My Decision Making Process When Booking a Hotel
I have been in the process of booking a hotel for my wife’s upcoming trip to Nassau over the last few weeks. This was kind of a last minute, unexpected type of thing since her trip to Puerto Rico was canceled after the hurricane damage. We have been eyeing a stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar for a while now so that is what I planned on booking. Easy peasy, or so I thought.
Booking Thought Process
This was a hotel my wife and I tried to stay at for our 10 year anniversary. Even though she would have preferred staying at the now Four Seasons! That reservation got cancelled a month or two before our trip because it wasn’t going to open in time. They gave us a nice little apology package. The Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar has now come full circle and it is replacing another hotel cancelation. Life can be crazy like that!
Since the trip is happening in the heart of winter I was expecting premium prices and Hyatt points to be the best deal. That was until I checked out the nightly rates.
I have to admit I got a little excited and then I remembered that taxes are always high in the Caribbean. And when I clicked through I saw this:
This made the decision a little tougher, $90 in taxes and fees grrrr. It still wasn’t the greatest use of Hyatt points but it was looking better once the taxes were thrown in.
Here is a list of the options you usually face when booking a Hyatt hotel stay:
- Pay $608.33 in cash. You know how I despise paying cash!
- Use 40,000 Hyatt points. A redemption 1.52 cents a point is below average.
- Book the points plus cash rate of $125 plus 10,000 points. This wasn’t really an option because of the high tax rates plus the low room rate.
Going through the Chase portal wouldn’t be an option since the redemption is above 1.5 cents per point. I wiped out my Hyatt credit card 45,000 point sign up bonus on an upcoming Florida Keys 3 night stay. So that would mean the Hyatt points would be transferred from my Ultimate Rewards balance.
Hoping to preserve my UR balance another option popped into my head. If I booked the room as a cash room then I could upgrade them to a club room for only 3,000 points per night. That would save my wife and her friend money on breakfast, evening drinks, and hors d’oeuvres. Food is not cheap in Nassau, especially at the resorts, so this sounded like a great plan.
I still hate paying cash for things so I decided to get some new credit cards to cover it. I was trying to focus my application spree on cards like the Capital One Venture card which would wipe out most of the room cost with the sign up bonus. You all know how that app spree went…
Since I was unable to secure a card that would reduce the cash cost of the room I was left to book the room with Hyatt points. I could have gone with a lounge access room at 27,000 points a night but I didn’t think 14,000 additional points offered a good value option. I think they would have gotten 6,000 points worth of freebies from the lounge (2 nights at 3,000 a night with the cash rate) but not 14,000 points worth. After transferring 40,000 points to her Hyatt account from Ultimate Rewards I booked the room.
I have to admit I was really looking forward to booking them a room with lounge access. And with a decent cash rate being offered for the room this was the perfect opportunity. I think upgrading to club access for only 3,000 points is one of the best deals out there!
But, cash is king in my world! It is easier to replace points than it is to replace cash. That philosophy led me to booking the room with Hyatt points even though it wasn’t the best redemption.
I earned most of these points from the recent Office Depot gift card sales. Which means they came at zero out of pocket cost to accrue. That makes the redemption a little easier to swallow.
What would you have done for this booking? Let me know in the comments.