Today’s post was written by friends over at Points to Neverland, a blog about maximizing credit cards points of all types to gain otherwise expensive freebies during your vacation.
Universal Orlando Hotel Discounts – A Guide
We love theme park vacations but can’t afford to go as often as we want. In order to cut the cost of our trips, we use points and rarely pay more than a few hundred dollars out of pocket. One of the best ways to save using points is on your hotel. We think these are the top five Universal Orlando hotel discounts, using points.
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1) Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal
A one-mile walk or free shuttle ride to Universal Orlando, the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal is our top pick. This property wins on value alone. It’s a great combination of a crisp, clean, comfortable hotel at a really low price. It’s only 8,000 Hyatt points per night. These can be earned through either The Hyatt Card, which comes with a 40,000 point sign up bonus or through a Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy.
For your 8,000 points, you get a King (or Two Double) with Sofa Bed. The rooms range from 375 to 450 square feet, which is quite large for a standard hotel room. You also get a free continental breakfast with hot options.
2) Loews Royal Pacific Resort
One of Universal’s hotels, the Loews Royal Pacific Resort ranks second on our list because of the extraordinary perks. You get Universal Express Unlimited passes for everyone in the room, both the day you check in and the day you check out. This perk is good at both theme parks (not Volcano Bay). It’s worth between $90 and $200 per person per day, depending on the season. This can easily be worth more than the cost of staying in the hotel.
Not only that, but you get early admission to the parks. When you combine early entry and Universal Express Unlimited, you’ll be able to experience the parks, even during some of the busiest seasons, without much time spent in lines.
The best way to stay at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort on points is with a flexible rewards program. Many programs allow you to redeem “miles” or points for travel. These include programs like Discover it Miles, Capital One Venture, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Barclaycard Arrival, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou among others. In these types of programs, your points will be used to cover the cost at the going rate of the hotel.
3) Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive
This hotel ranks third on our list because of how shockingly cheap it is. You’ll pay 3,000 Starwood points per night on the weekend and 4,000 per night during the week. You can also transfer Marriott points (3:1 rate). In Marriott points you’ll pay 9,000 and 12,000 points respectively. This is unbelievably affordable.
The Starwood Card has a sign up bonus of 25,000 points and the Marriott Premier Card is offering up to 87,500 points. With either card, you could stay over a week at the Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive on the sign up bonus alone.
Why doesn’t this hotel rank higher? Although it’s a 3-star hotel just over a mile from Universal, it’s in need of a refurbishment. The rooms are spacious and clean, but the hotel feels older. We recommend this hotel when saving points is your number one priority.
4) Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando-Nearest to Univ Studios
Get a one bedroom suite with a king sized bed, sofa bed, and full kitchen for 30,000 Hilton points per night. This is a great option for families who want a little more space and a chance to save money by eating in the room. Located just over a mile from Universal, Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando-Nearest to Univ Studios has a free shuttle and a really great free breakfast (something we love about all Homewood Suites).
5) Residence Inn Near Universal Orlando
Opening February 2018, the new Residence Inn Near Universal Orlando is another great option for families. For 30,000 Marriott points per night, you’ll get a 539 square foot studio with two queen beds, a sofa bed, and full kitchen. Add a free breakfast and shuttle to the parks to boot. With Marriott, you get a 5th Night Free on points, so you’ll save some points on longer stays.
The perks at the Universal hotels outweigh the cost relative to other hotels in our opinion. If you have a flexible rewards system, and can use points to stay at any of their hotels, it’s worth it. We chose the Loews Royal Pacific Resort for this list, but could have easily included some other Universal hotels as well.
Also in the hunt were the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando and the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando International Drive North. Both consistently cost around 30,000 points per night and offer great value.