Should I Use Points or Cash for my Upcoming Hotel Stay?

May 3, 2015

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TPG reader Roman tweeted me to ask about which points to use for a hotel stay:

@thepointsguy–”For a one-night stay at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, we have three options: $495 AAA rate, 20K SPG points or 42K Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Which is best?”

Deciding whether to use points or cash is tricky, and the answer really depends on your situation. I would probably use the 20,000 SPG points, because you’re getting almost 2.5 cents per point. I value Starpoints at 2.4 cents apiece, so 20,000 points is worth $480. In this case you’re getting $15 more value by using points. Plus, that cash rate may not factor in additional taxes and resort fees (which would be covered by an award redemption). The SLS Beverly Hills hotel is nice, but nothing special in my opinion, and $500 is a lot to shell out for just one night.

I value Chase points at 2.1 cents apiece, meaning 42,000 Chase points is worth $882, so this is the worst option of the three. If you’re cash-strapped, then you may prefer to use points even if you aren’t getting the best value, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You should use your points and miles for what makes you happy and suits your needs.

The SLS Beverly Hills has a great pool area!

If you’ve got your heart set on staying at the SLS, then Starpoints are the way to go. However, I think there are much nicer Starwood properties in the area, like the W Westwood, which was recently renovated and has huge rooms, although the location isn’t as central. The SLS is a nice place to party with a great rooftop, but I found the rooms to be small and dark. Hopefully you’ll have a better experience!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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