News and Views (Hotels) 25 November 2019
by Neil McPherson
25 November 2019
Best Western points devaluation
A reader spotted another post on Reddit that noted changes in the Best Western program. The previous maximum of 36,000 points has been increased to 70,000 points, with two other tiers of 40,000 and 56,000 points in between.
This shouldn't have been totally unexpected, When Best Western acquired WorldHotels they stated their intention was to be able to earn and redeem Best Western Rewards for stays at WorldHotels properties. Given the relativities of the two brands ' properties, a change to the top tier was inevitable, to create some headroom for the WorldHotels redemptions, if the points value is to be the same across both programs (or have two redemption tables, which would likely only raise future issues).
When I checked, there were no WorldHotels listed for redemption on the Best Western rewards site and no ability to book for award stays available on the WorldHotels rewards site (yet).
What is perhaps surprising is that Best Western has taken the opportunity to increase the points requirements for some of its own properties. Some have had spectacular increases.
Changes I found included:
- 70,000 points: Herald Square, New York (the only BW property at this level I could quickly find). This is a whopping 94% increase in points !
- 56,000 points: Vauxhall Hotel, London; Bowery Hanbee Hotel, New York; Boston Hotel, Boston; BW Tokyo Nishikasai, Tokyo. A 55% increase.
After picking myself up off the floor, I stopped looking further, noting that the 40,000 point category is an 11% increase from the previous maximum.
While the number of increases appears to be relatively small, they are widespread.
None of these properties are new to the Best Western Program. So to have their redemption requirements to suddenly be increased without even an announcement, let alone a reasonable period of notice, seems a rather indifferent (at best) treatment of its loyalty program members.
On a more positive note, at least this new cap gives an indication of where the WorldHotels properties will sit - no more than 70,000 points for the top of their (superior to Best Western) range.
World of Hyatt points offer with 40% bonus
World of Hyatt this week launched a new promotion for buying points. From now through 31st December 2019 members can purchase Hyatt points (minimum 5,000) with a 40% bonus (or 28.5% discount for folk who prefer to think that way).
The World of Hyatt points price is usually set at USD 24 per thousand points. However, with the 40% bonus, you can get them at USD 17.14.
This creates opportunities for valuable redemptions. Some examples below for a single night in a standard room include:
Venue Points Cash Buy Points Discount*
Park Hyatt Sydney 30,000 USD 878 USD 514 41%
Park Hyatt Melbourne 20,000 USD 514 USD 343 34%
Grand Hyatt Melbourne 15,000 USD 492 USD 258 48%
Discount is off member price.
Very attractive Australian Hyatt properties at bargain prices for mid-January stays!
Marriott Bonvoy points on offer at 30% discount
From now until 22nd December, Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 30% discount when you purchase at least 2,000 points in a single transaction.
The discount means you can purchase points at USD 8.75 per thousand, compared to its usual rate of USD 12.50 per thousand. This is the same as the offer in September and better than the USD 9.375 offer in April this year, which was a discount of 25%.
The annual purchase limit has been doubled from 50,000 points to 100,000 points during the life of this offer. So, if you haven't already purchased points this calendar year, you could buy up to 100,000 points for USD $875 (approx AUD 1,290 or GBP 685].
Should you take up the November 2019 Bonvoy points offer?
USD 8.75 per thousand is above our valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points of USD 8.00 per thousand, which means redemptions at that level are almost 10% above a fair redemption price. However, it may be worthwhile to top up your existing balance with a few thousand points for a specific redemption you already have in mind.
But if you need a large number of points, there is a smarter way to get there. A separate case study to follow will show how.