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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 New York City using points and miles.
Hotels in New York City are such an integral part of the city’s culture that they frequently serve as the backdrop for films, televisions shows and books. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that NYC hotels also have a tendency to be on the expensive side.
Luckily for the savvy traveler, a number of fantastic deals can be found if you choose to redeem points and miles in order to finance your Gotham city stay. In this article, we’ll examine five hotels for five different types of travelers.
If It’s Your First Time Visiting New York City: Andaz 5th Avenue
Chances are, if you haven’t visited New York City before, places like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Statue of Liberty are probably on your travel bucket list. The bad news? There’s not a central “tourist zone” in the Big Apple, meaning the must-see attractions are located all over different areas of the City.
As such, a first-timer would do well to stay in midtown, where you can be in the center of all the action, and conveniently close to Grand Central Station, where you can catch a train to just about anywhere. Located near Bryant Park in midtown, you’ll find the Andaz 5th Avenue, which boasts large guest rooms (by New York standards, at least) in an utlra-modern setting, making it the perfect choice for a New York City virgin.
Standard rooms start around $505 or 25,000 Hyatt Rewards points per night — that translates to a redemption value of about 2 cents per point, which exceeds the most recent point and miles valuation of 1.8 cents per Hyatt Rewards point. Even better, as Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate to Hyatt Rewards points, a traveler hoping to take advantage of the current 50,000-point bonus offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (after spending $4,000 in the first three months) would be able to score enough for two free nights at the Andaz 5th Avenue with that card’s sign-up bonus alone.
If You Want to See the Lights of Broadway: TRYP by Wyndham New York Times Square
Last year, Wyndham shook up its loyalty program by offering any night in any hotel within the brand’s portfolio for just 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points a night. This makes for especially beneficial redemption options in expensive locales such as New York City, where properties typically start at more than $300 a night.
Of particular note to Broadway fans, the TRYP by Wyndham New York Times Square Hotel is a hip, modern property located just steps from some of the most popular theaters in the City like the Eugene O’Neill Theatre (The Book of Mormon is playing there now) and the Ambassador Theatre (currently showing Chicago, the Musical). It’s also located just two blocks from the Gershwin Theatre (where you can see Wicked), the Imperial Theatre (currently showing Les Miserables), and the Richard Rodgers Theatre, currently home to Hamilton — good luck getting tickets for that one though!
Rooms at the TRYP start around $381 a night, which means a free night at 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points equates to a very favorable redemption value of 2.5 cents per point.
If You Have an Early Flight from JFK: Hilton New York JFK Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is one of the busiest airports in the US (though, miraculously, not in the top 10), meaning you’re likely going to experience an awkwardly long layover or inconveniently-timed departure here at some point. A place nearby to rest your head can really take the stress out of these kinds of situations.
About a five-minute drive from JFK, Hilton New York JFK Airport is one of the nicest airport-hotel options you’ll find in the area, and one of the few that actually has a favorable redemption value. Starting at around $209 or 40,000 Hilton HHonors points per night, the Category 6 property features an indoor pool and a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport.
You can earn 100,000 Hilton HHonors points after you sign up for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card and spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening the card — you could easily cover a night pre- or post-flight and have plenty of HHonors points leftover for later.
If You Need an Escape from Manhattan: Hotel Indigo Brooklyn
Many New Yorkers have made the choice in recent years to move out of Manhattan and take up residence in the city’s outer boroughs. In Brooklyn, you’ll find up-and-coming restaurants, bars and art galleries interspersed with houses that feature charming walk-up stoops, not to mention fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline.
If artisanal coffee roasters and hot yoga studios are calling you toward this part of the city, consider staying at the Hotel Indigo Brooklyn, an IHG property that starts at about $319 per night. A free room can be had for just 40,000 IHG Rewards points, meaning a potential redemption value of about 0.8 cents per point.
As many travelers have a stockpile of IHG Rewards points as a result of last year’s Priceless Surprises and Accelerate promotions, the favorable redemption value makes this a good property to cash them in on. Alternatively, for those in need of a few more points, the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card currently offers 60,000 IHG Rewards points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening your card and an annual free night, making a free night or two easier to come by.
If You Want to Pretend You’re Royalty for the Weekend: The St. Regis New York
Living the good life in New York means luxury to the extreme, and there’s really no place better for that than The St. Regis New York — especially as it’s the flagship property for the entire St. Regis brand. Here, you can expect each and every room to come with a personal tuxedoed butler and in-room chandeliers, among other swanky perks.
With all that luxury, you can expect a high price tag, and The St. Regis does not disappoint. Room rates average around $1,000 or 35,000 Starpoints per night. Still, that does give you a redemption rate of about 2.9 cents per point, making it a good value if you do decide to go this route.
An even better deal can be yours, however, if you’re willing to pay for at least a portion of your stay out-of-pocket. Currently, the hotel is offering a 3rd-night-free promotion for booking a Deluxe, Grand Luxe, Astor Suite, or Deluxe Suite using rate code STR3NF through this summer. Given that it’s sometimes possible to stack hotel-promoted 3rd-night-free offers with the 4th-night-free benefit offered Citi Prestige cardholders, it’s at least theoretically possible to receive two nights free when you pay for two nights.
If you’re a Starwood Platinum member, you should also be able to stack that offer with a suite upgrade (pending availability). With several weekday nights in April starting around $800 a night for a Deluxe Room, that means you could wind up paying just $400 a night for a four-night stay in an Astor Suite (valued at $1,115 a night) at one of the nicest hotels in the world.
Need more advice on what to do during your NYC adventure? Check out these other TPG articles about planning your trip to the Big Apple:
- Favorite Places: Stone Street in New York
- Navigating New York City with Apple Watch
- 10 Best Restaurants in New York for Broadway Dining
What’s your favorite hotel in New York? Share with us in the comments, below.
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