Whether you’re day tripping to lesser-visited spots or planning epic road trips, national parks are often a popular choice when it comes to spring and summer travel. And while you can camp, glamp or use your RV, not everyone wants to rough it or spend tons of money on vacation.
Prices may be more reasonable in the spring, but summertime rates at hotels are typically higher, putting points and miles enthusiasts at a major advantage if you happen to have enough Hyatt, Marriott, IHG Rewards, Hilton Honors or Choice Privileges Rewards points stashed away to cover the cost of your stay. Here’s a look at some of our favorite points hotels to check out if you want to save money on your next national park trip.
Best points hotels near national parks
Note: Spring hotel prices are based on a sample booking date of April 20–21, 2021, while summer prices are based on a sample booking date of July 20–21, 2021 — or as close to these dates as possible if it was sold out on those nights.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Straddling Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is consistently the most-visited national park in the country, typically bringing in over 12 million guests a year. Make Gatlinburg your base — especially if you want to squeeze in a trip to nearby Dollywood — or opt for a more metropolitan stay an hour away in Knoxville.
Luxury: The Park Vista, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Gatlinburg. Nightly rates from $152 or 37,000 Hilton Honors points in spring; from $212 or 47,000 Hilton Honors points in summer.
Mid-Tier: Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown. Rates at this Hyatt Category 2 property start at $144 or 8,000 Hyatt points per night in both spring and summer.
Budget: Quality Inn & Suites Gatlinburg. Nightly rates start at $66 or 20,000 Choice Privileges points in spring; from $114 or 30,000 Choice Privileges points in summer.
Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
At 3,471 square miles, Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Grand Teton National Park is just 31 miles to the south and directly below that, Jackson, Wyoming, home to popular ski resorts and the legendary Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Luxury: Hampton Inn Jackson Hole. Nightly rates from $154 or 34,000 Hilton Honors points in spring; from $454 or 70,000 Hilton Honors points in summer.
Mid-Tier: SpringHill Suites Island Park Yellowstone. This Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 property is in Island Park, Idaho, near Yellowstone’s western entrance. Nightly rates from $132 or 50,000 Marriott points in spring; from $317 or 60,000 Marriott points in summer.
Budget: The Ridgeline Hotel at Yellowstone, an Ascend Hotel Collection Me. Located near Yellowstone’s northern entrance, nightly rates start at $88 or 16,000 Choice Privileges points in spring; from $227 or 16,000 Choice Privileges points in summer.
Zion National Park
Just 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, Zion National Park is home to popular hikes like The Narrows and Angels Landing, and requires a free shuttle to get around inside the park. Parking is limited so catch another free shuttle to the entrance from Springdale, where most hotels are located.
Luxury: Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens, Curio Collection by Hilton. Nightly rates from $406 or 80,000 Hilton Honors points in spring; from $484 or 80,000 Hilton Honors points in summer.
Mid-Tier: SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park Rates at this Marriott Category 6 hotel start at $288 or 50,000 Marriott points per night in spring; from $371 or 100,000 Marriott points per night in summer.
Budget: Holiday Inn Express Springdale – Zion National Park Area Oddly enough, the prices and points needed at this hotel are more expensive in the spring than summer. Nightly rates from $293 or 40,000 IHG Rewards points in spring; from $189 or 22,500 IHG points in summer.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park makes a great trip from Flagstaff (1.5 hours), Zion National Park (2.5 hours), Phoenix (3.5 hours) or Las Vegas (4.5 hours), with most hotels centered around Grand Canyon Village or the North Rim.
Luxury: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Canyon Nightly rates start at $217 or 30,000 IHG Rewards points in spring; from $284 or 30,000 IHG Rewards points in summer.
Mid-Tier: Hyatt Place Page / Lake Powell. This Hyatt Category 3 hotel is 2.5 hours from the North Rim entrance and Grand Canyon Village by the South Rim, with nightly rates from $117 or 12,000 Hyatt points in spring; from $195 or 12,000 Hyatt points in summer.
Budget: Quality Inn Near Grand Canyon. Nightly rates from $85 or 16,000 Choice Privileges points in spring; from $89 or 25,000 Choice Privileges points in summer.
Yosemite National Park
Three hours from San Francisco, Yosemite National Park is famous for its waterfalls, ancient sequoia tree and the iconic Half Dome. Hotels listed here are located within an hour’s drive.
Luxury: Hounds Tooth Inn Part of Hyatt’s Small Luxury Hotels of the World, nightly rates at this Category 6 property start at $222 or 25,000 Hyatt points in spring; from $325 or 25,000 Hyatt points in summer.
Mid-Tier: The Westin Monache Resort Rates at this Marriott Category 7 property in Mammoth from $214 or 60,000 Marriott points per night in spring; from $204 or 60,000 Marriott points per night in summer.
Budget: Sierra Sky Ranch, Ascend Hotel Collection Rates from $127 or 20,000 Choice Privileges points per night in spring; from $204 or 30,000 Choice Privileges points per night in summer.
Acadia National Park
This 47,000-acre natural wonderland is a hiker’s paradise with 158 miles of trails along the Atlantic Coast, through ancient forests, past lakes, and to gorgeous mountain summits. Base yourself just outside the park in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Luxury: Hampton Inn Bar Harbor. Rates from $144 or 31,000 Hilton Honors points per night in spring; from $338 or 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night in summer.
Mid-Tier: Holiday Inn Resort: Bar Harbor – Acadia National Park. Rates from $120 or 22,500 IHG Rewards points per night in spring; from $284 or 30,000 IHG Rewards points per night in summer.
Budget: Quality Inn Bar Harbor. Rates from $119 or 16,000 Choice Privileges points per night in spring; from $225 or 30,000 Choice Privileges points per night in summer.
How to earn and use hotel points for these properties
The easiest way to accumulate hotel points is to sign up for a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, American Express® Gold Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Citi Premier® Card, which each let you transfer points to their hotel partner’s loyalty program. For instance, you could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, IHG or Marriott, while Amex Membership Rewards points could be transferred to Marriott, Hilton or Choice Hotels.
If you tend to prefer a particular hotel chain, consider signing up for a branded credit card to earn points and privileges — like free anniversary nights, status, and other perks — within its rewards program.
Popular hotel credit cards include the World of Hyatt Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Whether you’re planning to visit your nearest national park or travel to several this summer, using hotel points to cover your stay is a smart way to save money, especially when rates are higher during peak season.
For more guides on how to travel the U.S. and beyond on points and miles, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
Why we like it
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of our top credit cards for both beginners and frequent travelers. It comes with a huge welcome bonus, solid ongoing points earning on bonus categories and some great travel perks. The travel perks like delayed baggage and flight insurance will easily cover the already reasonable annual fee of $95. It earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points which is one of the best flexible points currencies: you can transfer to a number of travel partners like Hyatt and United, easily redeem for any type of travel through the Chase portal where you’ll get 25% bonus or even earn straight cash back.
Who is it best for?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great for just about anyone. It’s large welcome bonus makes it easy to get immediate value and you’ll easily rack up points with its broad bonus categories, earning double points on all travel and dining purchases. Chase points allow for easy redemptions made through the Chase Travel Portal, which allows you to book any sort of travel with no blackout dates, and you’ll get better value from your points compared to other bank’s travel portals.
Credit Score Recommended
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Good to Excellent
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
- Valuable sign up bonus
- Flexible points
- Unique transfer partners like Hyatt and United
- Great travel and trip delay insurance
- $95 annual fee
- Ongoing points earning is lower compared to other cards
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel.
- 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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