Staying with full fee with miles vs priceline

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by BVLGARI, Feb 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. BVLGARI

    BVLGARI Member

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    What do you think about say booking on hotel website and gettin miles vs doing Priceline and getting better deal but no miles.

    I recently booked a Marriott for 3/4 the advertised price through Priceline but got no points
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint! :)

    It's all about value. More often than not I will forgo Miles and Points because I got a great deal.
    Each person needs to evaluate how they use their miles and points to determine the trade-off.
    My personal advice is never chase the miles and points when a great value is staring you in the face. ;)
     
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  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Sound advice but only for those who do not care about achieving top elite status, year after year. So, who comes out ahead between someone who chases miles and points and someone who goes for "great value" (as implicitly defined above)?

    My take on that fundamental question, which is discussed in one form or another in forums (fora) like MP and TOBB, is that someone who chases miles and points is looking for a broader, longer term gratification, whereas one who goes for "great value" has a shorter term view that could be characterized as 'instant gratification.' I prefer the longer term view because what I get out of it ultimately has "great value" that pays for itself. I elaborate:
    As a UA 1K, I have been flying in premium cabins year after year by paying only for economy tickets and being upgraded (for long-haul int'l travel the upgrades are priceless). Likewise, I recently completed a month-long trip in Asia as a Hilton Honors Diamond during which I was upgraded to a suite at some of the very best Hilton properties in the area (e.g., Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa, Conrad Hong Kong, Conrad Bangkok), after redeeming points for the cheapest rooms in each property. In sum, by chasing miles and points, I am able to have a taste of the life of the rich and famous but at a fraction of the cost, thanks to the seat and room upgrades that are possible only if one chases miles and points. That is why I bolded, underlined or put in quotation marks the word "value" or the phrase "great value". I believe that chasing miles and points is "great value staring me in the face.";).

    Price or cost does not always equal or reflect "value"...

    BTW, welcome to MilePoint, BVLGARI!
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    My long-term view on hotel status is that it doesn't provide me enough benefits to justify the extra spending. Being upgraded to a suite, while nice, doesn't really change the value of the hotel to me. When the hotel I choose offers everyone free internet and breakfast rather than only for top elites that value proposition quickly approaches nil, too.

    And I tend to avoid western-branded hotels internationally so that plays into my thought process as well.
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    The only times it has been of value to me was when I was able to surprise my parents with a suite as a gift. Since I can't do that without traveling with them, it's not often the case. Personally, I just don't need the extra space (unlike, say, the extra space in E+ or C).
     
  6. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    To me the money saved beats the miles. When comparing I value the missed miles at a generous 2 cents each and subtract that value from the hotel quoted rate. If others are cheaper I usually go there.

    However, for travelers who might otherwise need to do mattress runs later in the year, I say go for stays and points if you can afford it on pass through the cost.
     
  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Figure out how you much you value the points at, and if you stay enough for elite status to come into play how much you value the benefits of that. For opaque options like priceline bidding also consider how much you value choosing your property as well. Convenience of property choice/selection also matters.

    Where you would want to redeem points plays a large role here. Much of the time the equation is favorable primarily for extravagant stays. If that's not your goal, the cash savings is a very strong option.
     
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  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    To each his/her own, but I do a lot of my "creative" work while on the road, and a tiny room fitted with a bed and a desk tends to "crowd" my brain. Importantly, on business trips or when redeeming for my extended year-end holiday, I like to have maximum comfort because I tend to stay 4-5 days in some locations, while also trying to work (my work is all year around!). Throw in free internet (a must), free breakfast, exec lounge, and extra consideration from the hotel manager on down for being a loyal customer and a top elite, and it all adds up to a great time away from home. If all my travel involved a day or two in a hotel, it probably would not matter much but for both my business and personal travel, I would often spend quite a few nights in a hotel (which is why I requalify early on base points rather than on no. of stays), and the perks, including premium rooms, do make a HUGE difference. C'est la joie de vivre!:)
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    My work is also year-round and I find that getting free breakfast and free internet is far easier by simply ignoring the loyalty programs and shopping for hotels which offer such. I often save money on the room rate, too.

    If you need the extra space to be able to work then it sounds like good value for you; it is just more space for me to lose things in the room. :oops:
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Three quick responses to the above and then I will elaborate: (a) I do no need to shop for hotels that offer free internet and breakfast, I just pick one; (b) my circumstances are such that saving money on room rate is not a top consideration; and (c) yes, the extra space has very high value for me, and I have never lost anything in a hotel suite...

    Much of this is really NOT debatable, because individual circumstances and definition of value can be quite different. The arguments that you are making against hotel loyalty programs can also be made against FF programs depending on one's circumstances and sense of value. For instance, after achieving Premier Gold and being guaranteed *A Gold perks and E+ at booking, why incur the expenses to go for Plat or 1K? (Hint: the answer here would be equivalent to why I want to have suite upgrades). Importantly, my circumstances are such that going for top elite in a hotel loyalty program is a no-brainer (not going for it would be almost criminal): all my business stays are fully paid for so that all I really need to do is simply to select a hotel program in which to collect the points, lots and lots of points. Then with the resulting mountain of points and status, I go on personal vacations during which I stay for free and get pampered at luxury hotels around the world that I could not possibly afford. Like I said, it is a no-brainer. In my recent month-long crisscrossing of Asia, I paid very little out of pocket for lodging or for airfare, saving my money for entertainment. That's what it is all about for me. I am not sure what you are after, and it does not matter to me...because...

    ...les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!
     
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  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If saving money isn't a priority then most of the other value calculations become much harder to process.

    Because I get way more fees waived and better access to award seats. Has nothing to do with upgrades for me. As you note, it is highly personal.

    This significantly skews the calculations as well. While my business pays for my stays I am my business. That means money left over at the end of the year is mine to keep. Makes a HUGE difference in my experience.

    If someone else is covering your costs anyways it is easy to ignore the actual numbers behind the benefits because the costs are not real to you.
    Getting the best value for my travel dollar over the long term. Knowing that it is my dollar, not someone else's, makes a big difference in the way I calculate the numbers.
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    There is money and money. I want to save personal money by using money that my professional circumstances afford me, and this is not a situation that is unique to me...
    It is just a matter of extent and the nature of the loyalty program, but each program does offer perks that are possible only if one is a top elite. HH Golds cannot get suite upgrades and have exec lounge privileges only when upgraded. The situation is murky at this point but there used to be HH "Diamond Force", Diamond Special Request, Diamond 48-hr Reservations Guarantee, or rooms that were set aside only for Diamonds...
    This simply states the obvious fact that the calculations for someone who pays out of their own pocket or is self-employed would be different from those of someone with different resources, emphasizing the role of individual circumstances, which are what they are for each of us. I am fortunate that my circumstances afford me the opportunity to benefit from both hotel and airline programs. The sense I am getting is that a FF program is more affordable for your circumstances than a hotel loyalty program or having both, but this is not a sufficient reason for finding more value in one than in the other. My circumstances are such that I find great value in both.
    Something that we can agree on and pretty much sums up what I said in my previous post: it all hinges upon individual circumstances and what one considers to be of high value. Different folks will go about it according to the resources that are available to them. This also gets us back to my original post about "instant gratification" vs. "long-term view", and why I prefer the latter...
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I agree with you just about entirely on this point, except that you seem to be claiming that saving money on an individual stay cannot lead to long-term value. I believe that it very much can and, for me over the past 5ish years, I know it has. If I need late check-out one day, for example, I can negotiate that with the front desk on an ad hoc basis rather than paying a bit extra every time to get the status.

    Not all the benefits of status are realized only with status. Sometimes it is a better value to simply purchase the benefits as needed. The long-term dollar value can still work out that way.
     
  14. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    When people are deciding to forgo points/miles to get what they want in the now for a lesser cost, it's often to save real cash that goes into emergency funds, college savings accounts, 401ks or IRAs. Being able to have a lifestyle after you retire where you can take a nice trip every so often, or making sure that the vacation you are taking won't hurt your budget too much is the acme of the "long-term view", no?
    Indeed. Works that way with airlines, too, now that pretty much all aspects of the frequent flyer experience (better seats. ticket flexibility, even miles, sometimes even status) have a price tag attached to them.
     
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  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This will become circular because we will start all over again, but I will just say what I'd said from the outset:
    If one's interest is status (it is clearly not your goal), then the longer term view is the MO, and chasing miles and points is "great value staring you in the face."

    I had reported booking a stay at Hilton Frankfurt through some third party website at nearly half the rate offered by Hilton and getting no points at all out of the stay. This would do me no good since I am interested in status, so I will not book stays through such 3rd party sites again.

    So, my point really was that "great value" is not only or always monetary, as was implicit in the post that I had responded to, but also what one deems important based on one's resources and lifestyle. I have paid for things that others have felt were not worth the money but I was very happy and would do it again given a choice because the value was higher for me. So, the equation to remember is:

    value != cost or price ;)
     
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  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Sure, but if the interest is status is it not worth considering why that is important, and to what extent one is actually willing to pay to get it?

    If I can have status for free I take it. Doesn't mean it is worth spending extra for unless there are specific benefits which I receive which are worth more than acquiring those benefits directly without the status. Whether it is late check-out, a Club room or breakfast/internet, they can all be purchased directly rather than depending on points to receive. If you don't actually need all of them every time you might be over-spending just to get them for "free" the times you do need them.

    I don't focus on status just to say I have status; I look at the benefits it offers and whether they are worth the costs to acquire. That's the long-term view I take.
     
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  17. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I'm always amused at the thought of status itself as the goal, irrespective of benefits earned and the cost to obtain them through other means.
    So status and points at all costs? That seems shortsighted. Also, what if you had already requalified at that point? Then you'd just be buying HH points, plus getting your on-property benefits. A fairly straightforward calculation as to whether or not that would be worthwhile.
    Value by definition is extracting the most or best benefit for the resources expended. The costs of maintaining Hotel loyalty can be substantial or trivial, depending on your travel patterns, and my be borne fully by you or largely with OPM. The benefits can also be substantial or trivial, depending on what you value.

    Yes, value is most certainly not price alone, but just as certainly price is a component of it which for some bizarre reason you seem determined to ignore completely.
     
  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Sure, but that depends on one's circumstances!!! You will go for the cheaper rate that earns no points because it is on your dime (this may also be why status in a hotel loyalty program is not appealing to you). But if you are interested in achieving status in 12 months, there are only so many pointless stays (pun intended) you can have, before time runs out. So again:
    But I can do the above because my circumstances allow me to do it. I will get reimbursed because during most of the year my travel is business-related.

    So would I...:D

    With my pattern of travel, I need status and all the perks that come with it. My travel experience would not be the same and I would be miserable without it...So, I do not go after status for the sake of status either. I reported recently that I got the Chase Hyatt visa card because it comes with Plat status in Gold Passport, and that is because after I traveled to cities with no Hilton properties I felt the difference: In CSX, I stayed at a Sheraton without having status in SPG and was assigned a tiny room that made me feel miserable for 3 days. Then I stayed at Grand Hyatt TPE with Hyatt Plat status I got through the United Club card, but I could not parlay that into a larger room (they were fully booked they said). But at Park Hyatt SGN and Grant Hyatt CKG, I struck gold and was assigned a huge corner room each time, and the difference in my mood was palpable. From there I stayed at Hilton SIN, Conrad BKK and Conrad HKG and I was in heaven in my suites and with status recognition!

    Status in a hotel loyalty program does enhance my travel experience dramatically. Luckily, my circumstances allow me to make achieving it year after year my MO. I should add that you prefer 'retail' deals, and I go for 'bulk' or prepackaged deals because I do not like to spend the time looking around for the best retailer...;)
     
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  19. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Unless you're traveling on someone else's dime, it's hard to justify paying transparent rates.

    I have booked upwards of 80 room nights per year using priceline -- I find tremendous value in it. I've booked 5* hotels in Amsterdam for US$65 (plus fees), 5* hotels in Prague for US$70, 4* hotels in SF for $70, and Hyatts near DC for $45. Back in 2009 and 2010, I was routinely getting mid-range and above hotels for $40-60/night. Only getting 25% off of retail, as the OP describes, was very unusual.

    With that said, I have chosen to pay transparent rates more often in the last year. Part of that change came from having Hyatt Diamond status (in addition to HHonors Gold) -- if the discount for using priceline was less than about $30-40, and I was aiming for a full-service property, I was tempted to get my free breakfast, lounge access, points, etc. My increased tolerance to pay the transparent rate premium interacted well with industry trends toward higher occupancy -- priceline availability has clearly been worse in 2012 than before. Much more often than before, I found the effective p-l discount to be minimal.

    As of today, I've lost the Hyatt status :(, so I suspect I will again be using p-l more.

    One last thing that has driven my choice for transparent rates: location. Sometimes, and it's actually pretty rare, I really care which property I'm at.
     
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  20. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Yeah, that reflects my experience at the places I used to book opaquely. For instance, LAX- opaque rooms there aren't much better than transparent ones.
     
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