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A Guide to Using your Air Miles for Hotels

BE SURE TO CHECK THE DATE OF THE COUPON/POST - Old posts are NOT removed as they must remain in-order for you to find this site and the most recent deals.

This guide is how I went about planning a hotel room in Downtown Toronto for 2-nights. I thought it might be a good "case study" or "how to guide" for people wondering if they should be using their air miles for hotels.

Step 1
The first thing I did was determine the exact dates I'll be needing my hotel.

Step 2
I did a brief search using the tool to the right and/or using Expedia.ca. The rates I found for the places I wanted to stay ranged from $116 - $237 / night including taxes.

This helps me determine WHERE I want the hotel, WHO I would like to stay with and HOW MUCH it will cost in terms of dollars.

Step 3
Call Air Miles at 1-888-AIRMILES to get a quote on the number of airmiles. There is no way to determine the exact amount for a hotel online (this is a big drawback that they hopefully fix soon). Note: the wait on air miles can sometimes be VERY long so be sure to have speaker phone. In this case I only had to wait approximately 2 minutes!

When calling air miles you need to tell them where you're looking to book (downtown Toronto) and your dates. They will provide you with a few different options of places to stay. Be prepared to ask DIRECTLY. "How many air miles do I need to stay in each of those hotels"

In my case the air miles quotes were as follows (Note: these were for my dates at my location and are NOT what each hotel costs for EVERY location. Call Air Miles directly to get accurate numbers for your specific situation).

Step 4
Now calculate the number of air miles to dollar ratio needed to book each of the hotels. In this case the Delta Chelsea was $116/night booking through Expedia.ca. Therefore, it would cost $232 for the entire trip.

We need to determine the dollar if we were to pay for the trip, however, in this case it costs money to use our air miles. Therefore, we subtract the additional money needed by the cost if were to pay cash. This number doesn't really 'mean' anything but provides us with a number based on cash that we can use to divide by the air miles. Therefore, it would be $232-$35 (taxes and fees) = $197. Now divide the number of air miles needed by that number (1900 / $197) = 9.64. Therefore, it takes 9.64 airmiles to get 1 dollar.

Repeat the same thing for all the different hotel rooms.
Delta Chelsea ($116/night) = $232. Airmiles-to-dollar ratio (1800 / 197) = 9.64
Sheraton ($237/night) = $434 total. Airmiles-to-dollar ratio (3600/434) = 8.3

As you can see the cheapest airmiles-to-dollar ratio we can find was the Sheaton at 8.3 Air Miles for 1 dollar.

We can use this to get our best deal PER hotel, however, is this a good deal? ie: Should we use our Air Miles and book this hotel?
NO.

We can use our Air Miles to buy gift cards and calculate the EXACT number of Air Miles for $1 dollar.
Gap Giftcard = 365 Air Miles for $50 = 7.3 Air Miles for $1
HBC Giftcard = 400 Air Miles for $50 = 8 Air Miles for $1

Therefore, we are looking for AT LEAST 8 Air Miles for $1 and the lower we can get that number the better. Therefore, in the case of a hotel room which will cost 8.3 we can pass, pay cash and wait for a better Air Miles deal to come along!

Hopefully this guide is clear enough. If you have any questions or comments let me know.

Comments

Thank you, thank you so much for posting this information. I have been planning a trip to the Washington D.C. area. Comparing hotel room rates have been incredibly exhausting. I was going to call Air Miles tomorrow, and just happened to find your blog. Finally, the formula to convert Air Miles-to-dollar ratio, I have been trying to figure it out for days. Math is not my forte.

Your instructions are easy to follow, concise, and priceless!

Again, thank you.

newbie on the blog

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