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Best Ways to Use Hyatt Points at New Luxury Hotels

June 21, 2019
14 min read
Liming Bequia One Bedroom Villa
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The last several months have been good to the World of Hyatt program and its members. In December, Hyatt introduced milestone rewards, which offered accelerated upgrade and lounge certificates. And earlier this year, Hyatt introduced award chart changes with nearly the same number of increases as decreases, a rarity in today's environment of no-notice devaluations of loyalty programs.

That being said, if there's one area in which Hyatt still lags behind competitors like Marriott, Hilton and IHG, it's the number of hotels and resorts where members can redeem their award points. But here too, Hyatt has been making great strides lately by introducing scores of luxury properties from the Thompson, Joie de Vivre and Small Luxury Hotels brands. Now that World of Hyatt members have dozens of new options for redeeming their points, let's take a look at the best options from these new brands.

To find a sampling of the top values, I looked at all 10 participating Thompson and 18 participating Joie de Vivre hotels, as well as a sample of the hundreds of Small Luxury Hotels properties that are currently part of the World of Hyatt program (after waves of integrations in November, January, February and May). I then tried to find some peak travel times when your points would go the furthest, and compared the award rates to paid rates (with all taxes and mandatory fees — including the dreaded "resort," "destination" and "facility" fees). Thankfully, you don't have to pay any of these fees — and usually no taxes — when you redeem your points for a free night stay. Finally, I compared the values to TPG's most recent valuations, which pegged Hyatt points at 1.7 cents apiece.

And after researching dozens of properties, I've made a few observations worth noting. First, many of these hotels and resorts that are new to the World of Hyatt program haven't quite 'gotten with the program' in it's entirety. For example, someone forgot to fill in the hotel description for the Avatar Hotel, a Joie de Vivre property in Santa Clara California, leading to the default text being displayed when searching Hyatt's Map view.

But more troubling was the fact that several of the properties I looked at had standard rooms available, but didn't allow bookings with points. And while some World of Hyatt hotels like to take an ultra-minimalist view of which rooms are considered "standard" and are therefore eligible for award nights, I found this problem at times even when the room's description actually used the word "standard." Seemingly, this would remove any doubt that the property should be making this room available for points redemptions, according to the World of Hyatt terms and conditions, which state the following:

"Standard-room Free Night Awards are not subject to blackout dates at Hyatt hotels and resorts."

If you're unable to redeem your points online for a free night award for an available standard room, I recommend that you contact World of Hyatt customer service and ask to have the award manually issued. When you do this, Hyatt calls the property and asks to have the room released. There's no guarantee that this you'll be successful, but it's worked for me several times.

Finally, it's hard to describe just how frustrating Hyatt's website currently is. Not only does it fail to initially show the all-in price for its properties; you also have to click through several screens to reach the final confirmation and find the full price that you'll pay. To make matters far worse, Hyatt's website is so slow, that each click can require significant wait time until the next screen arrives. As a result, shopping for World of Hyatt properties can be an extremely frustrating and time-consuming process. If an airline can search thousands of fares in a second, and Google can deliver results from the entire Internet in a millisecond, surely there must some way for Hyatt's website to display an all-in price for a single room at just one of their properties without waiting 45 seconds for the screens to load.

With that out of the way, here are nine of the best point redemptions at hotels that are new to the World of Hyatt program.

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Thompson Main House in Playa del Carmen

(Photo courtesy of the Thompson Playa del Carmen)

Points required: 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Summer prices: $218 (1.82 cents per point)

Holiday prices: $473 (3.94 cents per point)

While TPG Editor at Large Zach Honig was disappointed by his stay at the Thompson Beach House at Playa del Carmen, the chain’s “Main House” property is now available for points awards, and it’s a better deal. Award nights here are just 12,000 points, which is significantly less than the “Beach House” property. The Main House is in the heart of Playa del Carmen and still has a great rooftop pool and patio. During the high season, you can realize 3.94 cents per point, over double TPG’s valuation. And since this is just a Category 3 property in the World of Hyatt program, you can use your free night certificate(s) from the World of Hyatt Credit Card here, a use that would almost certainly cover your $95 annual fee in one fell swoop.

Thompson Chicago

(Photo courtesy of Thompson Chicago)

Points required: 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $456 (3.04 cents per point)

This boutique hotel on Chicago's Gold Coast is in a great neighborhood and features stylish decor and floor-to-ceiling windows. And through a partnership with Lexus, Thompson Chicago guests can use a Lexus vehicle for up to 4 hours without restrictions. Standard rooms are over 300 square feet and include a large couch and rainfall shower. And as a Category 4 hotel, you have the option of redeeming 15,000 points or using your free night certificate from the Hyatt credit card, a great option when rates are regularly over $300 per night.

Thompson Gild Hall, New York City

(Photo courtesy of Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel)

Points required: 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $449 (2.99 cents per point)

This lower Manhattan boutique hotel is also a bargain at just 15,000 points per night — another great spot at which to use your Hyatt credit card annual free night. Its rooms feature leather and wood furnishings and its lobby has a lounge with a library. Felice Ristorante, a Tuscan Italian restaurant, is onsite. The downtown location makes it ideal for jumping off to a number of the city's major tourist attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the World Trade Center and the Oculus. And when TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen stayed there in May, he found that the staff provided terrific service. All-in prices here rarely drop below $250 per night, so it can represent a spectacular value for award stays.

Chicago Athletic Association, Joie de Vivre

(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Athletic Association)

Points required: 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $473 (3.15 cents per point)

When this Joie de Vivre property joined World of Hyatt in late May, I immediately booked an award stay for an upcoming business trip, and I'm really looking forward to my stay. At just 15,000 points, it's a bargain for point redemptions and yet another great spot for your free night awards (notice a trend?). This historic property was originally constructed in 1893 to house its namesake, and it's located in the Chicago Loop across the street from Millennium Park. Furthermore, it's home to seven restaurants, including a Cindy's — a rooftop bar rated among the best in Chicago by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017 — and a Shake Shack, where I plan on spending my $10 monthly restaurant credit from my American Express® Gold Card.

Talbott Chicago, Joie de Vivre

20 East, the on-property dining option at the Talbott Hotel. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Points required: 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $709 (5.91 cents per point)

Here's another spectacular Joie de Vivre property in Chicago that's also available for just 12,000 points per night. Located on Chicago's Gold Coast, it's a boutique hotel located within two blocks of the Miracle Mile shopping district on Michigan Avenue. It too earned honors from Condé Nast Traveler as a 2018 Readers' Choice Award-winner. The $15 Urban Amenity Fee — waived on award stays — includes a complimentary beer or wine upon arrival along with tea and coffee each morning, and guests will also enjoy discounts at several local establishments, including Bloomingdale's and Howl at the Moon. The hotel is even dog-friendly, allowing you to bring your furry travel companion on your stay.

Hotel 50 Bowery New York City, Joie de Vivre

A standard king room at the Hotel 50 Bowery in New York. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Points required: 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $460 (2.30 cents per point)

Here's a great boutique hotel in Manhattan's Lower East side that's in Chinatown but adjacent to SoHo and Little Italy. It's also got The Crown, a fantastic looking rooftop bar on its 21st floor with impressive skyline views. You'll also enjoy views of the city from your room thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, and the décor represents a blend of rustic and chic meant to reflect the evolution of the area, including distressed wood floors and original artwork.

HGU New York City (SLH)

The lobby bar at the HGU New York. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Points required: 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $461 (2.31 cents per point)

Here's another boutique option for your Hyatt points in New York City, but this one is on 32nd Street in the Northern Midtown — or NoMad — neighborhood, giving you easy access to many of Manhattan's city attractions. The hotel offers some interesting amenities such as pet-sitting services, a pillow concierge and an impressive art collection. You'll also enjoy complimentary, in-room Flow Water alkaline water. Though you can't redeem a standard Hyatt credit card certificate here, it's still a bargain at 20,000 points a night, well below the 25,000 or more points that had been required for most other Hyatt properties in Manhattan. While all members will enjoy complimentary breakfast and other perks on SLH stays, normal World of Hyatt elite status perks don't apply.

Grand Hotel Majestic, Lake Maggiore, Italy (SLH)

Enjoy spectacular lakeside views from the Grand Hotel Majestic in Italy. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Points required: 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $467 (2.34 cents per point)

From the lakeside views to the ornate grounds, the name of this 1870 hotel kind of says it all. Amenities include a luxurious spa, a pool and even a beach if you can handle the mountain lake temperatures. Nearby activities include kayaking, sailing lessons, mountain biking and even free use of a tennis court. With just 80 rooms, you'll feel like you're staying in an intimate, lakeside villa, and it's remarkably easy to reach, just over an hour's drive from the Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP).

Dukes London (SLH)

The simple yet elegant lobby of the Dukes London. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Points required: 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night

Mid-week prices: $826 (3.3 cents per point)

The final property on this list is situated in London, one of the most expensive cities on the planet. It will cost you 25,000 points per night to stay at Dukes London, but that's a great deal for a hotel that can cost as much as $826 per night. It's know for its famous DUKES Bar, which is said to have inspired Ian Fleming to write his James Bond novels and at which bartenders make martinis tableside. Located in the St. James neighborhood in Central London, it's a short walk from Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye.

Earning Hyatt Points

Of course, to even consider booking these terrific properties using Hyatt points, you need to actually earn them. Fortunately, aside from staying in Hyatt hotels, there are many ways to boost your World of Hyatt account balance. One of the easiest is by signing up for the World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, which is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 points. You'll earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening. The card also awards 4 points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels and 2 points per dollar spent on commuting, dining and airline tickets purchased directly with the airline.

And of course, the free night certificate you'll receive each year just for having the card and paying the $95 annual fee can be used at many of the above properties.

Another terrific option is to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, allowing you to convert points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card into Hyatt points.

Finally, the program frequently runs bonuses on purchased points, with prices dropping as low as 1.71 cents per point. Under the right circumstances, it could make sense to top up your account (or flat-out purchase all of the points needed) for one of these luxurious hotels on your next trip.

Bottom Line

The World of Hyatt program has long been a favorite among award travelers thanks to high-end brands like Park Hyatt and Andaz. With the integration of Thompson and Joie de Vivre along with the continued expansion of the partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, that's even more true now. And the above properties are just the tip of the iceberg, as many additional resorts can also offer fantastic value on your next award stay. Feel free to share your favorite new Hyatt redemptions in the comments below.

Featured image by Photo of The Liming Bequia courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
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.