Last year I visited Monterey, California for a promotional opportunity with IHG. I had never been to the rugged, central California coastal town but I was really excited to check it out as I had only heard great things! Spoiler: It did not disappoint. With so much natural beauty and plenty to explore, Monterey is definitely a place I would go back to! It reminded me of my hometown in Humboldt County, California….but better 🙂 Here is how you can also use points and miles to visit Monterey!
When it comes to getting to Monterey, you have a few options. First, you can fly right into the Monterey airport. It is a small airport, and sometimes those smaller airports charge more. You can fly direct to Monterey on United Airlines from Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. On American Airlines, your direct flight options are Dallas and Phoenix. Alaska Airlines offers direct flights from San Diego and Seattle. Lastly, you can fly direct on Allegiant from Las Vegas.
You could find cheaper options by flying into San Jose, which is just over an hour away from Monterey, or San Francisco, which is just under 2 hours away.
When it comes to staying on points in Monterey, each of the major hotel brands has a presence. Below you’ll see a few of our favorite options, and credit cards that you can get to book your stay with points.
I was able to stay at the InterContinental The Clement Monterey during my promotional visit for IHG. This hotel location is fantastic. It is located on the famous Cannery Row with shops and restaurants within walking distance. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also right down the street within walking distance. The hotel is right on the edge of the water.
Prices here are a little (a lot) much if you ask me. In a quick search I was seeing nights from 70K-100K points a night. Yikes!
The Hyatt Regency Monterey will cost you much fewer points at 20K Hyatt points per night at standard pricing. The hotel is located on a golf course, has two heated outdoor pools, and word on the street is that they offer a free s’mores kit at check-in.
I would use the points from this card for a three-night stay here.
If having more space and a kitchen is more your thing, check out a Vacasa vacation rental. These can be booked with your Wyndham Rewards (Capital One and Citi both transfer to Wyndham). The price for a Vacasa rental is 15K points per bedroom per night. This 2-bedroom home in Monterey would cost you 30K points per night.
There are also a few Hilton and Marriott properties you can stay at in Monterey. You can use your Hilton points to stay at the Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, or Embassy Suites in Monterey. With your Marriott points, you can stay at the Marriott Hotel downtown, and there is also a Springhill Suites nearby.
Another option if you want to stay in Carmel is the Comfort Inn Carmel By The Sea. You can book this hotel for 30K Choice points per night, or you can transfer from your Citi Premier to Choice and book for 15K points per night (thanks to Citi transferring to Choice 1:2). This Comfort Inn has modern rooms, free breakfast, and an amazing location (just a few minutes walk to the Carmel Plaza and heart of downtown).
There is plenty to do in Monterey and its neighboring towns. The most popular attraction is Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is a crowd-pleaser for people of all ages! While you are in the area, make sure to walk along Cannery Row and check out the shops and restaurants.
If you’re looking for some nice hikes, you’ll want to visit Point Lobos State Reserve. My sister and I loved hiking there; the views were amazing!
Another thing we did that I really enjoyed was the famous 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. The drive took us through the beautiful town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. We purchased an audio guide through the App Store, which I highly recommend doing! We saw bikers along the way and thought it would be fun in the future to rent e-bikes. The cost to enter is $11.25 per vehicle.
Make sure to also spend time walking the streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea. There is lots of fun shopping and restaurants, and the homes are adorable! They remind me of the homes from old storybook fairytales.
If you go to Monterey, you need to eat at Passionfish. Everything was great, but you have to get the biscuits…I know, random, lol, but I’m not kidding when my sister and I say that these are the best biscuits you will ever have!
For breakfast, hit up Old Monterey Cafe. We loved it so much that we went twice. It’s a popular spot, so be sure to arrive early or be prepared to wait.
Another super cute place we enjoyed was Alta Bakery and Cafe. The food was great, but the outdoor seating area took this place up another notch.
Monterey is such a fun spot for a girls’ trip, a getaway with your significant other, or a trip with the whole family! There is so much to explore in this beautiful coastal town! When you can visit Monterey on points and miles it just makes the trip that much better!
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