From blogpost titled: "

Will Hyatt Gold Passport Be Devalued?"

Published by

Scott Mackenzie on September 13, 2013

I compared the number of points required for an award night across six major loyalty programs. In the figure below, you’ll see several dots representing different award tiers for each program. There are also two horizontal lines. The wider one on the bottom is the mean (average) cost per award night. The narrower one at the top represents one standard deviation from the mean.

For this particular analysis, mean doesn’t matter much — I think it would be important to create a weighted average that reflects how many properties are in each tier, and I’m not so concerned about this issue that I’m willing to invest the effort right now. Instead, I’ll take a rough approach and base my conclusions on the range and distribution of award costs.

(If you want to argue about some of the award costs: Hilton and SPG have some seasonal variation. I usually picked the lower value but chose the higher value for the top tier to represent the full range. I also added a 75K level for Marriott to represent Ritz-Carlton properties. If a program had special discounted rates, “Points Breaks,” etc., I left those out.)

While this first chart is nice, raw points don’t really tell us much. Hilton awards oodles of points per stay. If you choose the Points + Points earnings option, you get 10 points per dollar, plus a bonus 5 points per dollar. (Points + Miles earns just 10 points per dollar.) Club Carlson awards 20 points per dollar. Hyatt and SPG are closer to 3.

The next thing I did was adjust the chart in terms of dollars spent. I ignored any elite status bonus. I ignored points earned through credit card spend. This chart just says, “If an average person walks into a hotel, how much will he have to spend to earn a free night on his next trip?” I call this

**Spend per Free Night**.

The chart has tightened quite a bit! Most programs require somewhere between $500 and $5,000 in spend to earn a free night. Their award levels also tend to be evenly distributed. SPG is an outlier with some

*very* pricey awards in Categories 6 and 7 (the 8th point is a seasonal award). Ritz-Carlton is also an outlier compared to other Marriott awards. Club Carlson is cheap no matter where you stay.

Click to expand...