update at 2:55 PM ET: All deals sold out. I missed out. Being in Hawaii for Daily Getaways makes it tough to get in on the deals.

Today is the tenth day of five weeks of discounted travel packages from the US Travel Association called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will often sell out in a few minutes. Every weekend I’ll preview the deals for the next week, and the morning of interesting deals, I’ll have a full write up.

Today only, Choice Privileges points are being sold for 0.4 cents each.

Today’s deal is:

Note that the packages have names like “Cambria Suites: Stay 2 Nights for $160,” but the terms and conditions and my experience make it very clear that you just get the number of points I listed above in your account, and you can use them however you’d like.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.19.09 PM

You can buy two of each package, eight total. If you bought the maximum, you would be getting 256k Choice Privileges points for $1,074.

Choice Privileges points can be used at over 4,100 hotels with the following brand names:

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 4.05.48 PM

  • Comfort Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Quality Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Clarion
  • Cambria Hotel & Suites
  • Mainstay Suites
  • Suburban Extended Stay
  • Econo Lodge
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Ascend Hotel Collection

These are utilitarian places, not fancy at all.

How far do Choice Privileges points go?

  • There are no blackout dates!
  • There are over 1,500 Choice hotels with reward nights at 8,000 points or less. Click here to see the list.
  • Reward nights at Choice hotels worldwide are available from 6,000 to 35,000 points (excluding Australasia where points required are up to 75,000)

But sometimes a hotel sells out before you can book it with points because you cannot book very far in advance.

  • Book up to 30 days in advance for hotels in the U.S. or Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada
  • Reward nights can be booked 50 days in advance for Elite Gold members staying in the U.S. and Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada.
  • Reward nights can be booked 75 days in advance for Elite Platinum members and 100 days for Elite Diamond members

I have personally gotten more value out of purchasing Choice Privileges points in 2013 and 2014 than any other Daily Getaways deal. The big value I got from my purchase of Choice Privileges points was using them to book expensive European hotels for very few points.

Namely, I used 20k Choice points for two nights at the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden including free internet and breakfast:

  • My Price: 10k points per night (cheaper than a hostel in Stockholm), which I had bought for $40
  • Retail Price: $325 per night
  • Savings: 88% off

During Oktoberfest, I stayed three nights at a Comfort Inn a few miles outside of Munich proper, but with easy train access, for 12,000 points per night ($48) when a Munich hostel wanted 75 euros per night and hotels wanted several hundred euros.

Plus I have stayed at adequate airport hotels in Oslo and Rome and motels in the United States.

Using Choice Privileges points in Europe was never glamorous, but was always a huge money saver.

My Plan

I’m going to be ready at 1 PM ET to purchase two 40k packages, and then I’ll try to purchase two 32k packages. Those are the cheapest per point and will set me up with 144k points, which should get me to next year’s Daily Getaways deal.

Note

If I’ve convinced you to compete with me for one of the limited number of packages, do sign up for a Choice Privileges account here now. In years past, you had to have an account before buying the points.

Will This Deal Sell Out?

Last year, the 40k and 32k packages sold out in seconds.

Purchasing the Packages

To maximize your chances of getting in on the deal, I recommend using a site like whattimeisit.com to figure out the official time. The sale starts at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT / 7 AM HT. This year’s sales all started on time to the second. Keep refreshing the deal page until you see the BUY NOW button replace the SEE DETAILS button.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.55.17 PM

This is what happens if you try to purchase something when all quantities are already in someone’s cart.

This doesn’t mean the deal is sold out. If someone doesn’t complete his purchase, that quantity will immediately become available for someone else. Keep checking until the dreaded “Sold Out” appears.

Key Links

Do you plan to buy Choice Privileges points? Post your successful or failed attempt in the comments, so we can gauge how quick you had to be to snag a deal.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn up to 20 free hotel nights after meeting spending $2,500 in the first 90 days on the Club Carlson Visa.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 3.34.07 AM

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Monday begins the second week of five weeks of discounted travel packages from the US Travel Association called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will often sell out in a few minutes. Every weekend I’ll preview the deals for the next week, and the morning of interesting deals, I’ll have a full write up.

Here’s that overview of the second week of deals that start Monday. I plan to purchase only Friday’s deal, though I see great value Tuesday and Wednesday also.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.03.28 AM

Monday March 30: $55 for 10,000 Best Western Points (can purchase up to five packages of 10,000), 0.55 cents per point

As with all points purchasing offers, this could be a good deal, and you need to do the math for redemptions you have in mind. But I don’t think it will be a great deal for many people.

There are a lot of ways to redeem Best Western Points, but transferring to airlines miles at a 5:1 rate or buying gift cards for less than 0.55 cents each will leave you coming out behind.

The only reasonable redemption is free nights at Best Westerns that cost 8,000 to 36,000 points per night. At 0.55 cents each, that’s $44 to $198 per night.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.11.17 AM

There are some properties that will cost more with cash than by purchasing points for 0.55 cents each. For instance, this property in Paris costs $305 on June 10.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.24.28 AM

You can book it for 36,000 points, which is $198 at 0.55 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.26.01 AM

But you can only purchase 50,000 points maximum in 10,000 point increments, so that greatly reduces the value of the superficially valuable uses of this Daily Getaway.

Plus not every night is available for a redemption at every property.
Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.15.22 AM

I can’t find any comprehensive list of hotels by category, so it’s hard to find under-priced properties. If you find some, share them in the comments.

For now, I’ll pass on this deal and won’t write more about it on Monday. The properties that are good deals only offer moderate savings, and I generally prefer airbnb to hotels, so I’d need massive savings to get involved.

Purchase Link: 10,000 Best Western Points for $55

Tuesday March 31: Two Nights in a Venetian Suite ($495) or Palazzo Suite ($608)

These are legit, fancy suites at very nice on-Strip properties for about half their normal price for a Summer weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.36.15 AM
The Living Room of One of Your Suites

Here are the layouts for the 1,200 square foot suites. I would love to stay in either for a weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.36.27 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.37.05 AM

The Siena Suite at the Palazzo is going for over $1,270 after the resort fee for a weekend. The Daily Getaway price is $608, and the terms and conditions indicate that purchasers will not have to pay the resort fee.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.38.59 AM

The Piazza Suite at the Venetian goes for over $930 after resort fee for a weekend. Through Daily Getaways, you pay $495.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.39.13 AM

These two night stays need to be redeemed by March 31, 2016, and there are a lot of blackout dates, but they are clearly listed in the terms and conditions.

Purchase Link: Palazzo Suite for two nights for $608

Purchase Link: Venetian Suite for two nights for $495

Wednesday April 1: Stays at Caesars in Las Vegas and Atlantic City

Wednesday, there are a variety of packages at Caesars properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City from $315 to $1,400. These packages include 2-3 night stays and often have extras like free meals, free limo rides from the airport, show tickets, or in room champagne.

Read each package carefully.

I used one of these packages to stay at Harrah’s in Las Vegas last year, and I got good value. These are all good values if you stay over a summer weekend. There are blackout dates, but they are listed in the terms and conditions.

Purchase Link: Daily Getaways Caesars Packages

Thursday April 2: 4 pack of 2-day park tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood for $313

Your family of four can go to Universal Studios for two days for $78 each.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.59.01 AM

Purchase Link: 4 pack of 2-day park tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood for $313

Friday April 3: Choice Privileges Points for 0.4 to 0.48 Cents Each

I’ve bought Choice Privileges points the last two years, and they’ve been some of my best purchases. I’ve used $39 worth of points purchased during Daily Getaways to stay in a $325 room in Stockholm.

There are great values from 8,000 points per night ($32) in America and Europe.

I’ve drawn down my Choice Privileges points with recent bookings in Charlotte and Charlottesville, so I want to stock up for my trip to Europe this summer.

As with several Daily Getaways, these are advertised as stays like “Comfort Inn®: Stay 3 Nights for $155,” but you are really buying points that can be used at any Choice Privileges property as the terms and conditions make clear.

The price of the points varies over 10% based on the package you buy.

You can buy up to two of each package. I’ll buy two of the 40,000 point package if I can.

Bottom Line for Week 2

The star is Choice Privileges points for 0.4 cents each. I’ve used them for huge savings in Munich during Oktoberfest and Stockholm as well as $32 per night stays at hotels in the United States.

Best Western Points for 0.55 cents don’t offer nearly the value.

Venetian/Palazzo and Caesars are offering Vegas and Atlantic City packages on Tuesday and Wednesday. Venetian/Palazzo’s offerings are about 50% discounts on really nice suites. Caesars’ offerings fit a variety of price ranges. Consider how much you value each package and its blackout dates before booking.

Look for full posts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from me by 9 AM ET, and mark your calendar for any deal that piques your interest.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn up to 20 free hotel nights after meeting spending $2,500 in the first 90 days on the Club Carlson Visa.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 3.34.07 AM

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update at 2:02 PM ET: The 40k and 32k packages were all taken within seconds. I snagged two 36k packages. How did you do?

Today is the third day of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds.

Today’s Daily Getaways deal is to buy Choice Priveleges points for as little as 0.37 cents each. I expect this deal to sell out right away because it is the best hotel points deal of Daily Getaways.

The best use for Choice Privileges points is to redeem them for hotel stays in Europe on a very cheap award chart. They can also be converted to most major mileage currencies at a 5:1 ratio (1.85 cents per mile at these prices.)

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 4.05.48 PM

This is nearly an exact repeat of a deal from last year’s Daily Getaways, and that was the deal that I personally got the best value from in 2013.

  • How can you get in on the deal?
  • At what hotels can Choice Privileges points be used?
  • What are the high value uses of Choice Privileges points?
  • Are transfers of Choice Privileges points to airlines a good deal?
  • How did I save 88% on a hotel stay by participating in this deal last year?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Miles and points aren’t all about traveling in first class for pennies, although that’s the most aspirational aspect of the game, and the most fun to write about. In the last few weeks, I’ve used hotel points for massive savings on adequate rooms in convenient locations in expensive cities.

Through just a little bit of planning, I’ve spent about $255 total for my last six nights of hotels or $42 per night. Half of the nights have been in Europe in the summer, and two of them are at a hotel that has a retail price of over $325 per night currently.

My strategies haven’t involved any credit cards or hard work, just a bit of planning. They’ve been crucial strategies for me to get some affordable alone time away from hostels to break up an eight-month trip. And they’re strategies that anyone can employ to keep costs down and travel more.

This, 88% Off

What are the three tricks I’ve used to spend so little on hotels in Europe?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Receive one daily email with the latest tricks and deals by signing up in the top left corner of this page.

Update: I got 2 x 36k in the first few seconds. I’m refreshing to try to get 40k, 32k, and 20k packages, which are all in others’ carts.

Get huge discounts on all Southwest flights, up to 35% off, with three simple steps today only by taking advantage of a Daily Getaway sale and a favorable points conversion rate.

Today is the fourth day of the third week of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways.

Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds. Today’s deal is incredible if you know what to do.

Today’s deal is to buy Choice Privileges points in quantities of 20k, 32k, 36k, and 40k points for big discounts. These points can be converted to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a favorable rate.

How can you get up to 35% off all Southwest flights today?

Follow Me