How to Turn Credit Card Points into Luxury Stays

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It's often suggested that participating in a travel-loyalty program is best done with a specific goal in mind. For many travelers, that goal is a stay at high-end hotel in an exotic locale—something they wouldn't ordinarily splurge for.



While award stays at most hotel chains' deluxe properties are priced at many thousands of points, the outsized sign-up bonuses on offer for many of the hotels' co-branded credit cards can sometimes cover the cost of a special night, or at least help put such stays well within reach.

Here are a few options for using credit card points for luxe stays from a few top hotel programs:

 

IHG Rewards Club World MasterCard


·       Welcome offer: 60,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

·       Earn 5 points per $1 at IHG hotels.

·       Earn 2 points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores.

·       Earn 1 point per $1 for other purchases.

·       Annual fee: $49, waived the first 12 months.

·       Annual percentage rate (APR): 17.24% - 24.24% depending on credit.

·       Comment: In addition to the generous bonus, the card features a low annual fee, waived the first year, and a free night after cardholder's anniversary.

 

Award nights in the IHG Rewards program are priced from 10,000 to 70,000 points, depending on brand, location, and rate. Holiday Inn Express properties are generally at the low end of the price spectrum, for example, while InterContinental hotels are at the high end.

For a super-special trip, redeem 70,000 points for a night (two if you can) at the InterContinental Paris - Le Grand (from $358 a night in mid-February), or, better still, at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort in French Polynesia (from $998 a night in mid-February).

 

The Platinum Card from American Express



·       Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

·       Earn 5 points per $1 on hotels booked on amextravel.com.

·       Earn 5 points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines.

·       Earn 1 point per $1 for other purchases.

·       Annual fee: $550.

·       Annual percentage rate (APR): N/A

·       Comment: While the card's annual fee is among the very highest, it also comes bundled with a robust set of travel perks, including lounge access, $200 statement credit for bag fees, and 5 points per $1 for flights booked direct with American Express.

·       Terms Apply

 

You could of course earn Hilton Honors points with one of several co-branded Hilton credit cards. Another option, however, is a charge card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points, like the Platinum Card.

Membership Rewards points are convertible to Hilton Honors points at a 1:2 ratio. So 1,000 Rewards points convert to 2,000 Honors points. That means the card's 60,000-point sign-up bonus is worth 120,000 points in the Honors program.

Hilton no longer has a static award chart, having introduced dynamic award pricing in 2017. For now, prices range between 5,000 and 95,000 points per night.

For a special getaway-from-it-all stay, consider a night at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island ($855 or 95,000 per night), with its beachfront location and undersea restaurant.

And if city luxury is more to your taste, there's The London NYC, an all-suite Conrad hotel in midtown Manhattan ($325 or 95,000 points) or the Conrad Tokyo ($413 or 95,000 points) with its expansive views of Tokyo Bay.

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