AMAZING: Redeem Hyatt Points At $2,350+ Per Night Nicaraguan Private Island

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt
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I think we may have just found one of the best new uses of hotel points in the world. World of Hyatt has a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, allowing members to earn and redeem points for stays at SLH properties.

Well, there’s one redemption opportunity that stands out from the rest.

Redeem World Of Hyatt Points At Calala Island

Calala Island was added as a World of Hyatt partner (through SLH) in early October 2019. While the property immediately caught my attention, initially it wasn’t possible to redeem points there. I figured that was by design, since this hotel doesn’t have “standard” rooms, and paid rates are $2,000+ per night (seasonally they’re even $3,000+ per night).

As it turns out, that was a glitch, and it in fact possible to redeem points at Calala Island, at the rate of 40,000 points per night.

That’s a lot of Hyatt points, though this is also a property that retails for $2,350++ per night when paying cash.

Note that there seems to be a three day minimum stay (and over some periods an even longer minimum stay), which isn’t too surprising given how secluded the resort is.

If you want to find availability, your best bet is to first search through the Calala website. That’s because they have a calendar with availability. When you see junior suite availability there, then go to Hyatt’s website and redeem points.

Note that when redeeming points there’s a 90 day cancelation policy, so you’ll need to lock in plans way in advance.

What Is Calala Island?

Calala Island is a roughly 11 acre private island in the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of Nicaragua. The island is a private resort that accommodates at most eight guests, with just four rooms — that includes three junior suites and one master suite.

The island has a staff of 25, so that’s a ratio of over three staff per guest.

Here’s a video about the property:

Calala Island Is All Inclusive

Calala Island advertises themselves as being “ultra all inclusive.” As they describe it, stays here include the following:

Return transfers from Managua International airport (50 minute internal flight and 90-minute boat transfer). Most alcoholic beverages served in a variety of locations throughout the Island. Full use of Island boats and skipper. Non-motorised water sports – including wonderful snorkelling opportunities – Beach party BBQ night – Fine dining tasting menus created by the Executive Chef. Complimentary WiFi throughout the Island.

So your stay includes food and drinks, and even transfers, which include both a flight and a boat ride. I have also confirmed directly with the hotel that points bookings qualify for all the same inclusions.

How To Earn Hyatt Points

World of Hyatt points are pretty easy to come by.

First of all there are lots of credit cards that potentially earn World of Hyatt points. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with The World of Hyatt Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Ultimate Rewards.

Earn Hyatt points

See this post for everything you need to know about earning Hyatt points with credit cards.

On top of that, Hyatt often has bonuses on purchased points. For example, right now you can purchase Hyatt points for ~1.7 cents each thanks to a 40% bonus.

Bottom Line

This looks like an incredible use of World of Hyatt points. Redeeming just 40,000 points per night for a private island property that would cost $2,350+ per night and is all inclusive seems incredible.

It’s my understanding that you can redeem points for two of the three junior suites here, so you could book 50% of the island for yourself with just points.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this excited about a points hotel!

Anyone else planning on going to Calala Island?

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Comments
  1. So, this will now probably be sold out on points for years. It will then be made not available on points, and people will start whining.

  2. Update: I get the same error “Not available member-only hotel” while searching points or paid stays. Have now searched 20+ date ranges across multiple months and have not gotten one available option.

    Is it possible this is only for Globalists or something?

  3. @ Daniel123455 — Make sure you’re logged into your account, and you search a minimum of a three day stay.

  4. I selected just a dozen or so random dates to see what was available. Seems sold out on all the dates I tried? And/or the Hyatt website isn’t showing availability in a normal way like you were able to show above? Anyone else have luck?

  5. New update: You can search paid availability on the Calala website. Extraordinarily limited dates. The hotel is sold out the entire month of February. There are 6 days available in each of December and January. And this is for paid stays.

  6. It’s important to note that the cancellation policy for this hotel is 90 days in advance and that the hotel takes a 50% deposit at the time of booking. It’s unclear whether this deposit is refunded if the reservation is cancelled outside of the cancellation window.

  7. @ bill — Deposits ahould be refundable. That’s why it is a deposit not a penalty. Plus, not sure why you would be charged a cash deposit in addition to pre-paying with points. After all, this isn’t Marriott. 😉

    @ Ben, any insight on this?

  8. Just booked three nights in May for my 25th anniversary. Just as Lucky outlined.

    Thanks Lucky – you’re the best!

  9. For a secluded Caribbean private island experience at far less cost, try this:

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/228281

    It’ nowhere near as luxurious – in fact, it’s downright rustic. The staff is just 3 or 4 people, hot water for the shower comes from a black rubber bag that servers as a solar water heater, and the boat ride to access the island is … thrilling? But the fresh seafood is delicious, the staff is extremely friendly, and the island is beautiful and relaxing. And it costs a fraction of Calala.

  10. Finally got it. So excited! Thanks, Lucky. To all others, this is what I did: went to the Calala Island website (not Hyatt), and searched paid stays. There, they display a calendar of dates. You can reasonably surmise where there is reward availability based off of the $2,800 rate being available. Then, search the 3-night stay on Hyatt. There are some hiccups. I also found it better to search Hyatt for a paid stay, then check the points box rather than searching points from the get-go. So excited! Thanks Lucky.

  11. Searching directly on Calala’s website is a GOOD proxy for points availability, but doesn’t necessarily mean it will be available to redeem. Site shows 3 Junior suites available for 3 night stay (sometime in 2020). I was able to lock down 2 rooms and upon booking 3rd room, received the dreaded message “Unfortunately, this hotel is not accepting WOH points during those dates. Explore our other rates or modify your search” yet the cash rate shows the Junior suite as available. Phoned up the Globalist line, and after 10 minute hold, rep comes back and confirms that MGM and SLH hotels do not follow the policy where if a standard room is available for the standard rate, then it must be made bookable using points. Short version – award rooms for SLH properties are capacity controlled. Well, 2 out of 3 rooms ain’t bad!

  12. TheRewardBoss seems to have it right. I identified dates with one junior suite available, but it wasn’t bookable with points on Hyatt.com. Was logged into my WOH acct + searched a three night stay that was shown as available on the property’s site.

  13. Got 5 nights in April. When I search for 4 night stay nothing came up. I recommend you search for more nights to find availablity then skinny down to the minimum

  14. Y’all, please stop failing and then making a public declaration that it doesn’t work or has died based on your limited data points. This works just fine. Heck, just confirmed points availability next week and during Christmas.

  15. For those of you that stay there, please let us know how it is. The video sure makes it seem as if it is ludicrously overpriced. I know that part of Nicaragua is not easily accessible which most likely accounts for the high cost but for that kind of money, there are much better places in the world.

  16. @alan –

    I certainly will. My guess after a bit of reading is that the price and appeal have a lot to do with the private and semi-private aspect of the island. Given that there are only a four rooms, and it looks like people often rent out the entire thing.

    I am expecting to get: “barefoot luxury,” high staff to guest ratio, private feel, inclusive food and activities and drinks, pleasant island with “natural” theme.

    I am not expecting: Michelin-quality meals, architectural marvels, brand-named toiletries.

    I have never heard this hotel mentioned in the same league as North Island, Laucala, or the Brando. So my expectations are medium.

    Once you factor in transfers, meals, drinks, and activities, it’s about 2X as expensive as PH Maldives. I have my doubts it will be 2X as good, but ill let you know!

  17. @BoarderX
    Deas is dead. There is a wise Chinese saying: If you are riding a dead horse, you should step down.

  18. Can’t find a booking available on Hyatt site for points or cash. Just says Members Only even if I’m logged into my account. I called Hyatt and they could only see one night was available from now – December 2020 on there end for points. However, since it was one night, they couldn’t even book that as it required a 3 night minimum. This was in contrast to the many spans I cross checked against the Calala Island site directly and even when it showed all rooms available the Hyatt representatives were locked out from finding anything. They did have cash bookings on every night I tried and offered me that. Yeah no thanks…

  19. I’m curious if this deal is dead, if it is this may be my best steal ever, got a 5 night trip played for April for only 200k points, applied for two Sapphire cards right afterwards to replenish half those points…

  20. @ Ben — As pointed out on Gary’s blog the State Department warning Level is 3 for Nicaragua (“Reconsider Travel”). I reconsidered and cancelled.

  21. Got my welcome email from Calala. Sort of curious how they are dealing with the award bookings internally.

    One thing I noticed: they offered 2 times I could choose to depart and return, and did not base it off of whatever flights I booked. This may be a deviation from their typical m.o.? They also clearly stated “thanks for your world of Hyatt booking.”

  22. People, read the reviews before you book. Getting there is somewhat of a nightmare and people complained about being eaten alive by insects while there. One person said they were left stranded for a while during the boat ride there and between the boat ride and airplane, it took 8 hours just to get there. I booked and then cancelled after reading all the reviews.

  23. @Daniel what times were you offered for the transportation to the island and back to airport.at thenend of your stay. I was able to book 4 nights in August 2020

  24. I just took @Marc’s advice and read all (every single one) of the reviews on Trip Advisor. I am now having some second thoughts. A few broad observations:

    – Nearly every reviewer (80%+) is from the UK.

    – Many of the 37 reviewers mentioned they booked the trip through a steeply discounted charity auction. One even mentioned they paid ~$5k for one week, or about a 70% discount.

    – Some alarming reviews for a $2k+/nt ultra-luxury hotel. One reviewer said no choice of white wine – simply “white.” Others talked about ingredients running out often (no avocados, no fish, etc.). Obviously that is preposterous at this price range.

    – I can’t find any “expert” reviews (like Lucky) who could compare this to PH Maldives, Jade Mountain, etc.

    Overall, I’m a bit nervous that this is more of a Timberline Grill situation where the entire business model is based around people not paying retail (charity auctions and now points). Seriously, read the TA reviews. Many of the reviewers would say, “We got this at a deeply discounted charity auction, as did all other guests staying at the island.”

    I’m slightly nervous…

  25. Is it not possible to book more than a year in advance?

    Ps. I read somewhwre that Princess Eugenie of England vacationed on the island last year (and got engaged) !

  26. @Collin, for my booking, here are the transfer times.

    Inbound
    Leaves MGA 630am. Arrive 10am at island after 45 min flight to Bluefields and 2 hour boat ride.
    Leaves MGA at 2pm. Arrive island 5-6pm.

    Outbound
    Leaves island 6am. Arrive MGA 940am for noon flight.
    Leaves island 10am. Arrive MGA 2pm for 4pm flight.

  27. I’ve read the review and I agree that you should ignore the ones where a person only has 1 review, but there are plenty of reviews that seem legitimate. Now, I think the award availability has dried up so I think the resort is legit, or else why not let the hotel fill up with points guests. If you are lucky enough to get a room, you also have a 90 day cancelation policy, so for me that means I can wait until early January to cancel. By then I hope to see many more reviews, but honestly I think I’ll keep it the reservation – I don’t care if there are a couple issues, staying on a private island is pretty bad-ass…

  28. The promotional video doesn’t even look good and you know they take the BEST possible things. Heck, 1/3 of the video is of food or drinks that don’t even look good. No one is paying full price on this. Sounds like more trouble then it’s worth.

  29. tempting for bragging rights, but i kinda prefer hawaii. though i can see the appeal of not having to share your space with obnoxious kettle families.

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