IHG just performed its regular ritual of getting our hopes up and then letting us down with its list of Pointbreaks hotels. There are three kinds of Pointsbreak hotels:
- The North Bumblefuck Holiday Inn Express, located 50 miles from any place you’d want to visit.
- The Candlewood Suites located near the office park 15 miles from your home.
- A really nice hotel in a country that you will not visit any time soon.
Fortunately there are other places to find great value. Since I’ve got a wife, four kids, and sometimes a mother-in-law to shelter, I always need two rooms per night, which is why I’ve sung the praises of Category 1 hotels in the past. IHG makes it more difficult than other chains to look for low-end redemptions, but fortunately Loyalty Lobby recently released an extremely useful spreadsheet with all the data you need. Did you know there are over 400 IHG hotels that go for only 10,000 points per night?
Thanks to this spreadsheet I learned about the St. Simon’s Island Holiday Inn Express, which goes for 15,000 points per night. This is located in Georgia’s Golden Isles, a beautiful area more people should know about. 15,000 points per night for TripAdvisor’s #8 (out of 9) hotel on St. Simon’s Island may not seem like a great deal, but if you read the comments on TripAdvisor you’ll learn it’s recently renovated and that the bad comments are pre-renovation, with lots of five-star ratings post-renovation. Further investigation reveals that the daily rates are comparable to the nearby Jekyll Island Holiday Inn, which goes for 30,000 points per night despite having almost the same nightly rate (around $125-$150). Getting almost one cent per point is not bad for IHG points. It’s not a Pointbreaks level of value but on the other hand this is actually a place I’d want to vacation at.
I haven’t booked that hotel yet, but it’s on my radar for this fall as we’re currently deciding between there and DC for our family vacation. A great value I do have booked is an upcoming stay at the Hyatt Place in downtown Asheville. Rooms there are going for $400 per night right now, yet this is currently a Category 1 hotel–but only for a few more days.
Points With A Crew has a nice map of all the Hyatt hotels changing category on August 1, and this particular hotel is jumping up to a category 3. Even as a category 3 I’d still be getting over three cents per point, but this redemption is getting me an amazing 8 cents per point. If you have a lot of people to shelter, Hyatt Category 1 is a great place to look to make the most of your Ultimate Rewards points (we had a nice stay at the Hyatt Regency Suites in Atlanta a few years ago that the kids still remember). You won’t be staying at the Park Hyatt, but at least you can easily find hotels in major metropolitan areas, which is not something that can be said of all hotel chain’s Category 1 hotels (I’m looking at you, Hilton).