Booking a $1400 Stay at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco for $0

New Year’s Eve is just a couple of nights away and while I normally prefer to stay home and away from the drunk drivers and general ruckus, I thought it would be nice to stay in San Francisco this year. Hotel rates in the city that week are fairly reasonable at around $200 per night. However, come New Year’s Eve, the rate for what is more or less a standard room, skyrockets to over $600! I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco twice and while the club lounge will have amazing views of the fireworks show, I don’t want to stay there again until the place undergoes a serious renovation. The next best option is the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. It has a great location near Union Square and is supposed to be in much better condition than the Hyatt Regency. So I went about booking two rooms for two nights around New Year’s Eve. 

View from the Grand Hyatt San Francisco Source: Hotel website
View from the Grand Hyatt San Francisco
Source: Hotel website

New Year’s Eve rates were well over $500 per room. The night before, they’re more reasonable at around $200 each. Booking two rooms would cost $1,437.38 for two nights.  A Hyatt Points + Cash award, on the other hand, requires 10,000 Gold points + $150. As I’ve demonstrated, booking Hyatt Points + Cash and redeeming Arrival Miles is almost always better than redeeming Gold points. However, the hotel wasn’t offering Points + Cash rates that night. In fact, up until yesterday, they didn’t even offer award nights, so it was between paying over $1,000 or redeeming 40,000 Gold points for two rooms – per night! Needless to say, getting 2.5 cents per point was a great value, so I chose to use points.

Now I needed to book two rooms on the night before New Year’s Eve and since rates were around $200, I didn’t think Points + Cash would be such a good value. I also didn’t like the idea of transferring another 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points for this stay. Then I remembered I had $280 worth of TravelPony referral credits (thanks to all who signed up with my link!) and decided to use it to book one room for the first night, saving me over $200 and 20,000 Gold points. 

As for the second room, I decided booking the cash rate was the way to go. All it would take was around 20,000 Arrival Miles, which is easily generated with $10,000 worth of spend. Thanks to some Amex gift card purchases over the past month, those Arrival Miles are already in my account and cost me $0 out of pocket to generate.

I thought about using my $50 Hotel Engine credit (my referral link), which I banked thanks to my friend Kendra, who referred me when referral bonuses were $50. However, I wanted at least one booking to be eligible for an upgrade, in case an Executive Suite opened up at the last minute and I could use either points or a Diamond suite upgrade to guarantee a better room. If it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve got two rooms on New Year’s Eve for $0 out of pocket. All is well.

To recap, here is what I got out of my redemption:

  • Two standard rooms at the Grand Hyatt over New Year’s Eve, plus an additional night. The paid rate for two rooms on these two nights is $1,437.38, but I used 40,000 Gold Passport points instead. Most of these Gold points were earned from actual hotel stays. I also used Travel Pony credits and $230 cash to book the first night.
  • Club lounge access as part of my Diamond benefit, which includes breakfast. Based on the Club Room upgrade I was offered of $60 per room per night, this can be valued at $240 over two nights.
  • 1,000 point Hyatt Diamond amenity
  • 1,000 point Hyatt mobile app booking bonus

Do you have any hotels booked for New Year’s Eve? How are you balancing using points vs. other types of currencies?

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  1. San Francisco can be really expensive, so I guess all things considered you got a pretty good deal. I’ve stayed at the Grand Hyatt over a long weekend last month and paid about 220$ including tax after a successful BRG claim. I’ve used a DSU to secure an upgrade to an Executive Suite – which was great. I love the lounge over there, though it tends to be full at times since it’s a huge hotel. The location is excellent IMO but I have no idea where’s the best place to be in San Francisco for the fireworks and other NYE celebrations.

    This year I’ve decided to give Bangkok a try for NYE. Didn’t go for anything fancy for this visit, though I saw an interesting rate for the Shangri-La right by the river, and ended up booking a room at the Crowne Plaza. Three nights with cash and two with points, for a total of about 350$+50K including tax. This hotel offers excellent treatment for Platinum members of IHG Rewards, and as always I received an upgrade to the top floor with club access.

    Enjoy your time at the Grand Hyatt!

    • The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins is supposed to be a great place to catch the fireworks show, but we’ll probably end up going to Sausalito. That sounds like an amazing deal you got in Bangkok. Have a great New Year!

  2. Agreed on the Grand Hyatt. Great Hotel. Fast checkin, with instant recognition of status. Great location. Lounge is great, though as noted often crowded (you can always grab a box to take things to your room in). Elevators can be VERY slow under heavy load. And the restaurant on the Mezzanine level is god awful–food is good but service is so slow its not worth going (we waited an hour for our cocktails, let alone our meal, when there were four tables in service at 3pm in the afternoon with four staff on the floor and a number of chefs working). Unacceptable. Avoid. Also of course in SF the parking is crazy. I think its was $65/night for valet, only slightly cheaper for self-park? Something like that. Nuts. So a mixed bag on service but a wonderful hotel. I think you’ll enjoy yourself.

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