I LOVE a good luxury hotel! It is one of the reasons that I travel hack – to stay at hotels that I normally couldn’t afford to. In contrast, that is great when you are traveling with a spouse or on a girl’s trip, which usually doesn’t work for family trips. I would run through points WAY too fast. Recently, I traveled to Queenstown, New Zealand, and stayed at both types of hotels. That is why travel hacking is so perfect – you can play it any way you want! Let’s look at a family stay vs. luxury stay in Queenstown, New Zealand.
We arrived at night in New Zealand after a great trip to Sydney, Australia. Our plan was to leave early to head to Te Anau and then on to the Milford Sound area. It just didn’t make much sense to pay more in points/miles for a luxury stay for just sleeping. I booked the Holiday Inn and Suites Queenstown, an IHG Hotel. This hotel was 39,000 a night to book, which meant I could use a free night certificate for it. The certificate came from this card that also comes with Platinum status and is just a $99 annual fee.
I had jokingly told Jess that I was staying at a Holiday Inn and would be slumming it! Not so! We were upgraded to a suite, and the room was great, with a view of the lake. I honestly could have stayed my whole visit in this hotel. It was walkable in minutes to the downtown center and just a very comfortable stay with the friendliest staff.
I did a couple of luxury stays in Queenstown because I like to hotel hop (and do research for our readers). The first stop after visiting Milford Sound was another property that you can book with IHG points. It is not technically an IHG property, but they have an agreement with the Mr. and Mrs. Smith brand. I have never stayed at this brand and was anxious to try it. You can learn more about this boutique-style brand here.
I ended up trying two of these brands because I had a bit of trouble deciding! 😜 First up: Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Central Private Hotel.
The Dairy Private Hotel was our next stay. This, too was bookable with a free annual night certificate if you wanted to top it off with some points.
The Carlin Hotel is a Small Luxury Hotel of the World and is bookable with Hyatt points. I booked two nights for 40,000 points each night. This room costs about $1500/night to stay at. While each of my hotels in Queenstown was nice, and I would have no trouble staying in any again, this one was INCREDIBLE.
Gorgeous views of the lake, luxury EVERYTHING, free breakfasts (eggs Benedict, etc.), free non-alcoholic drinks and about 10 full-size snacks, canapés every evening, and a bottle of wine were included.
Interestingly, I spent about 40K in points per night for each hotel, which were all great hotel stays. You can absolutely see why we say that Hyatt has outsized value when you look at what I got for my luxury hotel stay for the same amount of points. My family stay vs. luxury stay in Queenstown, New Zealand, proves that Hyatt is the choice for when you want luxury. However, if luxury isn’t your endgame, there are many other options wherever you travel.
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