Don’t save points for a rainy day… spend them now!

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Saving for a rainy day is usually a good thing to do when it comes to cash and other investments, or even certain food items.

When it comes to travel, nothing can be further from the truth.  Unfortunately, hotel and airlines points devalue all the time… and, if you wait too long to pull the trigger, you could find yourself short of points, when you thought you had a sure thing!

I started planning a mega trip to New York, Paris, and Madrid for my wife, our son, and my mother-in-law several months ago.  We’re staying a couple of nights in NYC on a stopover to Paris, where we’ll be in a timeshare for a week, then a couple extra nights in a Paris hotel, before we stay a night in Madrid on our way back home.

I had to position points and take advantage of certain promos to make things happen, but I was able to secure our flights and hotels/timeshare in just the way I wanted.  I’m SOOOO glad that I did the bookings when I did.

Mommy Points posted the other day that Wyndham did an unannounced devaluation of their points program!!!  WTF?!?!?

The hotel we’re staying in New York is the Wyndham Wingate Midtown Manhattan.  I participated in a promotion where I spent $168 ($84 a night) for 32,000 points (16,000 per night) at a new hotel near the Orange County Airport.

The Wingate for those two nights is approximately $1,000, but when I booked the reservation in November, these rooms could be had for 16,000 points a night.  Effectively turning my $168 into $1,000, a return of 495%… not that I would actually pay $1,000 for two nights in a hotel, but still, that’s some serious savings!

Wyndham NY

So… you can imagine my disappointment if I had waited and found out that Wyndham was now charging 35,000 points per night (reduced from Wyndham’s original revaluation to 45,000 points per night).  My $168 investment in 32,000 wouldn’t even get me 1 of the 2 nights I needed.  I would have been PISSED!

Essentially, on this reservation, the point increase was over 100%, which means that the points I worked so hard for would have been worth 50% less.  Unbelievable!!!

Wyndham NY higher points

Similarly, I booked three nights at the Radisson Blu Ambassador Hotel, Paris Opera to supplement the weeklong stay in our timeshare in Paris.  This hotel would normally run 951 EUR (since raised to 1026 EUR as of today), which is the equivalent of $1,264 US.Radisson Blu Paris Opera

I took advantage of a Club Carlson promo in June 2012 that netted me the 150,000 points necessary to book these 3 nights.  Well, lucky that I booked these rooms back in November as well because… you guessed it… the rooms just got a whole lot more expensive.  75,000 points for a room that used to cost 50,000 points a night… a 50% increase in points = a HUGE devaluation in the worth of your points balance!!!

Radisson Blu Paris Opera higher points

To make matters worse, I called up Club Carlson to see if I could get a manual adjustment to my reservation since I just received their US Bank Club Carlson Visa, which provides for the last night free on any reservation with points two nights or longer!

They said that they could not do a manual adjustment… and if I cancelled the reservation and tried to rebook, I would be subject to the higher point cost and have the possibility that they allotted rooms for points may have been sold out, and I would no longer be able to reserve for the dates I’m travelling!

WOW!  This is a HUGE reminder that time is of the essence.  Once you’ve booked a reservation, your point values are locked in.  The longer you wait, price inflation will continue to erode the value of your points.

Don’t wait… book your next vacation today!

This is such a valuable lesson to those of you just beginning to travel on points… and a reminder to those of us who’ve been doing it awhile… that this deserves the 5 razor treatment.




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