Should you book with cash or points? I’ve written separately about how pumped I am about Hyatt’s latest promotions (see: Rocking Hyatt’s overlapping promos. Top tier status is easier than ever).  Some of the promotions offer great rewards for paid stays and others offer great rewards for points stays.

Via Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promo, you’ll earn triple or quadruple points on paid stays.  Via the Free Nights on Sale promo, you’ll earn either 15% or 25% points back based on the points price and whether or not you have a Hyatt credit card.  These battling promos make staying at Hyatt rewarding, but it makes deciding whether to pay with cash or points very hard.

The Solution: FM’s Cash or Points Worksheet

The worksheet is setup to let you figure out how much a points stay or a cash stay will cost you after accounting for all of the rewards & rebates earned from your stay.  To use the worksheet, do the following:

  1. Open the worksheet by clicking here: FM’s Cash or Points Worksheet
  2. Copy the sheet so that you can make changes. Within Google Docs, go to the File menu and click File.. Make a Copy
  3. In your copy of the sheet, edit all of the cells in blue (column C under “Your Answer”)
  4. The spreadsheet will automatically show you the results at the bottom.

About You

The first part of the spreadsheet asks questions about you.  How much do you value different kinds of points?  What elite status, if any, will you have during the stay?  Do you have a Hyatt card?

This display shows the “About You” section of the spreadsheet, but it is not editable:

About Your Potential Cash Stay

The next section asks you questions about the paid stay (if you choose to pay cash instead of points).  How much will it cost?  What kinds of rebates are you eligible for?  Etc.

This display shows the “About Your Potential Cash Stay” section of the spreadsheet, but it is not editable:

About Your Potential Award Stay

The next section asks you questions about the award stay (if you choose to pay with points instead of cash).  How many points will it cost?  Do you need to transfer points from Ultimate Rewards? Etc.

This display shows the “About Your Potential Award Stay” section of the spreadsheet, but it is not editable:

Cash or Points Results

Finally, at the bottom, you’ll see the results.  This summarizes the net cost of each option (after rewards earned). Whichever is cheaper is deemed to be the better deal:

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