Have I been missing out all this time?
As I was ready to finish my search, I thought about checking out the UR portal. That’s when things got really interesting! The Hotel Intercontinental Montreal goes for 11, 266 points vs 45,000 if you transfer the points from Chase to IHG! The Delta Montreal costs 8,221 UR points vs 35,000 points if redeemed directly with Marriott. However, the Hyatt is still a better deal direct since it would cost over 10,000 UR points using the portal.
As far as I can remember, I have only booked a hotel once using the UR portal. Next time, I will make sure I check there if I’m planning to redeem points. Using these 2 examples, one could stay 4 nights at the Intercontinental or the Delta Montreal for the cost of one night if redeeming direct! I honestly don’t know if this superior value using UR portal is the norm, however, from now on, I will compare and only transfer UR points to hotel partners if: 1. I’m using points and cash, 2. I need to top off a redemption or 3. There’s only availability if I book direct. Keep in mind that if you are paying for your nights booking them via the UR portal will not count towards your elite status with the hotel and of course, will not generate points. This is not the case when booking flights, but this is the way hotels are playing the game.
One last thing, you may have noticed that I focused on UR partners and Hilton in my search, this is due to the fact that I have some kind of elite status with all these hotel chains. It turns out that some of the best hotels in Montreal are boutique hotels, the UR portal in this case also had most of those at competitive prices.