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Two ways you can use hotel points to save big on summer travel, despite inflation

June 29, 2022
5 min read
hotel rooms with views of Chicago skyline
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Have you noticed that the price for even budget hotels has become prohibitive?

I’m currently in Nashville — and staying for free in an $800 room thanks to Marriott points. If I didn’t have hotel points, I’d be looking for a cheap cash rate. But even the nearest Red Roof Inn (a two-star hotel) is selling for $170 per night. In my experience, that’s not normal.

But don't give up hope yet. One extremely effective tool to defeat extortionate travel prices is to redeem hotel points. And while collecting hotel points has always been a good idea, for many of us, they’re now the only way we can actually afford to travel well in 2022.

Let's take a look at two of the best ways you can use hotel points to save big on summer travel, despite rising inflation and travel demand.

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Use the Hyatt award chart to stave off inflation

Hyatt is one of the only remaining loyalty programs to maintain a firm award chart. Hyatt groups its hotels into one of eight categories:

(Screenshot courtesy of hyatt.com)

No matter the cash price of the hotel, the amount of points you’ll pay for a room is confined to the hotel category’s price range.

Related: Here’s how to quickly stock up on Hyatt points for your next vacation

Let’s look at an example. The Hyatt Place Park City is a Category 4 hotel, meaning you’re guaranteed to pay between 12,000 and 18,000 points per night. You can find the hotel for less than $100 per night during the slow season around the fall.

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(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

The same room costs 12,000 Hyatt points.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

However, if you search during peak travel season — namely, ski season — the prices are much higher at over $600.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

Again, because this is a Category 4 hotel, the most you’ll be charged for a standard room is 18,000 points. This makes the hotel a steal during ski season.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

All this to say, no matter how overpriced the room rates at Hyatt get, you can still reserve a room with a reasonable amount of points.

Here’s another example: A super popular destination in the summer is Lake Tahoe. The nearby One Village Place is a Category 6 Hyatt hotel. For a night in mid-July, you’ll pay over $1,200 (after taxes).

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

You can instead use 29,000 Hyatt points to stay for free. That would give you a value of 4.13 cents each — nearly 2.5x TPG’s valuation for Hyatt points!

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt.com)

Marriott also uses an unspoken award chart

While Marriott no longer publishes an award chart, it keeps most hotels within a certain award price range, regardless of the going rate for a room. You can quickly discern a hotel’s price range by clicking the “Use Points/Awards” checkbox and searching “Flexible Dates.”

Related: How to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points

The Aloft Miami Brickell, for example, charges between 20,000 and 30,000 points for a room, no matter the cash price.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott.com)

Here’s another quick example: After a hasty scan, I’ve determined that the Fairfield Inn & Suites Key West costs between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night. This hotel’s cash rates can get expensive, but no matter what, I know that I won't pay more than 60,000 points.

Related: Should you use points or cash to book hotels?

A night in early August costs over $500.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott.com)

The same night costs 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That amounts to a value of 1 cent per Marriott Bonvoy point. That’s a good deal, as it’s higher than TPG’s valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.84 cents per point.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott.com)

Bottom line

You can use Hyatt’s award chart and Marriott’s de facto award price bands to save big on your summer vacation — and beyond. Because of the exorbitant rates hotel rooms are selling for these days, you’re practically guaranteed to get an excellent value for your points. Think of award prices as a form of rent control.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Chicago)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023