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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
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 Dubai using points and miles.
Dubai is a city that tops many travelers’ bucket lists, whether you’re drawn in by the splendor of the Burj Khalifa and giant man-made islands or just looking to fly somewhere to experience Emirates’ first-class product. Famed as a city that caters almost exclusively to the rich and the even-richer, we’ll look at five hotel options in the City of Gold that require significantly less out-of-pocket spending for five different types of travelers.
If You Want to Ski When It’s 100+ Degrees: Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel
Make no mistake, Dubai is smack dab in the middle of one of the hottest and most arid places on Earth. And yet, the regular occurrence of triple-digit temperatures hasn’t stopped the city from building not one, but two indoor snow-skiing parks.
The original, Ski Dubai, is located inside the sprawling Mall of the Emirates. In the same structure, you’ll also find the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, a Category 5 Starwood property. Close to the slopes and all the shopping you can handle, staying here will run you roughly $245 or 12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night depending on the time of year — that equates to a value of about 2 to 1.5 cents per point. With the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offering 25,000 bonus Starwood points after spending $3,000 within three months, you could easily book a one-night stay completely free of charge.
An even better deal can be had, however, if you’re willing to shell out a little cash. The hotel frequently offers a cash + points rate of 6,000 points + $110, giving you an even more favorable redemption rate.
If You Want to Soak in the Sun: Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence
Settled along the glittering turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, Dubai’s beaches are a can’t-miss destination for sun-worshippers everywhere. Jumeirah Beach is one of the most popular public beach areas, with on-site lifeguards and gorgeous views of the neighboring skyscrapers.
You’ll find the Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach located right along the beach, part of the extensive Jumeirah Beach Residences complex. A night here will cost you around $189, but because of last year’s restructuring of the Wyndham Rewards program, a room can be had for just 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points — this equates to a redemption rate of about 1.3 cents per point.
If You Want to Admire an Architectural Marvel: The Ritz Carlton, Dubai
It took more than three billion cubic feet of sand to build one of Dubai’s most notorious status symbols — The Palm Jumeirah, an artificially created archipelago. This tree-shaped island, located just south of Jumeirah Beach, adds about 40 miles of private beachfront property to the Dubai coastline and is occupied by some of the most exclusive residences, hotels, restaurants and shopping available in the city.
If you want to stay on The Palm, you’ll have your choice of swanky resorts including Atlantis, The Palm and Fairmont The Palm. Unfortunately, not many of them offer co-branded credit cards, making a purely points-based stay much more difficult.
As an alternative, I recommend staying in the marina area of Dubai, just off the coast of Palm Island, putting you in a prime area to go explore the sights. The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai boasts a white sand beach, luxurious spa, several restaurants and tennis courts, among other perks. Prices at this luxury resort can often soar to upward of $650 per night, however, a room can also be secured with 70,000 Marriott Rewards points. While this redemption may not make sense during the summer low season (where rooms can be had for a much more reasonable $230 per night), it’s a great redemption during the busier parts of the year, with redemption values in the spring and fall worth up to 0.9 cents per point.
Moreover, with the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card offering 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of your account opening, you can easily earn a free night to round out your stay.
If You’re Ready to Hit the Links: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
For travelers who would rather spend a day at the golf course, Dubai does not disappoint. The city boasts 11 courses, meaning golf aficionados could spend more than a week playing through all the different options.
Located about a 50-minute drive from the Dubai city center is another Waldorf property, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, home to nine restaurants, the Waldorf Astoria Spa, a private white sand beach and tennis facilities — all in addition to two 18-hole championship golf courses, the Tower Links Golf Club and the Al Hamra Golf Club, where you can actually play at night under a sky full of stars.
Rates this fall hover around 1,687 AED or about $460 per night, but can also be redeemed for 50,000 Hilton HHonors points per night, equating to a redemption value of more than 0.9 cents per point — nearly double the current TPG valuation for Hilton HHonors points.
If You Have an Early Flight from the Dubai Airport: Hilton Dubai Creek
For other travelers, a trip to Dubai isn’t so much about the grand and luxurious experiences you can have in the city as much as the ones you can have on the way there. Both Emirates and Etihad fly to Dubai, making it possible to experience two of the most opulent first-class cabins out there.
If this is your plan, you may need a quick spot to crash near the airport between flights, in which case you might want to check out Hilton Dubai Creek. Located just a 10-minute drive from the airport, the property also features a rooftop pool and complimentary shuttle to sister hotel Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort’s private beach. A one-night stay this fall would cost you around $197 or 40,000 Hilton HHonors points, which equates to about 0.5 cents per point.
The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card offers 75,000 HHonors points after spending just $2,000 in the first three months of card opening, and comes with no annual fee, meaning you could easily cover a night pre- or post-flight. Even better, the card comes with automatic Hilton Silver status, entitling you to digital check-in and late checkout perks, especially useful for the long-haul traveler.
Need more advice? Check out these other TPG articles about planning a Dubai vacation:
- Your Layover Guide to Dubai (DXB)
- 10 Photos: Mega-Malls, Panoramic Views and More in Dubai
- The Etihad Mistake-Fare Guide to Dubai
- Destination of the Week: Dubai
What’s your favorite hotel in Dubai? Share with us in the comments, below.
Featured image of the Dubai city skyline courtesy of Shutterstock.
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