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6 (almost) impossible hotel redemptions you can book now

Feb. 16, 2022
10 min read
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It's a good time to be looking forward to traveling in 2022. This month, we've seen New Zealand, Bali, Australia and Vietnam take steps to open to tourists once again — a first for these destinations since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

With countries beginning to reopen, now is a great time to start making flexible travel arrangements for later in the year.

Here are six (almost) impossible hotel redemptions that TPG's staff is excited about.

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Why hotel points?

Flexibility

Before we dive into the properties TPG's staff is most thrilled to see award availability at, there are a few advantages to booking on points that are worth pointing out.

First of all, the pandemic is far from over. Though none of us want to see new variants or the closure of borders, any savvy traveler should have a contingency plan in place when making reservations. Now, more than ever, flexibility is paramount.

Hotel award bookings are generally more flexible than cash bookings. In most cases, if you need to cancel your award hotel reservation, your free night awards or points are generally returned to your account without penalty, as long as you cancel before your reservation's cancellation window.

Simply put, nonrefundable hotel award reservations are not all that common.

High cash rates

Early on in the pandemic, cash rates plummeted, which led many travelers to consider saving their airline miles and hotel points for a time when cash prices were back to their pre-pandemic levels. Although there are still many hotels that are offering highly discounted cash rates, the properties with "impossible" hotel redemptions have kept cash prices very high.

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So if you can get an award booking at these properties, you've likely found a great deal.

Get your fourth or fifth night free on award stays

With IHG, you can get the fourth consecutive night for free when using points; with Marriott and Hilton, the fifth consecutive night is free when using points. This is a fantastic way to get more value from your points, and at the hotels that we have in store for you, you'll want the extra night.

(Screenshot courtesy of marriott.com)

Related: Quick Points: Get your 4th or 5th night free on award stays

Possible future devaluations

Unfortunately, we've been seeing a spree of devaluations recently from travel companies like Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

In the hotel space, there are also a lot of unknowns. For example, Marriott Bonvoy is moving away from its category-based hotel redemptions, and instead, a dynamic pricing model will take their place in March. While we don't know exactly how this will affect its creme de la creme hotels, TPG is preparing for the worst case scenario: an increase in nightly points requirements.

Hyatt also just announced category changes, and they aren't good. The prospect of future devaluations is a compelling reason in itself to use your hotel points now.

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

TPG's director of content, Eric Rosen, has his eyes on The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, which is one of the newest hotels in the Maldives.

Our reviewer said the "five-star resort just oozes luxury in a classy, contemporary and restrained way." Cash rates for this hotel are generally around $2,000 per night. On a five-night stay, you can expect to pay $10,000 for the base room rate, while with points, you can stay from 295,000 points for five nights thanks to the "free" fifth night.

There is wide-open award availability at this hotel for rooms that range from 70,000 points per night (off-peak) to 100,000 per night (peak).

(Screenshot courtesy of marriott.com)

It's not hard to get more than 3.2 cents per Marriott point at this property, which is four times our valuation. If you do consider a trip to the Maldives, you might consider traveling outside of May to October to avoid summer monsoons.

Related: It’s all in the details: What it’s like to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Summer Hull, TPG's director of travel content, stayed at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek last year, and is planning a stay again this year. Ski season is far from over and at this property you can find excellent value for your points, even during peak times.

Cash rates easily go north of $1,000 per night at this hotel but points rates range between 25,000 and 35,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

(Screenshot courtesy of hyatt.com)

Although Hyatt doesn't have a fourth- or fifth-night-free perk like IHG, Hilton and Marriott, resort fees are waived when staying on points at Hyatt properties. It's not hard to get more than 4 cents per point at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, which is roughly 2 1/2 times TPG's valuation.

Related: Ski-out luxury on points: A review of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

(Image courtesy of Waldorf Astoria/Hilton)

Although the standard room award availability is limited, it's not keeping strategic travel reporter Benji Stawski from finding a deal at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.

Standard rooms can be booked for 95,000 points per night, while cash rates start around $729 per night. By redeeming Hilton points to book at this hotel, you're likely to get around 0.8 cents per point, which is 25% higher than TPG's valuation.

(Screenshot courtesy of hilton.com)

Related: 6 things the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills does better than other hotels

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

TPG senior writer Katie Genter is hoping to take advantage of the free fourth night at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa. Although availability for four consecutive nights is rare, if you make it a priority to check regularly, you might be able to find award space.

A four-night stay would require 360,000 IHG points (the fourth night is free), which is no small drop in the bucket, but given that cash rates are over $2,500 per night at this property, you would get nearly 3 cents per IHG point on a four-night stay, which is about six times our valuation.

(Screenshot courtesy of ihg.com)

Related: Worthy of its setting: Overwater bungalow at the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso

St. Regis Bora Bora

Since my stay there in June 2021, I've continually had my eyes on a return trip to the St. Regis Bora Bora.

Hands down, it was the best hotel that I've ever stayed in. Cash rates are very high, but it's an excellent option on Marriott points, if you can find availability. Although it's a Category 8 property, most of the nights in February are available on an off-peak basis -- just 70,000 points per night.

(Screenshot courtesy of marriott.com)

Of course, this can be combined with the fifth-night-free benefit, so you can stay at the property for 280,000 points for five nights. Without points, the total cost for this stay would be roughly $3,226.

(Screenshot courtesy of marriott.com)

Even the entry-level room, which is bookable on points, has a total combined indoor and outdoor private space of just over 2,700 square feet. Additionally, there is a private pool. When I stayed at the hotel on points, my Ambassador Elite status landed us an overwater bungalow.

Related: 60,000-point steal: A review of the St. Regis Bora Bora

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

With just 115 rooms, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is arguably the most deluxe points hotel in Baja California. I enjoyed a dinner at the property in 2017, and the meal was one to remember. We enjoyed fresh seafood to the sound of the waves with a breathtaking outdoor dining setup immediately adjacent to some of Cabo San Lucas' scenic cliffs.

(Screenshot courtesy of hilton.com)

As cash rates start around $1,500 per night, it's no surprise the availability is limited. Still, if you find availability, it will be one of the best redemptions of Hilton points across their network. With standard room rewards, you can expect to spend 480,000 Hilton points, thanks to the fifth-night-free benefit. You would be redeeming Hilton points at roughly 2.3 cents per point, almost four times our most recent valuation.

(Screenshot courtesy of hilton.com)

How to pay for the incidentals on your award booking

Although the bulk of your hotel bill will be covered by your points, you can put incidentals (like food, spa treatments, transportation expenses, taxes and resort fees) on one of these credit cards:

The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: My top 3 picks for the best cobranded hotel credit card

Bottom line

With any luck, 2022 will prove to be a year of good health, travel and excellent redemptions.

Between added flexibility, high cash rates, the ability to score a free night and risks of future devaluations, now is an excellent opportunity to redeem points at hotels that are nearly impossible to book on points.

Featured image by (Photo by Chris Dong/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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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees