If you’re a frequent traveler, you must have reward points. AwardMapper is a good option to find hotels and perfect deals against your rewards points. In this AwardMapper review, I will explain if the tool is effective and how to use it.
After opening a dozen tabs in the web browser and searching for lodgings in the same destination for the umpteenth time, you’re bound to get frustrated. It can be hard to find rewards if you’re looking for hotels in a tourist destination, especially around the holiday season.
Fortunately, AwardMapper is around to pay heed to your woes. It’s an award search engine for hotels – think of it as AwardHacker’s twin. AwardMapper lets you find reward hotels in your itinerary, saving you the hassle of doing it all yourself.
In this review of AwardMapper, I’ll discuss how the tool works and what it’s beneficial for. So, let’s get started.
What is AwardMapper?
AwardMapper is a hotel rewards tool showing you popular travel destinations’ accommodation options. Instead of visiting the websites of different hotel chains and checking if they offer rewards, you can search for them on AwardMapper.
The tool shows you the number of hotels for that specific chain in the area. Plus, it tells you the points you need to book a night in that particular hotel. Thus, it’s evident that AwardMapper is a helpful tool for people who have trouble looking for lodging on vacation.
How to Use AwardMapper
Don’t be too confused about how to sign up for AwardMapper. Luckily, you don’t need an account to search for hotels in any destination. Simply go to the AwardMapper website and type in the name of your vacation spot.
For instance, if you’re on a two-day trip to Iceland, AwardMapper will show you the points you need to book a hotel for two nights. The tool only shows results for eight major hotel chains. These are the following:
You can search for the hotel in your preferred destination in three ways.
The first method is to type the name of the destination in the search bar. Then, the AwardMapper data will show you hotels in the area. If there are too many options, you can zoom in on the region you’ll reside in.
Secondly, you can search for a hotel by zooming into the website’s home page map. If you’re good at navigation, you’ll find this method easier.
As you zoom in, you’ll see the areas much more clearly. Then, you can stop the cursor at the destination you wish to travel to. AwardMapper will then tell you about the hotels in that locality.
Double-Clicking a Group
The last way to search for hotel rewards is to click on a group. As mentioned earlier, the tool shows hotels of eight major chains. Their names are displayed on the left-hand side of the website’s homepage.
You can click on any hotel chain to find their branches in the city of your choice.
How to Book Hotels with Points on AwardMapper?
Let’s say you’re planning a Maui Itinerary. Finding suitable hotels with rewards is one of the major tasks. If you’ve never traveled to Maui, you’d have no idea of the available lodgings.
That’s where AwardMapper comes in. It shows the branches of the eight designated chains in every world region. For example, if you’re on a two-day trip to the Amalfi Coast, the hotel rewards tool will help you find grand hotels in the area.
On the AwardMapper map, the hotel chains are colored differently. Even without zooming in, you can see the options in the area. Here are the colors that represent different hotel chains:
- Best Western (Dark Blue)
- Choice (Mustard)
- Club Carlson (Gray)
- Hilton (Dark Green)
- Hyatt (Light Blue)
- Intercontinental (Light Yellow)
- Marriott (Red)
- Wyndham (Light Green)
The color-coded pins show you the location of these hotels in the city. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the area, you can get a precise address on the right-hand side of the screen.
The list of hotels and their short addresses is given there. Moreover, you’ll see a picture of the hotel with its name. Thus, you’ll have a vague idea of the surrounding landscape. If you want to live in a certain part of the city – near the beach – you can zoom in on the map and get a detailed view of the hotels there.
Likewise, if you want to exclude a few hotels from the search, you can narrow down the results too. Then, you can choose the specific chains you want to see in the results.
How to Use the Points Range Slider
When you’re trying to find hotels with AwardMapper, you’ll see a slider at the top of the page. The slider can be moved in both directions since it indicates the point range. You can specify the rewards range for the hotels depending on how many points you have.
If you want to see all the options, crank the slider to its endpoint. The maximum limit is 95,000 points. However, keep the range accordingly if you only want to see the options you can afford.
When you assign a number on the slider, the results will only show you hotels that accommodate nightly stays in that range. Let’s say you want to stay for two days in Boston, and you only have 25,000 points. You can set the slider from 5000 to 25000 points.
Now, when you search, you won’t see any hotels over that limit. If there are no hotels that you can get a room in for 25,000 points, you may have to increase the range. However, if there are any hotels, you’ll see them on the map, color-coded according to their parent chain.
When you keep the cursor on a pin location, a small pop-up will appear, showing the following things about the hotel:
- Hotel name
- Number of points needed to stay a night
If you click on the pin, you’ll be directed to the hotel’s website. Now, you can book a room using your points or cash.
See Related: What to Know When Flying With Cash
Finding Reward Hotels in Holiday Season
Depending on the season and tourist influx, hotels can change the number of points needed for a night’s stay. If you’ve been saving up points for a budget trip in Barbados, likely, you won’t have enough points at the end of the year because the hotel has raised the limit.
AwardMapper does not account for the fluctuations caused due to seasonal or taxation changes. Instead, it shows you the standard points limit for one night.
If you’re booking a rewards night during the holiday season, check how many points you need on the hotel’s website. You can click on the pin location in the AwardMapper search results for this. Doing this takes you to the hotel’s site.
In most cases, you’ll have to make an account there. Sign in and search for the dates of your stay. Then, check the number of points you need. Alternatively, you can review the Hotels Award Charts to understand the point limit.
See Related: How to Travel Full-Time
Is AwardMapper Legit?
Yes, AwardMapper is 100% legit. It helps you find hotels where you can stay using your earned points. One of the most helpful things about the tool is that it color-codes hotel chains.
That makes it easier for you to spot your desired hotel in a sea of search results. Plus, all you have to do is click on the little dot to visit the hotel’s website.
Sites like AwardMapper
Although AwardMapper is a helpful site, it can’t possibly have every feature to make finding reward hotels easier for you.
Here are some alternatives to try if you’re unsatisfied with the results on AwardMapper.
Hotel Hustle grabs your attention as a tourist because it lets you set alerts. You can set a notification if a reward room is unavailable in your desired hotel. Whenever there’s free space, the tool will alert you.
Plus, it has a user-friendly interface. When you search for a location, Hotel Hustle shows you the following things:
- Hotels in the area
- Cash price for a room per night
- Alert button
- Color-coding for different hotel chains
Points don’t just cover some hotel rooms. Additionally, you need to pay a nominal amount in cash. Hotel Hustle shows the cash and points you need to book a room for such lodgings.
A slight difference between Hotel Hustle and AwardMapper is the former’s lack of a zoom feature. The search results don’t get detailed if you zoom in or out. Although most people use the search bar anyway, this feature is useful for travelers who’re looking for a hotel in a certain part of the city.
In the free version, you can set up to five monthly alerts. Meanwhile, the paid version costs $2.99 monthly and allows you to set thirty alerts. The awards covered by Hotel Hustle include:
- Club Carlson
- World of Hyatt
- Le Club Accor
- Wyndham Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
Pex+ is a relatively newer tool but has plenty of excellent features. It lets you search for other reward items, such as apparel, along with hotels. You can filter the search results on Pex+ by:
- Number of points
- Number of stars
- Parent chain
The best feature of this tool is that it connects to your loyalty program account. Therefore, it shows you the points in your program wallet while browsing the search results. Pex+ shows results for the following programs:
- Starwood Preferred Guest
- IHG Rewards Club
- Wyndham Rewards
- Le Club Accor
- World of Hyatt
- Choice Privileges
- Marriott Rewards
- Club Carlson
- Hilton Honors
Since Pex+ is still new, the developers are keen to improve it as per the users’ feedback. If you find a bug or have any suggestions to improve the tool, leave them in the contact section of the tool’s website.
See Related: Is Expedia Trustworthy to Use?
Pros and Cons of AwardMapper
Pros of AwardMapper
The pros of using Awardmapper include the following:
- Simple and easy-to-use interface
- Color-coding for hotel chains
- Direct link to the hotel websites
- Multiple ways to search for accommodation
Cons of AwardMapper
Despite being a great tool for finding reward hotels, AwardMappers lacks in a few aspects.
- Does not account for points or price changes during the holiday season
- Does not allow you to set alerts
See Related: What is a Hacker Fare?
Improvements for AwardMapper
The current version of AwardMapper is pretty good but has a few shortcomings. First off, you cannot set alerts on the website. Alerts are a helpful way to stay notified of when there’s a room available in the hotel of your choice.
Most hotels allow you to cancel your booking 24 hours before checking in. Suppose you’ve booked another hotel because no rooms were free where you liked.
Thanks to the alerts feature, you’ll know immediately if there’s a free vacancy. Then, you can cancel your booking in the first hotel and get a new room you originally liked. Secondly, AwardMapper should tweak its ‘points per night’ feature because the data in these results is a bit disparate.
Here’s the thing: the tool does not differentiate between the top-tier Hilton rewards and the mid-tier ones. Moreover, it does the same with other hotel chains too.
Thus, you get disproportional results that are complicated to work with. Instead, AwardMapper should categorize the hotels according to different ranges, such as Mid, High, and Budget.
Lastly, AwardMapper can do something similar to Booking.com by creating a brief list of revenue options for one region. This way, travelers can compare dollar-per-point values for hotels in the same locality.
See Related: Best Credit Cards for Churning Rewards Points
Final Thoughts: Is AwardMapper Worth Using?
Most of the budget for any vacation is spent on airfare and accommodation. But you can work around this by looking for hotels that offer reward stays. Owing to the loyalty programs, you can live in five-star hotels without spending a cent – provided you have thousands of points.
In this AwardMapper review, I discussed the usage of this tool and how it can help you find stunning places to stay without using cash. A few changes can definitely make AwardMapper even better. Even now, it’s a pretty handy tool to find accommodation in an unfamiliar vacation spot.
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Ease of Use9.0/10
Value for Money8.9/10
- User-Friendly Interface
- Color-Coding Hotel Chains
- Direct Link to Hotel Websites
- Multiple Ways to Search for Accommodation
- Does Not Account for Points During Holiday Season
- Does Not Allow To Set Alerts
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