When it comes to planning a trip, there are plenty of tools, such as ExpertFlyer, AwardLogic, and FlightConnections, to assist with choosing flights. However, there haven’t been quite as many resources for working with hotel award bookings.
What Is MaxMyPoint?
MaxMyPoint is a hotel award search tool that lets you compare cash and award prices for many hotels from three major hotel loyalty programs. It’s also possible to set a range of alerts using MaxMyPoint, which can be helpful for scoring a difficult-to-book hotel or for saving points on your stay by monitoring dynamic pricing.
MaxMyPoint currently covers award bookings for Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt. However, there are a few differences to keep in mind about MaxMyPoint’s utility for the different programs.
World of Hyatt is unique in that it still uses a published award chart. Using the alert feature on MaxMyPoint for Hyatt redemptions is a great way to let you know if a difficult property to book with points becomes available during your specified dates.
Furthermore, if you already have a booking but would like to extend your stay, the alert feature can keep track of the availability on your behalf, so you don’t have to actively monitor it yourself.
Both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors use a form of dynamic pricing, which means that there’s a broader scope of award availability compared to other programs. However, the value you get from your points might be a bit lower, since the award price is more closely associated to the cash price.
For Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors award bookings, MaxMyPoint can be helpful for finding the lowest prices in a range of dates and comparing them against the cash price.
Furthermore, with the alert feature, a notification can be set up to let you know if the award price for your stay has dropped. If it has, and as long as you’re within your free cancellation window, you can cancel and rebook, thereby returning some points to your account in the process.
For example, if you have your eyes on the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, you can be notified if an award night at the standard rate becomes available during your specified dates. If it does, you can be amongst the first to pounce on the opportunity with an alert, and perhaps squeeze excellent value out of a Free Night Reward in the process.
It’s worth noting that all three loyalty programs also have calendar views on their respective websites. Aside from the alert features, which will be described in detail below, where MaxMyPoint has an advantage is that both the cash and award prices are displayed on the same calendar, making it easy to run the numbers.
While you can actually use MaxMyPoint without paying a fee, the scope of the free version is fairly restricted.
To make the most out of MaxMyPoint, you’ll have to open an account and choose from one of the following two plans:
- $3.99 (USD) per month for Gold
- $7.99 (USD) per month for Platinum
Without a plan, you can only have one Active Alert set at a time, which gets refreshed every three hours. This means that you can only monitor the award pricing or availability on a single hotel, and if it changes, there might be a bit of a delay in receiving a notification.
Furthermore, you’ll only be able to have one Hot Hotel Alert at any given time, which are for the most popular hotels that can be booked with points. These hotels are identified with a flame next to the name in the search results.
You’ll also be limited to just 10 hotel detail views per day, which can be quite limiting if you’re looking to score a deal. If you’ve got your eyes on multiple destinations or hotels, only being able to view detailed results of 10 hotels per day means that you’ll likely have to spread your search across multiple days.
On the other hand, the Gold membership gives you five Active Alerts and three Hot Hotel Alerts at any given time. In addition, you’ll have two Any Day Alerts, which let you know if any day in a given period of time has a change in availability.
You’ll be notified within a two-hour time frame about any alerts that you’ve set with a Gold membership. At the Gold level, you’ll also enjoy ad-free browsing, and can view details on up to 20 hotels per day.
Lastly, a Platinum membership gives you 15 Active Alerts, 15 Hot Hotel Alerts, and 15 Any Day Alerts at any given time, with near real-time refreshes. This means that you’ll receive a notification about your alert as soon as there is a change, which can help you score a hard-to-book hotel before anyone else notices.
On top of that, you also get three Daily Change Alerts, which are alerts that trigger when any standard award dates are available for the hotel. You’ll also have up to 30 hotel detail views per day, which is the most of any plan.
Keep in mind that regardless of the tier that you subscribe to, you’ll need to connect either a Facebook or Google account to MaxMyPoint in order to set up any alerts.
MaxMyPoint Hotel Award Searches
The main feature of MaxMyPoint is its hotel award search function, located on the home page.
The hotel award search lets you specify which hotel brand you’re looking for at your destination, as well as a search box for you to input a specific property name or sub-brand, which will narrow down your results even more.
Once you’ve found the hotel that you’re looking for, clicking its name brings up a calendar with a monthly view. As with any calendar view, it’s easy to spot award availability one month at a time.
The results display the lowest number of points required for a booking each day, as well as the corresponding cash price.
With MaxMyPoint, you have access to availability up to around 365 days in the future.
Using the calendar view, you can easily see which dates have award nights available and which don’t, or the changes in pricing over a range of dates. This is also very helpful to plan for an extended stay with multiple consecutive nights.
For example, the Maldives is a destination where you’d generally want to stay for longer than a night or two. The calendar view shows you the pricing per night, if it’s available at all, which makes it easy to streamline your decision.
Furthermore, the calendar shows options for both standard rooms and suites, if applicable. This is particularly useful for World of Hyatt, as you can use points to book various types of rooms.
The cash rate is also shown for each date, which makes it easy to compare against the award rate.
MaxMyPoint also shows a percentage of how many nights are available for award bookings throughout the year. For example, a search for the Alila Ventana Big Sur shows that days with award availability only make up 1% of the next year.,
Knowing this gives you a good indication of how likely it is to find an award night, which in this case, is quite unlikely.
However, a quick cycle through availability at the Alila Ventura Big Sur shows that there is a string of award nights from September 4–7, at a rate of 56,000–66,000 World of Hyatt points per night. The different values reflect pricing at off-peak, standard, and peak rates on different dates, and within each day, the different colours represent different types of rooms.
Since MaxMyPoint also includes the cash rate in its search results, some quick math shows that those four nights would cost around $9,493 (USD). When compared against the redemption cost, using 249,000 World of Hyatt points instead would yield a return of 3.8 cents per point (USD), which is well above our target valuation of 1.5 cents per point (USD).
However, it’s worth noting that the cash rates displayed on MaxMyPoint tend to show the lowest possible rate on any given date, which may be more restrictive. Therefore, the cash versus points comparison on MaxMyPoint should serve more as a general indication of value, rather than a firm number.
The range of cents-per-point value is also displayed above the calendar, which gives you the approximate values you can expect to get at the property. Once again, this is a general guideline to go by, and if these numbers are important to you, be sure to crunch the numbers yourself.
You’ll also want to check the “Last updated” date, which tells you how up-to-date the search results are. For popular hotels, the results are updated daily, but with other hotels, the results might be a bit out-of-date.
This is indeed one of the weaknesses of the website; however, setting up an alert is an easy workaround, which we’ll cover in detail below.
Lastly, MaxMyPoint currently doesn’t take minimum stay requirements into consideration, which is another issue that should be addressed in the future.
For example, booking a stay at Calala Island in Nicaragua requires a minimum three-night stay. While the World of Hyatt website suggests otherwise, MaxMyPoint shows 0% availability throughout the year.
Another useful feature of MaxMyPoint is the ability to set up hotel award availability alerts.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the search results on your first pass, click on the bell icon next to the hotel’s name in the results screen to set an alert.
When setting an alert, you have the option of specifying the type of alert you’d like to set: Full Stay, Any Day, or Daily Change.
Full Stay alerts are just as they sound – MaxMyPoint will alert you if the average value of the entire stay during a specified date range falls below the price threshold you set.
This can also be useful to monitor changes in dynamic pricing, as depending on the cancellation policy, you’d be able to cancel and rebook at a lower cost.
Any Day alerts send a notification if any day within the specified date range falls below the price threshold you set. This can be useful for finding a single night within a range of dates, especially at the most popular hotels.
Finally, Daily Change alerts notify you of any standard award availability for the hotel, regardless of date range. This is refreshed daily, and works best if you’re very flexible with your dates.
It’s also possible to set an alert for cash prices instead of points. Currently, this is only available for Hyatt hotels, but hopefully it gets rolled out to other hotels in the future.
Just specify your date range and the maximum average rate per night in USD that you’d like to spend. If the price drops to below that threshold, you’ll receive an email.
This feature can be useful to monitor the cash price of hotels after you make a booking. If the price falls below what you paid, and as long as you’re within your free cancellation window, you can cancel and rebook to save the difference.
Depending on your subscription tier, the number of active alerts you can have at any given time differs. Recall that a free account lets you have one alert, while a Gold or Platinum membership allow for five or 15 active alerts, respectively.
MaxMyPoint Hotel Maps
MaxMyPoint has also recently introduced a new beta feature called Hotel Map. With this function, you can filter by each of the three supported loyalty programs, including by sub-brands, as well as by location.
Using the filters, you can choose to only see values listed for specific brands, which can be useful if you wouldn’t consider staying at a Moxy and don’t want the brand displayed in the search results.
Just remember that the feature is still in beta mode, so there can be unexpected behaviour that comes up.
You can choose to have the results displayed in cent-per-point value or by cost in points. It’s worth noting that the map doesn’t display live award availability, so the information about value or cost in points would need to be corroborated with the actual availability.
For example, suppose you’re looking to visit Tokyo Disneyland with your family. Using the map feature, you can see that there are three hotels near the theme park that can be booked with points.
In this case, there’s one hotel from each major loyalty program, and the respective maximum redemption values are shown on the map.
A quick glance shows that while the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Bay has the best cents-per-point value, the Hilton Tokyo Bay and the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel are a fair bit closer to the main attraction.
Armed with this information, you can take into consideration the travel time and cost associated with staying at the Hyatt, or other factors such as if the kids would want to take a break and easily head back to the hotel during the day.
MaxMyPoint is a useful tool that can empower you to make efficient hotel redemptions with your points. It may even wind up saving you money or points if you strategically set alerts after you’ve booked a stay.
While there are plenty of similar tools for award flight searches, it’s refreshing to see a tool that focuses on hotel redemptions instead.
With an easy-to-view calendar feature, hotel award alerts, an integrated map, and some helpful numbers around the hotels you are interested in, MaxMyPoint can be a very beneficial tool for planning your next hotel stay.
If you’re someone who spends a lot of time searching for the best value, the reasonable prices should be well worth the cost of admission.
This story originally appeared on princeoftravel