The best use of points is to redeem them when hotel prices are sky high. There’s no better example than NYC during New Year’s Eve. The Hyatt Centric Times Square goes for $3,325 and at this point is not available with points, however there are several other good choices. The Grand Hyatt New York goes for $819, but still has free nights using points for 25,000 Hyatt Points/UR points. Hyatt is currently offering up to 40% bonus on point purchases. The best Times Square area Marriott hotels are not available at this point, but the Fairfield Inn (40th street) goes for $714 or 40,000 Marriott/UR points or 13,333 Starpoints.
This might be the one time when Hilton points make sense. The Times Square area Hilton’s cost as much as $3,491 on the last day of the year, but these hotels cost between 70,000 and 95,000 points. The most coveted Hilton during New Year’s Eve is the Doubletree Suites which goes for the above astronomical price of $3,491, however Amex is offering a 33% bonus when you transfer points to Hilton. You will get 2,010 Hilton points for 1,000 MR which brings the cost down to 47,264 MR points. This is arguably the best value on any Hilton transfer I have ever seen.