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American Express Membership Rewards points can be used for free hotel stays, but how many points do you actually need? The number of Amex points needed varies based on the hotel, room type, demand, and your redemption method.

In general, you can expect to spend between 25,000 – 100,000 Amex points per night for hotel bookings.

  • 25,000-50,000 points can book mid-tier hotels for short stays.
  • 50,000-100,000+ points for high-end hotel redemptions or longer vacations.

Factors like hotel category, peak vs off-peak dates, room size, and transferring points to partners can raise or lower the points cost.

This comprehensive guide examines how many Amex points are needed for hotel bookings, the variables that impact costs, and tips for getting the most value from your points.

Hotel Category Influences Points Needed

When it comes to booking a hotel using American Express Membership Rewards points, the number of points required varies depending on the hotel’s category. American Express has a tiered system where hotels are categorized based on their luxury level and location. Understanding these categories can help you determine how many points you’ll need for your desired hotel stay.

  • Category 1 hotels – 7,500 points per night
  • Category 2 hotels – 12,500 points per night
  • Category 3 hotels – 15,000 points per night
  • Category 4 hotels – 25,000 points per night
  • Category 5 hotels – 35,000 points per night
  • Category 6 hotels – 50,000 points per night
  • Category 7 hotels – 60,000 points per night
  • Category 8 hotels – 85,000 points per night

Amex has over 1,200 hotel partners worldwide that span these categories. Lower categories include budget brands like Best Western while high-end luxury chains are usually Category 7-8.

There are sometimes promotions that offer discounted point rates. Additionally, you get a 5th night free when booking 5 consecutive award nights at a property.

The number of points depends on the category, but generally most decent hotels fall into the 15,000 – 35,000 point per night range. This makes Amex points great flexibility for redeeming for hotel stays.

Booking During Peak vs Off-Peak Times

Peak: More Points Needed

When it comes to booking a hotel using your Amex points, it’s important to consider whether you are traveling during peak or off-peak times. During peak seasons, such as holidays or popular vacation periods, the demand for hotel rooms is high, resulting in higher prices and more points required for redemption.

During peak times, hotels tend to increase their redemption rates, meaning you will need more Amex points to book a room. This is because the demand for rooms is higher, and hotels can charge a premium for their services. So, if you’re planning a trip during a popular time of the year, it’s a good idea to start accumulating more Amex points in advance to ensure you have enough for your desired hotel.

Off-Peak: Fewer Points

On the other hand, booking a hotel during off-peak times can be a great way to maximize the value of your Amex points. Off-peak seasons are typically periods when there is less demand for hotel rooms, such as weekdays or less popular travel seasons.

During off-peak times, hotels may offer lower redemption rates, allowing you to book a hotel room for fewer Amex points. This can be a fantastic opportunity to save points and get more value out of your rewards. So, if your travel plans are flexible, consider booking your hotel during off-peak times to make the most of your Amex points.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that the specific peak and off-peak periods may vary depending on the hotel chain and location. It’s always a good idea to check the hotel’s website or contact their customer service to find out the specific dates and rates for peak and off-peak seasons.

Room Size Makes a Difference

When it comes to booking a hotel using your Amex points, the size of the room you choose can greatly impact the number of points required. Different hotel chains have different policies in place, so it’s important to understand how this works.

Standard Rooms

Here are some examples of standard room nightly award rates at popular Amex hotel partners:

  • Hilton Garden Inn (Category 3) – 15,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Courtyard by Marriott (Category 2-3) – 12,500 – 15,000 points
  • Hyatt Place (Category 1-2) – 7,500 – 12,500 points
  • IHG Holiday Inn Express (Category 3-5) – 15,000 – 35,000 points
  • Best Western (Category 1-3) – 7,500 – 15,000 points
  • Wyndham Garden (Category 3-5) – 15,000 – 35,000 points
  • Choice Hotels (Category 1-4) – 7,500 – 25,000 points

As you can see, most standard or basic rooms at mid-tier hotel brands fall into the 12,500 to 25,000 point per night range.

At the lower end, Category 1 hotels like Best Western, La Quinta, and some Hyatt Place can be booked for just 7,500 points per night.

At the higher end, upper mid-scale chains like Westin and some Sheraton properties will be 25,000 – 35,000 points for a standard room.

So in general, having a balance of 25,000 – 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points will give good flexibility for booking standard hotel rooms for short trips and getaways.

Suites Require More Points

Yes, suite award rates at hotels are generally higher and require more points than a standard room. Here are some examples of Amex Membership Rewards point requirements for hotel suites:

  • Hilton Garden Inn Suite (Category 4) – 25,000 points per night
  • Marriott Courtyard Suite (Category 3-4) – 15,000 – 25,000 points
  • Hyatt Place Suite (Category 2-3) – 12,500 – 15,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Suite (Category 5-6) – 35,000 – 50,000 points
  • Sheraton Suite (Category 5) – 35,000 points
  • Hilton Embassy Suite (Category 6) – 50,000 points
  • Marriott Executive Suite (Category 7) – 60,000 points

As you can see, suites usually add 1-2 category levels to the standard room cost. Many mid-tier hotel suites fall in the 25,000 – 50,000 point range. For larger or more upscale suites, the nightly cost can be 50,000 points or more.

The additional space and amenities of a suite make it require a bigger point redemption. But suites can provide a great value for families or groups traveling together.

Redemption Options and Partnerships

Transferring to Hotel Loyalty Programs

American Express Membership Rewards points can also be transferred to hotel loyalty programs to book award stays. Here are some popular hotel transfer options and point ratios:

  • Hilton Honors – 1:2 transfer ratio (1000 Amex points = 2000 Hilton points)
  • Marriott Bonvoy – 1:1 transfer ratio
  • Radisson Rewards – 1:1 transfer ratio
  • Choice Privileges – 1:1 transfer ratio
  • World of Hyatt – 1:1 transfer ratio

Transferring points to a hotel program can provide access to more award availability and potentially better redemption value.

For example, 60,000 Amex points could transfer to 120,000 Hilton points, enough for 2-4 free nights at Hilton hotels depending on the brand and location.

The transfer ratio varies, so compare to Amex portal rates to see if transferring makes sense. Transfers are instant to maximize award booking flexibility.

Amex Travel Portal

Booking hotels through the Amex Travel portal is another redemption option for Membership Rewards points.

  • No blackout dates or capacity controls – Any available room can be booked with points
  • Real-time pricing – Points cover current room rates including sales/discounts
  • Flexible redemptions – Points can cover full or partial cost of the room
  • Additional perks – $100 on-property credit for Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings

Using the Amex Travel portal provides more flexibility and availability compared to transferred hotel points. But redemption values may be lower than transferring in some cases.

Point requirements also vary based on real-time cash rates. Typically expect to spend 25,000 – 50,000 points per night for mid-range hotels and 50,000 – 100,000+ points for high-end properties booked via the portal.

Checking both transfer and portal rates will ensure you maximize the value of Amex points for hotel bookings.

Tips for Maximizing Value

When it comes to redeeming your Amex points for hotel bookings, there are a few strategies you can employ to get the most value out of your points. Here are some tips to help you maximize the value of your Amex points:

Take Advantage of Offers

Here are some tips to take advantage of special offers and maximize value when redeeming Amex Membership Rewards points for hotels:

  • Book during transfer bonuses – Periodic bonuses like 40% more airline/hotel points can lower redemption costs.
  • Use additional on-site credits – Cards like Amex Platinum offer up to $200 in hotel credits annually.Stack these for free nights.
  • Check for discounts on prepaid rates – Amex sometimes offers discounts like 10% off select prepaid hotel rates booked through the portal.
  • Take advantage of 5th night free offers – Book 5 consecutive award nights and the 5th night is free, lowering overall cost.
  • Use different cards to get more perks – Use an Amex Platinum for the hotel credit and Gold card points for the booking to double up.
  • Book weekend vs weekday with points – Weekend cash rates are often higher so using points provides more savings.
  • Redeem points for expensive rooms first – Use points for pricey suites/premium rooms where cash rates are very high.
  • Book experiences and dining too – Use Amex points for hotel restaurants and spa treatments to enhance the stay.

Being strategic with hotel redemptions through bonuses, discounts and additional perks can help maximize the overall value received from Amex Membership Rewards.

Use Points + Cash Option

The Amex Membership Rewards “Pay with Points” option allows you to pay for part of a hotel booking with points and the rest with cash. This can help in situations like:

  • Not having enough points for the full cost
  • Topping up cash bookings to use expiring points
  • Paying taxes/fees with cash to use fewer points

Here’s an example of how the Pay with Points + Cash option works:

  • Hotel rate is $250 per night
  • You choose to redeem 20,000 MR points
  • Pay with Points value is 1 cent per point
  • 20,000 points covers $200 of the rate
  • You then pay the remaining $50 + taxes/fees with cash

Using this option allows flexibility in how many points to redeem, preserving cash while still using points. Just note the value per point may be lower than transferring. But it’s a good way to offset high hotel costs with a combination of points + cash.


While hotel costs in Amex points vary, budgeting 25,000 – 100,000 points per night is a reasonable estimate. Factors like hotel category, travel dates, room type, and redemption method can all impact the points needed for a free stay. With some flexibility and research, Amex users can maximize their points value for epic hotel redemptions.

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