Wide Open Award Availability At Alila Ventana Big Sur

Hyatt’s elusive and excellent Alila Ventana Big Sur has quite a lot of free night availability all of a sudden for booking between February and May.

As flagged by Frequent Miler there’s:

a significant tranche of Ventana availability that has opened for Spring 2023. It starts in February and goes through the end of the calendar In May. Both weekend (Feb/Mar only) and midweek (Feb-May) stays are available.

You’ll generally pay 45,000 points a night here. That’s a big increase from the 30,000 points you were paying last fall before peak pricing and the introduction of category 8.

Frequent Miler hypothesizes “a slackening of points demand since the standard rate was hiked-up 33%” however World of Hyatt isn’t paying hotels more when they increase the number of points they charge you for a redemption.

Seeing ‘dumps’ of award availability tells me that a hotel was playing games with their inventory. It’s not as though ‘standard rooms’ were suddenly cancelled months at a time at the end of the booking calendar. Alternatively, a hotel which pushes the envelope to limit the number of redemptions that are offered (still within the rules of the program) either had a glitch and offered more than intended or saw soft demand at its $2000 per night price point.

This hotel – much-inclusive – is a great value even at the new highest prices that Hyatt charges. It’s also ‘adults only’ (though I’m not sure how the property can get away with this under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act). Most of my leisure trips include my three year old, so I won’t be taking advantage of this nice opportunity.

I do still need to do my dream trip though, staying at Big Sur and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in a 1996 Cobra 400 miles down to Alila Marea Encinitas.

If you have Globalist status, but not enough points, book a points advance reservation and just be sure to have the points in your account a full week prior to the stay. Or you can transfer points into Hyatt from Chase or Bilt.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Re: the adults only rule. I think they get around that CA rule by having the “clothing optional” Japanese baths. With that amenity, kids can’t be on the property. (or so I’ve read on Flyertalk)

  2. Unfortunately, I’ve just sucked down my Hyatt points for other trips. I’ve been fooled by this before. The initial screen shows availability, but when you click through it disappears. Did you click through and it was still there?

    This is a fantastic place to stay. When availability opened up a few months ago I booked 2 stays for next year and I’ve already got a suite upgrade for the one in January.

    Some of the best use of points I’ve ever done!

  3. There is definitely some availability, but when you look at the calendar and it shows available, it doesn’t always still show up when you click through.

    “Unfortunately, this hotel is not accepting World of Hyatt points or award during those dates. Explore our other rates or modify your search”


  4. Just returned form a trip there. The staff is amazing. They are still not operating at capacity though I forget the number of unused rooms. Perhaps a return to full capacity is an explanation.

  5. “Unfortunately, this hotel is not accepting World of Hyatt points or award during those dates. Explore our other rates or modify your search.”

    This is becoming more and more of a problem with Hyatt’s properties. Trying now to see what I could get, but not finding ANY availability. Anyone getting real dates that are bookable next spring? Care to share?

  6. Oh— I see. They’ve essentially blacked out Weekends including a Friday or Saturday; you need to make your stay midweek. OK….. I can do that. Snagged a midweek in May. Note that there’s a two-week cancellation deadline, too. Better plan for nice weather portion of the year. I wouldn’t plan on Jan/Feb/Mar.

  7. Big Sur is a spontaneous getaway for the mass affluent which is all over the San Francisco Bay and, increasingly Santa Cruz (an even shorter drive) to the Ventana campground. Hyatt would be fools to allow grifters on points to displace real high value customers who will pay the rack rate. That is why all weekends are unavailable for awards.

  8. Tried booking in November for 2 nights in may for our 25th anniversary and didn’t have enough points at the time
    I have points now but no award availability
    Booked Carmel valley ranch back in November which looks like a nice property.

  9. Not seeing anything this summer.

    Maybe it will open as the cancellation deadline approaches

  10. Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo- beautiful! From there to Malibu is pretty farmland, and nice coastline, but not as spectacular… South of Malibu? 80 miles of strip malls, 7-11’s and storage facilities- don’t go there….

  11. John: Carmel Valley Ranch billing itself as a luxury hotel is a fraud. NOTHING like Ventana. Dreary swimming pool, small rooms, poorly maintained, bad internet, absolutely non responsive management, crappy parking situation, a real shambles catering to condo clients it seems. We had a one-night disaster there and left early, and will never return.

  12. Just a week ago my wife and I stayed at Ventana Big Sur courtesy of my stepson’s points. Yes, very nice indeed especially the setting and the food where one can eat on a huge patio with great views. But the rooms, if satisfactory, are very dated in many respects. To my astonishment also, they do not provide any two bed rooms for the 40-50% of us in sleep divorce. Even the cheapest motel chains have two bed in 30-50% of their rooms. Yes, a nice stay, but as countless reviewers on TA have observed wildly overpriced at circa $2,500 and up. So, no wonder they have vacancies!!!


  13. For whatever reason this resort has burned me without ever setting foot on the property. I was staying across the street at Post Ranch Inn and thought it would be nice to eat breakfast one morning at the resort for a change of pace and to see the property first hand. I called the property and explained our interest and that we were “staying across the street” not RVer’s looking for a hand-out. I was informed in no uncertain terms my request was impossible and don’t ask again. As I said in the beginning “for whatever reason” I was left with a negative experience and no interest to ever return. If I completed a survey this would be a complete marketing failure.

  14. I was able to book 3 nights for Feb. 3-6 weekend. Was 130k points. It’s pretty steep, but I had lots of regrets from 3-4 months ago when I saw availability over President’s weekend and delayed booking, missing out on that opportunity.

    Probably not going to be decent weather at all, but we’re from the Seattle area, so I’m guessing similar to what we get all winter. Never been down that part of CA, so am looking forward to it. Trying to figure out the best way to get to and fro from Seattle area. I see AS flies to Monterrey but might be nice to do some of the driving around the area too.

  15. Ted, there is no excuse for any property to treat you that way, even if you were an RV’er looking for a handout. Let’s not forget in this part of California a good number of these RV’ers go on to found $10B+ companies in short order and could buy out the property.

    James, the coastal drive is a novelty to inland American tourists who are not accustomed to cruising so close to the beaches and redwoods, but for you, it will be underwhelming at best. At worst, construction and traffic will frustrate you. I recommend keeping your drive to a minimum.

    Dan, you are absolutely spot on that the property is not worth anywhere close to $2,500 per night when compared against international options. As we remain in a situation where international travel remains limited and social distancing still key, this style of property suits the getaway traveler well, assuming whomever answered Ted’s call (above) no longer works there.

  16. Recently stated at the Alila Napa Valley and loved it. My first Cat 8 hotel (though, technically, it was Cat 7 for two more days before we left), and would definitely go back except that half my stay was covered by a free night cert that won’t work anymore now that they’ve been bumped up. This one was second place on our list, but Napa seemed like a better place to hang for a few days. Eventually we’ll make it to this Big Sur property, I’m sure.

    BTW, Frequent Miler needs to work on their math. 30k points to 45k points is a 50% increase, not a 33% increase. (Going the other way would be a 33% drop.) 🙂

  17. Dan
    Sleep divorce a new term to add to my vocabulary!

    When we were there last year they prohibited anyone else from using their dining rooms even people in the Ventana campground. Covid concerns. We tried to visit the Post and had a similar experience to you trying to visit Ventana.

    The drive from Montery to Ventana is beautiful. You’ll want to keep stopping to take pictures. You can drive further south from Ventana for a bit and it’s similar.

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