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In the latest installment of our Points and Miles Destination Guide series, TPG Contributor Whitney Magnuson explores the many different ways to maximize hotel redemptions in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is one of the most iconic American destinations; a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds that all combine into something uniquely Californian. Having spent my own college years in the City of Angels, I find myself going back to Cali at least once a year, which provides an opportunity to explore the latest and greatest hotel redemptions available across the various programs. Below, you’ll find my recommendations for the top hotels to book with points in La-La-Land, geared toward a variety of different travelers.
If you’re headed to the beach: Wyndham Santa Monica at the Pier
Cali beach culture is iconic, but hotels along this famed strip of coastline can cost a pretty penny. Luckily, if you’d like to soak up the rays and not bust your budget, you’ll find great value at the Wyndham Santa Monica at the Pier.
Located directly across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, this property usually starts at $319, but because of brand-wide advance booking discounts, rooms are available for as low as $255 if you reserve at least 21 days in advance. Wyndham charges a flat 15,000 points per night for a room at any of its properties, meaning you’d receive a redemption rate of roughly 1.7-2.1 cents per point, depending on when you book. That’s a good value considering TPG’s valuations, which peg Wyndham Rewards points at 1.2 cents apiece. Plus, with the annual fee version of the Wyndham Rewards Visa Card, you can receive up to a 30,000-point bonus, 15,000 points after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, making a free weekend stay at the beach a reality.
If you’re catching a game at the Staples Center: Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
Whether you’re headed to a Lakers, Clippers or Kings game, you’ll want a hotel in the downtown area. The Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown offers one of the best values in the city center, with rates starting at $329 or just 10,000 points per night.
The property is just six blocks from the Staples Center and has recently undergone a $75 million renovation, including a completely new lobby and on-site restaurant. Given that the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offers a 25,000-point bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months of card issue, a traveller could easily earn enough for a two-night weekend stay.
If you want to stay where the hipsters play: Comfort Inn West Sunset
Over the years, the trendiest part of town has retreated East along Sunset Blvd, moving to Los Feliz, then Silverlake and now to Echo Park and Eagle Rock. Hotel pickings are slim in this area, but if you want to stay walking distance from all the boutiques, cafes and music venues, you might consider a booking at the Comfort Inn West Sunset Boulevard. While this two-star property can’t compete with the ritz and glamour of hotels farther west in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, it’s just a few minutes away from the famous Silverlake Lounge music venue and buzzy new restaurants like Knuckle & Claw.
Rates start at $135 or 20,000 Choice Privileges points per night. While the Choice co-branded credit card requires that you pay for a stay at a Choice property before most benefits kick in, if you transferred Ultimate Rewards points — like those you get from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Plus Business Card — to Amtrak before December 8, you can then move those same Amtrak rewards to Choice Privileges at a 1:3 rate. 20,000 Amtrak points equals 60,000 Choice points — enough for a three-night stay.
If you want to pretend you’re a movie star: SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
From the Chateau Marmont to the Beverly Hills Hotel, there’s no shortage of super-exclusive hotels catering to A-list clientele across the Hollywood Hills. However, if you’re looking to live the luxe life without the associated price tag, you’ll want to take a look at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, which is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection.
The property features a Vegas-style pool (with private cabanas and celebrity DJs on hand during the summer), as well as a Jose Andres restaurant if you’re feeling particularly indulgent. Rates start at $399 or 20,000 Starpoints per night. A slightly better redemption value can be had for dates in which the cash & points rate is offered; such a stay would only cost 10,000 Starpoints plus $180 per night.
If you have an early flight at LAX: Embassy Suites LAX South
If you’ll be departing from LAX in the morning, you might seek out a one-night stay at a property near the airport. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Los Angeles International Airport South is located just blocks from LAX and provides a complimentary airport shuttle, as well as all-suite accommodations, a complimentary breakfast and evening reception and an indoor pool. In short, it’s one of the nicest airport hotels available.
Rates start at $194 or 30,000 Hilton points per night. The Hilton HHonors Card from American Express offers a 40,000-point bonus after $750 in spending within the first three months. That’s enough to snag a free night before your early morning departure and have plenty of points leftover.
Need more advice on what to do during your LA vacation? See these relevant TPG articles below:
- Your Layover Guide to Los Angeles (LAX)
- Hotel Review: Andaz West Hollywood
- Hotel Review: W Hollywood
- Destination: Venice Beach, CA
- 10 New Things to See in L.A.
What’s your favorite points hotel in Los Angeles?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards