Would You Switch Hotels Every Night In This Scenario?

Filed Under: Hotels

I’ve been living in hotels for well over a year now, and there’s no denying that my perspective on things has changed considerably. In the past I’d be all about maximizing value. Nowadays I’m all about trying to find the perfect balance between maximizing value and preserving sanity. 😉

For example, back before I moved into hotels full time I’d often switch hotels every night when traveling. That’s because you only get one stay credit no matter how long you stay, while you also get a welcome amenity for each stay, whether it’s a one night stay or a week-long stay.

But since living in hotels — and in particular in recent months — a vast majority of my hotel stays have been at least four days or so, as it really does help me preserve my sanity ever so slightly.

With that in mind, I figured I’d give a real life example of how I’m actually tempted to switch hotels every night again.

I’m just booking some hotels for San Diego, and rates are generally quite reasonable.


As far as Starwood options go, The US Grant (which is sort of creepy/haunted) is ~$179 per night for a prepaid rate:


Meanwhile the W San Diego is ~$149 per night for a prepaid rate:


Those are reasonable enough rates — not amazing, but not bad. But both of these hotels also belong to the Starwood Luxury Privileges program, which offers additional benefits for stays at many Starwood properties when booking through an eligible travel agent. This is similar to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso, though a lot more SPG properties are covered through Starwood Luxury Privileges — at a minimum it includes all St. Regis, W, and Luxury Collection properties.

Luxury Privileges rates are the same price as the flexible rate.

For example, at the W San Diego that rate is $179, and Luxury Privileges benefits include the following:

Rate includes breakfast for two, daily in Kelvin ($80 value) and one 50USD F&B credit. If a Cool Corner or higher room type is booked, one 100USD F&B credit to be applied. Upgrade/early check-in/late check-out if available. VIP treatment.


Meanwhile at The US Grant the rate is $199, and Luxury Privileges benefits include the following:

Includes Daily Full Breakfast for Two (75 USD Value) and One 100 USD Food and Beverage Credit per room, per stay. VIP treatment, Comp in room internet, Upgrade on Arrival. Early Check-In and Late Check-Out Based on Availability.


While breakfast is daily, the food & beverage credit is on a per stay basis. In other words, for a one night, $179 stay at the W San Diego I’d receive an $80 breakfast credit and $50 F&B credit. Meanwhile for a one night, $199 stay at The US Grant, I’d receive a $75 breakfast credit and $100 F&B credit.

Which brings me to my decision making process in terms of how to book these stays:

  • These hotels are just a few blocks apart, so it’s easy enough to switch between them every night.
  • Would I make the quick hotel swap for a $50-100 credit? Absolutely… if I valued it at anywhere close to face value.
  • At the same time, what do I actually value the F&B credit at? The US Grant does have an excellent restaurant, though presumably there’s diminishing marginal return. San Diego is a great food city, and I certainly don’t want to eat at the hotel every night.


So this is one of those situations where I’m kind of torn. If I’m in San Diego for four nights, do I:

  • Swap hotels every night, and end up getting a lot of food & beverage credit?
  • Maybe do two nights in each hotel — I can book one night at each hotel on a prepaid rate (which saves me a bit of money) and the other night on a Luxury Privileges rate.
  • Or maybe just do four nights in one hotel and forget about Luxury Privileges? I can just book using the Citi Prestige Card  fourth night free benefit, so I’d only end up paying for three nights. Then I can just book a prepaid or AAA rate for the entire stay.

What would you do?

  1. Do the F&B credits carry over a few days? If so, you could mix it up, stay 1 day in each place, then 4 days in each, using the F&B credit from the previous stay as well as the current one! (Would that work as a hack? 🙂 )

  2. So Citi Prestige also lets you do pre-paid through CTW? If so, I’d stay 4 nights in same place.

  3. I have stayed at every SPG hotel in San Diego, my two favorites are The US Grant and Sheraton Marina. The W is OK, there is something about the US Grant that makes staying better..

  4. The US Grant is much better located. The W is next to a giant construction pit where the new courthouse is being built. For food though, the W is a few blocks from Little Italy where the best downtown restaurants are located. The US Grant is right on the edge of the Gaslamp for bars and more average dining. Kelvin is nothing to write home about. The US Grant hotel’s restaurant is far better. I’d look into Bencotto, Juniper and Ivy, and Ironside in Little Italy.

  5. I travel with people who do not want the bother of a room change, much less a hotel change. So I would book the best rate on the Prestige and stay in one place for that scenario. I like the dining in San Francisco very much- hotel food has no sweat over me there.

    If was traveling by myself then it I would swap and only choose the luxury rate if I could bank the credit for a different stay somewhere else.

  6. I vote swap hotels every night.

    Question: I have 3 x 1 night stays at the Wynn. Nights 1 & 3 booked via FHR under my name and night 2 booked via Virtuoso under my friend’s name but the travel agent also put me as the second guest and the room is reserved with my credit card. Do you think we’ll have problems getting the FHR/Virtuoso benefits for all three nights?

  7. I get the whole valuation on points, etc. But isn’t there a point where you put a value on your time and how you use it? I find this packing and unpacking, checking in and out, moving from one hotel to the next, such a waste of time for a few dollars or points. Don’t you ever just want to check into a hotel and enjoy the area or relax and forget about chasing the points?

  8. Ray gets my Best Post of the Day prize for this gem: “Don’t you ever just want to check into a hotel and enjoy the area or relax and forget about chasing the points?”

    Given that this is a question asked of Lucky, of all people, it’s actually pretty funny.

  9. Switch hotels every night.. unless you really hate the idea of moving and the food credit

  10. I might do 2 and 2, but switching every night is absurd. If it was $100 in cash or in a hotel voucher, then sure, go for it. But what are you going to do with $75-$100 of food credit each night? Buy strangers drinks? Pig out at the overpriced restaurant?

  11. Swap. I have done something very similar at the US Grant before with F&B credit.

    Made for a very nice relativley cheap stay

  12. 4 stay credits plus all the other credits make this a no-brainer for someone OTHER than Ben who needs to requalify. Since you have already requalified, I’d do the City Prestige at the Grant which is a better hotel

  13. Back in 2009 when SPG, and every other hotel chain, was desperate for customers and ran a “1 free weekend night up to Cat 6 for every two stays” promo I did 4- and 5-night business trips by switching back and forth every night like this. Ended up with 19 free nights under the promo (and used them all, mostly at Cat 6s).

    But I’m not sure I would do it just for an extra $50 F&B credit. 🙂

  14. If I were you I’d definitely go Prestige 4NF. You’re already platinum so just get free breakfast as your amenity and save one one night. As a solo traveler, who needs to spend $100 in a hotel restaurant. Now, if you were with friends or a group and could utilize the F&B benefit (especially if you weren’t platinum and couldn’t get free breakfast, it might be a different story.

  15. I may enjoy the breakfast but would never eat dinner at a hotel. Hotel food is just gross. I travel for work a lot and part of what keeps my sanity is going out and trying new restaurants for dinner. Should you check in and out? I do it sometimes just so I can make status quicker but not for some food credit.

  16. As you get older, you’ll realize that free food isn’t really free. The health cost is much higher than the food cost.

    The other aspect is how much do you value your time. If it takes 2 hours to complete the switch, is it wort the $40/hour or so you earn (after tax so the pre tax equivalent is higher).

    I’ve done it for status or a promotional free night when it was convenient (ie, close to the airport for one night before an early departure), but other than that, it’s not worth it.

  17. Ben, You will be steps away from me at any of those hotels in San Diego.
    Lets meet up for a drink.

  18. This is the reason I have started using Airbnb extensively and use hotel rewards via credit card points for short stays or long layovers – I like mingling with the local culture and not worrying about maximizing points or benefits.

    For example, staying at the Intercontinental Park Lane prior to a flight home, after a time in the Balkans where Airbnb is a super bargain.

    As far as your San Diego hotel choices are concerned – flip a coin, then go out and enjoy the Gaslamp district and the fresh brews San Diego is known for.

    If you are really adventurous go to Tijuana and enjoy a street taco.

  19. Coming off the health scare, I vote to do the Presitige 4NF. RELAX! Can’t imagine you want to eat at the hotel that much. I know it’s hard, but forget the points for just 4 nights!

  20. Stay away from the W. The construction noise was very loud and started early when I stayed there in December.

  21. Lol. If you travel light enough and do not have much to do in the city and is enjoying facilities in the hotel, swapping of course is the way to go, provided the cost of transfer between the 2 hotels make sense.

    Very good rates & perks for the Luxury Collection.

    I have done similar swaps that make sense, but the downside here is we typically waste 1-2 hrs to switch hotels (pack up, check out, transfer, check in, unpack). However, part of traveling experience is to enjoy different hotels and F&B.

    But once you are very used to the 2 hotels and F&B on offer, then the F&B credits will start to feel like a burden – you need to dine in the hotel or they will go to waste. (Unless you are budget conscious, and wanted the F&B credits, but then again, if one is so budget conscious, then they should not be staying at these 2 hotels as well.) Once this is the case, I think Citi Prestige is the way to go.

  22. Currently, I am renewing my own Diamond status of 25 stays. I’m jumping in and out of hotels- but my last week I simply want to stay in one place at least 3-4 nights. I vote for one place and give yourself a rest.

  23. …but do you really NEED all that? Especially the food with your abdomen issues…. I’m more about getting a room for sub 100 rate and getting juice and bagel, not paying 199 and stuffing myself and drinking.

  24. @laoh Don’t lots of really nice restaurants open shop in hotels? To put a blanket “hotel food is gross” statement is really short sighted IMO.

  25. The question you need to really ask yourself is whether it is worth the dollars to pack up all your stuff and move it every night. Really? Unless you’re on the Amazing Race it has to be a pain to move that much. I know you lead a nomadic lifestyle but this is more like the FBI is finally closing in…. Which it’s not (I hope ☺). I hope you’re not doing it for our sake because we already get it.
    However, as someone who has lived in SD for many years I can say that I love the US Grant hotel…. Ghosts aside. Not a big fan of the W and their teeny rooms. They do, however, have a great rooftop club for nightly fun.

  26. @dottie p says +1

    And stay at the Grant, better location and cooler hotel. Also, curb the food a bit…maybe a nice breakfast (and your status will cover that) and then some fruit for dinner. Just because you can maximize something doesn’t mean you should.

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