Hotel Hustle: Consolidated Award Search


Got a lot of hotel points in multiple accounts and unsure which program offers the best value for any particular redemption? Wouldn’t it be great to compare multiple chains side-by-side on the same screen, including inventory and reward rates? Oh, and comparing those numbers to paid rates, too, of course. Welcome to “Hotel Hustle” (name subject to change), my latest random tool designed to make this game just a little bit easier to play.

The concept of Hotel Hustle is similar to that of most hotel OTAs: Put in a location and dates then press the magic button and see what it manages to come up with for you.

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In this case I actually put a bit of effort into the UI to make it look a bit nicer than most of my tools. It includes a map with each brand in a different color:

All the hotels, conveniently shown on the Hotel Hustle map. Easy to filter, too.
All the hotels, conveniently shown on the Hotel Hustle map. Easy to filter, too.

And also a table showing all the properties available along with the paid and points rates. I even do the math for you to determine the cents per point. Click on the column headers and you can sort the entries. Or type in the box atop the grid to filter by hotel name.

Hotel Hustle lets you sort by hotel name, rates or cents per point
Hotel Hustle lets you sort by hotel name, rates or cents per point

Of course, maybe you don’t have a lot of points in one of the programs included so you would rather exclude those hotels from the search results. Just click on the program name under the map to add or remove those properties from the display.

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Filter out programs to only show the data you really want
Filter out programs to only show the data you really want

And, of course, clicking a icon on the map will pop up details about that specific hotel:

Get a link from Hotel Hustle right to the property; all bookings are completed directly on the hotel's site
Get a link from Hotel Hustle right to the property; all bookings are completed directly on the hotel’s site

Most importantly, the links are all live straight to the hotel site so you can book direct with the program; you’ll get your points (if on a paid rate) and status benefits because it is a direct booking.

Currently there are five programs (more than 19,000 properties!) included in the tool:

  • Club Carlson
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Wyndham Rewards

I’m hoping to get Hilton HHonors & Hyatt Gold Passport integrated soon. Le Club Accor, Best Western and Choice are further down the priority list.

I also plan on adding a per-program valuation assessment. The reality is that points are not all the same value so getting 1cpp in Program A might actually be a better value than 1.2cpp in Program B. I’ll start with some average numbers and eventually add an option allowing each user to customize the program valuations if desired.

So, what do you think? Any suggestions for improvements I haven’t already outlined above? Is the name Hotel Hustle even remotely reasonable or just plain ridiculous? There’s a chance I’ll split it off from the main Wandering Aramean Travel Tools site, hence the different name. But I’m not sure I need to go down that path quite yet.

Enjoy!

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

28 Comments

  1. Great tool Seth! Looks like a better version of Award Mapper. One quick question: the colored/numbered boxes represent which hotel is which on the list below the map, correct? Thanks for all the work you put into this tool and all the other tools you have created. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Yes, the icon on the map matches the icon next to the hotel in the results list. I know there is a way to highlight them in the other list on a mouseover event but I haven’t figured that one out yet.

      The other big difference with this tool is that the results are live inventory, not just a guess at what the rate would be if it happens to be available. I think that’s a big deal.

  2. Hey Seth,

    Great tool! I know this is brand new, thought I would share some QA with you. I put in SXM and it recognized that it was the Saint Maarten with dates around xmas, but it returned hotels in BKK. Might want to look at that. Keep up the good work! I think it’s awesome!

    1. There are a few like that I’m working on. Generally it is because one of the chains needs the search term in a different format. I’ll add that one to the list of what needs to be fixed.

      1. I was looking for hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and it returned locations in British Columbia and Washington State as well. This is probably part of the issue you’re aware of, but another data point. This will be an incredibly useful tool. Thanks.

  3. Similar to the SXM/BKK issue reported, SJC returned results in Costa Rica (presumably from SJO).

    Would be nice to have finer geographic control, e.g. zip or city name or limit-to-current-map-view, vs. just airport-neighbors.

    1. ZIP code is possible, I think. I need to double-check how the 5 programs included so far respond to such a search.

      At the end of the day I’m limited to what I can make each of the sites run a query against and easily consolidate back into results. But I’ll definitely give ZIP codes a try.

  4. This one has the potential to be a killer app, focus on this!

    Love to see the pay rate and pts side by side. And filter on that. Points Value column is nice to have but not as critical imho only.

    Did a search on SAN for an upcoming stay. The map is TOO crowded. Yes I can zero in and out but would love to make this zeroing in to a specific area (downtown San Diego) easier to use; i.e. I am interested in hotels within walking distance to crazily expensive conference hotel. Perhaps a search function for a radius from a specific address? Don’t know, not a tech guru. Just giving you some feedback.

    Now I go back to pimping, thank you for your support as always and trying to find my integrity 🙂

  5. Wow, love the concept and the easy one look comparisons. It will be interesting to see how you fine tune it.
    You asked about the name. I think its a great name, I actually like Hotel Hustle.

  6. When searching for a multiple days stay, Marriott properties return the total number of points needed for all nights, while the price in dollars is per night. So the cpp figure is wrong.

    1. Thanks for pointing out this bug with the Marriott results. I’ve just loaded a fix for it now.

      Working on the ZIP code search option as well. Plus I found a good source for f/x information so I’ll be adding in a means to convert to USD on all rates to get a consistent CPP calculation.

  7. Fantastic idea, great first implementation.

    Folks above covered a lot of my points already:
    1) Filter by zip, or distance from an address
    2) I’d ask if there is a consistent source for property amenities you could use (or star rankings) but that’s probably much less interesting to folks on here
    3) Any chance of getting other rates displayed? (as in Cash+Points, refundable vs prepaid) Not sure what’s available from the sources
    4) Sliders for the points/dollars filtering would very handy.

    In the end, I really like the control I have over searching in Kayak particularly. That sort of UI/control is (I’m guessing) what a lot of folks here would love to have.

    OR just go totally ITA MAtrix and make it all command line searchable…

  8. Fantastic resource! Thanks for making the app. I would suggest Choice after Hilton and Hyatt and before Best Western and Accor as in the order of being able to have a free stay at a particular chain.

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