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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Yang, who teamed up with his travel companion to book an upscale hotel stay. Here’s what he had to say:
A friend and I recently took a hiking trip to Arizona, and we wanted to finish with a relaxing day in an upscale resort in Scottsdale. We looked at a few properties like the W Scottsdale and Arizona Biltmore, but at $400+ per night, we were hesitant to book even if we split the cost. I started to look for alternatives to see if we could redeem points, since we have both banked a good amount of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Since we don’t share the same address, we thought it would be risky to transfer those points directly to each other. Then I remembered from an article on TPG that Hyatt lets you pool points with other people for free. I saw that we could book the Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa for 20,000 Hyatt points, so we both transferred 10,000 points from Chase to our Hyatt accounts, and she submitted a request form to combine our points. Cash rates for the night we visited were around $440 with taxes, so we got a solid redemption value of 2.2 cents per point!
We really enjoyed our stay there. The staff were very helpful, and the resort itself is gorgeous and has a great vibe. We would definitely recommend it to fellow travelers! The moral of the story is that sometimes using points is still viable even when you travel with friends and want to split costs. Several programs that let you do that, so consider pooling among your options for booking awards.
The ability to pool or transfer rewards is a great asset, and you should keep in mind which loyalty programs allow those maneuvers at no cost. Pooling options are common among hotel programs and gaining traction among airlines — both Norwegian Air and Lufthansa added pooling features in the past year. You can also transfer points directly between Ultimate Rewards accounts, or from Ultimate Rewards to an airline or hotel partner account, so long as the recipient either shares your address or is an authorized user on your Chase card. Citi and Amex also let you share points to varying degrees, all of which amounts to more opportunities to book awards efficiently.
Yang and his friend both had Ultimate Rewards points on hand, but had that not been the case, they would have needed another way to split travel costs equitably. If pooling or transferring points among your travel companions isn’t an option, you may end up contributing different amounts (or different rewards entirely) toward your trip. When that happens, try to make sure everyone puts in their fair share. You can use my valuations (or your own) to sort out what each person has paid, and then even out any imbalances by covering other travel expenses.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Yang for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to email@example.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Feature photo courtesy of Andaz Scottsdale.
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