For the rest of the year my goal is to review as many useful points hotels and airlines as possible, and that will include taking several review trips. I’ll be writing a separate post soon with my plans for trying some new airline products, but in this post I wanted to share the details of a trip I just booked to California to check out some points hotels that really interest me.
Over the summer I wrote a post about 13 points hotels I hope to stay at, and I plan on knocking three of these out in a few weeks. For all too long I’ve taken the approach that if I’m taking a “true” vacation I need to travel far away, though nowadays I like looking much closer to home. Sometimes it’s nice not to be jetlagged… novel concept, eh?
So, what are the three California points hotels that I’m really excited to check out?
Alila Ventana Big Sur
Alila recently joined World of Hyatt, and it’s probably the points hotel development I’m most excited about in the past year. It’s not just that Hyatt has a marketing partnership with Alila, or anything, but rather the hotels now fully participate in World of Hyatt. So you can earn and redeem points, use suite upgrades, etc.
I’ve heard amazing things about Ventana Big Sur, and rates for a standard room are pretty consistently $1,000+ per night on weekends. So being able to redeem World of Hyatt points is exciting.
Even better is that when you’re a Globalist and redeeming points, both the parking cost and resort fee are waived, making this an even better deal. I’m hoping that the hotel is half as awesome as I’m expecting.
Las Alcobas Napa Valley
I’ve never been to Napa Valley before. I like nature and I like wine (though I’m not sure I love wine tasting — no, I’m not a spitter, and no, I don’t taste the light notes of crayon and charcoal), so this sounds right up my alley.
You may remember that a few days ago I wrote about the games this hotel was playing with award availability. I reached out to Marriott corporate, and am told this should be fixed within a few days.
However, we’re actually going to stay mid-week, and it turned out that paying was a much better value. We managed to get a rate of $500 per night, but:
- There’s a third night free offer
- We could book through Marriott STARS, so we also receive a $100 hotel credit, free breakfast, and more
- Ford and I each have offers on our Amex cards for a $100 statement credit when you spend $500 at a Marriott luxury brand
In other words, we’re paying $333 per night, plus we’re getting a $100 credit, plus we’re getting a $200 statement credit between the two of us. That’s a pretty awesome deal when you consider base rooms here go for $800+ per night on weekends.
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
This is an LA points hotel that’s incredibly well regarded. We lucked out in finding points availability, and Ford and I both have expiring Hilton weekend free night certificates, meaning we can redeem those here even though the paid rate would be $700+ per night after taxes and fees.
My goal for the rest of the year is to review a lot of great points hotels and airlines. I haven’t been able to take as many review trips as I would have liked to this summer due to family obligations, but I’m hoping that in fall I can take a few more trips. This will be the only “real” trip I take, and the others will specifically be review trips.
I can’t wait to check out these three points hotels. I’ve never been to Big Sur or Napa Valley before, so if anyone has any tips, please let me know. I would also love any restaurant recommendations, though we are traveling in a few weeks, so I’m guessing any of the “hard to get” reservations may be out of question.
Also, if anyone has stayed at any of these hotels, please let me know your experience!