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Points vs Cash

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Cash vs Points - which is better ?

by Neil McPherson
First published 12 April 2023
Updated 17 July 2023 for inclusion of Accor

Frequently Asked Questions

Awayz review - a new travel tool that helps travellers get most from hotel points

Points and miles enthusiasts now have a new tool at their disposal to help find the best price on hotels around the world.

Awayz (an advertiser) launched in February 2023, with the goal of determining if a stay is a better deal using points or cash based on the credit cards in your wallet and your loyalty status.

One of the challenging parts of determining the best value for points is the math that goes into it, combined with an estimate of how much points are worth. Awayz sets out to make the calculations less complex, helping more travellers get the most out of their points and miles.

“Specifically, users are shown a pricing breakdown of their hotel and bank points so they know how much to redeem from the respective programs for any given stay"

“In addition, Awayz uses natural language processing that continuously pulls rewards data from transfer partners, ensuring that users are receiving the latest best points redemption options.”

Awayz by Odynn press release  

Combining real-time data of hotel pricing, points balances, award availability (up to 12 months)  and credit card benefits, Awayz claims 99% accurate price comparison from all sources.

Awayz offers a free trial with live cash and award pricing for 5 searches per month, along with two paid plans.

The premium options, ranging from US$4.99 (72 hour access for 50 searches) to US$11.99 per month or US$99 annually (with an annual subscription discount).  Both of the latter support:

  • 250 searches per month
  • calendar views,
  • hotel deal alerts,
  • active free night certificates,
  • fourth and fifth night free promotions, and
  • recommendations based on credit cards.

Currently working with 5 of the largest loyalty programs, with more to follow, the app also compares balances from bank transfer programs to add with comparison shopping. Awayz provides support for American Express Membership Rewards, together with Bilt Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards.  The current programs are:

  • Accor (including Banyan Tree, Raffles and Fairmont),
  • Hilton,
  • Hyatt,
  • IHG (including Six Senses and Ibersotar) and
  • Marriott.

Our thoughts on Awayz

We love this tool after using it for our own travel. It is very easy to use and in our testing provided consistently good results.
By continuously pulling rewards data from transfer partners, you know that Awayz current points valuations and prices are always up-to-date, rather than updated on say a monthly basis.  Award booking availability is also shown, so you don't waste time with inefficient searches. Some of the more aspirational properties are notoriously difficult to find award availability - but not any more!

The free version is useful for basic searches and to trial the tool's capabilities, but to make the most of its technology, subscribe to the premium levels - the hotel deal alerts and incorporation of FNC's for higher elite members should alone save you more than the annual subscription after only one or two trips. Not to mention the time and math !

What would we like to see?

  • it is a US based tool, so likely to only support US-issued credit cards (and American Express globally). Adding other jurisdictions would exponentially increase complexity, so while I think this would be ideal, I also think this is unrealistic.  If you are an AmEx cardmember, this is much less of an issue.
  • hotel pricing is in USD, which is how properties price their stays internally, converting to local currency.  This is less of an issue (if the better option is cash in USD it will also be the better option in other currencies).  Just be aware that prices shown are in US Dollars and not (say) Australian Dollars.

How to open a new Awayz account

First, open your account on the Awayz by Odynn website (advertiser) :

  1. Select sign-up in the top right hand corner
  2. Enter your email address and minimal personal details
  3. After confirming your email via a code, you can then select the package you prefer.  Note that you can change this later.
  4. Selecting the 1 day free trial provides you with access to all the features.  After that you can select either the limited but free level, or either Gold or Platinum levels, which have additional tools to assist with earning and redeeming points.
  5. Continue to login.
  6. Enter your current points balances for your credit/charge cards and loyalty program balances under the wallet & awards tab.  Note that you must have balances to be able to see any relevant options in your searches. For example, if you have a zero or low balance with Marriott Bonvoy and no transferable points, then no Marriott properties will be presented for you.
  7. You can restrict your searches under the preferences tab.

Finding your best option

Go to the search tab and then you will be presented with a map and search criteria (chain, location, dates).

A very useful feature is the Awayz also considers whatever Free Night Certificates you have earned in assessing your options.

Select where you wish to stay et voila it tells you whether spending cash or redeeming your points is the better option.

Note that dates are in mm/dd/yy format and prices are in USD.

  1. Not quite enough points, but using points is the best option? Top up your points balance by purchasing additional rewards points using our links below, or transfer from one of the bank/credit card programs.  
  2. Then login to the members' section of Hilton, Accor, Hyatt, IHG, or Marriott to make your booking using your points. However:
  3. If cash is the better option,

  1. you can use the same links, to pay with cash rather than redeeming points. BUT
  2. If you'd like some free perks  (daily breakfast, property credit, or potential room upgrade ...) to enhance your stay and still earn your points, then instead book through Rewarding Travel. - our associated Travel Agency.  (T&C's apply)

Special Awayz Offer For Our Readers

If you open your Awayz by Odynn  (advertiser) account using our link, instead of the public pricing above, you will receive a US$10 discount off the annual subscription and you will keep that rate forever, as long as you renew the subscription each year.

The best value is in the Annual Premium tier - at a discount to the already discounted annual rate (an overall discount of 37.5%). To take advantage of the offer either use the link above, or enter the code pointsnplaces on the Packages page on their website

Happy bargain hunting !

Top-up your points

Buy Hilton Honors

(advertiser link)

Usual rate / 1k  

Usual Max/year:      80,000

Valuation/ 1k      
USD 5.50

Analysis of past Hilton Honors points promotions.

T&C's apply

Buy Hyatt points

(advertiser link)

Usual  rate/1k
USD  24.00

Usual Max/year:       55,000

Valuation/ 1k      
USD 17.00

T&C's apply

Buy IHG One points

(advertiser link)

Usual rate/1k    

Usual Max/year:    150,000

Valuation/ 1k      
USD 5.00

T&C's apply

Buy Marriott Bonvoy points

(advertiser link)

Usual rate/1k      
USD 12.50

Usual Max/year:     100,000

Valuation/ 1k      
USD 7.50 

Analysis of past Bonvoy points promotions.

T&C's apply