Hotels The Basics

My Mistake Cost Me 7 Free Hotel Nights

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Written by Charlie

Miles and points can be incredibly valuable, not just for their regular redemptions. In my case, a mistake cost me 7 free hotel nights since I did not plan it out.

This is a post to show that it always pays to consider all options and not move so swiftly! My recent decisions with points cost me 7 free hotel nights – and I am still kicking myself!

My Mistake Cost Me 7 Free Hotel Nights

I am sure some of you already know what I am about to refer to and will likely head down to the comments to berate me for it. 🙂 The truth is, I have been doing that enough to myself lately. It is a mistake I can’t believe I made but I made it simply because I made a move before I should have.

The Backstory

There is the current Aeroplan bonus going on now which allows you to get a 35% bonus on converted hotel points. The real gem for this transfer is SPG Starpoints since you get 1:1 in trade plus a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. I had about 100,000 Starpoints and had been planning on originally transferring them to Aegean for a family trip. With this transfer bonus, I decided to transfer enough over to cover 2 of the tickets (since we would be splitting a couple of things anyway) and then transfer the rest to Aegean as planned.

So, I went ahead and transferred 60,000 Starpoints for a transferred total of 75,000 miles (thanks to the 5,000 mile bonus). Eventually, that will become 101,250 miles. But, some things switched around with our trip plans and I got some good boosts in my Amex Membership Reward points as well as more Aegean miles so I decided I would transfer the rest to Aeroplan.

What I Messed Up

free hotel nights

Thanks to the merger with SPG and Marriott last year, you can transfer points between the program at a 1:3 ratio (SPG to Marriott). If you get at least 270,000 Marriott points, you can book a Hotel + Air package. This would give you 120,000 Aeroplan miles plus a 7 night stay at a Marriott Category 1 – 5. While there are not a lot of high-end options in that category range, there are specific hotels we could have used on our trip that cost over $1,200 for a week stay!

That’s right, because I acted before thinking everything through, I lost out on the option to use a Hotel + Air package. I would have transferred 90,000 Starpoints to Marriott and received 162,000 Aeroplan miles (after the bonus) plus the 7 nights in a hotel.

Instead, I will end up transferring 100,000 Starpoints directly to Aeroplan and getting 168,750 Aeroplan miles (after the bonus) – and no free hotel.

Yes, I am kicking myself over and over again! I should have waited and considered all of my options before making the initial transfer!


The miles and points world has a lot of information and even those of us who keep up with things can make mistakes (with things like miscalculating/forgetting sign-up bonus end dates, certain cards for certain categories, booking with miles instead of points, etc.). This is one I will likely remember for a while. Hopefully, it serves to show you that I do make (bad!) mistakes like this as well and helps you to avoid some of your own!

REMEMBER – think through all of the options before you move!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Sorry to hear that. I actually was about to do exactly what you did but thought through it and was able to secure the certificates. Pretty decent bonus so transferred SPG to Marriott and the certificates are just freebies. Hopefully will be able to use them. Now hopefully Aeroplan continues to ticket Lufthansa First!!! Or will have to settle for United, SAS or Swiss Business to Europe.

  • Yes you did something stupid but that is OK. I appreciate you posting this nice and clear.

  • It’s nice to hear about screw ups as well as successes. It reminds me that we’re all figuring out award travel together.

  • Oh that’s a painful mistake, and even more painful of a lesson.

    Thanks for sharing so that others don’t make the same mistake.

  • You know there should be a place (maybe there already is) where someone can post their plans and get feed back from multiple sources on what might be the best strategy to use to maximize your points.