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I recently began using a new tool called Awayz to more easily answer the age-old question of whether to book hotels with cash or points. Essentially, the tool compares cash and points prices for over 25,000 properties across major hotel brands and lets you set alerts on award availability. In this review, I wanted to briefly outline the various features and capabilities of Awayz to decide if it’s worth the latest promotional price of $49.99 for the first year.
First things first, please be aware that I’ll receive 30% of the net revenue from Awayz for folks I refer to this tool.
That said, I want to be crystal clear: I only recommend services or products that I personally use and trust. As a matter of principle, I dislike promoting products and I would never push something I didn’t believe in myself. Any money I make from these referrals goes directly back into maintaining this blog, which currently costs substantially more to run than it generates.
My intention in sharing this promotion is to help readers make the most out of their hotel bookings, just as I have.
Benefit #1: Cash and points comparisons
The biggest benefit for me of the product is its ability to allow users to quickly view cash and points prices for hotels in a city on a single page. I’ve found the ability to quickly view award rates across hotel companies a big time saver, since my usual process for booking hotels comprises checking award availability on Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and so on, one at a time.
There are two ways to view cash and points prices. First, you can browse hotels by city. You’ll see the cash price, points price, and which transferable points can be used at any given hotel.
You can also view prices for specific hotels in a calendar view, useful if you have flexible travel dates and a specific hotel preference.
Benefit #2: Award availability alerts
I also really like the ability to set award availability alerts, though I think they missed an opportunity by not calling them “alertz.” They work exactly how you’d imagine: you set an alert for a specific hotel and date range and then when availability opens, you’re notified over email and within your account dashboard. Premium members are allotted five alerts at any given time and free users get one.
The ability to set these alerts for hotels that are generally stingy with award nights was huge for me. Case in point, using Awayz alerts, I was able to book a winter vacation at Calala Island, a stunning all-inclusive Hyatt property in Nicaragua that I’ve found devilishly hard to book with points in the past.
Though I generally like the tool, it has three drawbacks that I think detract from its usefulness.
- Can only search by city: I’d like to be able to search by country or even region in order to find the best deals.
- Point balances don’t update: The website has a section in which to input your points totals but doesn’t automatically update your points by allowing you to link accounts. I don’t really understand the usefulness of this feature; frankly, keeping track of points in a spreadsheet would be easier and more useful.
- Cash prices are official hotel prices: When choosing whether to book a hotel with points or cash, I try to find the lowest cash rate available which typically isn’t that which is shown on the hotel’s own website. Unfortunately, Awayz only shows official rates, and that means that I have to do a bit of extra research in order to figure out whether book an award stay or a cash stay.
Membership tier comparisons
Annual membership pricing and features are as follows:
Monthly membership pricing and features are as follows:
Awayz is currently having a sale, offering new users a discounted rate of $59.99 for the first year (usually $99.99) and $99.99 a year after that. However, using the promotional code and link below, you can join for $49.99 and, if you choose to keep your subscription for the second year, will be charged a reduced price of $89.99. You can also try out a premium membership for free for 72 hours to see if you like it before purchasing. The sale ends tonight, June 27th, at midnight PST.
How to get the promo price
- Click on this referral link, which will redirect you to the Awayz homepage.
- Begin the account creation process.
- Navigate to the “Packages” page. Here, you will automatically see the discount applied for the Premium annual subscription and the free 72-hour trial.
- Enter coupon code offthebeatenpoints in the coupon field on the same “Packages” page.
- Click “apply”. The discount will be immediately reflected in the price.
- You will also see the free 72-hour trial offer here.
- If you choose to proceed with the Premium annual subscription, a $10 discount will also be visible on the checkout page.
Yes, mostly. For the first year at least, an annual premium membership equates to about $5 a month. For me, that’s good value; alerts saved me around an hour this month and I value an hour of my time at more than $5. On the other hand, I tend to book a lot of hotels, and those who don’t might not save as much time as I did.
On top of the saved time, this tool makes it easier to make your points go farther. The value of that is hard to calculate since it depends on which hotels you’re booking, whether or not you’d have booked them with cash to begin, what you think points are worth etc., but it’s conceivable that you could easily save hundreds of dollars if you use it right.
Finally, I think that Awayz is more user-friendly and covers more hotels than other similar tools I’ve used like StayWithPoints and Hotels Rewards Checker.
Awayz is a handy tool that minimizes the guesswork and the legwork of booking hotels with cash or points. I found the single-page view of award rates and award availability alerts valuable, although the product does fall short in a few areas, like the inability to search by country or region and not reflecting the lowest possible cash rates.