Make no mistake, collecting points to use for travel is a hassle. With black out dates and restrictions, actually using them for travel can be an even bigger hassle. That's why loyalty programs are often overlooked as too conflated or difficult to actually enjoy, but those who put in the effort can be rewarded handsomely. Case in point: I recently used a combination of points to fund a visit to a remote island paradise in the southern Maldives. It wasn’t easy, nor was it straightforward, but it enabled me to travel to a place I could never afford otherwise. Here are five astonishing properties around the globe that may not be so far out of reach after all...
Park Hyatt Maldives, Hadahaa: The Maldives is widely known for its hundreds of island resorts, encircled by breathtaking blue waters and staffed by locals. It’s also home to the highest concentration of overwater bungalows anywhere. Of course, staying in one of those resorts typically costs well over $500 per night. Here, 25,000 Hyatt points will buy you a single night on the island, or signing up for Hyatt’s co-branded credit card will get you not one, but two free nights. Plus, those banking up Chase Ultimate Rewards points will be happy to know that they can transfer those points to a Hyatt account at a 1:1 ratio, making a weeklong stay more attainable than you may have previously assumed.
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria: You’ll find Rome high on the bucket list of many Americans, and for good reason. The Italian city is home to a colosseum unparalleled in fame, and St. Peter's Basilica is just a skip away. If you want to stay in the very heart of the city, this property is one of the most historic and well-appointed in the area. Typically, you’ll pay upwards of $450 per night for the privilege, but thanks to the hotel's affiliation with Hilton’s HHonors program, you can find a room here for 80,000 points. Yes, that’s a monumental number, but considering that you can transfer points from nearly any other program or credit card sign-up into the HHonors program, it’s still attainable.
Intercontinental Thalasso: Speaking of overwater bungalows, there’s always Bora Bora. Routinely visited by celebrities and other high rollers, this legendary slice of French Polynesia can be had for less than you probably think. An bungalow goes for just 50,000 IPG points. Even if you don’t have any IPG points to use, you can buy them for 7/10ths of a penny each, which allows you to secure a $1,000 room for about $350. That’s still a lot of cash, for sure sure, but otherworldly snorkeling and some of the finest sand you could ever imagine await.
St. Regis Bali: If you’re looking for a pinch of jungle, a touch of mountain, and a splash of beachfront, Bali has all three. This particular property offers nothing but suites, so you’ll be sure to end up in a plush room. It’ll cost you around 30,000 Starwood points per night, but that beats paying close to $350 per night. Plus, you’ll get a lot of extra perks at no cost, including airport transfers, Internet, and a very lavish breakfast.
Andaz Pagagayo, Costa Rica: This coastal property opened less than a year ago, ensuring fresh and modern amenities everywhere you look. With rooms at $575 and up, staying here on your own dime can be a budget-buster. With around 35,000 Hyatt points, however, spending a night becomes totally possible. Located on a gorgeous coastline that’s great for surfing, the high-end property has views for days. It’s also amongst the cheapest (and closest) places on this list to fly to from the U.S., making a weekend of pampering easily accessible.
Know of any other aspirational properties that you’ve stayed at on points? Let us know in comments below!