Book this, not that: The best points hotels in Austin
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Austin has it all: incredible barbecue, live music everywhere, natural pools and lakes, the largest urban bat colony in the world, SXSW and plenty of incredible hotels.
From boutique properties like the Austin Motel to luxe staples like Four Seasons, there’s no shortage of great places to make your home away from home in Austin.
For people looking to head to Texas’ capital city on points and miles, it can be tricky to decide where to book, considering that most of the major hotel brands have a presence in the city. In fact, many new options like the Austin Marriott Downtown and Hyatt’s Thompson and Tommie brands recently opened their doors.
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To make your trip planning a little easier, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite hotels in ATX that you can book with points, and a few that you might want to skip.
Related: 24 of our favorite hotels in Austin
Book this: Austin Proper Hotel
Since Austin is a place where the who’s who of music, movies, art and design come together, it makes sense that it would have a hotel that encapsulates all of that: the Austin Proper.
There, guests will learn a lesson in textiles from designer Kelly Wearstler — and that it’s possible to put every print and pattern imaginable together and somehow make it beautiful. Home to a handful of gorgeous restaurants, like The Peacock Mediterranean Grill and its Instagram-worthy bar, there’s no shortage of good eats. To unwind, hit the pool with a spicy margarita in hand or take a trip to the Verbena Spa for an agave-and-tequila-infused treatment.
When looking at Austin Proper’s award availability, you’ll see quite a few nights available for 41,000 points. For example, in June, I found a night that was available for 41,000 points or $606 cash. Currently, TPG values Marriot Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents apiece, meaning this valuation of 1.48 cents is an incredible value. The very next night that cash rate went up to $705 a night, putting the value at an even better 1.7 cents.
Skip that: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol
In Austin, most people like to stay in the downtown area to get a great feel for the city. While the Texas Capitol building is beautiful, I’d argue that most travelers would be happier staying closer to the water, the action of Sixth Street and away from the interstate.
At the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, guests will certainly have a fine stay — especially by taking advantage of the pool to beat that intense Texas heat. But the hotel feels dated, and unlike the Proper, the rooms aren’t anything to write home about.
Looking at awards availability in June, most nights price between 31,000 and 33,000 points. For the same night I found that incredible deal for the Proper, this Sheraton is asking $224 or 32,000 points. This gives a value of 0.7 cents per point, which is less than our valuation of 0.8 cents.
Book this: Thompson Austin
Why, you ask? The hotel is simply beautiful, with moody interiors and dramatic rooms and public spaces. An elevated pool deck is a must-have for Austin — and the one here checks all the boxes. The Diner Bar, the hotel’s restaurant, is led by Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano, the dynamic duo and celebrated chef and restauranteur behind The Grey in Savannah, Georgia.
For a great redemption, cash in some World of Hyatt points for a weekend stay here. Most weekend nights cost roughly $457, or you can use 25,000 Hyatt points. This gives you a redemption value of 1.8 cents apiece, which is right in line with TPG’s valuation.
If you don’t need all the luxury of the Thompson, take a look at the Thompson’s sister property, Tommie Austin. You’ll find stylish rooms for roughly $199 or 12,000 points per night.
Skip that: Hyatt Place Austin Downtown
You can find great deals on award redemptions in Austin, including at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with this hotel, per se. Its location is great, and it’ll certainly get the job done. However, it looks like any other Hyatt Place property that, arguably, you can find in any major city. So if you’re looking for something different, trade in these run-of-the-mill rooms for something much more sleek and exciting at Austin’s Thompson or Tommie properties, at rates that are still equal to what TPG values World of Hyatt points.
That said, you can still stretch the value of your points here. I found weekend rates here for $309 a night or 15,000 points, putting that value at 2 cents per point.
Book this: Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
For a stay with some edgy Texas style, look no further than the Kimpton Van Zandt.
The property offers views of Lady Bird Lake, and is right near the bars, clubs, restaurants and food trucks on Rainey Street. You can lounge the day away at the property’s pool before getting rowdy on Rainey, in true Austin fashion. It’s also home to Geraldine’s, a restaurant serving hearty meals full of meat and veggies. You’ll also find an on-site coffee shop and pool deck restaurant with small bites.
I’ll argue that this Kimpton is worthy of a stay in cash or points, but you’ll have to play around with your dates to find a valuable redemption here.
Award nights fluctuate from the mid-50,000 range to nearly 100,000 points per night on summer weekends. That said, if you find yourself in Austin midweek, you can find award stays that hit close to TPG’s current valuation of 0.5 cents. But even when the values aren’t adding up in favor of an award stay, this hotel is worth the trip.
Skip that: Embassy Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown South Congress
Beyond the Hilton Austin and the Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown, the brand doesn’t have a great presence in the capital city.
But if you are a Hilton loyalist looking for somewhere to stay, I’d recommend skipping the Embassy Suites on South Congress and looking into one of the previously mentioned properties.
The rooms are uninspired and its pool is indoors, which is great for the colder months, but disappointing when trying to take advantage of Austin’s summer sun. Rates that fluctuate from roughly $250 to $450 a night mean it’s a wild card for what value you’ll get for your points.
There’s really no way to go wrong in Austin, but I’d rather see you spend your money on tacos and brisket than cashing in on some humdrum hotel.
Austin has boutique-like properties with as much character as the city itself — and you can book them with points. So whether you’re heading down for SXSW, a bachelorette party or just hoping to take in a city with a love for the outdoors, let this list serve as a guide to maximize your experience.
Featured photo by David Hensley/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
- 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
- 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees