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TPG reader Victoria tweeted me to ask:
@thepointsguy — “What do you think of Hyatt’s Cash + Points booking option versus just paying full price or saving up points to book rewards?
I always like having options when it comes time to redeem my points, so I was happy when Hyatt introduced the Cash + Points awards last year. This option allows you to book award stays using half the points plus cash to cover the balance. Aside from saving points, you earn elite qualifying nights and stays when you pay with Cash + Points, plus you can use Diamond suite upgrades and earn points on the cash portion.
The best booking option depends on what works for you. Cash + Points is a great option if you’re a little cash strapped, especially if you’re aiming for elite status. Basically, with Cash + Points you pay 2 cents per point to get 50% off an award redemption.
For example, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a Category 7 hotel. If rooms are going for $1,000 a night or 30,000 points, then a full award redemption gets you 3.33 cents per point in value. A Cash + Points booking would be $300 + 15,000 points, so you’d be paying 2 cents per point while each point is saving you 3.33 cents, so Cash + Points makes sense here, especially because you’ll also be earning points and working toward elite status.
Another way to look at it is that you’d be redeeming 15,000 points to save $700, which gives you a redemption value of around 4.67 cents apiece. In my most recent monthly valuations, I list Hyatt Gold Passport points at 1.8 cents apiece, so the Cash + Points option is clearly a good one in this case.
Across the board, I actually think that Hyatt’s Cash + Points option is more generous than Starwood’s. At the higher levels, it’s difficult to get as much value out of the Starwood chart.
However, as with any redemption, it’s really a matter of what works for you. Do the math for the redemption you have in mind, and determine whether it’s best to pay in cash, with points, or a combination of both. In conclusion, I think the Cash + Points is a great option to have, so don’t discount it.
If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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