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There are plenty of ways to earn hotel points. From lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses to shopping and dining programs, these are just some of the ways you can accumulate points. However, you might find yourself only a few thousand points short of your dream vacation. In addition to credit cards and dining programs, many hotel chains allow you to purchase points.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about buying hotel points—from understanding the best times to buy to avoiding overpaying for points.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the various reasons you might consider buying points, such as taking advantage of limited-time promotions or snagging that elusive award night. We’ll also cover the critical factors to consider before making a purchase, like the cost per point.

Here’s what you need to know before buying hotel points.

A view of the outside of a luxury hotel accompanied by text that reads "What you should know about buying hotel points"

Here’s what you need to know before you buy hotel points.

Which Hotels Let You Buy Points?

Almost every major hotel chain lets you buy points. This is in contrast to airlines in which some rather large airlines (like Japan Airlines) do not offer the option of buying airline miles.

Of course, most independent hotels and boutique chains are exceptions. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of the hotel chains that let you buy points.

List of Hotels That Let You Buy Points

AirlineProgramConditionsLink to Portal
Best WesternBest Western RewardsBuy Best Western points in increments of 1,000 up to 25,000 (with bonus) per day. Purchase up to 100,000 points (or 125,000 with bonus) in a calendar year.Buy Best Western Rewards Points
HiltonHilton HonorsPurchase Hilton Honors points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 160,000 points in a calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy Hilton Honors Points
HyattWorld of HyattBuy World of Hyatt points starting at 2,000 points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 55,000 points in a calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy World of Hyatt Points
IHG Hotels & ResortsIHG One RewardsBuy IHG One points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 250,000 points in a calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy IHG One Points
MarriottMarriott BonvoyBuy Marriott Bonvoy points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 100,000 points in a calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points
RadissonRadisson RewardsBuy Radisson Rewards points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 250,000 points in calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy Radisson Rewards Points
Wyndham Hotels & ResortsWyndham RewardsBuy Wyndham Rewards points in increments of 1,000. Purchase up to 100,000 points in a calendar year not including promotional bonuses.Buy Wyndham Rewards Points

In addition to buying points outright, many chains offer members the ability to book with points and cash. This may be a better way to book a room with points rather than buying points outright. However, even booking with points and cash isn’t always advisable.

An exterior view of a pool with a table and chairs in front of a room at the Ritz-Carlton Bali

Buy Marriott Bonvoy points to redeem at luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton Bali. (Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

Related: Which Airlines Let You Buy Miles or Points?

Why Would You Buy Hotel Points?

There are a number of reasons why you might buy points. One of the most common reasons a frequent traveler might decide to buy points is to top off their account to book an award stay that requires slightly more points than they have in their account.

In some cases, an award might yield enough value to a traveler that buying points outright makes more sense than accumulating them from stays or credit cards, but this is rarely the case.

Seasoned frequent travelers will usually wait for promotions to load up on points. Occasionally, hotels offer bonuses that allow members to buy points with a sizable bonus.

That leads us to the question of when you should buy hotel points.

When Should You Buy Hotel Points?

The short answer is, it depends on the specific situation. If you’re only a few thousand points away from your dream vacation, it might make sense to top off your account. On the other hand, if you’re still 50% of the way from a rather pricey award booking, it probably doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds if not thousands to buy points.

Ultimately, the best time to buy hotel points is during promotional periods. As mentioned, during these promos, you might be able to purchase points with a 100% bonus. A more common promotion offers members bonuses of around 50 to 75%. Below is a list of some of the current promotions with bonuses on points purchases:

Current Promotions on Buying Hotel Points

ProgramPromotionEnd DateLink to Promotion
Choice PrivilegesEarn up to 30% bonus pointsJune 21, 2024Buy Choice Privileges Points with Bonus
Hilton HonorsEarn up to 100% bonus pointsJuly 23, 2024Buy Hilton Honors Points with Bonus
Marriott BonvoyEarn up to 50% bonus pointsJuly 22, 2024Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points with Bonus
World of HyattEarn up to 20% bonus pointsJuly 1, 2024Buy World of Hyatt Points with Bonus

How Do I Know If Buying Points Is a Good Deal?

Generally speaking, it’s not usually a good idea to buy hotel points. In some cases, like during promotions, you might be able to get significant value when buying points. However, when a hotel is not offering a bonus or promotion, buying points usually comes at a cost. That is, hotel chains usually sell their points at a significant mark-up.

Just like with airline miles, the easiest way to determine whether or not buying points makes sense is to look at the cost per point.

For example, IHG recently ran a promotion in which points were available to purchase with an 80% bonus. To get the 80% bonus, you needed to purchase a minimum of 5,000 points.

Let’s say I decided to purchase 250,000 IHG points. I will earn 250,000 plus an additional 200,000 bonus points. The total cost for all 450,000 points would be $2500.

To find the cost per point, simply divide 2500 by 450,000. You will get 0.0055 which translates to 0.01 cents per point. So, what does this mean?

The second step in determining whether or not this would be a smart purchase is to find the average value travelers get through the IHG One Rewards program. For this step, I recommend checking out AwardWallet’s latest valuations. AwardWallet’s points and miles valuations are based on actual award travel bookings from AwardWallet members.

According to AwardWallet, the current value of IHG One Rewards points is 0.68 cents per point. In this case, it might not be a bad idea to take advantage of this promotion as the average value is more than what you’d be paying on a per-point basis.

Now, let’s take a look at a situation in which you would not want to buy points.

In this example, let’s say you want to buy 55,000 World of Hyatt points. Currently, Hyatt is running a promotion on the purchase of points. Buying 55,000 points will get you a 20% bonus. In this case, you will get a total of 66,000 World of Hyatt points at a cost of $1,320.

This means that each point purchased costs 2 cents per point. Now, compare that to the estimated value of a World of Hyatt point which is currently around 2.19 cents. In this example, you would be paying less than the value of a World of Hyatt point but not much less. Even with this bonus, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to load up on Hyatt points.

A view of the pool at the Hotel Indigo Grand Cayman

Buy IHG One points during promotional periods and redeem for stays at properties like the Hotel Indigo Grand Cayman. (Image courtesy of IHG Hotels & Resorts)

Double Dipping on Points Purchases

In some cases, you can double dip when you buy hotel points. Some credit cards, especially co-branded credit cards issued by hotel chains, allow you to earn bonus points when making purchases with hotels. Even if you don’t have a co-branded card issued by a hotel, you can still earn some additional points just by using your everyday credit card.

Examples in Which Double Dipping Doesn’t Work

Unfortunately, most hotel chains sell their points through a third-party platform. This is the case for IHG, Hilton, and Hyatt. So, even if you were to use a co-branded credit card issued by one of those hotels, the purchase of points wouldn’t register as a purchase made with the hotel.

Instead, this purchase would register as a purchase made with Points.com. Therefore, you would earn the standard point per dollar spent.

It’s important to consult the fine print of your travel rewards credit card before assuming you’ll earn bonus points when you buy hotel points. Travel rewards credit cards, including cards issued by American Express, don’t consider buying points to be eligible for travel-related transactions.

Will I Earn Towards Elite Status When I Buy Points?

The short answer is no. Points purchased do not count towards elite status. Some hotel chains like Marriott and Radisson have done away with elite qualifying points. However, if your preferred hotel chain, like Hilton, still requires you to earn points towards status, buying points isn’t a shortcut to status.

a room with two beds and a table

Points purchased won’t count toward any elite status requirements. (Image by Takeoff to Travel)

The Bottom Line

Earning hotel points can be as straightforward as using a credit card or earning on hotel stays. When you find yourself just a few thousand points short of that dream vacation, buying points might be an option. However, you should always be cautious when buying hotel points. Hotels often mark up the value of their points when making them available for purchase.

Most major hotel chains offer the option to buy points, and doing so during promotional periods can yield significant bonuses. It’s crucial to calculate the cost per point and compare it to the average redemption value to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

While some credit cards may offer bonus points for purchases made with hotels, buying points through third-party platforms like Points.com often means you won’t earn those extra points.

Ultimately, buying hotel points can be a smart move if you need to top off your account for a last-minute trip. Just be sure to do the math to confirm that you’re getting the best value for your money.

If you’re looking to top off your frequent flyer accounts, be sure to check out our guide on buying airline miles and points.

Do you buy miles or points? What’s the most value you have received when buying points?


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