When in Doubt, Use Your Hotel Points

The best part about reserving hotel with points is that you can usually cancel  without penalty the day before the stay. That’s a huge plus for a family, where there is always  potential for something to go wrong.

I usually make a reservation up to a year in advance, like the one I  got for our anniversary trip  in Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg with my IHG points. This particular place is a fairly good deal at 20,000 points, because the retail rate runs at $145 plus tax per night.

As I’ve mentioned last week, I just got an unexpected windfall of IHG points. That’s why I’ve decided to go ahead and use part of my stash for a 3-night family vacation in November, staying at Candlewood Suites Melbourne (Florida).

We are trying to save money for  a trip to Europe next year, and this particular hotel costs only 10,000 points per night and retail rate is $98 plus tax. My in-laws are coming, but even with 2 rooms, it’s still a good deal.

We plan to visit Kennedy Space Center (20 minutes by car), tour Brevard Zoo and let the kids play in the sand on the beach, which is just a short drive away. My husband really wanted to take a cruise instead, and we may do just that if a spectacular deal comes along. The good news is, we can  cancel our hotel without penalty.

I mentioned a few weeks ago how  my parents are coming to visit us very soon. They were  supposed to stay for 3 nights  in Pennsylvania with some friends. However, just recently, someone in their family  had a severe health crisis. She is getting better, but the recovery is very slow.

They were very nice and still willing to accommodate my parents, but  it would put  a  strain on them, no doubt. The last thing I want to do is add more stress to a family going through a crisis.

My parents’ flight to Europe is supposed to leave from Newark. I couldn’t change the tickets, so I’ve  decided to just book them a 3-night stay in New York City. As most of you know, that place is super expensive.

I debated on getting them a hotel in Brighton Beach (Russian enclave), but decided to just go ahead and use the points for Holiday Inn Express Brooklyn instead. The rate was 25,000 points per night, and I will get a 10 percent rebate with my IHG Visa.

The quoted price was $223 plus tax, so award redemption represents a very good  deal, especially since I value IHG point at 0.5 cents each. I am allowed to cancel without penalty the day before check-in, and we may end up doing  that. There is another friend who might let my parents stay at her house, though we are not positive on that one.

Additionally, I’m hoping there will be a PointBreaks hotel in the area with the new list  announced at the end of May. It’s unlikely, but you never know. Since they are flying out of Newark, location in New Jersey would work for us too.

Hotel points can be extremely valuable for situations like this one, where you are not sure about your plans. They can also come in handy during peak periods or holidays, when hotels charge a premium on their rooms. And of course, they are great for those who don’t have a lot in savings and just want to have a vacation with their family. That’s the whole point of points.

P.S. Daily Getaways will have IHG points packages for sale on May 26th. The cost is 0.63 cents per point without Amex card, and 0.57 cents with one.  All the mentioned hotels are good examples, where  this price could make sense, especially if you are willing to share a room with your kids. The real value is in the Point Breaks list (5,000 points per night), which should come out at the end of the month.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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4 thoughts on “When in Doubt, Use Your Hotel Points

  1. I can’t wait to see the new PointBreaks list. I’ve got some IHG plans coming up and plenty of points…. Is it sad that I’m excited?

    • Holly, I can’t wait for it either! And no, it’s not sad at all! Last year we stayed at Crowne Plaza suite on the beach for 5,000 points. You can’t beat that. It is a wonderful program, especially for families of 5 or 6. No need to feel guilty about splurging on 2 rooms.

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