Hah! I found a hotel for our upcoming Washington, D.C. trip. I booked five nights at the category-6 hotel for 120,000 Marriott points (well, I don’t yet have the points, but I will before we go, and I’m able to book now).
When booking solely on points at Marriott, you get the 5th night free.
Our hotel is on the Metro line, convenient to attractions we’ll want to see, and we’re saving a ton of money.
With this particular hotel on these particular dates, I had the option of upgrading to concierge level for an extra $10/day. This gives us breakfast included (normally, we’d have to pay $15-18/person/day at this place!). We’ll have hors d’oeurvres, beverages, and dessert at various times of day included. Maybe some other fancy stuff, but either way if we used the perk solely for breakfast, it is still worth $10/day.
Our sleep comfort will require a roll-away bed for one of our kids, and that was $25 for the stay.
Total with the concierge level upgrade, roll-away, and some sort of tax they threw on it: $85 for five days.
Total the same room would be if we had to pay the cash rate: $2,135. !!!
The hotel tax in D.C. is expensive — that alone would be $49/day on this room. When paying on points, this is all included.
So. A decent, conveniently located hotel with food for $85 means I’m essentially saving 96% off the full price of $2,135. Yowza. I don’t know why it is so high, but it’s probably the dates. Maybe there’s a convention going on. On other dates, the cash rate is as low as $75/night, but typically it is in the $150-300/night range, with $450+ as an expensive outlier. Pricing can fluctuate widely, but with Marriott it is the cash rate that varies; the points rate stays the same no matter your dates.
If I’m booking a stay with an unusually cheap cash rate, I would pay that. If it is a crazy-high cash rate and I have the points, I will use points.
Thank you, credit card sign-up bonus!