Getting Started: Hotel Points

Getting Started: Hotel Points

Points can be found everywhere you look.

In this post, I’ll cover how points can be earned, and used, in the hotel world.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Hotel Points. These points are accumulated varying on the corresponding dollars spent on the room. While points earned are variable, redeeming points is at a fixed cost. By that I mean that $10 spent may earn you 50 points, but redeeming a night at a “category 3” hotel rate (for example) may cost you 20,000 points, no matter if the room is $100 a night or $250 a night.

Hotel Status. Hotel status has nothing to do with the amount of points earned, although it usually corresponds pretty well. Hotel status is earned through the amount of nights stayed or stays (which are stays of 2 or more consecutive nights). Once you reach whatever that threshold is, you start using the perks of that tier immediately (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, etc.).

Major Players

There are a few companies that own the majority of the hotels you probably stay at normally. These are some of the chains, from largest to smallest:

InterContinental Hotel Groups (IHG)

Hilton Worldwide

Marriott International

Wyndham Hotel Group


Choice Hotels

Best Western

Starwood Hotels and Resorts (SPG)

Club Carlson

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts

Each of these programs are distinctly unique in their own way. One common trait they all share is points. One way or another, they reward their customers with points.

We’ll quickly review a few of the “Major Players” and go over a programs snapshot of each, along with how you earn and redeem their points.



Intercontinental Hotel Group, aka IHG, is probably best known for their main hotel chain, the Holiday Inn brands.

They also have their high-end selection of brands, including their namesake, the InterContinental Hotel. Along with the InterContinental are the Crowne Plaza and the Hualuxe hotels.


The earning concept at IHG is extremely simple.

InterContinental Hotel – 10 points/$1, with a minimum of 2,000 points per stay

All other IHG properties – 5 points/$1


Similar to their earning, the redemption process is equally as simple in thought.

Categories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Points 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 45,000 50,000



Hilton Hotels are a well-known brand worldwide. Hilton’s midrange hotel brands, including Hilton, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, and Embassy Suites, are probably the most widely seen in the chain. 


Similar to IHG, Hilton’s earning is relatively simple, save a few caveats

  • Base Points:
    • Home2 Suites by Hilton – 5 points/$1 spent on the room rate
    • Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton – 10 points/$1 spent on room rate ONLY.
    • All other Hilton Worldwide properties – 10 points/$1 spent on the room rate and eligible room charges (phone, internet, etc.)
  • Bonus Points:
    • Earning Styles
      • Points & Points
        • You receive the normal 10 points/$1 spent (unless one of the above caveats apply) + 50% bonus points on your stay.
          • Example: Staying at Hilton Garden Inn
            • Spend $300 on your 2-night stay; earn 3,000 points + 1,500 bonus points.
          • Points & Variable Miles
            • 10 (5) points/$1 spent + 1 mile/$1 spent credited toward your selected airline partner.
              • Example: Staying at Hilton Garden Inn
                • Spend $300 on your 2-night stay; earn 3,000 points + 300 miles to your selected partner airline.
                • Caveat: Home2 suites stays are capped at 100 miles/stay
              • Points & Fixed Miles
                • 10 (5) points/$1 spent + 500 miles per stay
                  • At Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites, earn ONLY 100 miles/stay.
                  • Example: Stay at Hilton Garden Inn
                    • Spend $300 on your 2-night stay; earn 3,000 points + 500 miles to your selected partner airline
                  • Elite Bonuses:
                    • Silver
                      • 15% bonus on Base Points
                    • Gold
                      • 25% bonus on Base Points
                    • Diamond
                      • 50% bonus on Base Points


Hilton has a simple, albeit devalued, award chart. By devalued, we mean the price per night is not significantly more expensive than competitors, however you also earn more with your stays. Think of inflation, except in the points world.


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Mariott Logo

Marriott International offers guests locations all around the world with unique stays. Ranging from multiple extended stay hotels (Residence Inn and TownePlace Inn and Suites) to their luxury brands JW Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton.


Instead of writing out some convoluted paragraph on hotel earning, it may just be more simple to show you their earning program from their website.

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They also have a 5-tier reward chart for the Ritz-Carlton.

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On both of these award charts you receive your fifth night free after you book the first four with points.



Starwood Hotels and Resorts provide their customers with a very valuable points system, and a wide variety of hotels and resorts. Their hotels you will be most familiar with are most likely the Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis.


  • 2 Starwood hotel points per $1 for all Starwood members
  • 3 Starwood hotel points per $1 if you’re a Gold or Platinum Elite
  • 4 Starwood hotel points per $1 if you’re a Platinum Elite with over 75 nights stayed that year


However, the Starwood redeeming chart is a little more confusing than most. Thus, I’ve added the chart from their website to ease the pain.


Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 8.21.20 PM



Finally, we’ve come to Hyatt! What you’re used to seeing: Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency.


5 points/$1 spent

Elite Benefits:

  • Platinum
    • 15% point bonus
  • Diamond
    • 30% point bonus


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That’s been a quick roundup of hotel points. You’ll now know the basic foundations you need to start earning and burning at your favorite chain!

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