I’ve mentioned before that my husband’s Hyatt Diamond status has been messing with my head Many of the perks are set to expire in February of 2017, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to utilize them before they are gone forever. Sure, it appears that under the new program my husband will get four club lounge certificates, which should come in handy. But the one benefit that is “use it or lose it” is a guaranteed suite upgrade.
Let me tell you, those Hyatt suites are darn nice! Not to mention, a sanity saver when you are traveling with kids. I absolutely loved the one in Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa I’ve tasted the good life, and it will be hard for me to go back to my frugal “Holiday Inn” mentality. Of course, it has be done. But maybe I can have one last “Hyatt suite” hoorah.
Soon, my kids will be off for two weeks, and we have absolutely no travel plans for that time period. In part, it’s because we’ve spent so much money on all of our other trips. But maybe we can go somewhere for just one night. Naturally, it would have to be a Hyatt that has Cash+Points availability, so we could use the suite upgrade.
So, I started looking and settled on Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress The resort has a lot of amenities, so it would make for a fun staycation getaway (Orlando is less than 1.5 hours from our house). We would get there early in the day, and would request a late check-out. This is a category 4 Hyatt, so Cash+Points rate is $100+7,500 Hyatt points.
There is also a parking charge of $18 per day, and you have to factor in tax on the cash component of the rate. I was told they don’t charge the resort fee when you use a suite upgrade. So, when all is said and done, I would be looking at $130+7,500 points. However, as a Diamond member, my husband would get 1,000 points back, plus he would earn close to 1,000 points on the cash portion.
So, in reality, we are looking at a rate of approximately $200 per night (all-in), assuming I speculatively value Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents apiece. This resort has a Regency Club, so we would get free breakfast, dinner and snacks throughout the day. Here is what an executive suite runs at for the same date:
And that doesn’t even factor in free food from the Regency Club. So, as you can see, using Cash+Points rate would yield me a yuuuge discount. While I would never consider paying $500 for a suite (no matter how nice), getting it for $200 with free food thrown in, is something that even a cheapskate like myself has a hard time saying No to.
But what about burning hotel points I already have?
As it usually goes in cases like this one, my cheap alter ego started telling me I should use hotel points and save the dollars. After all, cash is king. Yes, free food is nice, except, it’s not actually free. Why not use the hotel points and JUST PAY FOR FOOD? My alter ego is a bit obnoxious.
During my search, Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek appeared as the most logical choice, comparable to Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. It’s amenities-rich, and has a nice upscale feel to it. There is a lazy river, a pirate ship slide and so on, and so forth. The best part: it costs 15,000 Wyndham points per night. That being said, there would be resort and parking fees totaling $50 per night, plus we would have to pay for food. Last but not least, we would have to share a regular hotel room.
Note to those who have a lot of Wyndham points: You may be able to reserve a condo at its sister property Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort For 15,000 points per night you’ll get a 1-bedroom unit with a kitchen, subject to availability. You’ll have access to all the amenities, and won’t have to pay parking or resort fees. The downside is that all the units are individually owned, so there is some risk in ending up with a stinker. You’ll have to call Wyndham because these units are not bookable online.
Also, keep in mind that depending on the length of your stay, you may do better buying a 7-night voucher on SkyAuction The price varies, but you can get it for as little as $70 per night (all-in). In this case, you’ll be better off saving your points. That being said, if you want to reserve a unit for 2-3 nights and want some flexibility, Wyndham points are probably the way to go.
The more I investigated Wyndham condo option, the more excited I got. But Hyatt Regency looks nice too. What to do?
Ask the kids, that’s what!
I decided to show them photos of both resorts and let them choose. After all, the trip is mostly for them. They were impressed by the pictures of Wyndham hotel, especially the pirate ship and the lazy river. But then it was Hyatt’s turn. As soon as they saw the cave pools (see this TripAdvisor photos), they were sold. Well, technically, they said they wanted to stay in both resorts. But I told them they could only pick one.
Hyatt it is. Speaking of, while my daughter is happy at any hotel, my son is a total Hyatt lover. After staying in Coconut Point property, he has been telling everyone about it. He has even mentioned it in his prayers. So, when I showed him the one in Orlando, he looked at me in shock and said: “You mean there is another Hyatt out there?” Yes, son, there is more than one Hyatt.
Living it up
I told my husband about our splurge on a 1-night Hyatt staycation and he said we should just go for two nights. Say what? Ahh, why not. So, he took a day off work, and I extended the reservation to two nights. I also went ahead and bought a $100 Hyatt gift card using Amex Staples offer ($20 off $100 purchase). For the rest of the bill I plan to utilize a portion of my $300 travel credit from CSR (for year 2017).
It’s hard for someone like me to part with real cash and leave hotel points on the table. But I think it’s important to look at the full picture. We are getting a significant discount off retail price. Having a suite, plus getting breakfast and dinner comped will make our stay much more relaxing and enjoyable. Most importantly, this is what my kids wanted. Seeing their happy faces makes it all worth it, even if I end up eating cat food during old age.
P.S. Check the comment from A.J. on how you can utilize Hyatt Diamond status perks by using Priceline or Hotwire.
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.