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Another week, another fantastic destination on “Catch The Points Guy”. This time I headed to one of my favorite cities in the US: New York.
In addition to the special affinity I have for the Big Apple since it’s where I first moved after college, it’s also a great place to earn and redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points thanks to countless fabulous hotels, world-class restaurants, tons of mass-transit to get around, and plenty of fun sights to see.
To get here from Miami using points, I decided to take use the Ultimate Rewards travel portal’s pay with points option and redeemed 17,984 Ultimate Rewards points to purchase a $228.40 flight from Miami on Delta. Paying with points at the fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point (you get a 20% bonus on this option when you have the Sapphire Preferred). I got a complimentary upgrade to first class 5 days in advance of my flight due to my Platinum Medallion status and earned base 1,097 Delta SkyMiles, plus an additional 1,097 miles for my Platinum bonus and I also banked 1,097 Medallion Qualifying Miles. Flights booked through Ultimate Rewards Travel are just like tickets paid with cash, which comes in handy if you need to bank elite qualifying miles since award tickets generally do not accrue miles.
Because I flew into LaGuardia, I decided to take a taxi, which earned me 2 points per dollar on the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it is coded as a “travel” expense.
I decided to stay at one of my favorite hotels in the city, which also happens to be part of Hyatt and thus an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner: the Andaz Fifth Avenue right in the heart of Manhattan.
Award nights are 22,000 points a night, so for three nights I transferred a total of 66,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my Hyatt Gold Passport account (which posted instantly) and redeemed for a standard Andaz King room. The paid rate would have been $495, but when I checked in, I was upgraded (thanks to my Diamond status) to an Andaz Loft room one category higher, that would have cost $545 per night if I’d paid. So I was getting about 2.5 cents per point of value from my redemption – twice what I would have gotten if I’d redeemed my points directly at Ultimate Rewards travel – so in this case transferring points and redeeming for award nights made sense.
My Loft room was spacious by New York standards, at 400 square feet, with high ceilings and luxury touches like Frette linens on the bed, as well as the tech amenities Andaz is known for like free WiFi and a wall-mounted 42-inch flatscreen. There was also a small sitting area with a sofa and chair and a wooden workdesk. One of my Hyatt Diamond perks is free breakfast, but since this hotel has no club lounge, I was given the choice of having mine in the restaurant or through room service.
The weather was beautiful, so I decided to take the subway (another “travel” category expense on which I earned double points) to the High Line, a former industrial rail line along Manhattan’s west side that has been converted into an elevated park with paths, places hang out, and occasional art installations.
After my little walk, it was time for a quick lunch at Chelsea Market, a building development that the High Line passes through that includes a shopping mall, offices and a gourmet food court in a historic Nabisco factory complex where the Oreo cookie was invented. The restaurants there include some of my favorites in New York, such as Sarabeth’s Kitchen and Morimoto, as well as bakeries, butcher shops and more. I recharged with a lunch of fresh lobster from The Lobster Place.
That evening, I attended the “Around the World in 80 Plates” Sneak Peak Finale party in Chelsea. Chase Sapphire is a sponsor of the show, so cardholders were granted exclusive access, and I was able to redeem 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points for a ticket.
“Around the World in 80 Plates,” is a reality show on Bravo that combines two of my passions, travel and cuisine. On it, 12 chefs compete in culinary challenges in 10 countries over 44 days with celebrity chefs Cat Cora and Curtis Stone judging their performances. At the party, I got to meet the two hosts, as well as a few of my favorite Real Housewives of New York stars while tasting dishes from all over the world. Though I usually redeem points for airfare and hotels, unique experiences like this one can be fun to redeem.
Though my time in New York was short, I was already looking forward to my next destination for “Catch The Points Guy.” To find out where I headed next, as well as for chances to win weekly prizes and the Grand Prize trip for two to Paris, check the Chase Sapphire Facebook page next week.
Note: I was compensated by Chase for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions expressed are completely my own.