Hyatt is my favorite hotel brand to book award rooms, just like Southwest is my favorite airline for booking award airfare. Rooms start at just 5,000 points for a category 1 hotel and top out at 40,000 points for the high end category 8 properties. (Let’s face it—I have absolutely no interest in those hotels!)
Exploring Hotel Charts
Comparable rooms at comparable hotels at other brands are much more expensive on points. (I’m looking at you, Marriott!) Let’s take an example from the Disneyland area. The Hyatt Place Anaheim Resort Area is a category 3 hotel, costing 12,000 points per night, while Marriott’s Springhill Suites is a category 5, which will cost you 35,000 points. Either can be had for a free night award from your co-branded credit card (World of Hyatt Visa or Marriott Visa), but any extra nights at Marriott will cost you almost three times the points. Both hotels are within walking distance, have similar room layouts and free breakfast, and cost about the same per night in cash.
Transfer Points from Chase Ultimate Rewards
Both Hyatt and Marriott are partners in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, but considering the two redemptions in the above example, I’m much more likely to save my hard-earned UR by choosing the Hyatt property over Marriott and save several thousand points. Transferring points is super easy. You just have to log into the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and select the program to transfer your points to, put in your membership number, and voilà, your loyalty program has the points you need to book the award you want! Of course, you’ll need a premium Chase product to access the Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, so make sure you have a Sapphire or Business Ink product.
One thing I love to be able to do is book awards for others. Recently, my cousin was in town to help her mom move. They were facing sleeping on the floor for their last night, so they decided instead to get a room at a motel. This was during Spring Training, so I knew most rooms at decent places would be over $200. She informed me that she had found a place for only $90. I asked her if she could still cancel so that I could set her up in the nearest Hyatt Place instead using my points. It only cost me 8,000 points, and they spent the evening relaxing at the hotel pool with a free breakfast in the morning, instead of at a sketchy motel.
Another time, Bryan’s cousin was going to head here from Northern California after work and arrive in the wee hours of the morning. Rather than disrupting everyone’s sleep, we booked a hotel for them on the way to help break up their drive, get a good, free breakfast in the morning, and arrive during daylight hours. It felt good to be able to do that for them without any out of pocket costs.
Booking Promotional Awards
On our most recent trip, I needed a last-minute hotel night because when I had planned the trip, the Knott’s Berry Farm closed at 6:00pm. They changed the time to 8:00pm at the last minute, so I knew we wouldn’t want to drive back that late. The day before, I started looking for a hotel to book that would be on our way back. I landed on the Hyatt Palm Springs, a nice hotel in the middle of town. Hyatt has a promotion where you can get a free night at a category 1-4 hotel for every five brands that you try. Since we’ve stayed at an Andaz (Costa Rica), Hyatt Place (Mesa), Hyatt House (Orlando), Hyatt Regency (SF, Phoenix, Scottsdale), and now a straight Hyatt, I earned a promotional night. What’s even better, is that I USED a promotional night from my Hyatt Visa for the stay! Now we can start working on our next 5-night promotional award. Hyatt has enough different brands for a third promotional night if you stay at all of their brands since they’ve added several recently!
Next Up: Grand Hyatt
I have my eye on a category 4 hotel in downtown San Diego for our next Hyatt stay this summer. It’s a Grand, so that will be a sixth brand to check off the list and get closer to another free night award. Since it has a Club Lounge, we will be able to use a Club Access Award from my Explorist status for free breakfast, snacks, and evening hors d’oeuvres. We won’t be able to use our free night award on that stay since you can’t apply a Club Access Award on a free night award. That’s okay. I’m sure we’ll find some use for it in the near future!