Comparing the Value of Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

On this post we will compare the potential value of transferring UR points to these 3 hotel families. On a feature post we will turn to Amex Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners.

The idea for this post came from a recent comparison were running for our last minute getaway to Niagara Falls.

Since UR points transfer at a 1:1 rate to all partners, it is easy to compare among them. SPG is not a UR partner, however since Marriott acquired SPG, you can transfer points to Marriott and from Marriott to SPG. Generally, Hyatt tends to offer the best value when transferring your UR points. The top Hyatt hotels cost 30,000 points per night. The top Marriotts 45,000, SPG 90,000 to 105,000; Ritz-Carlton 70,000 (60,000 PointSaver Reward), and the top IHG hotels require 60,000 points per night.

So why not just go Hyatt all the time? Well, that’s where things get interesting since we have to also consider the issue of award night availability and if there is a hotel at or near the location you wish to go to. In our case, the nearest Hyatt hotels are in Buffalo, NY and Toronto, ON. Don’t let the picture of the Falls fool you!

This is a super sweet deal, with 24,000 points we could stay at this hotel for 3 nights.

The Park Hyatt Toronto, arguably the best Hyatt in Ontario, goes for 15,000 points a night, but sadly there is no award space available.

The Hyatt Regency Toronto is not available on Friday, however there is award space on Saturday and the possibility of using Points + Cash.

This would also be a great deal! The main drawback is the distance from Niagara Falls. However, I could see us staying at a couple of these locations as part of a future visit to this region.

Let’s take a look at what’s available via IHG. Of the 14 IHG in the area, 5 have award nights available. The cost per night ranges from 25,000 to 45,000 points.

The Holiday Inn, Niagara Falls – by the Falls

Note: these price do not include taxes and fees.

The second hotel we would consider is the Crown Plaza (formerly Brock Plaza) in the past we stayed at this hotel several times.

These hotels get us closer to the Falls, but at first glimpse the value for our points is underwheling.

Marriott has more properties in this area and as usual there are plenty of award nights available. Nonetheless, our top choice Marriott, the Marriott Fallsview is not available on Saturday. The best value would be a Friday or Sunday stay, we specially like the Reward With Cash Upgrade. Which goes for 40,000 points and about $175 per night.

I quickly gave up on SPG and Ritz-Carlton properties in the area. Strangely enough SPG has a property that caught my attention since it goes for 9,000 points per night, but a Yelp review warned about bedbugs. The review included pictures and a video of a room with bedbugs! There was no response from the hotel. The Sheraton available using SPG Starpoints costs 30,000 UR points per night, but this would be a room without view. The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto goes for $150 and 50,000 points per night. We have relatives in the area and also there is so much one can do with 50,000 UR points!

Putting things in perspective, what we described above applies in many other travel situations. Hyatt’s footprint is rather limited when compared to the competition, however, if there is a good Hyatt at your dentition of interest you should give it serious consideration. I’m keeping my hopes that at some point in the future I will be able to find a great deal at an IHG property. In this situation I find that the Marriott Fallsview might be a bit overpriced, I think this property should charge 25,000 points for the type of rooms we are interested in. There are many category 8 properties around the world that put this Fallsview to shame!

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