Hotel Award Availability: Who does it best? Plus, alerts now available!


There’s more to comparing hotel point values than just the buying power of the points. After all, if the hotel chain doesn’t make an award room available it doesn’t matter what the points are worth; you’re still not going to be sleeping in that hotel room. Thanks to more than 100,000 room queries on Hotel Hustle performed over the past month or so I’m starting to see some reasonably consistent trends in the data. So, which is the best hotel rewards program based on availability?

How do you pick the best hotel rewards program? Looking at how many rooms they offer for award bookings should be part of the calculations.
How do you pick the best hotel rewards program? Looking at how many rooms they offer for award bookings should be part of the calculations.

The good news is that six of the seven hotel rewards programs show a better than 90-ish percent availability rate on award nights where revenue nights are also available. The bad news is that there is still something of a spread within the programs, and the two oft touted as having the most valuable points – Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest – are at the “worse” end of the spectrum in terms of making rooms available for hotel award bookings.

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The data above is a snapshot of what things looked like at the turn of the new year. For a current view of the numbers head over to the Data Visualization page on Hotel Hustle. Those graphs are constantly refreshing from the most recent data.

The really good news is that Hotel Hustle now has Award Alerts built in for all of the chains supported in the search interface. So even if a room is not available at the hotel you’re interested in you can sign up to receive an email notification should that change. Just click the “Create Alert” link in the search results and let the system handle everything from there.

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You’ll need to scroll down in the list of hotels to find the ones without award nights available but they are there towards the bottom.

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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, LinkedIn and .

14 Comments

  1. Would be curious to see hit rates for Cash and Points. That’s where there are probably more stark availability differences.

    1. I’m sure there is a higher rate of differences for C&P versus just points. I’ve not been collecting data there quite as long so I don’t think there is enough to report on but I will as I gather more entries.

  2. Interesting. I’m also curious as to what percent of that Hilton “availability” is “premium” – you know, the ones that cost 800 million miles per night? Seems that’s all there’s been the last few times I’ve checked for a particular stay, though admittedly it’s not my first choice program.

    1. Less that 5% of the HHonors rates in the database end in something other than “00” which is the best approximation I can come up with to create a query which differentiates the “premium” awards from the others. Even if you say those don’t really count at all (which is a stretch) HHonors still has better availability rates than SPG, IHG, Hyatt and Choice.

      That’s not so bad in my book.

      1. Ah, excellent – that’s what I was hoping to hear! Although some can be semi-reasonable, most of the premium HHonors rewards are ludicrously priced. When they ARE reasonable it’s usually because the cash rates are relatively low. Glad that standard availability is the norm.

  3. Thanks for doing this research. For one, it’s great to have data and I salute you. For another, I’ve noticed lately how Hyatt isn’t always so great with availability, and it’s nice to have information to back this up. The two properties I wanted to use points at this year (The Andaz Savannah and the PH Milan) were both no-gos. Whereas Hilton, so despised within the FF community, is consistently available (and cheaper than people think because they hand out points like candy). Right on Seth

    1. I’ve noticed the Hyatt site many times shows no award availability but when I call to request the same nights an agent is able to open up rooms.

  4. This is interesting but I wonder if you’re getting a representative sample. It’s easy to search elsewhere (with hotels themselves) for “easy to find” rooms. If people are using your search for the Park Hyatt New York, etc. — notoriously difficult rooms — then you might be getting a skewed result. In other words, 9% of the time Hyatt returns a “miss.” But what if, on hyatt.com (where most non-savvy folks are searching) the “miss rate” is only 5% (or whatever)?

    1. I have no doubt there is some skew in the data based on where the searches are focused. But I’m looking for broader trends than just a single hotel or a single city or a single date. Maybe with enough traffic I’ll be able to segment out more things like those, but for now I’m looking at the overall big picture.

      1. Yeah, what I meant was that your readers (and therefore people using the search) are more likely to seek out high-value, and potentially harder-to-find, hotel rooms. For example, could you break down your Hyatt searches by category? I bet you have more category 5/6/7 searches than hyatt.com does for award nights (though I guess you don’t have access to Hyatt’s data so that’s hard to prove). My point isn’t about a single hotel/city/date, but that your readers are more prone to find a “miss” than the average traveler.

        To give another example, my “miss” rate on award flights recently is nearly 100%, but that’s because I’m not going to fly international longhaul economy, and I don’t want to pay fuel surcharges. So I get a high miss rate, but that’s because of my search parameters, not necessarily the airline’s fault (though I guess you can take it a step back, and say everything is the airline/hotel’s fault!)

        1. The data is collected by city, not by specific property. So if someone keeps searching for NYC to try to get the new Park Hyatt and never sees it but the other 11 properties in town have rooms it will help with the numbers.

          But the searches are not by specific hotel.

          And by my stats I’d call those long-haul Y seats “hits” rather than “misses” for these purposes. 😉

          1. Ah got it — you’re right, that should smooth out some of the self-selection bias caused by your catering to the more savvy! And I agree, for virtually all purposes those long-haul Y seats should count as “hits”… just that some of us get greedy sometimes!

            Anyway, just some random musings. I think you have a great blog overall (dare I say better than the pack) and the various search/alert functions are a lifesaver… and have helped me convert some “misses” into “hits”!

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