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Book this, not that: The best points hotels in Austin

April 15, 2022
7 min read
Austin, Texas skyline from river at night
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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

(Photo courtesy of Design Hotels)

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.

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Skip that: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

(Photo by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)

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

(Image courtesy of Hyatt)

We've had our eye on the Thompson Austin for a long time, so much so that we put it on our list of most anticipated hotel openings of 2022.

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

(Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

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

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: IHG Hotels and Resorts introduces its new IHG One Rewards program

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.

Bottom line

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 image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees