Using Your Points at Ski Resorts

Loyal reader Marc writes

Hi – I’ve been reading your blog every day for a few years now and I was wondering if you could put something together on using points and miles for ski trips, as this is the time of year that many people start thinking about winter plans. I have compiled a list of ski resorts where points can be used and I am hoping that you could add some of your wisdom and maybe ask for some help from your readership to build the list. I love to travel all over to ski, and I’ve stayed at many of the hotels on the list below, but I’m always interested in finding out about new ones.

Here’s what I have so far….

Westin Monache (at Mammoth)
Ritz Carlton at Northstar (Tahoe)
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, NV
Embassy Suites, Lake Tahoe
Marriott had three Vacation Clubs in Tahoe
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, CO
Westin Beaver Creek, CO
Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas, Avon / Vail Valley
Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch (Beaver Creek)
Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa
St. Regis, Aspen, CO
Westin will soon operate operate the Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass Village, CO Sheraton Steamboat, CO
Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge at Breckenridge, CO
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, VT (not that close, but near Stratton and Bromley)
Westin Whistler, BC
Hilton Whistler, BC
Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant, QC
Sheraton Davos Hotel Waldhuus (Switzerland)
Intercontinental is building a resort in Davos as well
W is building a resort in Verbier, Switzerland Marriott Residence Inn, Tremblant, QC
Country Inn & Suites, Tremblant, QC
Homewood Suites, Tremblant, QC
Radisson Blu Resort ARC 1950, France
Radisson Blu Resort Trysil, Norway
Radisson Blu Lillehammer, Norway
Radisson Blu Resort Beitostølen, Norway
Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, Sochi, Russia

Anything I’m missing? Maybe more in Europe, South America?

I’m not big into skiing so can’t really comment here, but perhaps several readers are.

Back before the St. Regis Aspen was a category 7 (egads) hotel in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, it would often be an amazing value on cash and points awards.

Beyond that, well, I have to leave it up to readers who ski.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Can’t really add new ones but also curious about the options. From the list we only stated at the Sheraton in Steamboat Springs and really enjoyed it for the ski in / ski location also right next to the kids ski school and Gondola.
    So any additional recommendations are very welcome for our next spring break.
    We are near Boulder, CO though so tend to just head up the local mountain.

  2. I have mixed feelings on using points for ski resorts, at least in the US. On one hand, you can often get great $/point value, as many of the on-mountain properties mentioned above start at a minimum of $500/night during the ski season. At the same time, I feel silly using points for hotels like these, since really the only thing driving up their rates (and hotel category) is proximity to the lifts. They won’t be the best “hotels” you’ll stay at; service, rooms, atmosphere (ski resort = lots of families), and amenities (other than things like ski valet) are generally middling.

    Usually when I use points for trips, I get the feeling like I’m “stealing” something, like I shouldn’t possibly be allowed to get what I can get on points. At ski resorts, though, it usually feels a bit more like I’m the one being stolen from…

  3. The St. Regis in Deer Valley is ski-in/ski-out, but I was very disappointed with the service when I was there.

  4. All the Utah resorts need to be added. In park city ou have hyatt escala lodge (at the canyons), category 4 and a great value. Waldorf Astoria at the canyons, requires lots of points do not a great value, I recommend the Hyatt if you want to stay at the canyons. Deer valley has the St. Regis which is supposed to be amazing. Park city has a few different marriotts. Off the top of my head one is in town, but you can take the town life right to the mountain and the other two are at the mountain. These are timeshare properties. There are also a bunch of other Marriott and hilton hotels 10 minutes or so from the mountains which require less points and are a lot less expensive. Salt lake city is about 35 minutes away do you can always stay there for many of the Utah ski resorts.

  5. Hilton Niseko on the island of Sapporo in Japan was a great ski in ski out location. Lovely mountain, 4000+ vertical feet!

  6. +1 on the Hilton Niseko Village, but it’s more of a challenge to get to (time-wise). Also, though ski-in/out, the Hilton’s backyard slopes are average. You have to either bus it to another one of the of Niseko’s mountains, or take a series of lifts get to better terrain.

  7. The Westin in Snowmass isn’t new. It’s a property they are taking over.

    And the service at the St Regis was kind of spotty, but seems to be getting better since it’s initial opening.

  8. Holiday Inn Whistler. Not luxurious, but cheap and short walk to the slopes.

    Agree the Hilton Niseko is solid. It does have great skiing out the door but you have to sit their avalanche seminar to get access.

  9. Doubletree Breckenridge, 2 minute walk across a small parking lot from the slopes. Stayed last year, being renovated but still a good value, nice breakfast buffet with omelet station. Will be even better once the renovations are complete. Just down the road is a Hilton vacation club of some sort.

  10. There’s also the Waldorf Astoria (Hilton) in Park City at the Canyons.

    FYI – the 2 marriott vacation clubs in PC are Mountainside and SummitWatch. There’s also the hotel – Marriott Park City.

  11. One of e best ski vacations of my life was last year at the St Regis in Deer Valley. Got upgraded to a fabulous suite and free hot breakfast each morning with my Platinum status. Saving my points to go back.

  12. Perhaps it would also be helpful to list the points needed per night to stay at these resorts. For example, the Hampton Inn Suites at a local New England Mtn is 40K Hhonors points/night probably not a great points deal.

  13. The soon to open SPG Snowmass hotels have had FANTASTIC cash and points availability, so I recommend looking into that if anyone wants to visit there. I also got cash and points at the Westin Beaver Creek last year, which was great. This year I have booked there just on points so far. The Hyatt Beaver Creek is a better location for most, but it does require a four night minimum during ski season (though I hear they make exceptions if you use your two free Hyatt nights there).

  14. This is a slightly different question but I’d posted it on FlyerTalk a little while back:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/1386689-ski-vacation-colorado-using-points-residences.html

    What I’d love to do is use points to stay at a “residence”/condo type place, not just a hotel room. Do people have any successful examples of this kind of redemption? As far as I could tell, the hotel chains that had residence type properties would allow a points redemption on the “hotel” part of the property but not the “residence” part of the property.

    Getting, e.g., a nice 3BR apartment to split with friends would be awesome…

  15. Both the St. Regis in Deer Valley and the Westin in Beaver Creek have residence-type options. I’ve been to the St. Regis 4 times now (using 20,000 points for a regular room) and have been upgraded to a suite 3 of those times with my gold status (2 of those times were actually during President’s week when the rooms run over $1500 per night and the suites over $2000 per night). The room has a full kitchen with table that seats 6. The Westin in Beaver Creek also has 1 and 2 BR suites with full kitchens. For 30,000 points per night, we were able to confirm a 2BR suite in advance with a full kitchen and table for 8. The Westin Whistler has junior suites with a small kitchenette for the regular room redemption as well. And while I have not stayed there yet, I have a reservation using 20,000 points to stay in the Sheraton Steamboat in a suite (there are only a few of them) with 2 queens, 2 baths, full living room, dining room (4 chairs on one side of large table), kitchenette (no stove, no dishwasher, microwave & mid size fridge), dishes and sink.

    As Chas mentioned before, ski resorts offer some great point values. On my President’s Week trips to the St. Regis Deer Valley in 2011 and 2012, if you factor in the upgrade, we were able to get a value of over 12.5 cents per point (20,000 per night x 4 nights, 5th night free = 80,000 points. Free upgrade to suite which cannot be had for under $2,000 per night x 5 nights = $10,000. $10,000 / 80,000 points = 12.5 + cents per point). Not bad for points earned through credit card sign-up bonuses and spend. And despite some of the reviews, the St. Regis Deer Valley could not be a better resort. We’ve had great service every time, even when comparing to comparable Ritz Carltons (Lake Tahoe) and Four Seasons (Jackson Hole). By the way, the FS Jackson Hole can be had with Membership Rewards points, albeit A LOT of them!

  16. Hyatt Vacation Club in Aspen, Avon, Brekenridge and Beaver Creek, CO. Plus Truckee, CA and Incline village, NV. 12K for studio, 15K for one bedroom, 23K for two bedroom, 30K for three bedroom.

  17. i can give back for the westin in Beavercreek. Nice hotel, but resort fee. Possibility to buy a week for 2800 USD + 60000 points (villa small) but have to go to a sales presentation. They want to change the redemtion category and don’t offer any cash and points stays during the winter season but did last year.
    I booked 2 weekes last year with cash and points 😉

  18. If you don’t mind taking a local bus (for free) you can stay at one of the hotels in Summit County in CO to save a ton of cash. The resorts can also be a lot cheaper than ripoff Aspen or Vail/Beaver Creek. $110 for a lift ticket? Are they insane?

    I live in Denver though so I just drive to/from every weekend and the only problem I have is the disaster of a drive that is I-10.

  19. @Jim – We will usually take the side road for as much of the way as we can, but there are some spots where you cannot avoid it and just have to suffer through it. We’re coming from DIA so the only other way would be US6 out of Golden and we’ve never gone that way so no telling how bad it is too.

  20. In regards to Whistler, the Fairmont Chateau is also ski in/out. The hot tub and pool area looks in the general direction of the slopes – though an angled, off-set view – but it still makes for a decently luxurious and relaxing experience. Preferred to the Hyatt, at least, and not in the heart of the village so a little more peaceful. You can walk 5-7 minutes or take the shuttle bus to the village.

  21. crimson12,

    Using Hyatt points for vacation club properties may work to do what you want to do. Hotels.com’s Welcome Rewards also may work out in the way you wish but that really depends so much on what you pay on average while earning ten credits that it may be a rather poor deal compared to more traditional hotel points — or even airline miles — being used for award nights.

  22. A few other folks mentioned it, but you really need to do some research on Park City (and the Cottonwood Canyons mountains). Just in PC, there is a Marriott Vacation Club liftside to PCMR (cat 6/7?), but if you’re not feeling point-rich there’s a full-service property downtown w/shuttle (cat 5).

    Also, Park City is so close to SLC, they have a free “Quick Start” program for your first day…
    http://www.visitparkcity.com/quickstart/?quickstartstep=1

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