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Award travel enthusiasts often focus on earning first class flights and five-star hotels, but sometimes the best value can be found further down on the award chart. Today, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen shares his favorite redemptions for lower-tier properties in the Hyatt Gold Passport program.
The “top” awards tend to be the most expensive, but that doesn’t mean they offer the best value. While premium flights and hotels are memorable, many travelers aren’t interested in these “aspirational” redemptions, and are instead focused on keeping cash in their pockets. Earlier this month, I kicked off a new series on these lower-category hotels with a look at SPG’s best Category 1-4 properties, and today, I’ll shift gears to examine Hyatt Gold Passport and its top Category 1-3 properties.
In compiling this list, I considered a number of factors to determine which lower-tier Hyatt properties offer the “best” value:
- Typical revenue rates
- Uniqueness (amenities, location, etc.)
One thing to keep in mind for Hyatt stays is that you can extend the value of your awards even further simply by holding the Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, which offers automatic Platinum Status (check out my post on the value of Hyatt Elite Status for more info). This gives you bonus points, preferred rooms and late check-outs, among other benefits. Hyatt also joined the free Wi-Fi party in February, giving all guests complimentary internet regardless of the booking method used.
The Hyatt Credit Card also comes with two free night certificates valid at any Hyatt property worldwide after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after account opening, and you earn another free night in a Category 1-4 property every year on your cardmember anniversary (after paying the $75 annual fee). There are many ways to maximize these certificates, and since all of the properties below are Category 3 or lower, you can use the anniversary certificate at any of them (though you’re better off saving your sign-up bonus certificates for higher-tier locations such as the Park Hyatt New York, Andaz Tokyo or Park Hyatt Sydney).
Note that the values below include room rates plus all taxes and fees that are covered on an award reservation. I chose to focus on the lowest flexible rates (rather than prepaid, nonrefundable rates) for an “apples-to-apples” comparison, as award nights can also be cancelled without penalty. If you tend to book rooms with discounted advance purchase rates (or have access to other discounts such as AAA, AARP or government rates), the value for each property may be slightly lower.
Of course, you likely have a different way of defining what makes a redemption valuable, so feel free to include your favorite low-tier Hyatt properties in the comments below! These are my picks:
If you want to escape the heat this summer with a trip to the Pacific Northwest, your Gold Passport points will go a long way at the Hyatt Place Seattle Downtown. Just blocks from the Space Needle, the hotel includes all of the standard amenities of the Hyatt Place brand, including 24/7 dining, complimentary breakfast, pool, fitness center and an on-site bar. The spacious standard rooms include a separate sitting area (with sofa bed), work desk and mini-fridge. If you want to check out the rest of Seattle’s attractions, catch the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service, which operates within a 1-mile radius of the property.
This is a Category 3 property, requiring 12,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in June start at $301.40 per night, giving you a value of 2.5 cents per point.
Another good destination for escaping the summer heat is South America, which is heading rapidly toward winter, and the Grand Hyatt Santiago offers terrific value for redeeming your points. The numerous on-site amenities will keep you busy throughout your stay, including the three-story free-standing AKO Spa, a large pool with cascading waterfall and a variety of cuisine options. The 310 guest rooms and suites provides views of the city, gardens or Andes Mountains, and you can upgrade to the Club level to gain access to the 16th-floor lounge and complimentary breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and bar service. Local ski resorts, the coastline and Santiago’s vineyards are all within an hour’s drive of the hotel.
This is a Category 2 property, requiring 8,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in June start at $318.53 per night (with some nights going for well over $500!), giving you a starting value of 3.98 cents per point.
One of the newest additions to the Hyatt portfolio of hotels is Hyatt House, and this newly renovated property in Dallas may just be the jewel of the brand. Situated in the heart of Uptown, the hotel is just blocks from the American Airlines Center, and many other top attractions and business offices are a short distance away. Even standard (studio) rooms include full kitchens along with spacious living rooms and walk-in closets. A complimentary full breakfast buffet is served every morning, and the on-site H Bar and Guest Market allow you to grab a drink or a small bite throughout the day.
This is a Category 1 property, requiring just 5,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in June start at $183.26 per night, giving you a value of 3.67 cents per point.
Though slightly off the beaten path, the Hyatt Regency in Danang, Vietnam is another great-value redemption in the Gold Passport program. Occupying a pristine stretch of white-sand beach, the resort offers five pools, a steam room and sauna, recreation facilities (such as tennis and basketball courts) and even a rock climbing wall. The 193 rooms and suites are decorated with a contemporary Asian flair and include balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms (with separate tub and rain showers). You can choose from three restaurants and two bars or indulge in a treatment at VIE Spa, and when you want to get off property, local sights are just a short drive away.
This is a Category 3 property, requiring 12,000 points for a free night (or 17,000 points for a Club room). Rates in June start at $242.55 per night (or $340.73 for a club room), giving you a value of 2 cents per point.
Sometimes, staying outside the downtown area of a big city can pay off, and the Hyatt Regency Suites in Marietta, Georgia, is a prime example. This newly renovated, all-suites hotel is right off of I-75 and less than 15 miles from the heart of Atlanta. Standard rooms start at 650 square feet and provide amenities like iHome docking/charging stations, wet bars, microwaves and sofa beds. The on-site Padella Restaurant provides a garden-style atmosphere complete with waterfalls and outdoor lighting. You can also grab the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to nearby businesses within a 5-mile radius.
This is a Category 1 property, requiring 5,000 points for a free night. Rates in June start at $138.60 per night, giving you a value of 2.77 cents per point.
Though this property doesn’t have the allure of top-tier locations within the Park Hyatt brand, it’s nevertheless a great value using points, as one of only two Park Hyatts that fall within Category 2. Located in the city center of Mendoza, the hotel is close to the region’s renowned vineyards and wineries, and just 90 minutes from Aconcagua Mountain and many major Argentinean ski resorts. The 186 guest rooms and suites provide views of the Andes and the city, and the on-site spa, casino and multiple restaurants and bars will keep you busy and full throughout your stay.
This is a Category 2 property, requiring 8,000 points for a free night. Rates in June start at $162.38 per night, giving you a value of 2.03 cents per point.
If your plans include a trip to the Twin Cities, consider a stay at the Hyatt Place in downtown Minneapolis. A recent $20 million renovation has added fresh amenities such as an updated lobby and a new restaurant and bar to go along with the standard offerings (free breakfast and spacious rooms). Probably the best thing about this property is its location, just blocks from the city’s sports venues and a short stroll away from the Mississippi River and the Mill City District. You’re also less than three blocks from the Hiawatha Light Rail line, giving easy access to both the airport and (more importantly) the world-renowned Mall of America.
This is a Category 2 property, requiring 8,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in June start at $168.98 per night, giving you a value of 2.1 cents per point.
Another off-the-beaten-path Hyatt property in Asia is the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort, on the east coast of Malaysia. The sprawling property is surrounded by lush vegetation, and the 330 rooms and suites reflect its tropical location and include local Malay decor along with private balconies with views of the gardens or the South China Sea. Dining options include three restaurants, two bars and an on-site deli, while the Bayou Spa, two swimming pools and various beach and water sports make it very easy to fill your day. Malaysia had a rough 2014, but I loved my time in Kuala Lumpur and can’t wait to go back.
This is a Category 1 property, requiring 5,000 points for a free night (or 8,000 for a Club room). Paid rates in June start at $120.91 per night (or $186.27 for a Club room), giving you a value of 2.33 – 2.42 cents per point.
Our final low-tier property is the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel And Spa in Santa Rosa, CA. Set in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, the Mediterranean-style resort is a quick stroll from the shops and restaurants of downtown Santa Rosa, and the 200+ Sonoma County wineries are a short drive away. Standard rooms start at 324 square feet and include amenities such as a separate sitting area, single-cup coffee maker and a granite bathroom. You can dine al fresco at Brasserie Restaurant, relax with a treatment at Le Carré Spa or sip a glass of wine around the outdoor fire pit.
This is a Category 3 property, requiring 12,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in June start at $215.71 per night, giving you a value of 1.8 cents per point.
Hyatt points can be incredibly valuable, but they are also fairly easy to accrue, especially given that Gold Passport is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. This allows you to convert points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Ink Plus Business Card directly into Hyatt points. This is a great way to get maximum value out of your Ultimate Rewards points, and these properties are just a few of the great values to be had in the Gold Passport program.
What are your favorite lower-tier Hyatt properties for award redemptions?