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Which Award-Winning Hotels Give You the Best Value?

Aug. 3, 2018
Reward Optimization, Travel
Wingate by Wyndham - Bismark, ND - Photo courtesy Wyndham Destinations
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Guests of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) and Wyndham are the happiest across all sectors, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The 2018 North America Guest Hotel Satisfaction Survey found guests of two hotel brands from each company were the happiest with their stays.

Not every point is created equally: While nights at Kimpton Hotels, part of IHG Rewards Club, can go for over 70,000 points per night, Wyndham Hotels award nights cost 15,000 per night at any hotel. Make sure you join the hotel loyalty program or get the travel credit card that’s going to best allow you to capitalize on earning and redeeming the points that make the most sense for you.

» Learn more: Don’t let hidden hotel fees spoil your stay — even on award nights.

How to get the most value on hotel points

J.D. Power selected hotel winners in eight categories, ranging from extended stay hotels to full-service luxury hotels. However, some of the award-winning hotels may cost more points depending on the brand. How can you make the most out of your points? Here’s how much you can expect to pay at each brand.

  • Luxury: Ritz-Carlton Hotels – When the new Marriott Rewards award chart becomes effective on August 18, the average nightly points rate at Ritz-Carlton locations will go up to 51,649. This is an increase of around 3,000 points from their current average. Before deciding on an award, check to see if your location is one of the 46% of hotels that will increase in price after the change. Your best savings may come by booking before August 18.
  • Upper Upscale: Kimpton Hotels – Across all 36 Kimpton Hotels currently open, the points price for a free night ranges between 40,000 and 70,000 IHG Rewards Club points. If your travel plans include a Kimpton, budget at least 55,000 points per room, per night. But know that rooms in highly sought after cities can cost the full 70,000 points per night.
  • Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn – Surveying five of the largest cities in the U.S., a weekend night at Hilton Garden Inn ranged from 20,000 to 70,000 Hilton Honors points. Points travelers should budget around 45,000 points per night for Hilton Garden Inn awards, but the price may change based on the average room rate per night.

» Learn more: Confused about transferring Ultimate Rewards points to IHG Rewards Club? We answer your top five Chase Sapphire Preferred questions.

  • Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels – The smallest rewards program on this list, Drury Hotels are found in only 22 states. Comparing award prices in four major cities in September 2018, the average price per night was around 16,735 Drury Rewards points. Like Hilton Honors, the points price is directly affected by the cash price per night, so expect to pay more for rooms in higher demand.
  • Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham – Of all the award programs, Wyndham is the easiest to understand. All hotel rooms cost 15,000 points per night, regardless of the brand or location. To make sure you are getting the best return on points, divide the cash price by 15,000 to see how much value you are getting. In some situations, it could make more sense to pay in cash.
  • Economy: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham – Another Wyndham brand, the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham comes at a lower price point because it isn’t a full service hotel. Although you could pay 15,000 per night for a hotel room, we recommend against it, because you won’t get a good return for your points.

» Learn more: 20 ways to stay safe at your hotel when you’re traveling alone

  • Upper Extended Stay: Staybridge Suites – Among the 22 Staybridge Suites that saw category changes in IHG Rewards Club, award nights ranged from 15,000 to 50,000 points per night. We calculated the average Staybridge Suites award at 22,727 IHG Rewards Club points per night, but this price will change based on the destination. High-demand destinations, like New York, cost more than other locations.
  • Extended Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton – Comparing a September weekend night across the five largest cities in the U.S., a night at Home2 Suites by Hilton costs between 21,000 and 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night. We found the average price for a Home2 Suites night is 32,696 points, but may increase or decrease based on the average nightly price and hotel demand.

How winners were decided across all six categories

To determine winners in each category, J.D. Power and Associates rated hotels across eight metrics: overall satisfaction, reservation experience, check-in and check-out experience, guest rooms, food and beverage options, hotel services, hotel facilities, along with cost and fees.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:


Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
5 items that make any hotel room feel like home
7 guaranteed ways to find cheap hotel rooms
Groupon getaways can be worthwhile, if you’re wary

Photo of the Wingate by Wyndham in Bismarck, North Dakota, courtesy Wyndham Destinations.

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