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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Platinum Card from American Express
TPG reader Duc tweeted me an interesting question this week that I get all the time and is foremost for when booking hotel stays. He asked:
“@thepointsguy If you had to choose between a much better reviewed hotel vs one which gets you points (Hilton, etc.), which do you pick?”
It really depends on the situation. If I’m on a business trip where I’m not actually spending much time in the hotel or taking advantage of its amenities, I would rather stay at the points hotel to maximize my earnings, any ongoing promotions and my elite status.
But if we’re talking about a vacation or a special occasion, I wouldn’t travel to the other side of the world just to stay at a hotel that you’re not really going to enjoy – especially when it’s a resort where features like a pool, location on a beach, the quality of the spa, etc., all really do matter. I guess it really just boils down to your travel preference.
But even when you stay at a hotel that doesn’t earn you points in a loyalty program of its own, you can still earn points or miles from your stay by maximizing your hotel bookings. For example, I filmed this while staying at the Four Seasons Toronto, which does not have a hotel points program. I booked it through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts thanks to my Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card (personal Platinum and The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN cardholders can also access FHR) which got me a $100 spa credit for my stay that I put toward one of the best massages I’ve gotten and free breakfast as well – so I am getting valuable benefits that are comparable to the points that I would earn by staying at another hotel with a less ideal location and not as great a view. I’m also going to try paying with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card so I earn 2.14X points per $1 on my hotel charge.
So there are a lot of factors to weigh, but once in a while, stay in a great hotel even if you’re not earning points for doing so. On the other hand, if you’re gunning for elite status and those perks over the next year and a half are going to be really valuable, then it might be worth staying at a less ideal hotel in order to rack up those points and that status so that you can put them to use on a great stay at a fantastic hotel in the future.