Team member Jason recently planned out a trip to New York City for his family. He booked ~$2,133 worth of travel with points!
So I’ve asked him to explain how he booked the trip and saved Big Money in an otherwise very expensive city!
Jason: Thanks, Daraius! This year for Christmas, my family decided that instead of sharing gifts we wanted to share an experience together. So we’re planning a trip to New York City to visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island!
New York City can be busy during the holiday season. And my family isn’t big on crowds and long lines. But we love saving money. So I figured that they would be on board for the trip once they saw how points can unlock Big Travel with Small Money.
I looked into several different options for hotels. And I ended up booking 3 rooms for 1 night right in Times Square!
I’ll show you how I did it. And what you’ll need to book a similar trip for your friends or family.
Finding the Right Hotel
I wanted to stay at a Hyatt hotel, because I was looking for rooms during a busy time of year and Hyatt doesn’t have blackout dates on award bookings. And Hyatt’s “Guest of Honor” benefit makes sharing elite perks easy. So we won’t have any issues getting free parking and breakfast for all 9 of us with my wife’s Globalist elite status.
I ended up booking 3 rooms at the Hyatt Centric New York Times Square.
You can book the Hyatt Centric Times Square for 25,000 Hyatt points per night. Or you can book a cash and points rate for $150 + 12,500 Hyatt points per night.
How We Saved So Much Money
We’re visiting during the week of Christmas. So the hotel rooms are more expensive. Because of my wife’s Globalist status, I was able to upgrade 2 of the rooms to suites. At the time I booked, suites were going for ~$600+ a night. And the 3rd room was ~$400+ for the night.
We live only a ~4 hour drive from New York City. So we had planned on parking outside the city, and taking a New Jersey Transit train to Manhattan. That would have cost $32 per person round-trip for 9 people, plus ~$20 to park our vehicles.
But one of the benefits of Hyatt Globalist status is free parking! So we’re going to save ourselves ~$308 by driving to the hotel, and taking advantage of the free valet parking.
The Hyatt Centric does not have a club lounge with free breakfast. So we’ll get free breakfast at the restaurant. This is easily worth ~$25 per person. That’s another ~$225 ($25 X 9 people = $225) we won’t have to pay!
So we’ll be saving at least ~$2,133 (~$1,600 hotel rooms + ~$308 train fares + ~$225 breakfast) on our trip!
Note: If you don’t have Hyatt elite status (and can’t get upgraded) you can book suites at Category 6 Hyatt hotels, like the Hyatt Centric Times Square, for 40,000 Hyatt points per night.
Stocking up on Points
The easiest way to book a similar trip for your family or friends is with transferable points. I used Hyatt points, and elite status benefits that my wife earned through her work travel to book this trip for free. But you can easily book the exact same trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
The Hyatt Centric Times Square is a Category 6 hotel. So you can book rooms for 25,000 Hyatt points a night. Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Hyatt, you would need a combined total of at least 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Hyatt points.
You can earn those points with these cards:
|Credit Card||Sign-Up Bonus Offer|
|The Hyatt Credit Card||40,000 Hyatt points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve℠||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
Chase has strict application rules. If you’ve opened more than 5 credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months, you likely won’t be approved for most Chase credit cards. But some small business credit cards (including Chase small business cards) won’t count towards the limit.
The Chase Hyatt card is not affected by the Chase “5/24” rule. So, if you’re close to the limit, it’s best to get one of the other Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards first. And then get the Chase Hyatt card afterwards if you want to.
The Secret to Saving More With the Chase Travel Portal
We’re traveling to New York City during a peak travel time. So hotel room prices are high. But if the price of the Hyatt Centric Times Square is under $250 to $375 per night, then you could book the hotel for fewer points through the Chase Travel Portal.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for between 1 to 1.5 cents per point towards bookings made through the Chase Travel Portal. How much your points are worth depends on which Chase credit card you have.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Card||How Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?|
|Chase Freedom||1 cent|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||1 cent|
|Chase Sapphire (no longer available)||1 cent|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||1.25 cents|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve℠||1.5 cents|
|Chase Ink Business Cash||1 cent|
|Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)||1.25 cents|
|Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)||1.25 cents|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||1.25 cents|
If the room costs $250 per night you’d pay:
- 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1 cent per point
- 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.25 cents per point
- ~16,667 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents per point
So always do the math to compare the number of points you’d need to book through the Chase Travel Portal vs. booking an award night.
Be aware, when you pay with points you will likely not be able to take advantage of any elite status benefits you might have with Hyatt. And you won’t earn points for your stay because it’s a 3rd-party booking.
Use Points for Your Other Expenses
If you don’t want to pay for other expenses like train tickets, breakfast, or Uber, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point. So if you wanted to, you could pay for your entire trip with just Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
But I prefer to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners. Because I can often get more value using the points that way.
Team member Jason booked $2,133 worth of travel in New York City for his family of 9 using points! Now they will enjoy their holiday trip to the Statue of Liberty even more, knowing it won’t be affecting their budget!
You could book a similar trip for your family or friends with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And depending on where and when you wanted to travel, you might be able to pull it off with the points you earn from a single sign-up bonus!