By Nancy and Leana
We here at Miles For Family strive to have a drama-free work environment. Leana and I are on the same page about most things.
However, we live in different parts of the country and have different needs when it comes to hotel stays on points. While we both are open to staying at various hotel chains, we each have our “go-to” hotel brand that we check first when planning a trip. We would be devastated if we ran out of points at our respective favorites!
With that in mind, we are going to make our case for our favorite hotel brand.
Nancy’s Pick: Hyatt
Disclaimer: I’m not just picking Hyatt just because I was matched to Diamond status last year (which will expire soon!) Having Hyatt Diamond status was a huge boon for my family, but I was a big Hyatt fan before that happened. Here is what I love about Hyatt:
- Hyatt makes it easy for larger families. I know that I can book a Hyatt Place anywhere and have enough space for six people. Most Hyatt House hotels also have room for larger families. I’ve had good luck at other Hyatt resorts getting permission to sleep our “extra” child on the floor or in existing bedding, when other chains have pushed back on that concept.
- Hyatt beds are comfortable. I never realized how much I missed the comfort of Hyatt beds until I stayed at a Best Western earlier this year and couldn’t sleep because my back hurt on the mattress. Even the sofa beds at Hyatt are relatively comfortable compared to some we have experienced at other chains. This is something I usually take for granted, but good sleep matters, especially while on vacation!
- Hyatt points are easy to earn. My family has stayed at many Hyatt hotels on points despite never getting the actual Chase Hyatt credit card. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt at 1:1 ratio. I have Chase Ink Plus business card, which earns 5X points on cell phone and internet bills, plus purchases at office supply stores. I find that I can earn points quickly by purchasing gift cards at Staples and Office Max.
My husband had Chase Sapphire Preferred card last year, which we used to obtain Hyatt points. Recently, he was approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve with 100k bonus. Odds are that we will transfer some of those points to Hyatt.
We plan on getting the Chase Hyatt Visa Signature early next year. The card offers two free nights at any Hyatt after spending $2000 within the first three months, $75 annual fee is not waived. You may be able to get an extra $50 credit when you make a dummy booking on Hyatt.com We plan to use those free nights in Hawaii.
- Hyatt hotels are easy and cheap to book on points. Hyatt redemptions start at just 5000 points. Many airport Hyatt hotels fall in that category or one category up at 8000 points. Last summer, my family stayed at a Hyatt Place right on the beach for 12,000 points a night. Can’t beat that!
Hyatt has a limited number of rooms available at a Points + Cash rate. This is a great way to really stretch your Hyatt points and save cash on more expensive hotels. For example, a room at the Grand Hyatt Kauai over Spring Break costs over $400 a night or 25,000 points. If you don’t have enough points for your stay, you can pay 12,500 points +$150.
When a regular hotel room is available to book via cash, it is also available to book on points. There are no blackout dates or quotas for rooms on points. I love that!
The only downside to Hyatt for my family is that the brand is not located in some smaller towns that we’d like to visit.
Leana’s Pick: IHG
First, let me say that I have a love/hate relationship with IHG, which was well documented in I love IHG, I hate IHG post. That said, for the most part, it’s love, and I intend to stay “married” to IHG for the foreseeable future. Well, till they gut the program, that is. So, let me share with you why this is a great program for families despite its many quirks:
1) IHG properties are everywhere. This is hugely important to me. What good is a hotel program if you can’t find their property in a place you want to visit? Cough, Hyatt, cough. Want to go to Sanibel island and hope to use Hyatt points? Too bad. There aren’t any Hyatt properties in the area. Well, you can stay in Fort Myers and just do a day trip to Sanibel, but you are compromising on location. To me, location beats “fancy” every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
2) IHG points can be acquired cheaply via various promotions. IHG has lucrative promos on a regular basis (register for current Accelerate) and occasionally, you can even mail in postcards and get points dirt cheap. In your face, Hyatt! It’s fairly easy to acquire IHG points for around 0.33 cents apiece.
Sure, Category 1 Hyatt properties (5,000 points) can be a good deal on points, but you are still paying at least $50 per night. That’s because you can redeem 5,000 Ultimate Rewards for $50 instead of transferring them to Hyatt program.
If you have CSR card, you are foregoing a $75 per-night hotel. While it’s still a fairly good deal, it’s no longer spectacular. And remember, if you want to stay at a beachfront Hyatt property, you’ll pay a lot more. Let’s take that Hyatt Place Daytona Beach Nancy mentioned earlier. Yes, it’s a decent deal during spring break season.
But those 12,000 points can be redeemed for a $180 hotel via Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Now let’s take IHG beachfront properties. Most cost 35,000 points. So, if you acquire them for 0.33 cents apiece, you will be paying $116 per night. But it gets better…
3) IHG co-branded credit card is the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not going to go into details, you can read them here But a nice perk is that you get 10% back on redemptions and have a good chance at scoring a suite due to Platinum status. It’s not a guarantee, but it happens to us quite often. Plus, occasionally, IHG will even let you book a suite for the price of a regular room. Sometimes “wacky” can work in your favor!
4) Most IHG properties are quite decent, and many have a stylish decor.
Feast your eyes on the image of this fancy room:
Oops, wrong photo! Let’s try this again.
This is a Crowne Plaza property near Seattle airport. It goes for 25,000 IHG points per night, which isn’t too bad. Pleasant decor? I’d say so. Beds are comfortable too.
5) PointBreaks, PointBreaks, PointBreaks! Enough said.
Which Team Are You On?
Do you favor Hyatt, IHG or another hotel brand for your stays on points? Or, do you collect and use points from one brand and then move on to the next?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.