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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 Boston using points and miles.
With an Irish bar on every block, fantastic seafood, winning sports teams and some of the country’s top universities, it’s no wonder that more than 15 million travelers pass through the city of Boston each year. If you’re among that group and currently planning a trip to Boston, let us help by suggesting five hotels that offer great points redemption values for different types of travelers.
If you’d like to see Boston’s historical landmarks: Boston Marriott Long Wharf
Located just off State Street near both the Old State House and Faneuil Hall is the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. With views of both the Boston harbor and the Financial District, rooms at this upscale Category 9 property start at about $399 or 45,000 points per night.
While that’s undeniably a hefty redemption, the 50,000 bonus points you’ll receive after spending $2,000 on the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card in the first three months means you can get at least one free night. Plus, because Marriott always offers a fifth night free when you redeem four award nights, a five-night stay would mean a redemption value of 1.4 cents per point — that’s double the most recent TPG monthly valuation for Marriott points.
If you want a taste of Boston’s hippest hood: Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT
Ask five Bostonians what area of Boston is the coolest and you’re bound to get five different responses, with Allston, Cambridge, Jamaica Plain and Sommerville all likely to make an appearance on the list. If you’d rather explore the up-and-coming areas and make your own decision on the matter, you’d do well to consider a stay at the Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT.
Located near the MIT campus in the Cambridge area, the property is a quick 10-minute cab or Uber to any of the above-mentioned neighborhoods, and just a five-minute stroll from the closest Red Line station. With rates averaging $485 per night, this Category 5 property will run you 12,000-16,000 points per night, depending on whether you stay on a weekend or weeknight.
With the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, travelers could earn 25,000 bonus Starwood points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card issue. That’s enough for a weekend stay in Cambridge and exploring all of Boston’s hottest locales.
If you’ve got an early flight at Boston Logan Airport: Hyatt Boston Harbor
Boston is one of the few US cities where the airport is located near the center of town. Because of that, nearby hotels can come at a premium, especially if you’re looking for a last-minute room to camp out during a long layover or ahead of an early-morning flight.
For those travelers, the Hyatt Boston Harbor offers a good compromise of comfortable accommodations with fantastic city views and close proximity to the airport (with a 24-hour airport shuttle). Nightly rates start at about $149 on the low end or $400+ per night for higher-demand dates. Award nights are available from 15,000 points per night.
As Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Hyatt, a traveler hoping to nab a free night might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. After spending $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn 50,000 Ultimate Reward points — more than enough for a three-night stay.
If you’re headed to a conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center: Westin Boston Waterfront
The BCEC is the home to hundreds of annual international conferences and events, which brings numerous visitors to the Boston area each year.
Located literally right next door to the BCEC is the Category 5 Westin Boston Waterfront. The property boasts an additional 80,000 square feet of meeting space itself, meaning that many of the larger conferences actually take advantage and book satellite events here as well.
Rates at this hotel can sometimes jump above $499 per night (though negotiated conference rates can significantly cut down that price, so always check whether there’s a group rate for your event before booking). Award nights start at 12,000 points per night, which equals a solid redemption rate of 4.2 cents per point, based on a $499 nightly rate.
If you want to take in a Patriots game: Holiday Inn Express Plainville-Foxboro
Regardless of whether you’re a diehard Pats fan or can’t stand Brady and crew, if you plan to take in a Patriots home game, you’ll actually be heading outside the Boston city limits to the nearby Foxborough area.
While the Renaissance Boston Patriot Place Hotel is the closest hotel, located directly at the stadium, you won’t find availability there for the remaining 2015 New England season. As an alternative, I’d recommend the Holiday Inn Express Plainville-Foxboro, which still shows both cash and award rooms available for all three remaining home games (as of press time).
This property is just a 10-minute drive from the Stadium and also features an outdoor heated pool where you can continue the celebration after the game ends. Room rates start at $165 or 30,000 IHG points per night. With the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which currently offers a 60,000-point bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months, earning two free nights for an upcoming game is definitely doable.
No matter why you’re planning a trip to Bean Town, you’ll find plenty of hotels and great available award redemptions. Need additional ideas for what to do in Boston? Check out this other recent TPG content:
- A Week in the Admirals Club: Boston Logan International Airport
- Destination of the Week: Boston
- Should I fly JetBlue or Delta out of Boston?
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees