One for the Parents: Free Nights at Milan and Zurich’s Finest Hotels

One for the Parents: Free Nights at Milan and Zurich’s Finest Hotels
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Image courtesy: Hyatt Hotels
 

One for the Parents: Europe and Alaska in One Epic Award Booking

Part 1: Weaving Two Trips Into One
Part 2: Free Nights at Milan and Zurich’s Finest Hotels
Part 3: On to Alaska

Staying in Milan and Zurich

Having thoroughly enjoyed our stays at the Hyatt Churchill in London and the Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, staying at the Park Hyatt Milan and Park Hyatt Zurich were high priorities for this trip. Happily, award rooms were available for each of the requested nights of the trip.

Park Hyatt Milan

The Park Hyatt Milan overlooks the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest and most magnificent shopping districts, originally built in 1865.

Nearby is the Piazza Duomo, a vast cathedral which began construction in 1386. The cathedral hosts 135 spires and 2,245 statues.

The Park Hyatt Milan also five minutes away from the Alla Scala Theatre, one of the world’s most famous opera houses, and is ten minutes away from the Brera Pinacoteca Art Gallery featuring masterpieces by many of the world’s most renowned artists.

The Park Hyatt Milan is home to VUN, the first hotel restaurant in Milan to be granted a Michelin Star and several lounges and bars along with the usual array of Park Hyatt amenities.

The daily rate for rooms at the Park Hyatt Milan during their stay comes to a staggering…$625 per night. Because my parents were able to book their rooms prior to the Hyatt Award Chart Changes implemented on January 7th 2014, the room cost only 22,000 points per night, transferred from Ultimate Rewards.

Park Hyatt Zurich

Located amidst the most prestigious banks and financial companies of Paradeplatz Square, the Park Hyatt Zurich is located minutes away from the boutiques of Bahnhofstrasse, Old Town, Niederdorf, the Congress Hall and Opera House.

parkhuus, the hotel’s main restaurant purposely named in all lower-case, offers locally sourced options such as free-range chicken, oven-roast veal chop and bison tenderloin prepared by a world-class culinary team, and offers a two-story, 3,000 bottle wine library with a spiral staircase. Its open-plan kitchen allows diners to enjoy views of the cooking staff at work.

The ONYX Bar offers not only a wide array of signature cocktails but also the opportunity to learn from “Bar Chef of the Year” Wolfgang Bogner himself, with regularly scheduled mixology classes. Be prepared: the three-hour sessions aren’t cheap at roughly $240 per person.

Nights at the Park Hyatt Zurich during their stay come in at $707 per night. Once again, by booking prior to the Hyatt chart changes, rooms were secured for just 22,000 points per night.

While Hyatt award rooms are typically completely free of charge, a tax of roughly $5 per night is levied at all hotels in Zurich and appears to apply to award nights, as well; this charge is customarily collected at the hotel, whether booking in advance or not.

High Class, High Value

In total, two nights at each of these 5-star properties comes to a gulp-inducing 88,000 points under the old booking chart, all of which were transferred from Ultimate Rewards.

That’s enough to chew through the sign-up bonuses for two Chase Sapphire Preferred cards, which offer 40,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to a variety of programs including Hyatt’s, making it possible to apply those points towards nights like these.

Under the new chart, both of these properties are moving up to Hyatt’s new Category 7, meaning in the future nights will cost 30,000 points each. Reserving nights under the old rules saved 24,000 points in total, turning unlikely stays into reality.

Is it worth applying so many points in this manner? In my opinion, it is, as Hyatt still offers arguably the best redemption value of any global hotel chain. Consider this: even at 30,000 points per night, nights at Hyatt’s best properties are an incredible value compared to the absurd 70,000-95,000 points per night required by Hilton for stays at its best properties. Plus, Ultimate Rewards points are among the easiest to earn, thanks to the different category bonuses offered by the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred and Ink cards (each are located on our Sign-Up Links page).

Given how expensive these rooms would be normally, these redemptions are worth 2.8¢ per point in Milan and 3.2¢ per point in Zurich, easily besting the 2¢ per point target we typically strive to achieve in redeeming Ultimate Rewards points. Even at the new 30,000 points per night Category 7 level, travelers can net 2.1¢ per point in Milan and 2.4¢ per point in Zurich, so the devaluations really aren’t that bad from a value standpoint, simply lowering outstanding to great.

Of course, it’s also still possible to apply the 2 free nights at any Hyatt location offered by the Hyatt Visa Card to stays at these properties, despite their promotion to a new points category. This offers absurd value given the low minimum spend of $1,000 required and the trick to get around most of the annual fee as explained on our Sign-Up Links page.

Overall, I can’t wait to hear back with full reports on each of these locations from their stay. While the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme remains my only Park Hyatt stay to date, the attention to detail and quality of the staff, food and amenities was outstanding there, and I’ve no doubt the same will hold true in Milan and Zurich.

Next up, we shift our attention back to flights, picking up our award trip back to Florida from Zurich and head on to Alaska for a grand total additional charge of $0!

Images courtesy: Hyatt Hotels
 

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About PointsAway
Casey Ayers is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. After amassing enough miles and points to travel anywhere in the world for almost free in less than six months, he developed PointsAway as a way to help others make travel dreams big and small come true.
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