Hurry Up and Just Pick a Hotel Already…or Don’t.

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“Analysis Paralysis” is a real thing, and while it isn’t usually a serious dilemma in the miles and points world since you typically aren’t dealing with very serious subject mater to being with, it can still take up some brain space and prevent you from just making a reservation and moving on with your life. When making a hotel reservation, if your mind is wired to factor in things like points, promotions, and elite status perks such as upgrades or breakfasts, the choices can become a little overwhelming beyond the usual “normal people” considerations of price, online reviews, and location.

 

I have my go-to properties in various cities that have historically won the battle of “which is best factoring in eleventy zillion variables”, but the scales can be tipped as new properties are built, new promotions start, elite status levels change, our number of travelers grows, etc…

And so it is because of that “analysis paralysis” I find myself spending way. too. much. time. and. brain. space. on picking a hotel for our next visit to Austin. I mean, it is totally ridiculous given the insignificance of the decision, but I’m betting I’m not the only one in our hobby that experiences this phenomenon.

In case you have experienced the same thing, or just to get a chuckle out of the level of insanity that runs through my head from time to time, here are a few of the ridiculous variables for this simple hotel stay that I am spending way too much time thinking about.

Normal room vs. Junior Suite vs. Sweet Suite

Since all four of us are going, and some un-named but very adorable member of the family is still somewhat challenged in the sleep department, the room type is probably where I have spent most of my time internally debating the particulars of this hotel reservation. For longer trips I am pretty solidly in the camp of needing a true suite or it is just not worth going while we still have a little one in (or supposed to be in) a crib. However, this is a short trip, and odds are high she will end up in bed with one of us for all or part of the night anyway, so I’m not as dead set on needing a suite as I normally would be….but it would still be nice to have some extra room when you have four people. But, at what price point is that extra room no longer worth the cost for a short stay?

Use elite status perks and get free breakfast

If we stayed at a Hyatt property we would not only earn more points as a Diamond, but we would also all enjoy free full breakfast at the hotel in the morning. I may not be a Hyatt Diamond member for much longer, so squeezing some more value out of that status while I have it seems pretty logical.

Hyatt Diamond Breakfast at the Driskill in Austin

Hyatt Diamond Breakfast at the Driskill in Austin

Try a new (to me) hotel because it is a new experience (and new material for here)

However, I have stayed at all of the available Hyatt properties, and I wouldn’t mind trying something new on this trip. Not only is it sort of fun to try new hotels, but if you happen to also write about travel, it is also probably more useful to others to be able to share more perspective by trying a new place rather than simply writing (or not writing) about the same hotel for the second or third or fourth time.

This wouldn't be our first stay at The Driskill or other Austin-area Hyatts

This wouldn’t be our first stay at The Driskill or other Austin-area Hyatts

Earn points, use points, or say to heck with points

This month has been very expensive between the holidays, hosting a big birthday party, etc. and the idea of using points and saving cash is pretty intriguing. If I don’t use points, the idea of at least earning as many as possible to use for future travel is also of course high on my radar…I mean, my blog’s name didn’t fall from the sky by accident. However, I don’t think anyone should be a slave to points and go out of their way to earn or use them when a better option is on the table. Sometimes saying to heck with points and just staying where you want to stay is the right call in the end.

Book via a Fine Hotel and Resorts type program to replicate elite perks

To get some very nice in–hotel benefits without relying on elite status, you can sometimes book via Visa Signature’s Luxury Hotel Collection, the Amex Fine Hotel and Resorts program, or the Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection and get things like a food and beverage credits, complimentary breakfast, special amenities, late check-out, potential upgrades, and more. It is basically like having elite-like hotel perks without having to ever have stayed at that hotel or hotel chain before.

This opens up some additional possibilities to maximize the value out of a paid stay and not worry about the cost of breakfast in the hotel in the morning, getting late check-out, etc. without being tied to just the programs where I hold elite status

Just book the cheapest option that would work

It also isn’t wrong to say (to yourself) stop over-thinking, over-complicating, or over-spending in the name of maximizing value and just book the cheapest option that could work. It’s a short stay, it’s not a big deal, sleep won’t be perfect no matter what you do, so just make a decision and move on to more important things in life. Yes, brain, I know, but, but…

The internal “but, but” I think comes from the reality that I am not traveling nearly as much right now as I have in some previous years (see above referenced still sleep challenged toddler), so travel decisions that shouldn’t be big deals are bigger deals to me because I want them to be as good as they can be for us. In other words, we don’t get out much.

In the end I think I narrowed our leading contenders down using our Hyatt perks for a return stay to The Driskill or trying the new (to me) Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt. I thought I had the scales tipped to the Kimpton as I saw it listed in the Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection with things like free breakfast, $50 credit, and more, but based on some test reservations it appears that relationship isn’t live until January 1st and our stay is before then.

Have you ever suffered from the ridiculous hotel analysis paralysis dilemma and how did you make your final selection?

 

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Comments

  1. I face this quite a bit. London was the worst because of all the variables. Im actually stuck right now debating where to stay tonight in Seattle. Downtown at the Olive 8 for the experience or somewhere close to the airport to make getting there tomorrow easier.

  2. We had a fabulous suite at the Hyatt Regency in Austin this spring. Fabulous view of the lake and it was huge with a dining table that would seat at least 6 and 2 bathrooms. Much more peaceful thank being at the Driskill on the 6th street especially with kids.

    • Hyatt Regency is I suppose in the running, too. We have just stayed there so many times before, but it does have a lot going for it logistically.

  3. Oh my gosh – this is SO me right now! We are heading to Vegas in February and are going to stay at the Palazzo (that’s where the rest of the group is staying, so to make it easier, we are going to stay there) – BUT I can’t decide between booking it through the Palazzo website (buy 2 nights, get the 3rd night free) – which turns out to be about $166 cheaper than booking through Rocketmiles – BUT I could get 6,000 miles booking through Rocketmiles. I’m so confused on what to do. Question – is Rocketmiles a PARTNER with Southwest? Meaning will I earn 2 pts/$1 with my Southwest credit card?

  4. Going through this right now. Totally trying to use only points. Big birthday in January. Going to SJU for 7 day and then 3 days in Miami. Think Hyatt Centric should be fine and can only use points but must transfer ultimate reward points and that always hurts my feelings. Have Hilton diamond but only 100000 points. Am I missing something any recommendation for Miami? Laughing all the way just make my decision for me. Name something anything!

  5. “Analysis Paralysis” – perfect!
    Had this problem last month-not at hotels though. Had to decide how to purchase a $2000 camera lens.
    Which credit card and where to get my Amazon GC for it.
    Freedom, Discover It, BCP
    Rite Aid, Amazon direct, grocery store. I made a chart to help me decide.

  6. This! This.is.me.exactly! The amount of brainpower I spend on small decisions is absurd. Glad I’m not the only one…is there a support group for this type of “disorder”? Lol

  7. Love the Van Zandt. I have status with Kimpton and have been upgraded to amazing suites (bath salts for a soak in a deep tub with floor to ceiling windows of the river anyone?) The staff remembered me from a prior (free) stay including front desk manager. He asked me which suite preferred from my two stays and said he would note it in my profile for my next stay.

  8. I have even booked hotel and changed them later to another chain or a lesser price. Crazy stuff! I have decided it’s best to book a cancelable hotel and wait to see what offer come in closer in to when I want to go. I think that is working for me.

  9. Almost every time I book a hotel for the family I face this dilemma. I have 3 kids so there are 5 of us and suites are preferred but when we go to Europe it’s hell. I’m in the middle of a Barcelona Dilemma right now…. 2 rooms no matter what but slum it or splurge???? Location vs loyalty? Luxury vs base camp? 2018 is Thailand & Cambodia, so do I get all hotel for free or do I do half luxury and half pay since the exchange rate is so good????? I feel your pain, but I say “hey!” (That’s how I refer to myself sometimes) “if these are your biggest worries in life, then you have it pretty good. Pick one, enjoy and move on. The difference that you’re debating is probably less than $100. Your time and mental stress is worth it to move on.” I want to be perfect. I want to nail the optimal rates and arrangements. I want to get the best deal. But most times “good enough” is actually good enough and no one will know the difference.

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