Score incredible value with high-end hotels that are off the beaten path
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.We've all heard about super aspirational properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, the Al Maha Resort, or the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso. Don't get us wrong: these are phenomenal properties and sit rightly at the top of the points redemption chain, with hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives generating its very own award category.But what about those of us who want high-end without having to shell out massive amounts of points? By straying away from the roads most traveled we can find some incredible value without sacrificing style. So for those who want to live well and spend less these hotels are for you.
Azerbaijan: JW Marriott Abershon Baku
Featuring one of the best executive lounge spreads I've ever had the fortune to come across, the JW Baku is a high point in my redemptions portfolio. Ringing in at an absurdly low Category 3, this hotel can cost as little as 15,000 points/night. In contrast, the out-of-pocket cost will run you nearly $300/night. At this rate, you're redeeming your points at 1.9 cents each, more than double TPG's value of 0.8 cents each.
For those wondering what exactly there is to do in Baku, I can assuredly tell you that the city is hopping. Insanely cheap, you can eat well (at about $10 for fine dining or $2 for cheap eats), travel far ($2 for a cab to anywhere in the city) and even fall into a mud volcano if you're like me and don't watch where you're walking.
Egypt: Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort
We've written previously about this hotel, which is one of few Category 1 Hilton hotels and which features some truly stunning resort-style living. Bookable for 5,000 points/night, the hotel includes free breakfast. What I'm saying is, for 5,000 points a night, you can get free food, private beaches and seven swimming pools. I'm not sure it gets much better than that.
At this rate, you're redeeming your Hilton points for 1.0 cents each, far above TPG's valuation of 0.6 cents each.
Kazakhstan: The Ritz-Carlton, Alamty
TPG Contributor Nick Du Pont reviewed this property earlier this year, but I've just returned from my very own weeklong stay at this hotel. How did I afford it? Well, luckily for luxury lovers everywhere, this particular Ritz-Carlton hotel is a measly Category 4. Yes, you read that correctly — Category 4. It's bookable for 20,000 Marriott points/night or nearly $300. At this rate, you're redeeming your points for 1.4 cents each, which is almost twice as much as TPG's valuation.
I can't say enough good things about Kazakhstan. From the romantic railways to the insane scenery, there's something for absolutely everyone. And it's cheap, too, with cabs around the city costing less than two dollars and meals for two coming in at under $10.
China: InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort
Though I haven't yet had the chance to stay here, this hotel is high up on my list of points redemptions. Why? Because its phenomenal architecture, its location at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its incredibly cheap cost. A single night here will be 25,000 points or $231. At TPG's valuation of 0.5 cents each for IHG points, you're scoring nearly double the value with this hotel, redeeming points for 0.9 cents each.
Aside from its Old Town, Lijiang has gorgeous scenery, a melting pot of people and stunning architecture. It's a top-of-the-list location, for sure.
Canada: The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews By-The-Sea
For luxury a little closer to home, the Algonquin Resort is located in New Brunswick, Canada. This property has been on my radar for years, namely because at a Category 5 level, it's eligible for the annual free night certificate offered by the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (worth up to 35,000 points), and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (worth up to 50,000 points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees)). With Marriott's new variable award pricing, this hotel can be had for as low as 25,000 points a night. Out of pocket cost is otherwise right around $220. At this rate, you're redeeming your points for 0.8 cents each, which is a great value.
For this, you're getting a room right on the Passamaquoddy Bay in a hotel that looks remarkably like a castle. Live those royal life dreams, princess.
There are so many options for hotels out there, but sometimes it can be hard to tell what's a good deal and what's expensive for no good reason. Take advantage of the road less traveled and explore some new sights while sacrificing little in the way of points with these incredible hotels.