Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
While hotel point awards are much easier to find than airline mile rewards, there are still times you’re going to want to have the earliest possible crack at them and book as soon as they’re available.
Some properties get sold out of points rooms quickly, particularly luxury beach resorts. Other times you might be wanting to lock in a New Years’ or other big holiday period. Or, you may be looking for a way to fight a hotel point devaluation that’s been announced, and you need to book as far in advance as you can to give time to get your plans firmed up.
Here’s how far ahead you can book with major hotel point programs:
Best Western: 350 days in advance
Choice Privileges: 30 days in advance U.S. / Canada, 60 days International. Elite Gold members can book U.S. 50 days out. Elite Platinum 75 days for all hotels, and Elite Diamond 100 days.
Club Carlson: Varies, but generally through December of the following year
Hilton HHonors: 365 days in advance (you can book cash rooms further out, but free night certificates have one year of validity)
Hyatt Gold Passport: 365 days in advance
IHG Club: 351 days in advance
Kimpton Karma: 365 days in advance
Marriott Rewards / Ritz Carlton Rewards: 351 – 357 days in advance (50 weeks in advance)
Omni Select Guest: 365 days in advance
Starwood Preferred Guest: 550 days in advance (if the hotel doesn’t load availability online, call to request it)
Wyndham Rewards: 360 days in advance
Unlike with airline miles, there are no change fees for hotel rewards.
So there’s no real downside to making bookings far in advance, as long as you set a reminder on your phone say a month in advance to cancel the reservation if you haven’t firmed up plans.
Starwood is probably the best program to take advantage of far in advance booking because of its valuable Cash & Points deals. These are limited in capacity and often sell out if you don’t lock them in advance.
For example if a trip to New York is a long term travel goal of yours, you can book the Sheraton in Tribeca for $110 + 6,000 points over 500 days out, a great deal versus the rack rate of $699 a night (though realistically you’ll probably pay closer to $300 most nights there, but even that’s a great use of a 6,000 points + $100 cash and points deal).
If you’re within the window of booking and don’t see availability it’s always worth a call, as the hotel might have a minimum say requirement, or it may have simply not yet loaded its rates.
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