I recently posted a list of my top 10 all-time favorite award redemptions. These were the truly memorable experiences that I’ve had thanks to points & miles. Missing from that post are the awards that I haven’t done yet, but that I’m eager to try. These are the awards that appear to offer experiences above and beyond what I’d likely find elsewhere, and (often) beyond what I’d be willing to pay if point awards weren’t an option. In this post, I’ve listed my top 10 most anticipated award stays. I’ll follow-up with my most anticipated award flights in a separate post.
It was really hard to limit my most anticipated stays to just 10 so I’m going to throw in a handful here. In no particular order, these just missed the top 10 list:
- Calala Island. Calala Island is an all-inclusive resort that is part of SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World), and it’s bookable through Hyatt at 40,000 points per night. And this place is really exclusive. It offers only four rooms: 3 junior suites and 1 master suite. The main reason that this isn’t on my top 10 list is that getting to the island sounds like a nightmare.
- Hyatt Regency Casablanca Ambassador Suite. Thanks to Hyatt offering multiple ways to book premium suites at a fair award price, this huge two-bedroom (+living room & kitchen) suite can be booked at very low rates. When I first wrote about this opportunity, the suite was advertised as including a private butler. The website no longer mentions that part, but it still looks like it could be a fantastic option for a family.
- Cala de Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa, Mexico. This oceanfront property looks gorgeous. It was #38 on Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels in the World for 2020. Book this Preferred Hotel for 55K Choice Privileges points per night.
- Yellowstone Valley Lodge, Livingston Ascend Hotel Collection. If the website is to be believed, this rustic lodge offers awesome mountain views and a truly unique experience. Book this Ascend Hotel Collection property for 25K or 30K Choice Privileges points per night.
- The Liming Bequia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Award nights book into 1 bedroom suites. Each 1 bedroom suite includes a private infinity pool. Book this SLH property with 40K Hyatt points per night. Unfortunately award availability here is very difficult to find.
- Vacasa Vacation Rental. This one isn’t really a specific property that I’m looking forward to but rather the idea of booking an expensive 1 bedroom home for only 15,000 Wyndham points per night (actually 13,500 points per night because I have a Wyndham Earner card which offers a 10% award discount). See: Wyndham Vacasa: Great Value is Real!
Here now, in descending order, are my top 10 most anticipated award stays…
#10 The Broadmoor – Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Colorado Springs is a great place to visit (I love hiking around Garden of the Gods!) and I believe that The Broadmoor would be an awesome place to stay. Reader Brant reports “Having been to the Broadmoor Resort many times, I can report that it is truly magnificent. The complex has so many amenities and amusements, it would be difficult to mention them all. Horseback riding, snow skiing, ice skating, golf, the list goes on. It you like the mountains and fresh air, you’ll love the Broadmoor!”
The Broadmoor, a Preferred Hotel & Resort, can be booked with 45K Choice Privileges points per night. That can be a great value when you start with Citi ThankYou points since Citi Premier and Prestige cardholders can transfer to Choice at a 1 to 2 ratio. But… be prepared for a huge headache when trying to book it. See: Preferred Hotels & Resorts via Choice: Value unlocked. Frustration assured.
#9 Miraval Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Hyatt offers three Miraval health & wellness resorts in the U.S. (Tucson, Berkshires, and Austin). These are bookable with points at the standard rate of 65,000 points per night, double occupancy (or 45K for a single). This rate includes all meals, many activities, and $175 per night resort credit per person.
I have long wanted to visit a Miraval resort, and thanks to the latest Miraval 2 nights for the award price of 1 promo (which runs through Jan 31, 2022), I finally booked a stay at the Tucson area resort (actually, I’ve booked a number of Miraval stays in the past two years, but due to Covid I had to cancel each of them up until now).
My wife and I are very much into fitness activities and hiking, both of which are featured here. It should be great!
This resort is currently a Destination by Hyatt property, but is intended to be added to the Alila brand once all renovations are complete. My favorite Hyatt, Ventana Big Sur, is an Alila and I’d like to think that the Hana-Maui resort will one day be just as great.
So, I’d like to visit once this becomes an Alila property, but truthfully I’d be thrilled to visit anytime. Based on reader feedback (like this), I won’t plan to visit until the place has been redesigned as an Alila property.
Maui was the first Hawaiian island my family ever visited, and we absolutely loved our two day jaunt to Hana on Maui’s remote eastern coast. A stay here would be a great excuse to return.
The Hana-Maui Resort is a category 7 hotel and therefore costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night, standard.
This Marriott Luxury Collection resort in Peru was ranked #11 in Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels of the World for 2021. The resort is currently Marriott category 5 (35K points per night, standard), but Marriott will be ditching its award charts in March 2022 so the award price will be tied closely to the cash rate after that.
Via Frequent Miler Insiders, a group member wrote: “Hotel Paracas is amazing. They have a free boat that takes you to the islands (they call them the mini Galapagos) and you get your own cottage. Great food too.”
Even though this Marriott Luxury Collection resort was ranked only #92 in Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels of the World for 2021, I’m more excited about a stay here vs. Hotel Paracas (above) which ranked #11. This hotel features a private train station to Machu Pichu!
Via Frequent Miler Insiders, one group member wrote “Tambo del Inka is exquisite. Highly recommend!” and another wrote “Tambo del Inka (Spg luxury collection) in Urubamba, is one of my favorites spg hotels that I have ever been to” (this was apparently before it became a Marriott).
The resort is currently Marriott category 6 (50K points per night, standard), but Marriott will be ditching its award charts in March 2022 so the award price will be tied closely to the cash rate after that.
I haven’t yet had the chance to visit Santorini, but it’s high on my list. When I do, I may stay in one of the 10 SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) properties on the island that are bookable with Hyatt points (usually at 40K per night). Two of these were on Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels of the World for 2021: Canaves Oia Epitome, Santorini, Greece, and Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel, Santorini, Greece.
On the other hand, it can be frustratingly hard to find point-award availability at SLH hotels and Hyatt has a new (not yet opened) Unbound Collection resort on the island: Magma Resort Santorini. This will most likely be a category 7 resort, and so will cost 30K standard or (more often) 35K peak. The website states: “Magma Resort Santorini is located on the lava-made slopes of Vourvoulos, on the tranquil side of Santorini, nestled among traditional old vineyards, offering panoramic vistas of the Aegean Sea, yet in close proximity to popular cosmopolitan destinations such as Fira and Oia, noted for its Instagram-worthy sunsets.” I like that this one isn’t located directly in over-crowded Oia.
#4 Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
This Marriott Luxury Collection resort often lists in the top hotels of the world. Every room is a big beautiful suite with it’s own pool. And, regardless of whether you book with cash or points, the resort is all-inclusive. The room rate includes all meals and snacks and two desert activities per day!
The resort is currently Marriott category 8 (85K points per night, standard, but this one is usually 100K Peak), but Marriott will be ditching its award charts in March 2022 so the award price will be tied closely to the cash rate after that. Since the cash rates here tend to be extremely high, you’ll want to book this one before March even if you plan to stay later in 2022 (you can book 11 months in advance).
Honestly, I don’t know much about this resort except that it gets great reviews, it ranked #20 in Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels of the World for 2021, it’s an Alila brand (which I love!), and it’s dirt cheap with points: only 8,000 Hyatt points per night, standard. There are tons of great and cheap resorts in Bali, but this happens to look particularly enticing.
This resort in the Maldives ranked #80 in Travel & Leisure’s Top 100 Hotels of the World for 2021 and it gets fantastic reviews. One thing that particularly intrigues me here is that the resort supports a sizable team of marine biologists who do research on the island and interact with guests both formally (via education sessions) and informally (for example, Katie Genter reports being invited to watch a marine biologist as she dug up a recently hatched sea turtle nest for research).
Six Senses Laamu is bookable with 100K IHG points per night. I booked a 4 night stay for next year. Thanks to the IHG Traveler card, I got the 4th Night Free, so I paid only 300,000 IHG points. Plus, I’ll get 30,000 points back thanks to having the IHG Select card (no longer available to new applicants).
I found this resort when I was desperately trying to find a great category 6 Marriott where I could use a 7 night stay certificate before it expired. I ended up using the stay certificate at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain instead, but I continue to be intrigued by this one. The hotel gets mostly glowing reviews but some complain about the long, steep climb through the rainforest to and from the beach. As someone who loves to hike, I see that as a positive, not a negative!
There’s no resort fee here and yet they many activities are included: “art/cooking/monkey safaris and more.” The resort is currently Marriott category 6 (50K points per night, standard), but Marriott will be ditching its award charts in March 2022 so the award price will be tied closely to the cash rate after that.
The above list includes four stays bookable with Hyatt points, four bookable with Marriott points, one bookable with Choice points, and one bookable with IHG points. Strangely, no Hilton hotels made the list. To be sure, there are Hilton resorts that I’d love to visit in the Maldives, Hawaii, Bora-Bora, and Mexico, but for whatever reason they’re not ones I’m highly anticipating at the moment.
What did I miss?
There are many, many amazing places around the world that are bookable with points. No doubt there are many that I either don’t know about or didn’t think to include in the above list. Do you have award stay favorites that you’ve been to or are longing to visit and which didn’t appear either on my list above or in my top 10 all-time favorite award redemptions? If so, please comment below. I can’t wait to add new adventures to my list!