It’s generally not a good idea to redeem hotel points for staycations, especially when hotels are offering rock-bottom rates. I learned this the hard way during my recent big brain moment, when I disregarded my own advice and redeemed Marriott points for a W Sentosa staycation.
However, fixed value points are an exception to the rule. These are particularly useful during periods of low demand, because they allow you to capitalize on cheap cash rates. Accor Live Limitless probably has the best-known fixed value points, but I recently started thinking of a much smaller program: Ascott Star Rewards.
Buying Ascott Star Rewards points for staycations
|Buy||Bonus||Equivalent to a discount of…|
ASR points have a fixed value of 0.25 cents each, so by buying points with a 25-100% bonus, you’re basically locking in a discount of 20-50%.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Consider the following staycation rates at these approved properties:
|lyf Funan||Ultimate Local Vacation||S$127 nett|
|•6 p.m check-out|
|Ascott Orchard||Ultimate Local Vacation||S$230 nett|
|Ascott Raffles Place||Ultimate Local Vacation||S$260 nett|
•3 p.m check-out
|*Special rate available to healthcare professionals: lyf Funan (S$106 nett), Ascott Orchard (S$212 nett), Ascott Raffles (S$240 nett)|
By buying ASR points, you’re able to score an even bigger discount on these already discounted rates.
For example, I could pay S$500 for 200,000 points, and receive a total of 400,000 points post-bonus (valued at S$1,000). By using these points to offset the cost of my stay, I basically save 50%.
Of course, that assumes you’re willing to spend S$500 on a staycation in the first place. But even if your budget is lower, you can still get a smaller discount by buying points instead of paying directly. Here’s the minimum initial outlay you’ll need to trigger each discount:
- 20% discount: S$100
- 29% discount: S$200
- 33% discount: S$400
- 50% discount: S$500
Another way to think about it is that your out of pocket expense will be S$100-500, depending on how many points you buy. However, your spending power will become $125-1,000 – helpful for another night, or to score a larger room than the one you’d otherwise have booked.
Redeeming Ascott Star Rewards points for staycations
Redeeming Ascott Star Rewards points is fairly straightforward, and you can use them to pay for any rate that’s bookable online.
For example, in the screenshot below I’ve selected the “Ultimate Local Vacation” rate at the Ascott Raffles Place. At check-out, I can click on “Redeem points”, and select the number of points I wish to use (1 point= 0.25 cents)
Here’s a similar illustration from the lyf Funan.
So tl;dr: if you fancy any of the Ascott properties, then it’d make a lot more sense to buy points instead of paying cash rates.
Here’s the full list of ASR participating properties in Singapore. Remember, not all of them are approved to take staycation guests yet.
- Ascott Orchard Singapore
- Ascott Raffles Place Singapore
- Citadines Balestier Singapore
- Citadines Fusionopolis Singapore
- Citadines Mount Sophia Singapore
- Citadines Rochor Singapore
- lyf Funan Singapore
- Somerset Bencoolen Singapore
Are there any risks involved?
Dabbling in any kind of loyalty currency entails risk, but you mitigate that risk when you buy and burn, not buy and hold. If you’re looking to take your staycation in the next couple of months, I’d feel perfectly comfortable buying points under the current sale.
I’d feel less comfortable buying points and holding them until travel restrictions are lifted, however. That timeline is still fuzzy, and the last thing you want is to be holding on to points you can’t use.
ASR’s points sale runs until 31 August 2020, so you still have some time to think it over.
As a reminder, AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders can enjoy ASR Platinum status for two years when they register here by 31 December 2020. Do note that the landing page has not been updated, but I’ve managed to get my account upgraded by sending a copy of my card to ASR membership services.