Paris, France: Best Hotels for Free Using Points
Booking in Paris on Points
Having recently acquired the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I knew that Hyatt was a 1:1 ratio transfer partner. The bad thing about the nice hotels in Paris is that they’re expensive in Euros, which means they’re outrageously expensive after making the conversion to USD. While shopping for a way to spend at least one night in a luxury hotel, I had totally ruled out paying $1000+. The only other option is to use points, specifically hotel programs that I could transfer AMEX or Chase points to…
The goal: Find the best value luxury hotel in Paris using either Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points.
AMEX Membership Rewards Options in Paris
AMEX Transfer Partner Options:
- Choice Privileges (Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion etc…) : 1:1 ratio
- No Paris properties?
- Hilton HHonors (Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites etc…): 1 Amex = 1.5 Hilton ratio
- Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel = 80k points or 189€ (~$261) = 0.48 cents/point return.
- Starwood Preferred Guest (W Hotels, Westin, Le Meridien, St. Regis etc…): 1 Amex = .333 SPG Ratio
- Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris = 90k points or 620€ (~$857) or 0.95 cents/point return
- Best Western: 1:1 ratio
- Very few available on points but the (relative) nicest = 36k points or 189 (~$261) = 0.73 cents/point return
- Destination Hotels & Resorts: 30k-40k points for 1-night certificate
- No Paris properties
Seeing how terrible most of these values are on the transfer rates make it worthwhile to take a look at the fixed-value AMEX redemptions, gift cards:
AMEX Fixed Value (Gift Card) Options:
Basically, AMEX has devalued the options here so that the max value you can extract is 0.83 cents/point– pretty pathetic.
- Marriott: 60k points for a $500 giftcard = 0.83 cents/point
- Mandarin Oriental: 120k points for a $1000 giftcard = 0.83 cents/point
- There’s only 1 Mandarin Oriental in Paris and a night will run you 849€ (~$1173)
- Four Seasons: 120k points for a $1000 giftcard = 0.83 cents/point
- Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris nightly rate = 1150€ (~$1589)
AMEX Travel Options:
So, this one is the worse deal yet: if you book through AMEX Travel, you’ll get a fixed return of 0.75 cents/point. For example, a sample booking of the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome prices out to $1,291.82 for a 1-night stay, AMEX would require 172,243 points for this redemption.
Please, PLEASE don’t use your AMEX points like this, unless you’ve got an unlimited supply and have this attitude:
Chase Ultimate Rewards Options for Paris, France
Chase Point Transfer Partners:
- Hyatt Gold Passport (Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz etc…): 1:1 ratio
- Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome = 30k points or 804€ (~$1111) = 3.70 cents/point
- IHG Rewards Club (Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Holiday Inn etc…): 1:1 ratio
- InterContinental : Paris – Le Grand = 50k points or 328€ (~$453) = 0.91 cents/point
- Marriott Rewards (JW Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection etc…): 1:1 ratio
- Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees = 45k points or 469€ (~$648) = 1.44 cents/point
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 1:1 ratio
- No Paris properties
Chase Gift Card Options
Chase has a few travel gift cards, as well– they’re all a better rate than AMEX: typically 10k points for a $100 gift card = 1 cent/point value for Chase gift card redemptions.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Mall
The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel mall offers a fixed return of 1.25 cents/point, this means you’re getting a 66.7% better return on your Chase points over AMEX points! The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome would require ~103,345 Chase points vs 172,243 AMEX points for the same night.
Summary of Best Hotels
So, if headed to Paris, the clear best values for a luxury (or at least very nice hotel) come in at:
- 3.70 cents/point for the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome by transferring 30k Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt Gold Passport.
- 1.44 cents/point for the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees by transferring 45k Chase UR points to Marriott.
- 0.95 cents/point for the Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel by transferring 90k AMEX Membership Rewards points to the Starwood Preferred Guest Program.
BOTTOM LINE: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are much more valuable to have than AMEX Membership Rewards Points in this specific instance, given that you can transfer them to Hyatt and Marriott.