While it may sound counterintuitive, as a timeshare owner, hotel points can be extremely valuable. Hotel points can be an extremely valuable currency for free vacations but their use for timeshare owners is absolutely instrumental in providing certainty to a particular destination.
I use hotel points for plenty of free or quasi free vacations. Hotel points are fantastic for traveling in high demand time periods and for stays of less than 7 nights.
For timeshare owners, the importance of hotel points is that they allow you to book a hotel room in your desired travel destination while trying to exchange into the desired timeshare. Once you have a confirmed hotel room in your desired location, you can confirm your airline flights and continue the search for a desired timeshare.
Timeshare exchanges can be difficult and many exchanges may be filled close to date of travel which usually corresponds into ridiculously priced airline tickets.
Hotels have very generous cancellation policies where they allow you to cancel your reservation as little as 24 hours prior to arrival. These flexible cancellation policies are vastly different than timeshares which generally do not allow any changes at all.
The strategy the I generally use is to use my hotel points to book a hotel as far in advance as possible for the desired week and location. At the same time, I will put in my exchange request with the timeshare company (i.e. Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, etc.) or put in a request for my desired exchange through Interval International or RCI.
Once I know that I have a week at the hotel, I feel confident that I can book my non-refundable airfare or use my frequent flyer miles. Booking far in advance is necessary to ensure that flight prices are reasonable, in either cash or miles.
Using this strategy, the worse case scenario is that we end up staying in the hotel for free using points. The best case scenario is that you were able to book your airfare far in advance for a good rate and your timeshare exchange comes through at the desired resort.
In either case, it is really a win-win.
I have stated before that the easiest way to quickly accumulate miles is through credit card sign-up bonuses. These bonuses fluctuate all the time but there are always some great opportunities.
One of my favorite points currency is Chase Ultimate Reward Points. These can be transferred into many different programs including Hyatt and Marriott.
Transfers to Hyatt are much more valuable since Hyatt's program has wonderful redemption options for much lower cost than Marriott. However, at certain times, Marriott has some great options and with Marriott and SPG now merged, I anticipate that there will be some wonderful opportunities going forward.
Here are two current options that I recommend which provide an immediately influx of Chase Ultimate Reward Points: