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8 types of underrated hotel redemptions I've made or plan to make soon

April 20, 2022
14 min read
Marriott Protea Hotel Kruger Gate
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It's fun to dream about underwater rooms and private islands. But for most of us, those experiences are out of reach — or at least not how we want to use our hard-earned cash or points.

As a digital nomad, I live mostly out of hotels. And I book a decent number of hotel nights using hotel points. But to conserve my points, I usually look for awards that cost relatively few points and provide a high redemption value.

In this story, I'll discuss eight of the most underrated types of hotel redemptions that I've made or plan to make soon.

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Low-category Hyatt hotels and resorts

Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort in Malaysia. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Out of the four major hotel loyalty programs for U.S.-based travelers — Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors and IHG One Rewards — World of Hyatt is the only program that still uses an award chart. And this award chart means that it's possible to get a lot of value from select redemptions.

Since I like to stretch my points, I tend to look for value in the lower categories of Hyatt's award chart. Right now, I have my eye on the following World of Hyatt Category 1 and 2 properties:

  • Category 1 (3,500, 5,000 or 6,500 points per night): Grand Hyatt Bali (Indonesia), Hyatt Regency Bali (Indonesia), Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort (Malaysia), Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (Nepal), Hyatt Regency Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha (Qatar), Park Hyatt Chennai (India), Hyatt House Johannesburg Rosebank (South Africa) and Story Hotel Studio Malmo (Sweden).
  • Category 2 (6,500, 8,000 or 9,500 points per night): Hyatt Regency Cape Town (South Africa), Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Hyatt Regency Osaka (Japan), Alila Ubud (Indonesia), Hyatt Regency Perth (Australia) and Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport (Algeria).

I've stayed at several properties mentioned, including the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort, Hyatt Regency Cape Town and Andaz Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi. And I currently have upcoming stays booked at some of the properties, including the Hyatt House Johannesburg Rosebank and the Park Hyatt Chennai.

However, just because a property is in a low category doesn't mean you should pay points for your stay. Instead, calculate the redemption rate for your dates and decide whether you'd get enough value for your points.

I avoid redeeming Hyatt points unless I can get at least 2 cents of value per point. I booked a paid rate at the Category 1 Hyatt Regency Cape Town earlier this year and have a paid rate reserved at the Category 1 Park Hyatt Chennai for a stay later this month.

Related: Hyatt’s best-kept secrets: 16 incredible hotels you’d never know belonged to World of Hyatt

Marriott points at Protea hotels in Africa

Protea Hotel Kruger Gate in South Africa. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Frequent TPG readers know that I think the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate in South Africa is an excellent redemption. Award nights at this property will remain within the 10,000-to-15,000-point range for stays through 2022. And, based on paid rates at this hotel, you'll usually get much greater than TPG's valuation of Marriott points (0.8 cents per point) even if you have to redeem 15,000 points per night.

But there are plenty of other hotels in Africa that I've had on my list as undervalued redemptions I'd like to make while Marriott is still limiting award prices at most properties. Here are a few examples:

  • Protea Hotel Lusaka Safari Lodge (Zambia): This hotel outside Lusaka is located within its own 2,500-acre private game reserve (5,000 to 10,000 points per night for stays in 2022).
  • Protea Hotel Dar es Salaam Amani Beach (Tanzania): I was supposed to go to this resort in March 2020 but canceled my stay to return to the U.S. due to the pandemic. This rustic beach resort has just 10 bungalows, each overlooking the Indian Ocean (limited availability for award stays in 2022, but the available nights cost 15,000 points).
  • Protea Hotel Kimberley (South Africa): This hotel is located in a historic town next to the Big Hole and is somewhat near Mokala National Park (5,000 to 10,000 points per night for stays in 2022).
  • Protea Hotel Livingstone (Zambia): Another hotel I was supposed to visit in March 2020, this hotel is near Victoria Falls (10,000 to 15,000 points per night for stays in 2022).

I hope these properties will continue to provide good value when redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for years to come. But I plan to stay at some of these properties this year in case the value disappears.

Related: Safaris, cities and lots of elephants: How I returned to South Africa this year using points, miles and cash

Choice points in Europe

Venice, Italy. (Photo by Ian.CuiYi/Getty Images)

The award rate for most Choice properties ranges from 6,000 to 30,000 points, but Choice tends to change the award rates for properties within this range every few months.

Over the years, I've gotten excellent value from Choice points in Europe. Opportunities for value still abound, as proved by a recent stay in Stockholm at the Hotel C Stockholm, Ascend Hotel Collection, for 16,000 points per night. Here are some other Choice hotels in Europe that I believe are underrated redemptions:

  • Hotel Aquarius Venice, Ascend Hotel Collection (Italy): This hotel in Venice has been on my to-visit list. Although it has jumped in award rates, it can still be a good value (25,000 points per night through Sept. 15, 2022).
  • Clarion Hotel Prague Old Town (Czech Republic): Stay in Prague's Old Town at a great award rate (10,000 points per night through Sept. 15, 2022).
  • Comfort Hotel Karl Johan (Norway): This well-located hotel in Oslo usually provides good value in a city with typically high hotel rates (12,000 points per night).
  • Clarion Hotel Post (Sweden): This centrally located hotel in Gothenburg is housed in a historic post office building (20,000 points per night).
  • Comfort Hotel Vesterbro (Denmark): Staying in Copenhagen can be expensive, so this modern hotel just half a mile from Tivoli Gardens can provide solid value (20,000 points per night).
  • Comfort Hotel am Medienpark (Germany): This hotel just outside Munich was an excellent option when I redeemed Choice points for a stay during Oktoberfest, as it's only a short S-Bahn ride into the city (16,000 points per night through Sept. 15, 2022).
  • Comfort Hotel Frankfurt Central Station (Germany): This pet-friendly hotel is centrally located in Frankfurt (16,000 points per night through Sept. 15, 2022).

As always, check paid rates before redeeming points. But I expect that redeeming Choice points for stays at these properties will usually provide good value. Remember that you can often buy Choice points at a discount if you need to top off your account for a redemption.

Related: Earn bonus rewards after every 2 stays and more with current Choice Privileges promotions

Choice points in Japan

Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Before moving on from Choice points, let's consider the value you can get when redeeming Choice points for stays in Japan. After all, excluding when my husband and I redeemed Choice points to live at an all-inclusive resort for a month, Japan has been our go-to for getting excellent value from Choice points. Here are some of our favorite Choice properties in Japan:

  • Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kanda: Located in the center of Tokyo, I've stayed at this hotel several times. Beware of the rooms marked as "small room," though (8,000 points per night).
  • Comfort Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi: At this well-located property in Osaka, I enjoy sitting and working in the lobby's large common area with natural light. (8,000 points per night).
  • Comfort Hotel Nara: Stay at this hotel to see Nara's famous free-roaming deer (8,000 points per night).
  • Comfort Hotel Hiroshima Otemachi: This hotel is close to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (8,000 points per night).

When booking at the above hotels, check all of the room types. You can redeem points for a larger room at some Choice properties.

Related: 19 ways to earn more Choice Privileges points

Pretty much any IHG redemption now

Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

IHG's loyalty program is changing. New elite tiers, earning rates and requirements started earlier this month. IHG renamed its loyalty program to IHG One Rewards. And in early June, IHG's new elite benefits will begin.

At least so far, it's still possible to get excellent value when redeeming IHG points on most bookings. I haven't booked a paid rate for a personal stay in months due to the redemption rate I've been able to get when using IHG points.

TPG's valuations peg the value of IHG points at 0.5 cents each, which is the rate at which you can buy IHG points several times a year during 100% bonus sales. Yet it's usually possible to get more than 0.5 cents per point on IHG stays due to dynamic award pricing and the fourth-night-reward perk offered by several IHG credit cards.

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

Wyndham points in Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

I often struggle to find value from Wyndham's three-tier award chart. I don't want to redeem 30,000 Wyndham points for a night, as I don't think Wyndham has any properties that can justify spending $330 worth of points (based on TPG's valuations). And I don't want to repeat most of the 7,500-point nights I've tried with Wyndham.

So, my goal when redeeming Wyndham points is to find a 15,000-point redemption that provides at least 1.1 cents per point and is at a decent property. I know other travelers who like to redeem for Vacasa stays, but my personal go-to has been Hawaii.

Prices can be high in Hawaii, but I've stayed at the Club Wyndham Royal Garden at Waikiki on two different stays for 15,000 Wyndham points per night. And you can stay at many other Club Wyndham and Shell Vacations Club resorts across the Hawaiian islands for 15,000 Wyndham points per night.

The largest issue with redeeming Wyndham points in Hawaii is availability, as many of these condo resorts have limited availability — or at least release limited availability to Wyndham.

Related: Which Wyndham Rewards credit card is right for you?

Marriott points in Kuwait

Kuwait City walkway. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

It's one niche example, but I couldn't write a story about underrated hotel redemptions and not mention the Courtyard Kuwait City. I'd booked this hotel at a spectacular redemption rate of 2.34 cents per point as part of a trip that I had to cancel during the coronavirus pandemic.

And interestingly, you can still get amazing redemption rates at this property. Paid rates typically cost 56 to 75 Kuwaiti dinar (about $184 to $245) and award rates should range from 10,000 to 15,000 Marriott points per night through the end of 2022.

But despite the high paid rates, Marriott PointSavers awards are available for most nights, with award rates dropping as low as 8,000 points per night. So, if you have Marriott Bonvoy points and a reason to visit Kuwait City, you can likely snag an excellent redemption.

Related: What impact did Marriott’s changes really have on the value of Bonvoy points?

Choice points for Bluegreen Vacations stays

Bluegreen Vacations Fountains in Orlando. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

One final undervalued way to get value from Choice points is to redeem for stays at Bluegreen Vacations properties. The properties you can redeem at have seemingly narrowed to the following (each of which cost 30,000 points per night through Sept. 15, 2022):

  • Bluegreen Vacations Fountains, Ascend Resort Collection in Orlando.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Harbour Lights, Ascend Resort Collection in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Christmas Mountain Village, an Ascend Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Cibola Vista Resort and Spa, an Ascend Resort in Peoria, Arizona.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Patrick Henry Square, Ascend Resort Collection in Williamsburg, Virginia.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Club 36, Ascend Resort Collection in Las Vegas.
Multibedroom units are bookable with points at Bluegreen Vacations Christmas Mountain Village, an Ascend Resort. (Screenshot from choicehotels.com)

I stayed at Bluegreen Vacations Fountains, Ascend Resort Collection, a few years back. And I found the suite spacious, well stocked and comfortable. I left my stay thinking it would be good for a trip with family or a group of friends.

Don't expect luxury from your Bluegreen Vacations stay. But the ability to get a multibedroom unit for just 30,000 Choice points is pretty amazing if you can find availability. You'll want to start searching 100 days before your stay, but I've found that the best availability when redeeming Choice points for Bluegreen Vacations stays is often last minute.

Related: I suffered through a timeshare sales presentation for a cheap vacation

Bottom line

Each traveler has unique preferences and prefers to redeem their points differently. But, even if you prefer to redeem your points differently than I do — perhaps for more aspirational stays — I hope this story got you thinking about redemption rates and how to get the most value from your points.

You might notice I didn't mention Hilton Honors in this story. Although my husband has Hilton Honors Diamond status as a perk of his Hilton credit card, I rarely find a budget or mid-tier Hilton stay where I can get more than TPG's valuation of Hilton points (0.6 cents per point). So, at least with how I like to redeem hotel points, I haven't come across any underrated Hilton redemptions.

Featured image by Infinity pool overlooking the park. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases