About two years ago I published two posts about our attempt to book a stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas.
Though the highly publicized resort was originally scheduled to open in December 2014, contractor disputes, bankruptcy proceedings and court rulings set in and the opening was called off indefinitely.
Over the course of the past two years all, or at least most, of those holdups were sorted out and the hotel opened today, April 21st! The opening was preceded by a huge pep rally yesterday, attended by over a thousand associates.
Though the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is now officially open, room reservations for the next five weeks or so are by invitation only. Reservations can now be booked by the public for stays at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar starting May 29th and beyond.
The Grand Hyatt is one hotel within this mega resort. It will be joined by three other hotels: Baha Mar Casino & Hotel; SLS LUX; and Rosewood at Baha Mar. Additional amenities include a large spa and a world-class golf course.
Staying at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar for Free
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar was originally listed as a Category 4 property in the Hyatt Gold Passport program (which has now been renamed to World of Hyatt). While still under construction, the property was moved up to Category 5. According to the World of Hyatt website it is Category 4 currently but a phone agent I spoke with contradicted that, saying the property is Category 5.
I suspect the phone agent is correct, and if so, a stay will set you back 20,000 points per night. Given that paid rates are showing up in the $350-$450 range, to which a resort fee of $31.25 would be added for paid stays, redemption value will be about 2.5 cents per point. That’s a strong redemption, above my current valuation of World of Hyatt points.
Points reservations aren’t yet available online but a phone agent assured me during an April 22nd call that she could make a points booking for me now. If you’re looking to make a points reservation in a hurry, you may want to try doing so over the phone.
One of the quickest ways to rack up World of Hyatt points is through a transfer from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, Ink Plus or Preferred. If you have one of those cards, you can also earn points through a no-annual-fee Chase Freedom and transfer those to a travel partner such as Hyatt as well. Through June of 2017 the Chase Freedom offers 5X back on purchases at grocery stores and drug stores. If you max that category bonus out (7,500) and combine it with the signup bonus (15,000 points), you can earn enough points in the matter of a few months to get a free night at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar (assuming you have another Ultimate Rewards card with points-transferring capability). And you’ll do so without having to pay any annual fee!
Getting to/from the Baha Mar for Free
The Baha Mar resort sits a short 11 minute drive from the Lynden Pindling airport (NAS) on New Providence island. The airport is serviced by quite a few airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, United and Southwest.
Southwest flies direct between NAS and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and NAS and Baltimore-Washington International aiport (BWI). Points rates for Southwest flights between FLL and NAS are incredibly low. A quick search of the June flight calendar shows flights available for as little as 2,880 Rapid Rewards points.
At that super-low rate, you could grab a Southwest Plus Rapid Rewards card with a 50,000 point signup bonus and make eight round-trips for free (excluding taxes)!
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is finally open! There were many more twists and turns in the birth of this property than most others but it looks like it’s probably worth the wait. You can experience the hotel for almost no money out of pocket by redeeming World of Hyatt points for the lodging and using a small number of Southwest Rapid Rewards points to fly to/from Nassau.
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Are you eyeing up a stay at the Baha Mar resort? Share your thoughts in the comments below!