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Let’s Duke It Out! Blogger Favorite Hotel Brand: Hyatt vs. IHG

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.

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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!

Some of my favorite Hyatt stays include Hyatt Regency Lost Pines earlier this summer, Hyatt Place Daytona Beach last summer and Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia last fall.

Rooftop view of Manhattan at Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia

Rooftop view of Manhattan at Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia

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: 

sarasota

Oops, wrong photo! Let’s try this again.

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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?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and 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.

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33 thoughts on “Let’s Duke It Out! Blogger Favorite Hotel Brand: Hyatt vs. IHG

      • @Nancy LOL But I believe that’s probably accurate!
        On Hyatt Coconut Point, you got me there. I really enjoyed it. I may even burn 15,000 per night on this resort down the road, but in all likelihood, I’ll just try to get Hyatt Visa. I’m cheap like that. 🙂

  1. 3 words: Hyatt Coconut Point.

    I have never been able to make a PointBreaks hotel work for us.Texas is too spread out, and the choices have been too few. 🙁 I think we’d have better luck on the east coast or Florida.

    The last Holiday Inn we stayed at my son couldn’t sleep on the sofa bed because it was too uncomfortable. And he can sleep just about anywhere!

    Ok, I’m done. 🙂

  2. I’m torn, but I side with Nancy (mostly). Sorry, Leana. I think there’s awesome value in IHG, and my husband and I each have the IHG card and we will continue doing various promotions. Over the years, the rooms we’ve booked on points have far outweighed paid rooms. We’ve stayed in Sarasota, Orlando, Key West, NY, etc on points and certificates. The rooms are suitable, clean and sometimes fancy (Key West), but to me a Holiday Inn just doesn’t feel like I’m getting a luxurious getaway.

    Now, a Hyatt gets me that feeling. And that’s what I want in a vacation. That is important to me. Miles and points allows me to stay at a Hyatt I would never splurge on if I had to pay cash. My two favorites (so far) are Grand Hyatt Kauai and Hyatt Coconut Point. I will say though my husband commented last time we stayed at a nice Hyatt that he’s tired of staying in these luxurious hotels and dragging our cheap luggage and bags of groceries through the lobby. While we can afford to stay there on points, we can’t afford to feed a family of four there. But that’s a complaint against our lot in life rather than the hotel. 🙂

    • The Grand Hyatt Kauai makes me drool! We are considering staying there in 2018.

      We always bring groceries for our hotel stays, even when we have access to the club lounge (like at Hyatt Lost Pines last summer). I don’t mind paying for expensive food if it’s in a special place with unique food or service, but I don’t like paying for expensive food when it’s a regular pool-side hamburger. My kids don’t seem to mind (yet)!

    • @Jennifer I actually agree with you. Hyatt properties definitely have that upscale feel to them. But you are right, dining prices are upscale too!

  3. Leana, just an update on receiving your emails. I reregistered under my yahoo address again and an alternate Hotmail address. I still do not receive any yahoo emails. checked the spam folder, nothing. But I started getting it in my Hotmail account. Just to let you know in case there are others like me.

    • @Hilde Thank you so much for the update! I honestly don’t know what happened there. I wish I did. It probably has something to do with host transfer. Now and again a reader will mention that they all of a sudden stop getting updates on my blog. I’m not a techie, so unfortunately, I’m at a loss as to what to do.
      You might want to check my blog now and again just to make sure you haven’t missed any recent posts. Sorry! And thanks for reading.

  4. I’m with Leanne on Team IHG.

    We are a DINK couple, and we love to travel. To us, the allure of travel isn’t staying at a fancy resort. It’s to go out and explore! We want a clean, safe and comfortable hotel for our travel of course, and we find IHG hotels more than adequate. It doesn’t hurt that IHG has footprints everywhere we find ourselves traveling to – Shanghai, Baltimore, Osaka, Tokyo, Seattle, Stuttgart… you name the city, and odds are likely that IHG has affordable hotels there. The free breakfast at HIX doesn’t hurt either!

    As for PointBreaks, I’ve participated that promotion many a-times. Last couple of years alone I was able to use only 5k points each night at San Diego, Reno, Parham NV, Portland, and Eugene OR. I really can’t complain.

    I just got a Hyatt credit card so we will see if my love affair to IHG extend to Hyatt. I doubt it, though!

  5. I vote IHG! IHG always has hotels near where my family of five needs them! We have used IHG hotels visiting family in small towns, in the middle of nowhere on roadtrips, near National Parks, in Canada, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Italy. In Europe it was hard to find a hotel room for more than two people. The Holiday Inns or Expresses usually allowed three people per room (some four but the rooms were small!), so we booked two rooms for 5 people. It was easy, cheap(a good rate or usually on points!), and relaxing to go to a hotel that was somewhat familiar. We have also stayed in Europe in a long term house rental before and used a few airbnbs so I do not feel guilty using a US chain hotel. 😀 We find a chain hotel room works really well when we are not staying in one place for very long. My kids enjoyed the European breakfast buffets at the European Holiday Inn Expresses(lots of pastries!).

    My family of five has enjoyed several Hyatt Places or Hyatt House, most for 5,000 or 8,000 points a night. If I see a Hyatt Place or House where we need a hotel I will go with that over IHG, but Hyatts are often not found where I need them! I had the Hyatt credit card and one of my free nights expired! The other was used at Hyatt Place in NYC near Times Square. I had planned to use my free nights for a vacation near the expiration date, but then we had to cancel unexpectedly. 🙁 I also had availability problems with Hyatt- I could not find rooms in Paris or other large cities when I needed them to use my free nights. Hyatt is nice, but Hyatt just doesn’t usually work well for my family.

    • @Winnie @ABC Hello, my fellow IHG loyalists! I totally agree, IHG huge footprint makes up for many of that chain’s deficiencies. There is usually a Holiday Inn Express in most small towns, as well as internationally.
      IHG points are extremely valuable to me for that reason. In Florida, I can find an IHG property 30 minutes away from my house. Hyatt? Not so much. I would have to drive at least 90 minutes. But Hyatt properties are consistently nice, no argument there. And cat.1 and 2 offer very good value on points.
      Still, nothing beats PointBreaks program. #IHGforever

    • @Nick I can actually understand what you are saying, and agree. Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties fit 6 in the room, and that’s what your family needs. And I remember that place in Atlanta you wrote about few years ago. It looked like a great deal for 5,000 points per night.

  6. I’m voting for Hyatt for now. So far, we used our free certs at the Hyatt Regency Maui, paid a discounted rate at Hyatt Residence Ka’anapali, used a free cert for Hyatt Centric in San Francisco, booked points & cash for the Hyatt Place in DC, and just used points for the Grand Hyatt Kauai. I wish I could qualify for Lounge Access in Kauai, but I’ll be the one hauling in our groceries as well.

    I did just receive my 75,000 IHG points and will try a points & cash redemption on the CA coast this winter – I hope it’s roomy and we get an upgrade. My in-laws just used all their IHG points at 4 different IHG’s on a roadtrip and they were never upgraded — I was really sorry to hear that. It is nice to have points in different chains as there are more IHG’s available on roadtrips.

    • @Stephaine I agree that Hyatt properties are quite nice, especially if you can get Club Lounge access.
      I’m very sorry to hear that your in-laws never once got upgraded on their road trip. What?! IHG can be hit or miss sometimes. I guess having a variety of points is really the best thing.

  7. If I had to choose between Hyatt and IHG, I’d probably go for Hyatt. Their properties are just a bit more upscale with a more consistent experience, in my opinion. The Achilles’ heel is that they are not everywhere, which is a huge advantage for IHG. IHG can be incredibly schizophrenic. I can have an awesome experience and get upgraded to a suite. Then on my next stay within the same brand and same elite status, they try to put me in a room on the first floor next to the icemaker. It happens at all levels – Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, HI and HI Express – and I find it incredibly frustrating. If IHG tightened their loyalty handling and property standards (i.e. increase the refresh schedule) to provide an overall more consistent experience, they’d be a winner in my book.

    Having said that, though, neither chain is usually my first pick when planning a vacation. I’m more likely to book a SPG, Hilton, or Marriott property. Hyatt would be up there, but I don’t have a lot of points and I’m loathe to burn URs on them. Even with cash, Hyatt’s rates tend to be higher than the rates that I can get with their equivalent competition. IHG is usually my fifth preference when considering chains.

    • @Erik My apologies! Your comment ended up in Spam and I’ve just discovered it there. I don’t know why my site thinks you are here for self-promotion.
      Anyway, I totally understand what you mean: “IHG can be incredibly schizophrenic.” This is spot on, and has been my experience as well! That’s why I felt compelled to include two photos above.

  8. Last year we spent 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney with our 2 free nights + 30,000 points, and I used our annual night certificate to host a bachelorette party in at the Park City Centric where they upgraded us to the 1,100 sq ft suite that goes for almost $500 a night. In spite of all that, I’m still Team IHG. I like a little luxury every now and then, but in the end I want the hotel that is most convenient for where we are going to be. I’m usually on trips to see new places, and I generally don’t spend that much time at the hotel. We’re going to London next week and we’re passing up using our two free nights at the IC and using them at the Hotel Indigo Paddington because while it’s not as fancy, it’s so much more convenient. And those IHG points are just so easy to come by. Every time I transfer points from UR to Hyatt, I think about flights I could be using them for instead. And even thought it’s not spectacular, a free breakfast is a free breakfast, and I like the free breakfast at the HIE when I’m travelling with my kids.

    • @Cynthia I agree on breakfast at Holiday Inn Express. While not spectacular, it’s very convenient when you have kids. I very much appreciate it!

  9. I gotta say, IHG is my best friend. Also having the Co-Branded CC is amazing.
    We recently made more points on a two night stay (with the Accelerate program) than we would typically spend on 3 nights at a point breaks rate.
    Also with the vacation club options to book or even the couple of all-inclusive, thats a great way to use a anniversary certificate.

    • @Emily You can’t beat IHG promos! I got so addicted to getting points for cheap, I couldn’t stop myself from participating. But I’m trying to spend what I have accumulated so far. I figured I can always get more.

  10. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    IHG seems to be the favorite! I’m a little surprised that nobody has thrown Hilton or Marriott into the ring as a favorite. My husband is back to stays at Marriott by default because of his work travel.

  11. I like Hilton’s Embassy Suites, and fortunately by doing e-Rewards surveys I had enough points to do points and cash for 2 nights at Embassy Suites in Monterey, CA. I love the space and free breakfast and appetizers, but getting Hilton points is a pain.

  12. IHG for me. There are very few affordable Hyatt’s in European cities, and none in Israel. IHGs are everywhere. In cities that have both, IHG generally has a better choice in style and location (search London foe example). Hyatt is great in the US though.

    • @Uri Yay for IHG! Agree completely. That’s why I “stay” with IHG even though it drives me crazy at times. But Hyatt is consistently nice, so it’s good to mix things up now and again.

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  16. After what I thought was saving my nights for a nice vacation with my family turned out to be a 2 hour nightmare on the phone with Hyatt Awards and Hyatt Visa. The nine night stay I thought I had apparently expired due to a 12 month policy of use it or loose it. Hyatt in my opinion has the worst Awards Program and I for one will not be a customer of theirs any longer!

    • @RJP I’m so sorry this happened to you! How terrible, especially during a family vacation. It’s weird, I know the certificates from the card expire after 12 months, but why would a system let you book them then? Very strange. It seems they should have just accommodated you without making a huge fuss.

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