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Q: I have so many hotel points due to cancelled work and leisure trips during the pandemic, including Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and IHG Rewards. Where are the best options to use these on ski lodging next season? —Elisa Murray, Washington, D.C.
A: Well, that’s a good problem to have. The key to using your hotel loyalty points is to plan early, so your question comes at a great time as this ski season is winding down and thoughts turn to planning for next season.
I included a couple more loyalty programs below, in case someone else with the same question is reading this, or if there are skiers out there wondering which points programs have great lodgings for skiers in their respective offerings. (Spoiler: They all have ski-town properties, but some have more—or more luxurious hotels—in their portfolios.)
All loyalty programs also have stringent expiration policies, some as strict as 12 months, which I included below, so make sure you’re keeping track of which ones are set to expire first and use accordingly.
Below, I rounded up some of my favorite hotels and resorts that you can book on points, but definitely log into your various accounts and see what’s on tap at your go-to resorts. And remember, booking early is absolutely key when booking with rewards. In fact, getting on it now would be a good idea. Happy shopping!Section divider
The Bonvoy program features one of the biggest ranges of hotel levels of any of the loyalty programs, so you can stretch your points as far as possible by staying at the comfortable but more basic Residence Inn brand or treat yourself at the St. Regis, W, or Ritz-Carlton.
Points Expiration Policy: After 24 months without qualifying activity
Brands: St. Regis, W Hotels, JW Marriott. Marriott Delta Hotels, Westin, Le MERIDIEN, Sheraton, Springhill Suites, AC HOTELS, Aloft Hotels, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element
Westin Snowmass, Colo.
The conveniently located resort hotel at the base of Snowmass has prime slope access, several restaurants, and the mod Vue lounge for après-ski hangouts. It was bought last summer by an Atlanta-based investment firm which plans to renovate the 254-room Westin and turn it into a Marriott boutique-inspired Autograph Collection property. Keep an eye on this one if you like to be among the first to check out new properties.
Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek, Colo.
The National Parks-inspired lodge has the ambience of a storied mountain hotel with modern-day amenities and services. It’s set at the base of the Bachelor Gulch portion of the resort, which is often uncrowded and striped with the blue cruisers that Beaver Creek is best known for. The Ritz’s 21,000-square-foot stone-grotto-lined spa is one of the grandest in the area.
Residence Inn, Breckenridge, Colo.
This budget property got a facelift and a rebrand a few seasons ago and reopened in December 2016. The rooms are clean and modern, and range from studio to two-bedroom suites—each with stocked kitchens and room to spread out and stash those typically bulky skier-type things. The Residence Inn is located in downtown Breckenridge, just off of Main Street, and the lodge runs a skier shuttle to the base of Peak 9 and other parts of town. Double bonus: Complimentary breakfast, and the hotel is also pet-friendly.
Hotel Park City, Utah
This 100-room property set just far enough off Main Street to feel like a true retreat is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. All of the units are suites with either kitchens or kitchenettes and enough room to spread out while easily accommodating families or couples traveling together. The hotel’s rustic architecture and decor—lots of dark wood and stone—makes it reminiscent of National Park lodges, though the luxe amenities, from the 10,000-foot spa and fitness center to the heated outdoor pool, put Hotel Park City solidly on the higher end of the spectrum.Section divider
Hilton boasts a similar number of brands as Marriott, though fewer luxury properties and more mid-range options, so if extending your points over as many nights as you can is your goal next winter, your Hilton Honors points will get you there.
Points Expiration Policy: After 15 months since last activity
Brands: Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy, Curio, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, LXR Hotels and Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Signia, Tru, Tapestry, Tempo, Motto
Waldorf Astoria Park City, Utah
The resort hotel’s enviable location just downhill from the base of the Canyons side of Park City Resort is even served by its own small lift that takes guests right to the Canyons village. The rooms, consisting of king and two-queen guest rooms up to four-bedroom suites—were all updated for the 2019-’20 season. As expected, amenities at the Waldorf are plentiful and luxurious, from the sprawling heated outdoor pool and hot tubs to the full-service spa and fitness center with extensive group classes on tap.
Valdoro Mountain Lodge, Breckenridge, Colo.
Walking distance to the lifts at Breck’s Peak 9, Valdoro is a comfortable, no-frill ski lodge with studios up to roomy three-bedroom suites, all with kitchens, fireplaces, and oversized jetted tubs. Amenities include a fitness center, a lounge with pool and games, an on-site restaurant, outdoor pool and hot tubs, and a free shuttle that drives people to Breck’s main street. Bonus: free parking.
Hampton Inn & Suites, Truckee, Calif.
When having a little more room to spread out trumps a spa or on-site dining, a place like the humble Hampton Inn & Suites might fit the bill. The property comprises king and queen rooms up to two-bedroom suites, plus complimentary breakfast, outdoor heated pool and hot tub, communal fire pit, and small fitness center. Hampton is 11 miles from Northstar and 13 miles from Squaw.Section divider
World of Hyatt
The Hyatt hotel collection focuses on resort experiences at vacation destinations, a good handful of which are at ski resorts.
Points Expiration Policy: After no activity for two years
Brands: Andaz, Alila, Caption by Hyatt, Thompson Hotels, Hyatt Centric, Park Hyatt, Miraval, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Destination Hotels, Joie de Vivre
Hyatt Place Keystone, Colo.
With 100 rooms and 15 suites, this low-key Hyatt property has plenty of options for groups of all sizes. Accommodations are comfortable but not luxurious, plus a complimentary breakfast buffet is served daily. There’s also a small menu of shareable eats served at The Bar as well as grab-and-go items available 24/7 at The Market. Communal areas include a bright lobby, small hot tub, and fitness room.
Lodge at Spruce Peak, Stowe, Vt.
At the base of Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield, the Lodge at Spruce Peak is one of Hyatt’s Destination By Hyatt properties. There are 250 impeccably appointed lodge rooms, suites, and penthouses, cabins, and townhomes, so there’s no shortage of room types to suit different groups. Ski-in/ski-out to the slopes of Stowe, the Lodge at Spruce Peak offers the full resort experience thanks to all the bells and whistles skiers have come to expect, including spa, fitness center, several eateries, and heated outdoor pool. The property is also pet-friendly.
Hyatt Centric Park City, Utah
Tucked into the base on the Park City side of the ski resort, the Hyatt Centric is one of the brand’s mid-level resorts and is another one to offer many different types of rooms, from basic guest rooms up to 2,700-square-foot four-bedroom residences. You’ll come back after a day on slopes to a heated outdoor pool, Escala Provisions Company Restaurants and Bar, a grab-and-go market, and the shops, bars, and restaurants of downtown Park City a stone’s throw away.
Hotel Schweitzerhof Zermatt, Switzerland
Travel to Europe next season is definitely not a given, but when it does open back up, using points at one of the handful of Alps hotels in the Hyatt portfolio is a great way to trim down costs. The Hotel Schweitzerhof Zermatt is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which partners with Hyatt’s loyalty program. This charming Zermatt chalet blends an Old World aesthetic with modern amenities, from indoor pool to full-service spa, all ski-in/ski-out to the slopes.Section divider
InterContinental Hotels Group, IHG, is the parent company of the Holiday Inn franchise and has grown to encompass a large range of lodging types, from the higher-end Kimpton and Crowne Plaza to extended-stay hotels.
Points Expiration Policy: Points expire after 12 months without earning or redeeming nights
Brands: Avid, Atwell Suites, Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, EVEN Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resorts, Hotel Indigo, HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Regent Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses Hotels & Resorts, Staybridge Suites, voco
Kimpton Armory, Bozeman, Mont.
New to the IHG portfolio and one of its higher-end hotels, the Kimpton Armory repurposed the city’s old Armory for this four-star hotel (Bozeman’s first and only) that’s 25 minutes from Bridger Bowl and about an hour from Big Sky. Appreciated guest amenities include the heated rooftop pool a hot tub with amazing 360-degree views, several on-site restaurants and bars, and even rooms with Peloton bikes.
Holiday Inn & Suites, Durango, Colo.
The Holiday Inn, 25 miles from Durango Mountain Resort, has guest rooms and two-room suites that are tidy and comfortable, plus a fitness center, pool, and sports bar with 13 high-definition TVs and over 15 Colorado craft beer selections.
Staybridge Suites, Carson City, Nev.
The Staybridge brand is designed for longer stays, so skiers can expect more room to spread out and fewer distractions of people coming and going constantly. The suites all have fully equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own meals, plus there’s a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, business center, and complimentary evening reception with apps and beverages three nights a week. What’s more, this property is brand-new as of Spring 2021.Section divider
Wydham’s rewards program is available at a surprising number of hotels and resorts that will doubtless be familiar to you. From basic motels to vacation club experiences, there’s pretty much something for all skiers and budgets.
Points Expiration Policy: After 18 months of no activity
Brands: AmericInn, Baymont, Caesars Rewards, Days Inn, Dazzler, Dolce Hotels & Resorts, Esplendor, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, La Quinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8, Trademark Collection, Travelodge, TRYP, Wingate, Wyndham Garden, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham, Wyndham Vacation Clubs
Club Wyndham Resort at Avon, Colo.
Set just across the road from the Eagle River in the town of Avon, this property at the entrance to Beaver Creek offers studios to three-bedroom condos with a game room, pool, fitness center, and valet parking. One of the things we love: The Riverfront Gondola ferries skier up to the Beaver Creek base, so no need to bother fetching your car or dealing with pricey parking at the resort.
Baymont By Wyndham Whitefish, Mont.
The clean, comfortable, and no-frills Baymont sits eight miles from the slopes of Whitefish Mountain. Skiers can expect complimentary daily breakfast, heated indoor pool, free parking, and pet-friendly guest rooms, which range from king and queen rooms to studio and one-bedroom suites.