Hotel sweet spots: 16 European hotels you can book from 5,000 points per night
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The European Union is set to reopen its borders to vaccinated travelers this summer and we couldn’t be more excited. Hotel rates will likely increase as more travelers begin planning trips to popular cities across the EU and beyond. Your hotel points and free-night certificates will likely go a long way in keeping your travel costs low, especially if you’re planning to stay at high-end properties.
But what if you’re interested in stretching your points further by staying at more affordable hotels? Luckily, there are lots of places in Europe where you can book very nice properties for as few as 5,000 points per night. Depending on the program you’re booking with, you may even qualify for a fifth night free.
If you want to get maximum value out of your hard-earned hotel points this summer, here are some of the best sweet-spot redemptions available in Europe:
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Most Scandinavian countries remain closed to American travelers, with the exception of Iceland. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are all in the European Union and will hopefully stay on track to reopen their borders this summer. The rest may follow, seeing neighboring countries experiencing a surge in tourism. Here are some ideas for getting maximum value for your hotel points:
Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands: 47,000 Hilton Honors points per night
While 47,000 Hilton points is far from cheap, I’m including this property because it’s one of the few points hotels you can actually book in the Faroe Islands. The rooms are spacious by European standards and offer sweeping views of the incredible landscape.
Story Hotel Riddargatan: 10,000 World of Hyatt points per night
The Story Hotel Riddargatan is just one of three new Story properties in the Hyatt portfolio. Located in downtown Stockholm, the property offers quaint rooms featuring modern decor and heated bathroom floors for just 8,000 points per night. Stockholm can be an expensive city to visit and being able to book an affordable hotel like the Story Riddargatan can help keep costs reasonable.
Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard: 18,00 IHG Rewards points per night
There are too many jokes to be made about a post-pandemic trip to HEL (Helsinki Airport), so I won’t go there. But If you are headed to Helsinki, you’ll find rates this summer as low as 18,000 points per night at this Hotel Indigo. It’s located near the Design District and is within walking distance to Sinebrychoff Art Museum and Park.
Moxy Bergen: Marriott Bonvoy Category 2
The Moxy Bergen is a sustainable hotel opening in May 2021. As a Category 2 Bonvoy property, a free night will cost you 10,000 to 15,000 points, depending on the dates of your stay. With just the sign-up bonus alone from the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card, you can cover up to 10 nights at this property, and even more if you factor in the fifth-night free perk on consecutive nights.
This hotel is located on Bergen’s waterfront, offering a great base from which to explore the city and admire the majestic fjords.
Hilton Cologne: 33,000 Hilton Honors points per night
When paid rates are high, redeeming 33,000 points per night at the Hilton Cologne can offer incredible value. TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so if rates are around $200 or higher, redeeming points is the way to go. The Hilton Cologne offers a great location in the city center: It’s within walking distance to famous sights like the Cologne Cathedral.
Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam North Riverside: 16,000 IHG Rewards points per night
Amsterdam can be an expensive hotel market, with chains like Marriott requiring 35,000 points or more per night at a decent hotel. The Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam North Riverside is a frugal option for those who want to stretch their IHG points further.
For just 16,000 points per night, it offers modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the harbor. The hotel offers free breakfast to all guests, regardless of status. While the location isn’t smack dab in the center of town, it offers great value for those who don’t mind using public transportation to get around.
Central and Eastern Europe
Radisson Blu Beke Hotel Budapest: 28,000 Radisson Rewards points per night
For 28,000 points per night, the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel Budapest is a great choice for experiencing all Budapest has to offer. The hotel is located within walking distance of famous sights like Heroes’ Square and Andrassy Avenue.
The city has a great transportation system which you can conveniently access from the hotel for anything further out. Standard rooms at this hotel can accommodate up to three people, which is unique considering many hotels in Europe cap occupancy to two people per room.
Gewandhaus Dresden: Marriott Bonvoy Category 3
Built in 1770, the Gewandhaus Dresden once housed merchant stalls, a theatre hall and a warehouse before becoming a hotel in 1967. It’s currently part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and falls into Category 3 on the Bonvoy award chart, meaning you’ll need just 15,000 to 20,000 points for a free night award.
The hotel offers a prime location for sightseeing, as it’s located within walking distance of Frauenkirche, the Semperoper opera house, Zwinger and Brühl’s Terrace.
Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere: 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night
You won’t find many Andaz hotels below Category 4, particularly in Europe. But the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere is one notable exception. For 12,000 Hyatt points per night, this art-centric hotel is undoubtedly a sweet spot, offering a great location close to art museums, dining, shopping and more.
Hampton by Hilton Krakow: 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night
The Hampton by Hilton Krakow is located right next door to its sister DoubleTree property. While they’re part of the same hotel chain, the Hampton is almost a third cheaper on points. For 10,000 points per night, you get a simple, modern room and daily breakfast.
The hotel is just two miles from the city center, accessible via public transportation.
Renaissance Minsk: Marriott Bonvoy Category 2
There are only a handful of Category 2 Renaissance hotels in the world and just three in Europe. The Renaissance in Minsk, Belarus offers well-appointed rooms, an outdoor pool, a fitness center and more.
It’s a bargain at just 10,000 to 15,000 Marriott points per night, and you’ll have easy access to museums, shopping and historical sights like the Holy Spirit Cathedral and Belarusian State Circus.
Hyatt Regency Sofia: 5,000 World of Hyatt points per night
There are just a few places in Europe where you can book a Hyatt Regency for 5,000 points per night, and the capital city of Bulgaria is one of them. A standard award gets you a 300 square-foot room featuring modern decor, floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in rain shower.
The hotel has a great location near Vasil Levski Square, perfect for exploring all that Sofia offers.
Hotel Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena, an IHG Hotel: Rates vary
IHG’s Hotel Indigo in Venice can be a sweet-spot award, depending on when you book it. I checked dates in July and found several that priced out at 31,000 points or 240 Euro ($289 USD) per night. Considering TPG values IHG points at 0.5 cents each, this is a terrific redemption value.
The hotel is tucked away in a neighborhood about 1.5 miles from the tourist hub of Piazza San Marco. You really get the best of both worlds: A quiet reprieve away from the busy tourist district but still close enough to enjoy the sights.
The Hotel Aquarius Venice: 20,000 Choice Privileges points per night
While Choice Hotels often flies under the radar, the program offers a lot of value for your points. In Venice, where hotel rates will undoubtedly skyrocket this summer, you can book the Hotel Aquarius Venice for just 20,000 points per night. The best part? You can choose between a standard room or a suite.
All guests at this hotel get complimentary hot breakfast, a valuable (and convenient) benefit for non-elites. The hotel is also about a mile away from attractions like Piazza San Marco.
Park Hyatt Istanbul: 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night
The Park Hyatt Istanbul is one of the cheapest high-end Hyatt properties you’ll find in Europe. I stayed at this hotel in October, which has historically been the low season in Europe. Yet, room rates were over $250 per night and I was happy to redeem Hyatt points for my stay. If you have a free-night award from the World of Hyatt Credit Card, this is a great place to use it since the award is only eligible to use on Category 4 hotels or lower.
The Park Hyatt is located in Istanbul’s upscale Nisantasi neighborhood, in what used to be the Italian embassy. It’s just steps away from quaint restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. The hotel also boasts a Nusret restaurant, serving up some of the best steaks you’ll have in Istanbul. If you’re unfamiliar with Nusret, look up the “Salt Bae” meme and you’ll know what I’m referring to. The Instagram-famous chef not only owns the restaurant but the Park Hyatt hotel itself.
Keep in mind that the Park Hyatt isn’t ideal if you’re sightseeing for the first time, since it’s far away from the Sultanahmet historical district. For that, I recommend you stay at the Hagia Sofia Mansions (a Hilton property), which is located right behind the famed Hagia Sophia and has become by far my favorite hotel in Istanbul.
Hilton Garden Inn Konya: 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night
Turkey is currently in lockdown and Konya is technically on the Asian side, but I’m including it here anyway. If you’re visiting Konya, you’ll start your trip on the European side of the country and then continuing on to Asia. So this hotel (and Konya in particular) should be on your radar. With the lockdown in place and vaccination efforts moving ahead, Turkey will hopefully reopen in the summer alongside the rest of Europe.
The Hilton Garden Inn Konya is an interesting property. Konya was home to 13th-Century poet Rumi and has so much to offer. The Hilton Garden Inn is tucked away in a quiet area but still within walking distance of major sights. The Konya Panorama Museum is right next door and the Mevlana Museum that houses Rumi’s tomb and belongings are an easy walk up the street.
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I loved the two nights I spent at this hotel last year. It offered a great breakfast, spacious rooms and the perfect location to shop and explore all that Konya offers. I would absolutely return to Konya and stay here again.
If you’re looking to redeem hotel points for maximum value, there are many great options in Europe and beyond. The next time you’re searching for places to stay, scroll down a bit lower than you normally would and you’ll find cheaper hotels. They may be located a bit out of the way in some cases, but if you’re willing to use public transportation to get around, you can score an amazing deal.
Featured image by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy
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