In my experience Hotel Points (with the right program) are a much better idea than (almost any) Flight Points program.
People love to talk about free flights, but free hotels are MUCH more rewarding.
- Never pay anything – free is free. If you manage to snag a free flight in North America you still pay $30-50 in taxes and fees, $0-100 in booking fees. With a hotel you have no booking fee, no tax, nothing (you do pay for your own incidentals like phone calls).
- With hotel points they are flexible in that they can be canceled as you wish without any additional fees. Most airlines charge you to cancel or even rebook your ‘free’ flights.
- Value: Most US airlines will offer you 25,000 points to sign up for a credit card – enough for a free flight. That is if you can ever find availability. Let’s assume the average RT flight in the US is $250. You still need to pay an average of $65 in fees (when you book early) You just got a $185 value. Compare this with the Starwood offer for personal. 10,000 points. Enough for 3 nights free hotel. That is at least a $300 value and you know you can get a room whenever you want. No restriction and no rules. My next stay will be at the Westin LAX. Rooms run $129 per night so the actual value of my reward points is $387.00.This means my value per points is 3.87 cents per point.
My Experience this week with flight points : I was looking for round trip tickets from Buffalo to Los Angles. I had some miles so I thought I should try and use them up. A round trip for my dates (6-21 days in advance) would cost me 25,000 miles and $118.25 or I could just buy a round trip for $230. If I used my miles they would be valued at (1/2 a cent each).