Sleep Like a Baby in Free Luxury Hotels

September 10, 2017

Our recent tour of Texas was a smashing success. We enjoyed seeing all of the major cities and sampling the finest foods at half price (thanks, Groupon). In addition to the discounted foods, the short domestic flights were booked using British Airways Avios each way. And one of our immediate family members had a car nearby, which allowed us to drive between the cities at no charge. They even graciously agreed to pay for gas, since we booked everything and continue to advise them on travel rewards.

Using reward points, we stayed a total of 6 nights in hotel properties. When you book hotel rooms with points, typically you don’t pay taxes. So we paid nothing out of pocket.

Out of the hotel stays, our time was split evenly between Hyatt and Marriott properties. We chose this arrangement based on the amount of points required in each city. Some cities have far more attractive rates for properties than others, and you have to put in the research ahead of time to see which brands offer the best value in each city. You can use the free tool AwardMapper to find hotels, by chain, in the places you want to travel.

Hyatt Wins

For our trip, Hyatt gets the nod over Marriott. The Hyatt properties we saw were very nice, updated and well kept. The Hyatt rooms were very spacious and nice. We had 2 large beds in the sleeping room, plus a large pullout sofa in the small sitting room that was relatively comfortable. The 42 inch TV was mounted on the wall, able to turn in all directions.

Hyatt

 

The free breakfast was excellent. Unlimited Starbucks coffee and these delicious little breakfast sandwiches made with real fried eggs, cheese, and ham. They also had amazing pastries, doughnuts, fresh fruit and yogurt, and the usual cereal and oatmeal with toppings.

The General Manager was a really nice guy. I chatted with him about vacation and his career. His friendliness alone made the Hyatt chain standout. And for this excellent experience, Hyatt charged me a whopping 5,000 points per night. What a deal!

Hyatt has their own rewards system, but there aren’t many credit card signup bonuses for Hyatt points. For this trip, I transferred Chase Ultimate reward points over on a 1:1 ratio. You can find these cards and compare them using the link at the top of this page.

We Enjoyed Marriott, Too

Marriott was mostly good, with a few cons. The hotels were clean, the staff usually friendly. They did offer breakfast, but it was quite limited compared with Hyatt. It was mostly prepackaged foods and liquid eggs.

We tried two different Townplace Suites, and one Fairfield Inn. The first Townplace outside of Houston was my least favorite. The room was small and the air conditioner was way too noisy. The next Townplace in Austin was nicer and we had a suite. There was a living room/kitchen, and two separate bedrooms with closing doors.

The Fairfield Inn was the clear winner. Very nice, newer hotel. The rooms was spacious and very well kept. The breakfast still managed to absolutely suck.

These rooms were either 7,500 points or 10,000 points per night, which is the norm for Marriott properties in big U.S. cities. They do have more expensive properties in most cities, but it’s usually in certain locations like downtown. We typically find the most value in the lower level Marriott properties.

To get Marriott points, Chase currently offers a Marriott credit card.

Closing Thoughts

I can’t complain about any of these properties, considering they were free.

Have you recently stayed at any hotel chains? Did you pay with points or cash?

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19 Comments on "Sleep Like a Baby in Free Luxury Hotels"

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Alexis
Alexis

I’ve never been to either of those hotels but I’ve heard great things about the Hyatt hotel from a fellow vlogger I watch on Youtube. The rooms are really nice and the prices are doable as well.

Kristin @ Brokepedia
Kristin @ Brokepedia

So glad you enjoyed Texas! And that breakfast sounds amazing. I’ve never used points to score a hotel. I need to give it a try. I’m a fan of Hotel Tonight for discounted fancy rooms, though.

Debt and the Girl
Debt and the Girl

Hard to complain when its free. It sounds like you had a great time. I love free stuff!

Natalie @ Financegirl
Natalie @ Financegirl

I stayed at a Hyatt last month downtown Nashville and have no complaints! I paid cash 🙂

Mrs. Frugalwoods
Mrs. Frugalwoods

Love a free hotel breakfast! We use American Express Starwood Preferred Guest points–ideal for us since they can be used worldwide for a 1 to 1 point conversion no matter the currency conversion rate. Sounds like you got great deals on this trip–nice!

Alexis
Alexis

I love using Groupon for all my adventurous trips out of state. Anyone with a phone has probably heard of Groupon now so I don’t have to say much more, but I love that they can track the area you’re in so they can give you deals nearby as well!

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

Unlimited Starbucks? Sign me up 🙂 I’m going to San Antonio next weekend, I’ll definitely be scouring groupons this week.

Harry @ PF Pro
Harry @ PF Pro

Hyatt is my favorite hotel chain right now (although Starwood and their awesome properties/redemptions is a close second). Save your Hyatt card application until you have diamond status. I did a status match from hilton gold which is pretty easy to get over to diamond (90 day trial) and then applied for the card so that the two free nights would turn into two free suite nights 🙂

Marriott’s are ok imo. I’m hoarding my points though for an air and travel redemption but managed to use the free cat 1-4 night from the card for a wedding.

Laurie @wellkeptwallet
Laurie @wellkeptwallet

Wow – the Hyatt definitely sounds like the way to go! We haven’t done a ton of traveling lately, but always found the Hilton-owned Hampton Inns immaculate up here, friendly service and great breakfasts as well. Hilton props have been our go-to hotels since a fantastic trip to the Black Hills in 2007.

debt debs
debt debs

I’ve had good experiences at Hyatts but haven’t stayed at Marriotts too much. I have Priority Club points so I usually stay at Holiday Inns. I realize they are a step below the above, but I’ve usually had good experiences. Some Best Westerns too, but I realize they can be hit or miss.

Brad @ How To Save Money
Brad @ How To Save Money

Hyatt wins over Marriott every time over seas. Hyatt is known there as a business person’s hotel, and is set up according to the needs of business people. I have stayed n Hyatts in Barcelona, Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong, that I can recall. All were paid for by my company and all were excellent values.

Gretchen
Gretchen

Nice! I would suggest Hilton because I work for them, but if we’re being honest, the points suck :_(

Will
Will

I sleep best when my employer foots the bill! Oh, and a big plus for me is when the hotel has complimentary bottles of water/cookies/something! I know it’s stupid but it makes me super happy!

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