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Buying Hotel Points: When It Makes Sense & When to Pass

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My inbox is constantly flooded with marketing emails from hotel chains practically begging me to buy their points for my next dream vacation. Hotel points have helped me save big on past trips, so it seems appealing. But at what cost?

There's a lot to consider. Just like U.S. dollars aren't the same as Canadian Dollars – let alone Mexican pesos or the Japanese yen – points from the different hotel chains are all worth varying amounts, too. And the cost to purchase points varies, too, based upon the hotel chain, how many points you're buying, and whether or not there's a sale.

Plus, with so many other ways to get hotel points like big credit card sign-up bonuses, transfers from bank partners, and, you know, actually staying at hotels, does it actually make sense to buy points? Sometimes … but not always.

I'll walk you through all the ins and outs of purchasing hotel points so you know when to buy, and when to pass. 



How Much Do Hotel Points Cost?

Comparing hotel points from one chain to another is never going to be apples to apples. The price you pay to buy points will depend on a variety of factors – especially your timing.

Throughout the year, all the big hotel chains regularly put their points on sale by offering a bonus. In some cases, those bonuses can go as high as 100%. Think of it like getting 50% off. 

If you're considering buying points, timing your purchase with one of these sales is key. If there's not a sale or bonus, you can safely skip it altogether in almost every instance. 

The U.S. Travel Association also runs a promo called “Daily Getaways,” where you can usually buy discounted hotel points from participating programs. This year's Daily Getaways began on Monday, April 15, with discounted point packages from both Hilton and IHG.

Here's a look at what purchasing points from each of the major hotel chains will typically cost you – along with the sale prices. 


Hilton Honors

Hilton points typically cost 1 cent per point. That's quite a bit more than the value you'll typically get when redeeming Hilton Honors points, which almost always makes buying points at full price an automatic skip.

But seemingly every couple of months, Hilton runs a promotion offering up to a 100% bonus on point purchases. A bonus that big effectively makes it a 50% off sale, dropping the purchase price down to a half cent each

One such promotion is running right now – but this one's targeted, so you'll need to log in to your Hilton account to see what your specific bonus is. In my case, I'm only getting an 80% bonus this time around. This means that if I wanted to buy 100,000 points for $1,000, I'd actually end up with 180,000 points as a result of the bonus – dropping my total cost per point down to .56 cents each. That's not quite as good as a 100% bonus but still much better than the regular price. 


Buy Hilton Points Banner


Ordinarily, you're limited to buying 160,000 Hilton points per year (before any bonuses) … but with the current sale, that cap has been increased to 240,000 points. If you're targeted for the full 100% bonus, you could purchase up to 480,00 points. And since Hilton allows point pooling with up to 10 other Hilton Honors members, you should have no trouble buying the points needed for nearly any vacation. 


IHG One Rewards

Just like Hilton, IHG points will typically cost you 1 cent each. But you shouldn't pay that! 

IHG will often put points on sale with a 100% bonus, which effectively makes them 50% off – costing you just a half cent each. Much like Hilton, you can count on seeing one of these promotions from IHG every couple of months. So unless you have an immediate need for more IHG points, you should try to hold off until they're on sale. 


Buy IHG Points sale banner


IHG typically allows members to buy up to 150,000 points each calendar year, not counting any bonus points. If you're able to get in on one of these 100% bonuses, you'd end up with up to 300,000 IHG points.


Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott points are generally worth more than the likes of Hilton and IHG … and that's evident by their usual sale price of 1.25 cents per point. Stop me if you've heard this before, but you shouldn't pay the full price!

Unless you're in desperate need of a few more points to top off your account or you have a really high-value redemption in mind, this isn't a good price. 

Marriott Bonvoy points don't go on sale quite as frequently as Hilton and IHG points do, nor will you see as big of bonuses – maybe four or five times a year you can expect a bonus of 30% to 50% on point purchases. This drops the price to somewhere between .96 cents per point and .83 cents per point, depending on the bonus. That's still not great but certainly better than the regular asking price. 


Marriott point purchase bonus


Marriott limits point purchases to 100,000 per calendar year (before any bonuses), though that limit is often increased during sales. In order to buy points, you'll need to be a Marriott Bonvoy member for at least 30 days with some sort of qualifying activity or one year without any activity. 

Like Hilton, Marriott also allows members to transfer points to other accounts so it shouldn't be too difficult to get the amount of points you need for a vacation. Each account can receive a maximum of 500,000 points per calendar year through transfers. 


World of Hyatt

Get ready for a little sticker shock: Hyatt points ordinarily cost 2.4 cents each when purchased without a sale.

But remember: You can't make an apple-to-apples comparison between points programs. Hyatt points command a higher price because they're unquestionably more valuable than the likes of Hilton, Marriott, or IHG – it's a big reason why we think Hyatt is the best overall hotel program

But like its competitors, Hyatt sells points with a bonus every few months – typically in the range of 20% or 30%. Those sales drop the price to 1.8 cents to 2 cents apiece. Considering Hyatt award nights cost as few as 3,500 points per night – and you can book even the most absurdly expensive properties for 35,000 to 40,000 points per night – it's still possible to come out ahead when purchasing Hyatt points.



Buy Hyatt points with 25% bonus


World of Hyatt limits point purchases to 55,000 points per calendar year, before any bonuses. Just like Hilton and Marriott, you can transfer Hyatt points between account. So although the purchase cap is much lower with Hyatt, you still shouldn't have any issue amassing the amount of points you need for a getaway. 


When to Buy Points

Just like transferring your credit card points speculatively is rarely a good idea, the same goes for buying hotel points without a redemption in mind. 

That said, strategically buying hotel points can be a great way to save big on your next hotel stay: for a top-dollar reservation where it might actually be cheaper to buy the points you need to book rather than pay upfront in cash. Stack a big sale on hotel points with other promotions like the fourth- or fifth-night-free benefit offered by many hotel chains on award stays, and you might be able to easily make the math work.

Here's how it works with each chain: 

  • Hilton Honors reservations get a fifth-night-free on award stays – but only if you have elite status. Any level of elite status will do, which you can get with any Hilton Honors co-branded credit card or even *amex platinum*. Hilton simply averages the nightly award cost across the entire stay and deducts one-night from the total. 
  • IHG One Rewards stays get the fourth-night-free – one night shorter than its competitors – if you've got an IHG co-branded credit card like the *ihg rewards club premier* or the *IHG Business*. Not only is it great that this perk only requires a four-night stay, but it's also a true fourth-night-free. With the hotels dynamic pricing model, your first three nights could be low demand nights (costing less) and the fourth night could be an expensive weekend night and you still get it for free. 
  • Any Marriott Bonvoy member who redeems points for five consecutive nights will get the lowest point-value night for free. Because Marriott chooses the lowest priced night as the free one, you aren't truly getting the fifth-night for free. Still, getting a discount on any five-night stay is better than nothing. 
  • World of Hyatt offers no free-night benefit on award redemptions. 

Stacking a big sale on points with these benefits still tends to work best at pricey resort and properties. As an example, let's look at a hypothetical five-night stay at the dreamy Conrad Bora Bora Nui. It's a destination at the top of many travelers' wishlist … but it doesn't come cheap. 

In fact, a fully cancellable night in the cheapest King Tropical Beach Villa goes for north of $1,300. With taxes and service fees added in, you're looking at more than $7,000 for a five-night stay. That is not thrifty.


Concrad Bora Bora Nui nightly rate


While award availability for “Standard Rooms” (the lowest priced awards) can be spotty at high-demand places like the Conrad in Bora Bora, you can currently book the same room-type for just 120,000 points per night for nearly all of March 2025. If you bought Hilton points on sale at a half cent each, you'd wind up paying $600 per night – more than 50% off for the same room.


Conrad Bora Bora Nui March 2025 Award Availability


With any level of Hilton elite status, you'd be able to get one of those nights for free, dropping the total cost down to 480,000 points – costing you $480 per night. So that five-night stay that would cost more than $7,000 paying cash would cost you $2,400 if purchasing points – a bargain in comparison. 

Bali is another far-flung beach destination on many travelers' bucket lists. Hotel rates on this Indonesian island are usually quite reasonable – at least by North American standards – but you can oftentimes get an even better deal using points. 

Several years ago, I stayed at the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach and loved it. With ocean views, multiple pools, lush vegetation and great onsite dining, I'd love to go back. Cash rates for later this fall average a little more than $200 per night. 


Hotel Indigo Bali Cash


While that cash price certainly isn't awful for such a nice spot, you can do even better by buying IHG points instead. That same room can be booked for just shy of 32,000 IHG points per night. Time it right with one of IHG's 100% bonus sales to acquire those points for a half cent each, that drops the nightly cost down to about $160 – a savings of nearly $60 per night. 


Hotel Indigo Bali point redemption


If you've also got an IHG credit card and get a fourth-night-free on award stays, you can save even more. If you were staying exactly four nights and used points purchased at a half cent each, you'd be looking at a nightly cost of around $120. That means by buying points instead of paying cash, you'd be saving nearly $400 on a four-night stay. That's certainly not nothing. 

Finally, it might make perfect sense to buy points from any chain – sale or no sale – if you need a few thousand points to top off your account and pull off a redemption. If paying $25, $50, $100, or more is the difference between having enough points to book, go for it. 


When You Should Pass

There are a few times when buying points is a clear win, but that won't always be the case – far from it.

Why? There are often far easier (and cheaper) ways to acquire points through credit card spending, paid stays, and big sign-up bonuses. Whether or not buying points is worth it oftentimes boils down to how easy they are for you to replenish. 

Because IHG and Marriott points are generally worth less than a penny a piece, I often shy away from transferring my credit card points from banks like Chase and Amex to either program. This often means that buying points outright (on sale) is the better deal.


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With Hilton, you can transfer points from Amex at a 1:2 ratio – meaning every Amex point you transfer gets you 2 Hilton points in return. If you've got lots of Amex points (or an easy way to replenish them) this can make for a better deal than buying points outright.

When it comes to Hyatt, transferring points from Chase or Bilt is usually a great use. Because Hyatt points are so valuable, redeeming your credit card rewards by transferring them to Hyatt can be a wise move.

Here's an example of when to pass on buying points: If you were planning a trip to New York City this summer and wanted to stay at the Hyatt Centric Midtown, you might be tempted to use points instead of paying cash. If you didn't have the Hyatt points needed buying them with a bonus at 1.8 cents per point might seem like a good idea.

The Hyatt Centric Midtown is a Category 6 Hyatt property that charges 25,000 points per night for a standard stay. Buying the full 25,000 points needed for a one-night stay would cost you $45o. 


Hyatt Centric Midtown


But you can see that the nightly rate for this hotel is only $281. While using points might make the hotel stay feel free, if you're buying the points outright, it's actually costing you significantly more. 

This isn't to say that you should never buy Hyatt points (or other hotel points). Just that it's critical to do the math ahead of time to ensure you're really getting a good deal before you hit “purchase.”


What Credit Card Should You Use to Buy Points?

If you carry a co-branded credit card from one of these hotel chains, that might seem like the logical choice for buying their points. Not so fast. 

All these hotel point purchases are processed by an independent third-party called points.com – the same company that sells miles for many airline programs. This means that what seems like an obvious hotel or general travel purchase actually isn't.

In fact, these point purchases don't fall into any sort of traditional bonus category, which means the best card to use is a new one that you're trying to meet a minimum spending requirement to earn a big bonus. If you don't currently have (or want) a new card, using something that earns 2x transferrable points or miles like the *venture x* or *blue biz plus* is a good backup.

Related reading: Our List of the Current Best Credit Card Offers 


Bottom Line

Strategically buying hotel points can be a great way to save big on your next vacation.

While it's rarely a good idea to buy points without a specific use in mind, getting in on one of the semi-frequent sales can make point purchases worthwhile. Just be sure to do the math in order to ensure buying (and using) points is actually saving you money in the end. 


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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