This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Jeremy asks:

“In general, is it more valuable to accumulate hotel points or airline miles (assuming you’re maximizing each)? In other words, if you had to pick only one bucket, which would be worth more to your budget?”

The easy answer would be to collect Starwood Preferred Guest points, which can be redeemed at great values on hotels and be transferred to over 30 different airline partners at pretty good ratios. It’s like have your points and miles too. However, I think the real question is, “what is more valuable: redeeming airline miles for flights or hotels points for hotels?”

It really depends on your situation, but I would personally choose airline miles, because I highly value being able to fly business and first class internationally and those tickets are usually astronomically priced. So the bottom line is that I wouldn’t get to fly unbelievable first class flights like my recent Lufthansa and Cathay experiences if it weren’t for miles. An incredible first class flight experience gives me more joy than a gorgeous hotel suite (though I shudder at the thought of only being able to have one or the other!).

Don’t get me wrong, hotel redemptions can be extremely valuable. Being able to use hotel points for hotels that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford is a great part of the miles and points game and can be the difference between being able to travel or not – especially if you have a family and need multiple rooms. However, if I were faced with having to pay for hotels vs. flights, I would choose hotels because there are a lot of different ways to get lodging cheaply (home exchange/rental, Priceline, friends, etc. vs. getting a comfortable flight cheaply. For me, the difference between a decent hotel and a luxury hotel is less valuable than spending 10 hours in coach (misery) vs. 10 hours in first class (bliss). Sidenote: A big part of my inability to enjoy economy longhaul is that fact that I’m 6’7″ and airline seats were not made for “passengers of height”.
[poll id=”26″]

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.