Everyone loves to get a discount on hotels but actually finding a great deal is no mean feat. I try to search as much as possible before booking a hotel – checking all sites to see which one offers the cheapest price, checking the hotel’s website as booking directly with a branded hotel earns points which can be used for future stays and asking for quotes directly from the hotel to check if they offer a better deal. But this was the first time I actually bought points for JW Marriott Mussoorie booking and landed up saving enough money for another holiday.
Cost Before Buying Points
My plan was to book two rooms for two nights (total four nights) in JW Marriott Mussoorie. On award stay, it was available for 30,000 points per night. I had around 24,000 points in my account. Marriott Rewards was running a promotion on Twitter every Sunday, where answering a simple question would fetch you 1000 points in your account (do follow Marriott Rewards on Twitter for any such upcoming promotions). I played this every Sunday, got the remaining 6000 points, and booked one night on points out of the four required in JW Marriott Mussoorie. Through points, it was possible to book Deluxe Room only.
Then for the remaining three nights, I booked directly on Marriott’s website. Initially, I booked at a price of Rs. 27,000 per night inclusive of taxes for the Valley View Room with free cancellation. After a few months, the price dropped so I used the free cancellation policy and re-booked at Rs. 22,500 per night for the Valley View Room, again with a free cancellation policy.
Hence, now I had
- First Room: Two nights in Valley View Room.
- Second Room: One night in Valley View Room and one night in Deluxe Room.
Changing rooms is a complete no-no for us, hence I wrote to the hotel directly asking them for a free upgrade. They confirmed this in a breeze and assured that they will upgrade the one room booked on points from Deluxe Room to a Valley View Room. They also confirmed inter-connecting rooms as requested by us. I love hotels that confirm this request in advance instead of saying “subject to availability”!
It was easier to get a free upgrade as I have a Gold membership of Marriott. (I had got a status match from my SPG account. SPG was once running a promotion in conjunction with Master Card – Stay three nights in any SPG hotel, pay with Master Card and get the Gold membership. This is how I got the Gold membership). Even if they didn’t agree for the upgrade, I would have tried to convince them to upgrade the room by charging the difference in the amount which was Rs. 2000.
Cost After Buying Points
I found out that SPG is running a promotion and offering points at a 35% discount. On previous occasions, I’ve always found that booking a hotel in cash is much cheaper than buying points even at a discounted price. Casually, I just checked on their offer and to my surprise, I could actually save Rs. 7500 per night for a total of Rs. 22,500 on my booking of three nights.
But, the catch is, only Deluxe rooms can be booked on points whereas I had my heart set on the Valley View Room. Once again, I dropped an email to the hotel, now asking for an upgrade for all four nights. And surprisingly, they agreed!! Had they not agreed for an upgrade, I would have still saved Rs. 16,500 by buying points as compared to booking Deluxe Rooms in cash.
So I booked the remaining nights on points as well. Their system allows you to book on points even when there is an insufficient balance. All I need to do is have enough points 15 days prior to arrival else my booking will be cancelled at no loss. This gave me an opportunity to score an upgrade before I commit to the purchase of the points. I wrote them an email again, requesting to upgrade all my rooms in the system, so I can purchase the required points and close the deal. Within few days, they upgraded all the rooms and confirmation of the same was available in my account.
The final part, Buying Points
I waited until the last day of the promotion to see if the hotel price reduces and hence buying points would no longer be worth it. But it didn’t happen. A maximum of 30,000 SPG points, equating to 90,000 Marriott points can be purchased in a year. That happened to be the exact number I needed for booking three nights at JW Marriott Mussoorie!
After the 35% discount, 30,000 SPG points could be purchased at a price of 682.5 USD which is around Rs. 44,000 (for three nights). I transferred them to Marriott and eventually, the per night cost came to Rs. 15,000.
I did all this to save Rs. 7500 per night, totalling to Rs. 22,500 for our stay. Honestly, I was blown away by the fact that I actually pulled this off. At every stage, it looked like there will be a catch!
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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or free trip – We have paid for all our Holiday expenses but I spend a lot of time researching for the best deals and at times do get a discount as I run a travel business as well. However, this post contains some (not all) affiliate links. Any purchase made through the links will help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!