April 7, 2021 By Kaeli Conforti
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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.
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Editorial Note: We’re the Million Mile Secrets team. And we’re proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader’s comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! 🙂