A reader reached out today to give us a heads up about standard award availability at Alila Ventana Big Sur during December that they found via Stay With Points (see Greg’s post about Stay With Points here).
It turns out that there’s great standard award availability throughout the year, presumably since Hyatt boosted the hotel’s category from 7 to 8 which means standard award nights now cost 35,000, 40,000 or 45,000 points per night depending on if your dates are off-peak, standard or peak. It also means that the category 1-7 free night certificates can’t be redeemed there.
Although it’s a highly sought after property and it looks like an amazing place at which to stay, the high points cost has put me off and so I’ve rarely looked at award availability other than when we spent 3 months in California last year and were driving down through Big Sur. That meant I didn’t discover until today that the Alila Ventana Big Sur appears to have a minimum two night stay requirement if you want to book a standard room as an award night.
For example, let’s say you were interested in booking a stay there in the first half of November. Searching for the night of November 7 would show award availability for standard and premium suites, but not standard rooms.
Searching for availability bookable with points the following night would show the same.
If you’d be transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, those standard and premium suites would effectively be costing you at least $660 and $900 per night respectively based on the fact that at a base level you can cash out those points on a 1cpp basis (more with Pay Yourself Back). That’s a steep cost, especially if you have Suite Upgrade Awards that you could use in order to upgrade to the standard suite if only there was award availability for a standard room.
Look what happens though if you search for both of those nights as a two night stay rather than individual stays. Voila, you can now book a standard room.
It seems like for much of the year you can book standard and premium suites for only one night at a time, although those too have a minimum two night stay requirement during some parts of the year.
For example, searching the nights of December 24 and December 25 individually displays zero award availability for any kind of room. However, searching for December 24-26 as one stay shows that you can book a standard room as well as standard and premium suites over Christmas.
Somewhat intriguingly in this scenario, those dates are priced as off-peak and so it seems a little strange that they’d implement a minimum stay requirement given they’re non-peak dates. However, that might be because they’d prefer to minimize the number of people checking out on Christmas Day so that they don’t have to have as many members of the housekeeping team working that day.
Speaking of off-peak, standard and peak award pricing, don’t forget that about a year ago Hyatt launched a Points Calendar which lets you see a property’s award pricing for a month at a time. When doing an award search for a specific property, click on the Points Calendar link:
That’ll then display the pricing for that month, with the ability to go back and forth a month at a time by clicking the left and right arrows. You can also choose to see the pricing for different room types; it’ll default to Standard Rooms, but you can select seven different room and award upgrade options to see how much each one will cost.
Something important to remember about Hyatt’s Points Calendar is that it only shows what the pricing would be if there was award availability – it doesn’t mean that there are indeed award nights that are bookable for every single one of those dates.
Stayed there last week for one night at 35,000 points, booked 4 days before arrival. Interesting I asked the agent at checkout how many rooms on an average night are occupied with points, I guessed maybe 25%, he said 75%…wow
I think this varies. Last year when we had a 2 night stay previously I had booked into one of the suites (ya it was a lot of points) I was checking to see if standard awards were available. I couldn’t find any during the 2 days we were there, but if I extended it to a 3 day it did show standard awards. This was in June.
We would have saved a few thousand points booking 3 days in a standard room vs the 2 days in a suite but we woudn’t have been able to use the 3rd day anyways so we stuck with the suite.
Isn’t this what the Andaz Maui is infamous for? Thought a one point you could call in after booking and cancel unwanted nights?
Basically had the best experience we will probably ever have at a resort here in 2021. As only an explorist was upgraded to a large suite (emailed GM directly ahead of time noting our excitement). Food was incredible. Views and surrounding nature amazing. What an awesome time there.
[…] Good Alila Ventana Big Sur reward night availability with 2 night minimum stay. I’m still thinking about my dream trip, staying in Big Sur and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in a 1996 Cobra 400 miles down to Alila Marea Encinitas. Sadly this isn’t a trip I could take my daughter on, Alila Ventana is adults-only. […]
Other days of the year seem pretty wide open too. Why the great availability all of a sudden?
I appreciate you pointing it out but I think to really appreciate this property & get full value, most would want at least a 2 night stay anyway. I understand & agree with your valuations on the points but I felt it was definitely worth that when you include all of the meals, the rooms (we had just a base room & still really loved it), and the location. It’s definitely on my list of places to get back to someday.
Yeah 1 night will be diminishing the experience at any hotel. Unless it’s summertime by the time you check in, get unpacked and settled its dark out and almost time for bed. Now you wake up the next morning a you constantly thinking about checkout. What kind of stay was that for all those points??? One night stays are for Hyatt Houses.
Staying here right now. P2is a baby Gloabalist; they automatically upgraded us to the coastal suite with ocean view, private spa and fireplace. This room is the one wedding parties choose. I wouldn’t pay cash $2900/night, but it’s lovely pampering for a few days and 120k Chase UR transferred to Hyatt points. Alcohol isn’t included, but there’s a daily cocktail hour with a complementary first signature drink and they gave us a welcome half bottle of Ventana wine.
Is it 59 or 60?
Alcohol is included actually, but you have to be a lifetime globalist
“It turns out that there’s great standard award availability throughout the year, presumably since Hyatt boosted the hotel’s category from 7 to 8″
Hyatt’s redemption category affects the number of points they charge you. It does not affect the amount of money Hyatt pays the hotel for an award stay, which is instead driven by the hotel’s average daily room rate and its actual occupancy rate on the night of your points stay.
The thought was that when it cost far fewer points they used to quickly sell out of rooms.
I don’t think the two night minimum is a hard and fast rule. Leading up to our 3 night stay a week ago, I was seeing one night availability on points for the night of our departure.
We booked just before the deval for 25000 points per night. My wife and I agreed that at 35000 points we would stay here if we decide to revisit the area. Thought it was a much better experience than the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Wonderful service and beautiful location and cozy, comfortable room. The only other Hyatt location we enjoyed as much was the Andaz Papagayo with a Suite upgrade and free breakfast at 17000 points per night back in December.
Excited to be going in February 2024. Booked as soon as availability opened for the dates.
just came back from there couple of days ago. Two nights, standard room awards booked last month. I am a globalist and I indicated that it was our 30 year anniversary of meeting for the first time…we were just 19 and 18 college kids 🙂
anyways, they upgraded us to a premium suite on the day of arrival (revealed at the online check in invitation)… a big suite with a forest view, outdoor hot tub and wood burning fireplace. This was our second stay with first one being 9/2021. Over that one, I thought they made a huge improvement in food offering in presentation, choice and quality. Another thing I noticed was I was very impressed with their hospitality. first time wasn’t bad either but much better this time. From the gate agent greeting us with a parking tag to waitresses bring our deserts, everyone congratulated our anniversary through out our stay. May be to someone paying over $2000 a night this is mandatory and totally expected but I thought it was totally worth the points spent. Off peak redemption would be even better.