Traveling on a student budget can be difficult, and that is exactly why I have focused so much of my energy on maximizing points and miles.
Unlike many TPG writers, I try to stretch my rewards over as many trips as possible rather than book luxury flights and hotel rooms. However, even with this approach, I’m willing to make an exception when there is a deal that’s too good to pass up.
Recently, I ran into a handful of incredible deals for Bali, Indonesia, so I was able to book multiple nights in luxury hotels without breaking the bank. This is all because of Hyatt’s generous award chart and the fact that I could transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the hotel chain.
To see if you can duplicate my upcoming trip to Bali, let’s take a closer look at how I booked six nights in high-end hotels for only 36,000 points.
World of Hyatt sweet spots in Bali
A TPG staff and reader favorite, Hyatt’s World of Hyatt program has many redemption sweet spots.
There’s an array of options for every type of traveler, ranging from properties at top-tier award rates, such as the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa for 25,000 points per night (off-peak), to more affordable Category 1 hotels costing as little as 3,500 points per night (off-peak).
Hyatt’s Category 1 properties cost 5,000 points per night for a standard award, 6,500 points per night for a peak award and just 3,500 points per night for an off-peak award. With prices easily exceeding $200 a night for limited-service properties in recent years, any of these Category 1 rates present a great deal.
Much to my delight, one of the best places to find luxury Category 1 and Category 2 properties is in Bali. In this region, Hyatt has hotels affiliated with its premium brands like Alila that fall within its Category 1 tier, allowing members to stay in style on a budget.
I was able to book two-night stays at two different Category 1 hotels and another two-night stay at a Category 2 hotel, all for only 36,000 World of Hyatt points.
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Related: 15 dream-worthy Bali hotels to book now
Hyatt Regency Bali
The first hotel I booked was the Hyatt Regency Bali. A beachfront hotel in Sanur situated next to its sister property, the Andaz Bali, this property is an ideal place to start any Bali trip.
Recently renovated, the property provides a relaxing atmosphere thanks to gorgeous landscaping throughout and three tranquil pools.
For my upcoming stay, I plan to apply a Hyatt club upgrade certificate in order to enjoy the on-site Regency Club and reduce my overall food and beverage expenses. Those with Globalist status receive complimentary access to the space.
The total cost of the two-night stay came to 10,000 points (without taxes or fees). Had I used cash, I would’ve spent roughly $402 when booking the member rate. By using points, I received just over 4 cents per point in value, better than double TPG’s valuation of 1.7 cents per point.
Studios at Alila Seminyak
Wanting to get a little closer to the action (and at the request of my friend with whom I will be traveling), I knew I needed to find a hotel in Seminyak.
Looking to use Hyatt points, I initially had my eyes set on the Alila Seminyak, as it has a great beachfront location with a gorgeous infinity pool, which sounded amazing. However, the number of points needed was out of my range of 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
Then I discovered the Studios at Alila Seminyak, a hotel within the larger hotel located only a short walk away from the main property. Bookable for 5,000 points per night, the Studios at Alila Seminyak was a steal. Knowing I’d have access to all the amenities at the main resort, I knew staying here was the better way to go.
The total cost of a paid stay for a Two Twin Bed Studio after taxes and fees would have come to $475, better than the $525 cash rate for a comparable room at Alila Seminyak. However, because I decided to use a total of 10,000 World of Hyatt points for my reservation, I got an astonishing 4.75 cents per point in value.
In order to venture away from the beach and into the dense forest for which Bali is known, I knew my trip would not be complete without a stop in Ubud. After reading a glowing review by TPG’s Andrew Kunesh, I was quickly sold on the Alila Ubud. It will be a great way to end the trip given its secluded setting.
I’m looking forward to exploring the surrounding rainforest and mountains — with a bit of luck, I may even spot some monkeys. Additionally, I’m excited to check out the property’s infinity pool and farm-to-table restaurant.
The Alila Ubud is a Category 2 hotel, so you can book it for 8,000 points on standard award nights, though it can cost as little as 6,500 points on off-peak dates and as much as 9,500 points on peak dates. Considering that my two-night stay would have cost about $472 with cash, I didn’t mind using 16,000 points, as it yielded me a value of 2.95 cents per point.
How you can earn World of Hyatt points
Without many paid stays at Hyatt, some may wonder how I earned enough points for these stays. It was all possible thanks to transferable points.
To have enough points to cover all six nights of my stay, I transferred the 36,000 points I needed to book these award nights from Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which lets you earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of signing up. The card has a $95 annual fee.
Alternatively, the higher-end Chase Sapphire Reserve® currently offers 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. With this card, you’ll enjoy lounge access, an increased earning rate on travel and other benefits. That said, these perks come at a cost; the annual fee is a hefty $550 per year.
If you’re looking for a Hyatt card, the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which has a $95 annual fee, is your best bet. It offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus another 2 points per dollar on the first $15,000 spent on the card within six months of signing up, so you’ll have the ability to earn up to 60,000 points. You’ll also enjoy a free night certificate valid at any Category 1-4 property every year just for holding the card. You can get an additional certificate when you spend $15,000 in a single calendar year.
This trip is a perfect example of an opportunity to use points and miles to take a trip that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience. After all, as a student on a budget, it would be hard to come up with the $1,300 needed to pay for this trip out of pocket.
Factoring in the ease of earning World of Hyatt points with Chase, you won’t have to break the bank (or drain your loyalty balances) in order to enjoy some time in paradise.