How to stay at the Andaz Costa Rica on points

Our total out of pocket cost for our stay at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo was $0

andaz Costa Rica on points

In this post, I’ll explain how anyone can earn the points needed for a free hotel stay in Costa Rica.  Even if you’re a beginner and have zero points and miles, you can do this.  But like I always suggest, please read the starter tips before applying for any credit cards.

More Costa Rica posts:

We stayed the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo.  I’ll go into more details about the property and our stay, and I’ll post lots more photos in another post. It is one of my favorite hotels and it certainly deserves its own post!  Anyway, the Andaz brand is part of the Hyatt family.

Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, has an award chart with 7 categories.  While this hotel is certainly up to the standards of a high-end property, it is only a category 4!  This is an amazing sweet spot in World of Hyatt’s program considering the cash value.  More on that in a second.

andaz Costa Rica on chase ultimate rewards points

How many Hyatt points does it cost for a free night at the Andaz Costa Rica?

As a category 4 property, rooms are only 15,000 Hyatt points per night at the Andaz Costa Rica.

andaz Costa Rica on pointsIf you’re short on points, you can also book this property on cash and points.  Note that properties limit the amount of rooms that are bookable with cash and points. Just because a room is available to book on points does not mean that it is available for cash and points.  The earlier you book, the better your chances are of finding cash and points.

The cost with cash and points is 7,500 points plus 100$ per night.  This is still a great deal, especially if the rate for your dates is high.

Cash Value

I looked up the rate for a standard room for our dates and the lowest possible was $573 per night.   We received free upgraded rooms and when I looked up the rate for those rooms it was $735 per night.  I’ll discuss the rooms in another post, but they were amazing!

andaz Costa Rica on world of Hyatt points

Even using the standard (lowest) room rate, this is over 600$ per night after taxes and fees.  When you book a Hyatt stay entirely on points (rather than points and cash), there are no taxes or resort fees*.

*This hotel normally charges a resort fee.  The fee is waived for those with top tier World of Hyatt status (Globalist) and for award stays booked entirely on points.

A 600$ per night room for 15,000 points per night is a value of over 4 cents per point.  More on the math a little later, but this is a great redemption value!

andaz Costa Rica on ultimate rewards points

How you can earn the points needed for a free stay at the Andaz Costa Rica

The quickest way to earn a free stay at this beautiful hotel is to earn a credit card sign up bonus or two.

It is very important to plan your strategy around the Chase 5/24 policy

Since Chase is the issuer of cards that are needed to book Costa Rica, I wrote a separate post about the 5/24 rule as it relates to the cards that will be discussed in this post and the post about flights for Costa Rica.  The post will help you plan the order in which you apply for these credit cards so that you can be sure that you do not miss out on some of the best travel credit cards.

The short version: Chase is the issuer of some of the best credit cards for travel. Chase limits the amount of credit cards one can open in a 24 month period.  It is generally believed that anyone who has opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months will not be approved for certain Chase credit cards. This includes any credit card account that shows on your credit report, not just Chase accounts. Once you’re at 5/24, Chase will deny an application for a card subject to 5/24 such as Chase Sapphire Reserve.

andaz Costa Rica on chase ultimate rewards points

You can earn the Hyatt points needed for a 5 night stay at the Andaz Costa Rica by opening only 2 credit cards and earning the sign up bonus on each.

Currently, Chase offers a co-branded Hyatt credit card*.

Update: Chase launched a new Hyatt card the day this was published!  The details below have been updated accordingly.  The bonus potential is better than the previous version of the card!

  • The sign up bonus is 40,000 Hyatt points after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 in the first 3 months.  If you spend an extra $3,000 in the first 6 months (for a total of $6,000 in 6 months), you earn an extra 20,000.
  • If you’re traveling with a spouse/partner, your partner can also sign up for the card.
  • The minimum spend is higher on this card than on the previous offer, but you have the potential for a bigger bonus.  If both partners earned the 40,000 sign up bonus, that’s 80,000 total Hyatt points, which is enough for a 5 night stay at this hotel.
  • If one or both partners earns the extra 20,000, that’s enough for even more nights!

*The previous version of the Hyatt credit card was NOT subject to the 5/24 rule.  This means that even though Chase issues the card, you could still get it if you’re over 5/24.  The new card is too new to know, but rumors are that it will remain a card that is not subject to 5/24.  I’ll update when I have more information!

The annual fee for the new Hyatt card is $95 (the previous version was $75) and it is not waived for the first year.

Annual free night with Chase Hyatt credit card

I often talk about why some credit cards are worth keeping open even if you’ve already earned the sign up bonus and/or there is an annual fee.  Hyatt is one of these cards that I find worth keeping.  There are a few benefits that cardholders receive including a free night at every cardmember year anniversary.   This can be extremely valuable.  The free night can be redeemed at most category 1-4 properties.  Since the Andaz Costa Rica happens to be category 4, I was able to use a free night certificate for one of our nights!  For the $75 annual fee I was able to book a room worth over $600.  The annual fee on the new Hyatt card is $95, but if you’re able to use the annual certificate at a property like this, it may be worth keeping this card even if you do not use it for everyday spending.

How to book a stay potentially worth over $3000 for $190

andaz Costa Rica on points

Remember, both partners can do these steps at the same time as long as you can both meet the minimum spending requirements.

  • Open a Hyatt credit card
  • Pay the annual fee of $95
  • Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn the sign up bonus of 40,000 points
  • Repeat or have partner do these step at the same time if possible
  • Earn another 40,000 points!

Grand total: $190 (in annual fees) for 80,000 points which is enough for a 5 night stay worth over $3000!

If either person spends an extra $3,000 in the first 6 months (for a total of $6,000 in 6 months), you earn an extra 20,000 Hyatt points.  If both earn the bonus, the total comes to 120,000 Hyatt points!

andaz Costa Rica world of Hyatt point redemption

Who wouldn’t love a balcony in the rainforest for free?!

If you’re a beginner, the Hyatt credit card should NOT be your first move.  But don’t worry, the best card for beginners can also get you the Hyatt points needed for this stay!

The best card for beginners is usually a Chase Sapphire card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.   The sign up bonus on each of these is currently 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after meeting the minimum spending requirement.

The other Chase Sapphire card that earns Ultimate Rewards is the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, so if you qualify for a business card, you should consider that one (bonus is 80,000 points).  You can have an Ink Business Preferred card and a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred open, but you cannot have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve open at the same time.

Hyatt is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.  As a result, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.

If you’re under 5/24 and do not yet have a Chase Sapphire card, I highly recommend getting that card first because Chase Sapphire cards ARE subject to the 5/24 rule.  And because I just prefer Chase Sapphire cards over hotel and airline co-branded cards since Ultimate Rewards points are transferrable to multiple airline and hotel programs.

andaz Costa Rica Hyatt redemption

How to book a 6 night stay potentially worth over $3600 for FREE

Remember, both partners can do these steps at the same time as long as you can both meet the minimum spending requirements.

  • Open a Chase Sapphire Preferred card
  • Pay no annual fee because it is waived the first year
  • Spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn the sign up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Repeat or have your partner/spouse do these step at the same time if possible
  • Earn a total of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points!

Grand total: $0 in annual fees and 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points that you can transfer to Hyatt.  This is enough for a 6 night stay worth over $3600!  Now, keep in mind that you also need to consider flights.  So you’ll need another credit card or two. Just make sure you’re planning your 5/24 strategy efficiently!

andaz Costa Rica on points

The Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is one of my favorite hotels! You can book it with Hyatt points. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt, so you can also book it if you have a Chase Sapphire card.

How to book the Andaz Costa Rica with Ultimate Rewards

You have two options:

  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. If you do not have a World of Hyatt account you can create one for free.  You do not have to have a Hyatt credit card to have a World of Hyatt account
  • Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal. This is basically using your points as cash to book through the portal.  The value is usually not as good as transferring points to a loyalty program.
This is actually a great example of a scenario when you would NOT want to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal

andaz Costa Rica chase ultimate rewards points

There are times when it makes sense to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal to book a hotel rather than transferring Ultimate Rewards to a loyalty account to book travel.  But this is NOT one of those times.  For this particular hotel, you will want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt and then book.  I’ll explain why.

Using the Ultimate Rewards booking portal is like using your points as cash to book travel.  It’s similar to cash back cards in that you do not have to worry about award space/availability.  So you’re going to have more options for both hotels and flights.  But like cash back credit cards, the redemption rate is a fixed value.

You’re going to get 1.25 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Preferred or 1.50 with Chase Sapphire Reserve.  This value is usually not as high as transferring points to a loyalty program and then booking through said loyalty program.

If you want to book a Marriott or Ritz hotel with Ultimate Rewards points, it usually makes more sense to use the booking portal. Click here for more info.

Option 1: Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt

Since Ultimate rewards transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, you can book the Andaz Costa Rica for 15,000 Ultimate Rewards per night.  Once you’ve confirmed availability for your dates, you just need to transfer 15,000 Ultimate Rewards per night to your Hyatt account to book a room at the Andaz Costa Rica.

If the room costs over $600 per night after taxes and fees, that is a value of at least 4 cents per point (600/15,000=.04)

Total: 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night

Option 2: Use the Ultimate Rewards booking portal

To book the Andaz Papagayo through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you would need a hell of a lot more than 15,000 points if the rate is $600.

Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • $600/1.25= 480
  • 480 X 100= 48,000 Ultimate Rewards points

Chase Sapphire Reserve is slightly better:

I realize this isn’t quite $600 but it’s close enough, and it will be well over $600 after taxes and fees

andaz Costa Rica on points

  • $600/1.50= 400
  • 400 X 100= 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points
So here are your totals:
  1. Transfer to Hyatt  (15,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night)
  2. Booking portal
    • with CSP (48,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night)
    • with CSR (40,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night)

Now do y’all see why I die a little inside when people want to use this booking portal? Learn how to use your transfer partners! Your points will stretch so much further.

Costa Rica on points

Breakfast with monkeys at the Andaz Costa Rica!

Summary

You can earn a free stay for 2 at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo if each person opens only 1 credit card and earns the sign up bonus!!  If each person opens one more credit card (2 total cards each), you can also get free flights (well, almost free, you’ll have to pay about $80 in taxes and fees roundtrip)!

If you already have lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, this is a great way to redeem them.  But remember, learn how to use transfer partners rather than the booking portal!


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you’re torn between Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, click here for more information and a comparison.

  • Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $4,000 in 3 Months
  • Annual Fee: $95, but waived the first year
  • Bonus Categories: 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you’re torn between Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, click here for more information and a comparison.

  • Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $4,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Bonus Categories: 3 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • Notable benefits: $300 travel credit per calendar year, $100 reimbursement for TSA or Global Entry enrollment, airport lounge access
Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card
  • Bonus:80,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $5,000 in 3 Months
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Bonus Categories: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
World of Hyatt credit card from Chase
  • Bonus: 40,000 Hyatt points, plus 20,000 extra if you spend an additional $3,000 in the first 3 months (so 60,000 total if you spend a total of $6,000 in the first 6 months)
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $3,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Bonus Categories: 4 points per dollar at Hyatt, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, airfare purchased directly from airlines, local transit, and gym memberships
  • Notable benefits: Annual free night at category 1-4 properties (this can be more valuable than the $95 annual fee, so many people choose to keep this card even if they do not use it on a regular basis), Hyatt Discoverist status (benefits include free premium internet and late checkout)
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Bonus: 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $5,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Bonus Categories: 5 points per dollar on flights booked direct through airlines, 5 points per dollar on travel booked through amextravel.com
  • Notable benefits: $200 airline incidental reimbursement per calendar year (click here for more info), $200 total in Uber credits annually, $100 reimbursement for TSA precheck or Global Entry enrollment, airport lounge access
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Bonus:25,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $2,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $195, waived for the first year
  • Bonus Categories: 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines, 2 points per dollar at US restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.
  • Notable benefits: $100 annual airline incidental credit
AAdvantage® Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard®
  • Bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles
  • Minimum spend for bonus: none!! You just have to make one purchase.  Even a pack of gum counts.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Bonus Categories: 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
  • Notable benefits: first checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companions on the same reservation, 10% redeemed miles back, preferred boarding group
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
  • Bonus: 30,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $1,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Bonus Categories: 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America purchases
  • Notable benefits: Annual companion ticket, first checked bag free for cardholder and up to six passengers on the same reservation
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Bonus: 60,000 AAdvantage miles
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $99, waived for first year
  • Bonus Categories: 2 points per dollar on AA purchases, 2 points per dollar at restaurants and gas stations
  • Notable benefits: first checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companions on the same reservation, 10% redeemed miles back, preferred boarding group
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card from Chase

 Click here to read more about how to earn the companion pass from Southwest.

  • Bonus: 40,000 Rapid Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $1,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Bonus Categories: 2 points per dollar on Southwest airfare
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card from Chase

Click here to read more about how to earn the companion pass from Southwest

  • Bonus: 60,000 Rapid Rewards points
  • Minimum spend for bonus: $3,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Bonus Categories: 2 points per dollar on Southwest airfare

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2 thoughts on “How to stay at the Andaz Costa Rica on points

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