I’m headed to London with my son and some extended family members this weekend, and was undecided where to stay since it’ll be my first time in London, and I am unfamiliar with the city.
I considered redeeming my annual free night certificate from my IHG Rewards credit card at the Intercontinental Park Lane for one night, but many close London-savvy travel friends pointed me in the direction of booking two nights at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill.
Rather than switching hotels for the two nights we’ll be in town, they told me it would be a more-comfortable and seamless stay if I just stayed put at the Hyatt Regency the whole time. Not only is the property in a central location, I heard it was quite impressive for a Hyatt Regency.
Additionally, with my top-tier Globalist status, we’ll be able to enjoy free breakfast, lounge access, a late-check out and a potential room-upgrade if it’s available at check-in. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those benefits at the Intercontinental as an IHG Platinum member, so it was an easy sell.
Like many, I prefer booking directly with hotels to ensure that I am receiving points, night credits, and elite benefits during my stay.
Cash rates were way out of my budget, but luckily award nights were available for the dates I needed, and I even had the option of choosing between a points and cash booking or a full points redemption – 12,500 plus ~$161 all in or 25,000 points per night, respectively.
Out of those two options, I decided on using points and cash. I’ll also be receiving 1,000 points back per night with the current Hyatt promotion.
I didn’t have many Hyatt points already in my account to begin with, so I logged into Chase and began to initiate a 1:1 transfer of my Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt points as I normally do. I traditionally get the most value by transferring my Ultimate Rewards points into the airline and hotel partners.
Before hitting submit, I decided it was worth a shot to search for hotel properties using the Ultimate Rewards site. With a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel reservations booked directly through Chase.
I saw that I could book the same property for a fewer amount of points – 19,798 Ultimate Rewards points per night. Hmmm…
Immediately at first glance, it seems like a much better deal than the 25,000 Hyatt points required for a free night, but it comes with a catch!
In case you’re not aware, use caution – booking hotels through Chase is similar to booking with a third-party online travel agency like Expedia, and many hotel rewards programs do not allow guests to earn points or receive elite benefits on rooms booked through third-party websites.
When Hyatt’s new World of Hyatt program terms went into effect, elite benefits were specifically excluded on non-eligible rates (found under Section II of Appendix C in the program terms):
In-hotel Benefits are provided only where, for the applicable night, the elite Member (a) has paid an Eligible Rate or (b) has redeemed a Free Night Award, Room Upgrade Award, or Points + Cash Award. In the event that an elite Member is staying under an Ineligible Rate (other than as part of redeeming a Free Night Award), (s)he will not be provided any In-hotel Benefits for that stay.
Of course it would be up to the discretion if the hotel if they wanted to extend benefits, but after surveying others, I found the general consensus to show unfavorable results, and that’s not something that I’d want to risk for a savings of a few thousand points per night.
It’s always worth exploring your options for booking through Chase (especially when it comes to cheap flight deals, where you can actually earn miles by flying and make out like a bandit), but for chain-hotel bookings, you have to weigh in whether it’s worth forfeiting your elite benefits and ability to earn points.
Of course, if you don’t have elite status and don’t care about earning points during your stay, booking a room for a fewer amount of points through Chase makes perfect sense.
In fact, if I were traveling solo, I wouldn’t mind staying somewhere cheaper or even considering an Airbnb if savings elsewhere were substantial.
In this case, it’s the 4 of us, and it makes sense for us to truly indulge in all of the benefits, especially at a nice property where can maximize them all.
Have you ever booked a hotel using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Were you ever able to receive status benefits on a third-party booking this way?