New Year’s Eve is just a couple of nights away and while I normally prefer to stay home and away from the drunk drivers and general ruckus, I thought it would be nice to stay in San Francisco this year. Hotel rates in the city that week are fairly reasonable at around $200 per night. However, come New Year’s Eve, the rate for what is more or less a standard room, skyrockets to over $600! I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco twice and while the club lounge will have amazing views of the fireworks show, I don’t want to stay there again until the place undergoes a serious renovation. The next best option is the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. It has a great location near Union Square and is supposed to be in much better condition than the Hyatt Regency. So I went about booking two rooms for two nights around New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve rates were well over $500 per room. The night before, they’re more reasonable at around $200 each. Booking two rooms would cost $1,437.38 for two nights. A Hyatt Points + Cash award, on the other hand, requires 10,000 Gold points + $150. As I’ve demonstrated, booking Hyatt Points + Cash and redeeming Arrival Miles is almost always better than redeeming Gold points. However, the hotel wasn’t offering Points + Cash rates that night. In fact, up until yesterday, they didn’t even offer award nights, so it was between paying over $1,000 or redeeming 40,000 Gold points for two rooms – per night! Needless to say, getting 2.5 cents per point was a great value, so I chose to use points.
Now I needed to book two rooms on the night before New Year’s Eve and since rates were around $200, I didn’t think Points + Cash would be such a good value. I also didn’t like the idea of transferring another 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points for this stay. Then I remembered I had $280 worth of TravelPony referral credits (thanks to all who signed up with my link!) and decided to use it to book one room for the first night, saving me over $200 and 20,000 Gold points.
As for the second room, I decided booking the cash rate was the way to go. All it would take was around 20,000 Arrival Miles, which is easily generated with $10,000 worth of spend. Thanks to some Amex gift card purchases over the past month, those Arrival Miles are already in my account and cost me $0 out of pocket to generate.
I thought about using my $50 Hotel Engine credit (my referral link), which I banked thanks to my friend Kendra, who referred me when referral bonuses were $50. However, I wanted at least one booking to be eligible for an upgrade, in case an Executive Suite opened up at the last minute and I could use either points or a Diamond suite upgrade to guarantee a better room. If it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve got two rooms on New Year’s Eve for $0 out of pocket. All is well.
To recap, here is what I got out of my redemption:
- Two standard rooms at the Grand Hyatt over New Year’s Eve, plus an additional night. The paid rate for two rooms on these two nights is $1,437.38, but I used 40,000 Gold Passport points instead. Most of these Gold points were earned from actual hotel stays. I also used Travel Pony credits and $230 cash to book the first night.
- Club lounge access as part of my Diamond benefit, which includes breakfast. Based on the Club Room upgrade I was offered of $60 per room per night, this can be valued at $240 over two nights.
- 1,000 point Hyatt Diamond amenity
- 1,000 point Hyatt mobile app booking bonus
Do you have any hotels booked for New Year’s Eve? How are you balancing using points vs. other types of currencies?
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