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Many of my hotels stays are through redemptions, but sometimes, it’s not worth it. Recently, I was looking at the Boca Beach Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort on a trip to Florida. At first, it was a tossup when looking at the value of a paid stay versus redeeming points, but after leveraging several redemptions, it was clear that a revenue rate was much better.
This resort normally requires 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night. I value Hilton points at 0.45 cents apiece, which makes the cost of points $360. Some folks may have different values, so adjust your numbers accordingly. Normally, 80,000 points is a great value when rates are $800+; however, the dates I were looking at in early December were quite reasonably priced, starting at just $380. The flexible rate was $411 + taxes. However, instead of booking directly through hilton.com, I knew there were other places that would give me a better deal.
AMEX Fine Hotels and Resort Promo
One option when booking pricy properties are looking at luxury hotel rates. These include AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts, Virtuoso, and other programs offered by hotel chains such as Starwood Luxury Privileges or Hyatt Privé. On most hotels, AMEX FHR offers a room upgrade, daily breakfast, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, 12pm check-in (when available), and complimentary wifi. For this particular hotel, the additional benefit was a $100 property credit per stay. I value Spa and Dining credits/benefits at a slightly lower value, but a property credit would be worth pretty close to face value.
I have Hilton Diamond status through the American Express Hilton Aspire Card. You can obtain through the Global Transfer program. Diamond status duplicates some benefits including upgrades and wifi, so primarily, the additional value is the property credit and guaranteed 4pm late checkout. To be able to book these rates, you need an American Express Platinum Card, currently offering up to 60,000 points after completing the welcome bonus.
AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts sometimes has special deals on top of these benefits. I lucked out and found that you can get the fourth night free during the dates of my stay. This promotion reduces the cost per night by 25%. This brings the rate per night to $308.25 + tax. While you need the Platinum Card to book, you don’t necessarily need to pay with it. You can use any American Express Card in your name.
I would split the cards I pay with, so I would further reduce the rates through benefits on my credit cards. The Platinum Card offers an annual $200 (~$150) Travel Credit, while the Aspire Card offers a $250 Hilton Resort Credit. Finally, there is also an AMEX Offers available. Until January 31, 2019, you will get $70 off $350 in spend at Waldorf Astoria + Conrad hotels. All these credits will reduce my total cost.
Hilton Honors Promotion
Next, Hilton Honors is offering a great promotion for stays this quarter, which is another reason to book a revenue rate.
From September 10 – January 3, you can earn 2x points on all properties, and 3x points on all luxury & resort stays. The Boca Beach Club falls in the latter category, so this promotion triples the 10 points/$ as a base member. As a Diamond Member, you also earn a 100% bonus, or an additional 10x points/$ spent. Finally, the Hilton American Express Aspire Card earns 14x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties. Thus, you end up earning 54 points per dollar!
- 10 points: Base Earn
- 20 points: Triple Points Promotion
- 10 points: Diamond Elite Bonus
- 14 points: Hilton Aspire credit card
To recap, l am now stacking the following:
- AMEX FHR Rate Benefits
- 4th Night Free
- American Express Platinum Travel Credit
- Hilton Aspire Resort Credit
- AMEX Offer
- Hilton Triple Points Promotion
The total price of four nights at the hotel is approximately $1,388, including taxes. With the $200 (~$150 USD) American Express Platinum Travel Credit, $250 Hilton Aspire Credit, and $70 AMEX Offers Credit, my cash outlay becomes $918. As well, I’d earn 72,852 Hilton points from just from this four night stay. Even at a more conservative 0.40 cpm (cent per mile) valuation, this means I earn $291 back in points. Depending on the attitude of the hotel, being on a premium rate and a Diamond elite member should further give me a good chance to get the resort fee waived.
Overall, I think this is a great example of what can be done, even if you don’t have access to many hotel points. This is also an example of where stacking promotions makes it more worthwhile to book a revenue rate. To earn Hilton points quickly, Hilton sells them with up to a 100% bonus several times a year. Each point would be 0.5 cents, although there’s not currently a sale ongoing. There are also multiple credit cards available in the US that earn Hilton points quickly.
Book your stay at the Boca Beach Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort here. Room rates start at $357 USD.