Not sold out: Hotels you can still book with points for a Memorial Day vacation
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Travel demand is undoubtedly picking up in the United States. And, for many travelers who have been limiting travel until they’re fully vaccinated, Memorial Day will be their first opportunity for a long weekend vacation. With Memorial Day weekend being just over a month away, some of you may be wondering whether availability is limited.
This certainly came to mind when I saw TPG’s Melanie Lieberman publish a post titled “If you haven’t made plans for Memorial Day, it may be too late” earlier this month. I haven’t had issues planning last-minute trips over busy holiday weekends in the past. So, I decided to take a closer look at hotel award availability in four destinations I’d consider for a Memorial Day long weekend. Here’s what I found.
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Miami is a popular long weekend spot. And there are plenty of ways to use your hotel points in Miami. Luckily, there’s still a lot of availability if you want to book a hotel in Miami, FL, for Memorial Day weekend. Here’s a quick look at your options.
Pretty much any Marriott hotel that you’d want to book in Miami is still available for a Memorial Day weekend stay using Marriott Bonvoy points.
Most of these properties cost too many points for my budget, especially since I like to save my Marriott Bonvoy points for stays of five nights or more. However, especially if you can stretch your stay to five nights, you may get good value from your Marriott Bonvoy points. Alternatively, you might get good value from 40,000-points or 50,000-points award night certificates on shorter stays.
World of Hyatt
Most World of Hyatt hotels in Miami still have award availability for Memorial Day weekend.
But, if you want to stay at the beach, the Confidante Miami Beach by Hyatt is likely the best choice at 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
Most Hilton Honors hotels in Miami still have standard room awards available for Memorial Day weekend. However, you’ll pay 70,000 points (and up for premium room awards) per night for the privilege of staying in Miami Beach. And you’ll pay at least 50,000 points per night to stay near the beaches.
Unless you have a few Hilton weekend night certificates to use on this trip, it may be best to skip Hilton if you want to travel to Miami for Memorial Day. But, if you’re going to stay with Hilton and don’t mind staying away from the beaches, you might find the Home2 Suites by Hilton Miami Doral West Airport or the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center provide good value at 40,000 points per night.
If you want to redeem IHG points for a four-night Memorial Day trip to Miami, you could stay out at Miami Beach and spend upwards of 60,000 points per night.
But, I’d prefer to stay at the Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell and then Uber to different parts of Miami as needed. Assuming you have the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card (and hence can get a fourth-night reward when redeeming IHG points for a stay of three consecutive nights or longer), you’d need to pay $1,434 or 91,000 points for your four-night visit. This gives a redemption rate of 1.58 cents per point, much higher than TPG’s valuation of IHG points at 0.5 cents each.
Late May is typically a good time to visit Austin, TX, since the summer heat shouldn’t be too bad yet. You should be able to catch some live music shows, take a walk around Lady Bird Lake and perhaps even visit Zilker Park or Mount Bonnell. Luckily, there’s still plenty of hotel award availability over Memorial Day weekend.
You can still book all of the centrally located Marriott Bonvoy hotels in Austin, TX, for a Memorial Day weekend stay using points.
I’m curious about the new Moxy Austin next to the University of Texas campus. But, I think there are better-located downtown Marriott hotels that’ll charge the same 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the three-night Memorial Day weekend stay. For example, I’d prefer to redeem 120,000 Marriott points to stay at the Aloft Austin Downtown or the Residence Inn Austin Downtown. However, I’d also consider just paying cash to stay at the relatively inexpensive Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol.
World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt has four hotels in downtown Austin open currently and two that are opening soon. You can still book award stays at all four of the currently open hotels for a Memorial Day trip.
I’d likely stay at the Hyatt House Austin Downtown for its 12,000 points per night price and its location near the Red River music venues. But, the Driskill is a famous hotel with a prime location on 6th Street. And the Hyatt Regency Austin for 15,000 points per night is a good pick if you prefer to be on the south side of Lady Bird Lake.
Related: The 9 best things to do in Austin
If you’re looking to redeem Hilton Honors points for a Memorial Day vacation to Austin, TX, there’s still plenty of standard room rewards available.
I’d likely book the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Austin for 46,000 points per night. After all, it’s right next to the Texas State Capital and its scenic grounds. But, if you want to stay closer to the nightlife, the Hilton Austin for 60,000 points per night might be a better option.
Related: Planning a family trip to Austin
I typically redeem IHG Rewards points when staying in Austin, TX. And, there are several decent options if you want to stay in downtown Austin over Memorial Day.
I’d likely choose the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Austin Downtown – University for 23,000 points per night because its location is better for live music. But the Holiday Inn Austin-Town Lake for 20,000 points per night is also a reasonable option that’s close to Rainey Street and Lady Bird Lake.
Especially if you’re looking to get outdoors, Denver may be an appealing Memorial Day weekend destination. I’d likely make my way out to Rocky Mountain National Park (assuming I could snag a national park reservation) and redeem Choice Privileges points to stay at the Ridgeline Hotel again. But, especially if you’re only in the area for the long weekend, you may prefer to stay in downtown Denver and then drive outside the city on one or two days of your trip.
There’s still plenty of hotel award availability in and around Denver for Memorial Day weekend. Here’s a quick overview of each of the major hotel loyalty programs.
There are many Marriott Bonvoy hotels in the Denver area and most still have award availability for Memorial Day weekend.
You may want to stay outside the heart of Denver if you decide to rent a car. But, even if you’re going to stay in downtown Denver, your options are good. However, the cash prices at some Marriott hotels in Denver over Memorial Day weekend are low enough that I’d consider saving my Marriott points and booking a cash rate.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt has four centrally-located options in the heart of Denver. And each is bookable for 12,000 points per night over Memorial Day weekend.
However, I’d pay cash instead of points for my stay. After all, I could book a three-night stay at the Grand Hyatt Denver for just $383 or 36,000 points. If I redeemed points, I’d get just 1.06 cents per point of value. And this is much lower than TPG’s valuation of World of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents per point.
Related: Best times to visit Colorado
You’ll also have a lot of options if you want to redeem Hilton Honors points for your Memorial Day trip to Denver.
Since Hilton Honors uses dynamic award pricing, you can still get good value from your Hilton Honors points even though cash rates are relatively low. And if you can stretch your long weekend to a five-night stay and you have elite status with Hilton, you may want to redeem Hilton Honors points and get a fifth night free.
IHG’s dynamic award pricing algorithm is still offering inexpensive award nights in many parts of Denver. For example, you can snag a downtown Hotel Indigo for under 30,000 points per night or a downtown Holiday Inn Express for 20,000 points per night.
I’d avoid the Kimpton hotels due to their amenity fees. But, otherwise, I’d select my hotel based on the area of town I want to stay in and other hotel amenities. For example, Staybridge Suites usually offer extra space and complimentary self-service laundry, while Hotel Indigo provides a more traditional hotel with local vibes. I’d likely pick the Hotel Indigo for a Memorial Day weekend trip due to its location and amenities.
Unlike some of the other destinations highlighted in this guide, some Puerto Rico resorts are sold out or aren’t offering award nights over Memorial Day weekend. However, I still found some decent options in the Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt and Hilton Honors programs. If you decide to book a trip to Puerto Rico, be sure to check out our guide on how to get to Puerto Rico on points and miles.
Some of the highest category Marriott properties in Puerto Rico, including the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, don’t have any rooms bookable with points. But there are several Marriott Bonvoy properties near Old San Juan that still have award nights available over Memorial Day weekend.
I’d likely choose the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel and use 40,000-point award night certificates to pay for several nights of my stay. After all, it would be fun to explore the Old Town when I’m not relaxing at the resort. But I’d also consider the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino (which is also bookable for 40,000 points per night over Memorial Day weekend).
World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt loyalists still have some choices if they want to redeem World of Hyatt points for their Memorial Day vacation in Puerto Rico.
I’d likely choose the Hyatt House San Juan for 12,000 points per night to be close to the Old Town. But, if you’re looking for a resort stay, the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico for 15,000 points per night looks to be an excellent choice.
Multiple Hilton Honors hotels in and around San Juan still offer standard night rewards for stays over Memorial Day weekend.
I’d likely redeem 50,000 Hilton Honors points to stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort. After all, this beachfront Embassy Suites hotel offers breakfast, evening reception and an outdoor lagoon-style pool with ocean views. However, if you want to stay closer to San Juan, the Condado Plaza Hilton also looks to be an excellent choice for 50,000 points per night.
Planning your trip with hotel points
Before I discuss availability at several popular Memorial Day destinations, let’s discuss strategy. Unless you have a surplus of hotel points or cash is tight right now, you’ll typically want to compare your redemption value (cash cost divided by points cost) before booking with points or miles. By comparing your redemption value to TPG’s valuations, you can decide whether to book with points or cash.
Get a fourth or fifth night free
- Marriott Bonvoy: Get a complimentary night when you redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for five consecutive nights
- Hilton Honors: Hilton Honors elites get every fifth night free (up to four free nights per stay) when booking a full points standard room reward stay of five or more nights (Hilton bases free nights on the average points cost, not the actual fifth-night cost)
- IHG Rewards: Cardholders of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card get a fourth-night reward each time they redeem IHG Rewards points for a stay of three consecutive nights or more
So, if you plan to redeem hotel points with one of these programs, you should consider staying long enough to get a free night. If you aren’t currently eligible for this perk with IHG Rewards or Hilton Honors, consider signing up for an IHG Rewards credit card that provides a fourth-night reward or a Hilton Honors credit card that gives you Hilton Honors elite status.
How to earn more hotel points
TPG has plenty of guides with tips for earning more hotel points:
- 17 ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points
- Here’s how to quickly stock up on Hyatt points for your next vacation
- 16 best ways to earn more Hilton Honors points
- 13 ways to stock up on IHG Rewards points
But, in short, the quickest way to boost your hotel points balance is to transfer rewards from a transferrable currency. For example, you can transfer the following transferrable currencies to hotel loyalty programs:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points can transfer to World of Hyatt and IHG Rewards
- American Express Membership Rewards can transfer to Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and Choice Privileges
- Capital One miles can transfer to Accor Live Limitless, Wyndham Rewards and Choice (starting later this year)
If you don’t have transferrable points (or you prefer to save your transferable points for other redemptions), consider signing up for one of the best hotel credit cards. Many of these cards offer sizeable welcome bonuses once you reach a minimum spending requirement. And some hotel cards provide an annual free night that may offer more value than the card’s annual fee each year.
All isn’t lost if you haven’t booked a Memorial Day trip yet but still want to go somewhere. This guide covered hotels in four destinations I’d consider visiting for a Memorial Day trip. But, I recommend searching for inexpensive airfare using Google Flights or deciding that you want to go somewhere within driving distance. Then, search with your favorite hotel loyalty programs for several possible destinations. You may be surprised by the award availability that you find. However, you’ll want to book soon as I expect availability will become worse as the holiday nears.
Featured image by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.
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