How to ski and stay in Park City with points and miles
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For my family, wintertime equals ski time. We live in New England, but most New Englanders agree that the mountains of the West are better. Fresh powder is always better than ice.
This winter we chose Park City, Utah, for a long weekend away from the kids. We needed mountains that maximized our time and Park City is only 35 minutes from the airport in Salt Lake City (SLC) and there are nonstop flights from Boston. With many chain hotels slopeside, we could use points and miles for a “free” ski trip. It also helped that my husband has the Epic Pass, allowing us to save money on his lift ticket.
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Flying to Salt Lake City on miles
One of the best perks of the mountain resorts of Park City and Deer Valley is proximity to the airport. You can deplane, grab your ski gear and be at the resort in no time. If you land earlier in the day, you can even score some late-afternoon skiing. On our last day we got in almost a full day of skiing and still made a 4:30 p.m. flight home.
Salt Lake City is the fourth-largest hub for Delta Air Lines, so using SkyMiles will often be your best option, depending on where you live. I was actually able to find many dates where I could fly for just 7,500 Delta SkyMiles nonstop between Boston (BOS) and SLC.
The key to finding the lowest miles redemptions is to book early. Since ski season is a popular time of year to fly to Salt Lake City, locking down dates well in advance can save you miles. Delta also runs flash sales for redemptions often, so be on the lookout.
If you want to start planning a Utah ski vacation, Delta credit cards are offering increased sign-up bonuses of up to 100,000 miles.
Other money-saving alternatives include using a Southwest Companion Pass and Frontier Airlines’ kids-fly-free program. Alaska Airlines has a promotion where you can ski for free with your boarding pass on the day you arrive, but there are no participating resorts in Utah.
We flew JetBlue outbound and Southwest on the return. This gave us the lowest cost in miles and the best flight times. Also, we did not have to pay to check our ski gear since we have JetBlue Mosaic status and bags fly free on Southwest (even ski gear up to two bags per passenger).
Staying in Park City and Deer Valley on points
Staying on or close to a ski resort in season can be pricey. That’s when hotel points come in. Near Park City and Deer Valley there are many opportunities to redeem your hotel points. During this trip, we stayed at the Wyndham Park City, although in previous years we’ve also stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Park City and the Hyatt Centric Park City. We have yet to stay or ski in Deer Valley as my husband snowboards and the resort is a ski-only mountain.
Here are your options to redeem hotel loyalty points.
At just 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points a night, the Wyndham Park City is by far the best hotel value in Park City for redeeming points. Located at the Canyons Village, you can ski in/ski out with the Canyons Gondola right in front to take you to the base of the mountain.
This property offers a heated pool, two hot tubs and a ski valet. There is also a ski shop on site for rentals or service. All rooms offer a suite with a full kitchen, washer/dryer and a fireplace. However, there is no maid service and there are no restaurants on site. If you’re traveling with a large family, you can even book a two-bedroom suite for double the number of points.
However, since the Wyndham Park City is a Vacation Club property, availability can be limited so lock in reservations now for next winter. Reservations require at least a two-night minimum and many times availability will only show for three nights or more.
Next to the Wyndham Park City, the Waldorf Astoria Park City offers a luxurious stay for your points. You also have the same ski-in/ski-out access as the Wyndham Park City, although you have to take off your skis and walk across the street.
A standard room at this property costs 89,000 Hilton Honors points per night. For that, you can select between one king bed or two queen beds — both room types have a fireplace in the room. Or you can always redeem an exorbitant number of points to stay in a multiroom suite. For example, you can redeem more than 1.5 million points for a night in a four-bedroom bi-level suite. I would never recommend this type of redemption, but you can always keep your fingers crossed for an upgrade during check-in.
Related: The best Hilton credit card
The Sunrise Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations is at the base of the Canyons Village, a stone’s throw from the Sunrise Lift and ski school. It’s also an ideal location for shops, restaurants and après-ski happenings. The resort offers a heated outdoor pool and an on-site ski valet.
But before you get excited about this Hilton, the number of points required for a free night stay during ski season is high. This property only has premium rooms available on points, although they are still your standard studio. During peak times, you’re looking at a minimum of 130,000 points per night and rates can be as high as 400,000 points per night. During off-peak times, you can easily find the same room for 61,000 points per night.
If you want to stay close to the Park City Mountain Village instead of the Canyons Village, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City — The Yarrow is a great option. A half-mile away from the base of the mountain, this hotel puts you close to the ski lifts for just 43,000 to 60,000 Hilton Honor points a night. Best of all, if you have Hilton status (Silver, Gold or Diamond), you’ll receive your fifth night free when redeeming points. (This holds true for all Hilton properties.)
Just outside the property, you have access to the complimentary Park City Transit System that will take you to Main Street. There is an outdoor heated pool and whirlpool, on-site dining, and you can buy your lift ticket at the resort.
The Hyatt Centric Park City, also at the base of the Canyons Village, is another ski-in/ski-out property. Aside from the 120 guest rooms, the hotel offers one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom residences. If you have World of Hyatt Globalist status or a Hyatt Suite Upgrade to redeem, this could put you into a one-bedroom residence where you’ll have a full-size kitchen and a washer/dryer.
Currently, the Hyatt Centric Park City is a Category 6 property costing 25,000 points per night, but on March 22, 2020, it goes up to a Category 7, costing 30,000 points per night. I don’t think this property is worth this number of points, but if you have an abundance of World of Hyatt points and really want to ski, this could be the right hotel.
If you want to redeem World of Hyatt points but don’t want to splurge with the Hyatt Centric Park City, the Hyatt Place Park City is a great option. At just 15,000 points per night — making it a great opportunity to use your Category 1-4 reward night certificate with the World of Hyatt Credit Card – you can stay just 1.3 miles away from the Canyons Village. Even though this is not a ski-on/ski-out property, there is a shuttle to the mountains and a ski rental shop on-site. You’ll also be able to soak in the outdoor pool and hot tub after a day of skiing.
The Sheraton Park City is situated 1.5 miles away from the base of the Park City Village, but it, too, has a shuttle to take you to the mountain. Unlike many Park City properties, this hotel only has an indoor pool.
Sheraton Park City has a concierge lounge, handy for those with Platinum or Titanium Elite status, where you can get complimentary breakfast.
At just 35,000 points a night, you can use the up to 35k-point reward-night certificate that comes with many of the Marriott credit cards. However, this property charges a $20+ destination fee per night (not waived if using points or for elite members). This covers the shuttle to take you to the mountain, an après-ski reception and on-site parking.
The Hotel Park City is also on the Park City Village side of the mountain. This is a smaller hotel with just 100 suites, although there are two on-site restaurants, including a Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
A standard room on points will book you into an executive suite where you’ll have one king bed, a sofa bed, a fireplace and a balcony. You can also redeem more points or pay a cash upgrade to confirm a larger room or even a cottage.
Currently, this property is a Category 6 within the Marriott Bonvoy award chart, but on March 4, 2020, will move up to a Category 7 hotel with the new Marriott award chart changes. This means that if you book before this date, you can lock in a room between 40,000 to 60,000 points per night, but come early March, the hotel will require 50,000 to 70,000 points per night for the same stay. At the current category, you can also use an up to 50k-point free night certificate for off-peak or standard rates, but with the upcoming category, you’ll only be able to use that same certificate during off-peak dates.
The Marriott’s MountainSide is one of two Marriott Vacation Club properties in Park City. This property is at the base of the Park City Village, giving you ski-in/ski-out access. All standard guest rooms include a kitchenette, and the bigger villas come with a full-size, fully equipped kitchen. Along with a outdoor heated pool and whirlpool, this property offers many family and kids activities, including a theater with movies in the evening.
The MountainSide looks great, but it’s hard to find rooms to book with points during peak season. If you can find availability, this is only a Category 6 property costing between 40,000 to 60,000 points a night. You also could book a two-bedroom village room for as little as 10k points more.
The Marriott’s Summit Watch is the other Marriott Vacation Club property in Park City. The main difference between the two is the location. This property is in town on Main Street, the ideal place in the evening, near all the nightlife. Although not directly ski-in/ski-out, there is a town lift that goes straight from Main Street to the mountain, putting you on the slopes in no time.
As with Marriott’s MountainSide property, availability using points is limited during peak dates.
Marriott’s AC Hotel Park City is set to open in April 2020 at Kimball Junction where you have some restaurants, a movie theater and big box stores.
Although this property cannot yet be booked, it’s currently listed as a Category 5 property. This means you should be able to use your up to 35k-point reward-night certificate.
Related: The best new hotels of 2020
The St. Regis Deer Valley is an ultra-luxurious resort about 2.5 miles from Park City. Deer Valley is a skiers-only mountain and has more of an upscale vibe. If you’re looking to ski Deer Valley, this is your only ski-in/ski-out chain property, but expect to pay a pretty penny — or hundreds of thousands of pretty pennies. Of course, staying at this property during an off-peak time is significantly less expensive and actually affordable.
This property is at the higher end of the Marriott Bonvoy award chart and will cost you between 70,000 and 100,000 points per night.
With so many hotel options in Park City, using points from one of the many loyalty programs is a great option. There is a hotel option for every traveler — from mid-level properties to super-luxurious and everything in between. You can be more conservative with your points or go all-in. You’ll enjoy a day on the slopes no matter where you stay.
If a ski trip to Park City, or a trip at any time of year, is on your family’s radar, start saving your points now.
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