Yesterday Mommy Points blogged that the Andaz Papagayo has reduced their award category from 6 to 4, which not only saves 10,000 points per free award night — dropping from 25,000 points to 15,000 points — but also puts this amazing-looking hotel within reach of the annual free night award provided to Hyatt Visa credit cardholders. Still, I wouldn’t quite go out and book a long award stay just yet. This is a great example of why Points + Cash awards are such a great value, not only helping you stretch your points further but also helping you extract more value.
Worth mentioning: At the same time I read that post I received an email offer from Hyatt offering up to 30% off for stays of three nights or more through December 19 (book by May 31). Use discount code STYMOR and group code 78439. The rate I found on a random three-night stay in August was $245, significantly less than the $280 My Elite rate offered to Gold Passport Platinum and Diamond members, the $297.50 advance purchase rate, or the $350 standard Andaz rate. (All but the advance purchase rate can be canceled up to 24 hours before arrival.)
This is definitely a good deal if you can find availability and have the cash to spend. Redeeming 15,000 points for a room that otherwise costs $301.35 per night, including tax, assigns Gold Passport points at value of 2 cents each, more than my usual valuation of 1.4-1.5 cents. But the award stay would not earn any qualifying nights or stays toward elite status, and it would not be eligible for a confirmed suite upgrade if you have Diamond status.
Alternatively, one could redeem $100 and 7,500 points for a Points + Cash award. This would be eligible for earning elite status and for applying a Diamond suite upgrade. Depending on how you look at it, you’re either getting 2.67 cents per point in value (redeeming 7,500 points to save $200 on what will still be an eligible stay) or you’re paying 1.5 cents per point by spending $100 to save 7,500 points for another use.
Both of these perspectives are better than the free night. Getting 2.67 cents of value per point for a Points + Cash award is better than the 2 cents per point for an all-points award night. Paying 1.5 cents per point for half of the cost of an award stay is great when you consider you were just about to redeem points with a value of 2 cents each.
So you see, there are lots of great deals here! You can save money using this limited time offer to pay all cash. You can save points since the award category is lower. You can save lots of points by booking a free night with the Hyatt Visa credit card, which has only a $75 annual fee. Or you can find a happy medium by using Points + Cash awards.
I’m sort of tempted to book a three-night discounted rate at the beginning and another two nights with a Points + Cash award at the end. Then I’ll use Megan’s free night from the Hyatt Visa for the middle, separating my own two qualifying reservations into separate stays and thus earning two — not just one — elite stay credits toward my Diamond status for 2015.