As I’ve mentioned recently, this summer my husband and I will be spending one night in San Francisco (the final leg of our fancy whirlwind trip to South Pacific) Last time we stayed in the city, I chose the dumpiest hotel possible, with a “massage” parlor across the street. But it was cheap, and San Francisco hotel market is anything but cheap because real estate prices are insanely high.
Fortunately, thanks to miles and points hobby, this time I can have my cake and eat it too. Enter annual certificate from Chase IHG credit card, redeemable at any IHG property (as long as there is award availability).
When we travel with kids, I look for large rooms and some sort of breakfast in the morning. When it’s just me and my husband, the size of rooms isn’t a huge swaying factor, though I obviously prefer to sleep in something larger than a closet. Complimentary breakfast is nice, but I’m not opposed to paying for room service if the property is vastly superior to the one that offers free food.
Since I’m rarely in San Francisco and since it is my favorite city in US, I wanted something special. Sure, we will be super tired from jet lag, but still. It may be only one night, but I want to make it count. Hopefully, my search will help some of you guys as well.
I narrowed it down to three choices:
Kimpton properties just recently became bookable via IHG points and certificates, which is good news. The award rate of this hotel is 55,000 points, and paid rate is $250-$400 per night.
Pros: Historic hotel located near Union Square, with rooms that don’t look “cookie-cutter”
Cons: Mixed reviews on TripAdvisor that indicate that hotel is past its prime and in serious need of remodel, standard rooms are only 150-190 square feet, urban destination fee of $29 (hate those!)
It costs 70,000 points per night, and paid rates hover around $300-400.
Pros: Relatively new property with few issues and good location in Union Square, many Platinum IHG members seem to get free upgrades
Cons: Looks bland and unexciting, typical for a chain hotel
It costs 70,000 points per night, and paid rates hover around $250-$350.
Pros: Historic landmark hotel at the crest of Nob Hill, has Top of the Mark restaurant with amazing views of the city
Cons: Mixed reviews on Trip Advisor saying the hotel is in desperate need of refurbishment
I’m a sucker for old historic hotels, despite the shabbiness and other common issues. It’s fun to get transported back in time, even if only for one night. Plus, I bet the current rooms are much more comfortable now than they were a 100 years ago.
What about using Hyatt Explorist club certificate?
Like many of you, I’ve recently been able to take advantage of MLife status match (again). That means that we currently have 4 Club lounge certificates that will expire in February 2019. And there happens to be Hyatt Regency San Francisco where I can use one of these certs. That would mean saving money on both dinner and breakfast the following day. The views from the lounge are quite impressive, too.
Unfortunately, the cost is 20,000 Hyatt points, which is a lot. Plus, to me it makes more sense to use IHG certificate that has an expiration date attached rather than Hyatt points that can be utilized at a later date. I’m afraid that I’ll be pressing against the deadline and burn it just for the sake of burning it. And that would defeat my goal of saving money on travel I actually need.
Additionally, Hyatt Regency San Francisco looks kind of plain, there is just nothing special about it aside from Club lounge views. Then again, Hyatt is very consistent when it comes to quality, and consistency isn’t a bad thing when you are dead tired. But I just feel like using IHG cert makes more sense in this case.
While I would have a hard time justifying spending $300 on a hotel room, using a certificate from IHG card that costs me only $49 to renew is truly a no-brainer. It’s one of the reasons this card continues to be a keeper and one I recommend to pretty much anyone. Even if you use your certificate at a basic hotel near an airport, it’s still a smokin’ hot deal if you think about it.
We will have to pay for dinner and breakfast, but I’m cool with it. Besides, I prefer to eat out at a local restaurant, so if we are not too tired, that’s what we’ll do. San Francisco, here we come!
Readers, what hotel would you choose? Am I crazy to give up the club upgrade at the Hyatt?
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.