Hotel Living

Back in October, I read Gary’s View from the Wing post “Ten Year Hotel Stay Comes to an End” about a woman who lived in a hotel for 10 years.  Ever since then, I’ve wondered whether a person could reasonably live at a hotel at a low rate by leveraging hotel loyalty awards.  It’s not that I would want to do this, and it’s not that I’d recommend doing this, but it is a fun thought experiment.  At least, it is to me. 

For this post, I’ll focus on Club Carlson hotels.  With this chain, you earn a very generous 20 points per dollar for regular stays.  Once you reach their top level Concierge status, you get a 75% bonus, for a total of 35 points per dollar. They will also give you a 3000 point bonus each time you book through clubcarlson.com. If you have your own business (it may be worth creating one just for this purpose) you can sign up for a business account and get 8 more points per dollar (10 points if you book online at clubcarlson.com). 

King Bed Room

For this exercise, let’s assume that you find a decent Club Carlson hotel that can be booked using points for 9000 points per night (Club Carlson’s lowest award level).  Next, let’s do the math assuming that you have a business account and have reached Concierge status.  Concierge status can be obtained by staying 75 nights, so if you actually live at Club Carlson, you will reach that level in just over two months so it’s not an unreasonable assumption.  Here is how the math breaks down:

  • Booking bonus = 3000 points per week (assuming one new booking each week).  Yes, I imagine you could make a new booking each day, but that would be a huge hassle!  Also note that I’m not sure that you would get more than one bonus when staying at the same hotel for each booking, but for the sake of argument, we’ll assume that you can get one bonus per week.
  • Points earned per dollar = 20 (base points) + 15 (Concierge status) + 10 (business) = 45 points per dollar!
  • Cost per night (when not using points) = $80.  I found, as an example, a Country Inn & Suites near Nashville, TN that goes for $63.75.  With taxes & fees it comes to $77.88.  So, I’ll round up the assumed base rate to $65 and the rate with fees to $80.
  • Cost per month = $80 X 30 = $2400
  • Points earned per month = $65 X 30 days  X 45 points/$ = 87750 points + 4 X 3000 booking bonus points = 99,750 points per month.
  • Free nights earned each month = 99,750 / 9000 = 11.083
  • Use those points to book nights whenever possible, and then you get the following savings in the form of points = 11.083 / 30 = 37%

37% savings is good, but in reality you would do much better.  Lately Club Carlson has been running amazing promotions such as 50,000 points after one night at a Radisson; 9000 points for each award stay; and triple base points for each stay.  Each of these would dramatically increase your savings when staying at a Club Carlson hotel.  I think it is quite safe to say that you can easily improve your average savings from 37% to 50% by taking advantage of Club Carlson promotions whenever they come along.

With 50% savings, your monthly “rental” cost would be $2400 / 2 = $1200.  Is that a good rate?  On the plus side you would get a furnished room with daily housekeeping, linens & shampoo, free breakfast, free utilities & wifi, free cable TV, and free pool and exercise room access.  Also, with your concierge status you would probably score a suite upgrade.  On the down side, you would be living in a hotel room!  No full kitchen and very little room to store your stuff. I could imagine this working for a single adult who hasn’t found the right digs yet, but I would guess that most people could find better options.

UPDATE: A helpful reader pointed out an error in my math above.  As he pointed out, you would average 50% off if you received 30 free days for every 30 you paid for.  Since, in this example, you would earn about 15 free days for every 30, that comes to about $1600 per month or 33% off. 

 
Stay informed:
Follow me on Twitter / Like me on Facebook

If you’re new to Frequent Miler, please start here

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Comments

  1. If I were single, I would try it for a year. My company has a $90/night rate at the Hyatt Place in Fremont, CA during the week, and I could hope over to the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara on Fri/Sat nights and take advantage of the $79/night rate (although the novelty of that would wear off pretty quickly!)

  2. I think your maths is a little bit out. You don’t earn points for the free nights, so a better way of looking at it would be that you get 15 free nights for every 30 you stay (assuming your point about promotions is true) and therefore it costs $2,400 per month and a half (approximately), which equals $1,600 per month.

    • Adam S: Oops! You’re right! Thanks for the math fix.

      Simon and Dealswelike: Make sure to see Adam’s math correction in the comments before you move in to a hotel 🙂

      Aussieflyer: Thanks. Yep, I really enjoyed Lucky’s post too!

  3. Sounds tempting considering that my rent is a ridiculous $2200 a month but I live 12 minutes out of NYC in bergen county, nj so its considered “reasonable” for the area (sadly)… too bad the only cat 1 club carlson hotel in NJ is in Piscataway (1 hour away in an industrial/commercial area). nevertheless, I 10000 percent agree that Club Carlson has had the best promos so far in late 2011/2012. They’ve gained my loyalty… every stay I’ve had was pleasant!

  4. I did this once (sort of). I had a home but was doing work out of state (across country) and they were paying me $15/hr per diem or about $2400 month for expenses (those were the good days).

    Many hotels will give you a sizable discount once you stay 30 consecutive days. In my case my rate would drop to $60 per night or $1800 per month. Regular rate varied quite a bit since it was tourist area but I think it would average 90-100 per day.

    So even when I would fly home once a month I wouldn’t check out of the hotel since it would reset my 30 days. It was cheaper to stay checked in. I did this for about 8 months.

    Unfortunately this was in 2000, long before I would think of earning points for hotel stays (assuming it existed back then). At least I was smart enough to sign up for an occasional credit card and kept my United miles from expiring and cashed those in much later for a 1st class trip to Europe.

  5. Many hotels have a limit on the consecutive nights you can stay and still earn awards (with Hyatt it’s 30) – so you’d have to arrange a sleepover once a month 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *