We are planning a trip to Australia to visit Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. We visited Australia a few years ago, so we wanted to try out some new places while in Sydney. And, we recently covered how to get to Australia using airline miles. Now that flights are booked, let’s figure out where to stay in Sydney.
Our first time, we stayed at a timeshare in the countryside for a week and spent a night in Sydney at the Westin Sydney so we could explore the city. It was a wonderful hotel, with great amenities.
If you were interested in staying at the Westin Sydney, it would cost 12,000 Starwood points a night or $307/night (which is $0.0255 per point value). If you apply for the American Express Starwood Preferred Group personal card, you’ll receive 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. That’s almost enough for 2 free nights, which is certainly worth more than the $120 annual fee. There’s another offer for 25,000 points after $5,000 spend in 6 months (10,000 points after 1st spend, then 15,000 points after $5,000) for a waived first year annual fee of $65. You decide whether an extra $4,000 in spend and waived annual fee is worth it. I think so.
You can also get the business version of the American Express Starwood Preferred Group card, which also offers 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Then, you’d almost have enough for 4 nights!!!
Our timeshare was out in the countryside and cost us $199 to convert a week at our timeshare to their unit. The Grand Mercure Bowral was a spacious and modern timeshare in a small little town that had nearby wineries and plenty of other activities for us to do.
Where We’re Staying For This Visit
Park Hyatt Sydney
If you’ve read any miles and points blog, EVERYONE raves how great Park Hyatt properties are, so we’re going to stay 1 night at the Park Hyatt Sydney. When I booked this room, I was so disappointed to learn that Hyatt Inspire certificates are no longer accepted at the Park Hyatt Sydney. Such a bummer, but, whatever, these rooms are still an amazing deal at only 22,000 points per night.
This is much better than the $700+ per night if you were paying cash!
Since we used points and couldn’t specify which room we wanted at time of reservation, I’ll contact the hotel a couple of weeks before we arrive to request a room overlooking the Sydney Opera House.
If you apply for the Chase Hyatt Visa, you’ll get 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt property worldwide, including ANY Park Hyatt location. You’ll need to spend $1,000 within 3 months, but will receive an upgrade to Hyatt Platinum level membership and 1 FREE night each year (Category 1-4 locations) for the annual fee of $75. This card will get you 2 free nights at the Park Hyatt… and with your upgraded status to Platinum, getting an upgraded room should be no problem!
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney
I have the US Bank Club Carlson Visa, so we get our last night FREE on redemption stays of at least 2 nights. So, we’re taking advantage of this benefit and using 50,000 points to book two nights at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney. When I booked my reservation, I wrote about how much I’m in love with my Club Carlson Visa.
Our room would have been 100,000 points for the reservation, but our redemption was discounted automatically since Radisson’s website knows that I have the US Bank Club Carlson Visa.
If we had to pay cash for our room, it would have been at least $238 per night, or almost $500 for the two nights.
If you’d like to apply for the US Bank Club Carlson Visa, you will earn 85,000 points (50,000 after 1st purchase + 35,000 after spending $2,500 within 90 days) and Gold status. Plus, each year, you’ll earn 40,000 points upon renewal of your card for the $75 annual fee.
Worldmark By Wyndham Sydney Timeshare
We love our timeshare because it allows us to stay in amazing locations at a fraction of the incremental cost of hotels. I earn a lot of hotel points, but even my accounts have their limits. So, it is nice to have a source of annually renewable points upon which to travel with. We love having our own kitchen and having the equivalent space of a condo to enjoy. Besides, there are some timeshare locations and experiences that even the nicest hotel chains would be hard-pressed to match, like the 2,000+ sq ft 4 bedroom Presidential Suite at the Worldmark Indio.
Worldmark has 20 locations in Australia, 2 in New Zealand, and 1 in Fiji. Such an abundance of locations for someplace that few will ever visit even once in their lifetime!!!
It looks like a beautiful location, that’s in the heart of the city. There are plenty of choices in how to spend your Worldmark points, such as Studios, 1 Bedroom, and 2 Bedrooms. Then, you can choose between lower floors, upper floors, and “Sky Suites” which are the top floor. They even have Presidential Suites, which are the best of the best!
Since it is only the two of us on this trip, we picked a 1 bedroom on an upper floor. Even when choosing a 1 bedroom, there were a plethora of options, including some that were designated as “special needs” for those that have mobility issues. These point values are for 2 nights.
We chose the Upper Deluxe 1 bedroom. Our annual dues are basically $1,200 a year for our 20,000 points, so this stay cost us the equivalent of $288 (or $144 per night)(3,800 points / 20,000 annually * $1200 dues) + $75 for housekeeping. So, net $363 for two nights, or $181.50 a night.
If you’re interested in a Worldmark by Wyndham vacation, send me an email here, and I’ll refer you. Generally, they offer a 3 days/2 nights getaway for $99 or 4 days/3 nights for $129 in Las Vegas, Anaheim, Indio, or Seattle. You’ll have to attend a timeshare presentation, but you’ll also get a $50 American Express card, reducing your mini-vacation to less than $80!
Other Sydney Hotel Possibilities
Intercontinental Sydney Darling Harbour Hotel
The Intercontinental Sydney Darling Harbour Hotel is brought to you by the same people who run Holiday Inn. But, this is not a Holiday Inn, by any means!!! Just check out this view…
The rooms can be booked for 50,000 points a night, or $300 US. As an option, you can also book a room for 45,000 points + $40. If you’re going to spend that many points, why bother with $40 in cash? It is a fractionally better deal to spend the $40 to save 5,000 points ($260 / 45,000 = $0.0058 per point) than the spending 50,000 points at $0.006 per point.
You can apply for the Chase IHG Rewards Visa and get 60,000 points after spending $1,000 within 3 months of account opening. You’ll receive an upgrade to Platinum status in IHG Rewards and an annual FREE night certificate (good at any of their 4,000 locations!!!) upon renewal. The first year fee is waived, then is $49 per year after that.
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay
The Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay is available for 35,000 points a night (70,000 for 2 nights)… much too high of a point value, in my opinion. I’m saving my Marriott points for Seasonal Awards or PointSavers where I can get a better bang for my points. Also, if you book 4 Marriott nights on points, the 5th night is FREE. Or, if you pay cash for your stay, you can upgrade your room for 5,000 points per night.
Using my AAA discount, the cash rate for the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay is $350 US a night.
If you’d like to get the Chase Marriott Visa, you’ll get 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. You’ll get an annual FREE night stay at any Category 1 – 4 location for an annual fee of $85, which is waived the 1st year.
Hilton Sydney Hotel
The Hilton Sydney Hotel is very modern and sleek looking. However, with the devaluation in the Hilton program earlier this year, WOW, the point values are insane at 60,000 points per night. Even with the cash option being $314/night, this is an expensive proposition.
Hilton points are generally pretty easy to earn. I received two Citibank Hilton Visas and an American Express Hilton HHonors card earlier this year. Even with those 3 cards offering 40,000 miles each, those 120,000 Hilton HHonors points would only get me 2 nights at the Hilton Sydney Hotel. That’s WAY too much effort for one hotel stay. Click the links above to apply for Citibank or American Express Hilton cards.
Besides, I want to supercharge my Hilton redemption and get my 5th night free as a Silver, Gold, or Platinum member.
Luckily, each of those cards don’t have an annual fee and only require a minimal spend – Citibank cards are $1,000 in 4 months and Amex is $750 in 3 months. Still, if I’m going to get 3 cards, I want more benefits than two nights of accommodations!!!
There are many, many great options for you to stay in Sydney, Australia. We’ve previously stayed at the Westin Sydney and Grand Mercure Bowral. This trip, we’ll be staying a couple of nights each at the Park Hyatt Sydney, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, and Worldmark Sydney. The best part is that, with a couple of strategically placed credit card applications, you can stay at hotels that normally cost $300-$800 a night for free.
Where would you stay in Sydney, Australia?