Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
A bunch of words in the miles and points space are spent describing some of the aspirational hotel redemptions such as the Park Hyatt brand, the St. Regis Hotels, the Intercontinental Hotels, and more. This isn’t without good reason as hotel points make these luxurious destinations accessible in a way they would not be if most of us had to pay with dollars. My family has enjoyed the heck out of some of these top tier properties, and will again in the future. However, we also have nothing at all against using just a few points per night to stay at a low category property that puts us where we want to be.
When you think about a Category 1 property in the various programs you may think of an airport location or a limited service property, but the reality is that is not always the case. In fact we just had an amazing stay at a full service Hyatt that was a Category 1 Hyatt for just 5,000 points per night. To put that in perspective, a top end Hyatt like the Park Hyatt Tokyo goes for 30,000 points per night, so you can buy six nights at a Category 1 property for the price of every one night at a Category 7 property. That is key if you need to stretch points in order to make a family vacation possible.
Check out some of the exterior and shots from the lobby for the Category 1 Hyatt we just stayed at….
The exterior gives no hint it is just a Category 1 and neither did the room and bathroom.
The hotel restaurant and breakfast did not feel look or taste like one that you might imagine a lower tier hotel would provide. The buffet, items off the menu, and even fruit smoothies were of good quality and served in a nice contemporary restaurant.
Any guesses as to which Category 1 hotel this is?
It is the Hyatt Regency Wichita that we just spent two nights at for 5,000 points per night. Since I have Hyatt Diamond status we also got full complimentary breakfast for the three of us each morning in the hotel restaurant and a 1,000 points amenity for the stay. That meant my out of pocket cost was just 9,000 points for the two nights plus we got about $60 – $70 of breakfast over the course of the stay. Our only cash cost was $8 for one night of parking when the free lot was full.
I can’t believe we got all that we did for a net cost of 9,000 points, and it re-affirmed for me that the best values aren’t always at the top end of the chart. Sometimes there are some gems in the middle and even lowest categories at properties where the average daily rates are not very high, and thus the corresponding redemption categories are likely lower. That said, the Hyatt Regency Wichita was selling for $150/night on our visit, so just 5,000 Hyatt points was a total bargain. Wichita may not be the hottest spot in the country for tourists, but it was perfect for us since we have family in the area that we like to visit.
If Kansas isn’t in your travel plans, consider some of these other Category 1 Hyatt Hotels that also go for just 5,000 points per night or 2,500 points per night + $50 via cash and points.
You can view the full list of Category 1 Hyatts on Hyatt’s website. The Hyatt Visa is great if you want to spend the two free nights that come via the sign-up bonus at higher category Hyatt properties that normal cost a hefty number of points or dollars, but if you have one of these lower tier hotels in your sights then a card that gives you points to use as you wish such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Card will make more sense as you can transfer the points 1:1 to Hyatt and then get several nights 5,000 points each from just one sign-up bonus.
At a Category 1 property, that can mean a full week or more at a property thanks to one sign-up bonus. There is a time and place for top tier hotel redemptions and a time and a place for getting a full week of hotel covered with a very low number of points.
What lower tier hotels have you stayed in that exceeded your expectations?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.