I’ve been meaning to take my mom to the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica for a while now. I love Andaz properties, it does look very nice, and it’s not that long of a flight from Florida (which, for reasons I can’t quite comprehend, seems to be a selling point for her). 😉
Up until now I’ve kind of had a hard time justifying booking a stay there. It was a Category 6 Gold Passport property, making it 25,000 Gold Passport points per night, or 12,500 Gold Passport points plus $150 per night through Points + Cash.
Given that the hotel hovered in the ~$400 per night range, it was tough to justify redeeming points there as opposed to the Park Hyatt Maldives, Andaz Tokyo, Park Hyatt Vienna, etc. It was basically only slightly better than a “breakeven” redemption based on my valuation of Gold Passport points.
When Hyatt devalued their award chart earlier in the year (while adding other great perks like “My Elite Rate” and Points + Cash) they also announced that 38 hotels would be shifting categories. Of those 38 properties, 21 moved up a category while 17 moved down a category.
However, it appears as if Hyatt may have made a program change without any sort of advance notice or communication to their members… and I might even be willing to give them a pass on it. 😉
The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Costa Rica seems to have quietly transitioned from a Category 6 property to a Category 4 Hyatt Gold Passport property.
That means the hotel goes from costing 25,000 Gold Passport points per night to costing just 15,000 Gold Passport points per night.
Meanwhile on a Points + Cash stay, the hotel goes from costing 12,500 Gold Passport points + $150 per night to costing just 7,500 Gold Passport points + $100 per night.
Keep in mind that Hyatt Gold Passport is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you can transfer those points to Hyatt to redeem at this property.
That’s more than enough for seven nights here on a Points + Cash booking, and then you’ll only have to pay the $100 per night co-pay (if you really wanted to maximizing value while limiting out of pocket you could use the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® to pay the cash component). Then if you’re a Diamond member you could use a Diamond Suite Upgrade to confirm a suite as well.
Possibly best of all is that the annual free night certificate from the The Hyatt Credit Card can now be redeemed at this property. It’s valid at Category 1-4 properties, so this is an amazing use of that certificate.
This appears to be an intentional change and not just a glitch. The Gold Passport property directory now lists the hotel as a Category 4:
And when you price out an award at the hotel, it does reflect the new Category 4 pricing of 15,000 Gold Passport points per night:
Definitely very tempted to make a Points + Cash booking here now and use a Diamond Suite Upgrade Award to confirm an Andaz Suite.
So if you’ve already made a booking at the property, be sure to reprice, and if you’ve been eying a stay at this property, now seems to be a good time to book!
(Tip of the hat to Christian)
Reports on Trip Advisor that it is isolated, with a breakfast buffet @$45, a Sangria and a wrap at lunch is @$40, etc. Sounds like they could give the room away for free, and make it up on the food and beverage costs. ;)
Nor is it ocean beach, it's bay front.
Usually theses hotels on that coast are all-inclusives. I'd be very careful about finding out what the extra fee is for food there, or what the options are in town (if there is a town) nearby.
United flies IAH-LIR nonstop so this could be an interesting destination :)
With the reduction I just went ahead and made a three night booking with Points and Cash in mid-May. No problem using a Diamond upgrade either.
I thought about this briefly, especially as it's direct from Dallas. But, I'm not an outdoorsy person, the beach doesn't sound great, and the resort and service seem a bit questionable. Maybe I should just save up for Andaz Maui!
15K points rather $1300 over Christmas...CRAZY point value!
Damn - I just spent 6 nights there prior to it being reclassified as a Category 6 (22,000 points per night). Great location but was not very full at the time. Somewhat isolated but great rooms.
Not the most exciting part of Costa Rica though & a bit isolated in my opinion.
Any ideas on a cost effective way of getting there? I'm an AA guy living in LAX and it seems flights to the airport closest to the Andaz are about $800. Thanks!
@ DP81 -- If you can get a reasonably priced ticket as far as Miami, it's only 7,500 Avios one-way between MIA and LIR, so that seems like a great use of Avios.
Thanks Ben... that is much nicer than I thought :)
So can I use a Diamond Suite Upgrade to a Cash+Points booking? I thought it was only for a completely paid booking... please confirm.
@ Apu -- You can indeed use a Diamond Suite Upgrade on a Points + Cash booking.
I know this place. I think this is called Papagayo.
@ QRx -- Whoops, you are of course correct. Thanks!