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Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a collection of more than 500 independent, deluxe and unique hotels spread across 90 countries. You might stay in an alpine chalet one night, and a historic 18th-century palace the next. You could find yourself lounging on a private island, or retiring to a luxury tent after a balloon safari over the African plains.
For people who prefer small businesses to big chains, the SLH collection is the way to stay. Each hotel is independently owned, with SLH acting as a network to market the hotels together. And by staying at an SLH hotel, you get benefits that you wouldn’t get from a massive hotel chain, like a one-of-a-kind experience and a more personal touch.
The problem with staying at most small, boutique hotels: You often can’t partake in loyalty programs, and those properties won’t let you book with points. SLH does have a very simple loyalty program called Invited, but it doesn't grant points, just a free night after 13 qualifying stays.
A partnership between the World of Hyatt and SLH, however, enables you to get the best of both worlds. Since the partnership began in 2018, you can book many (though not all) of SLH's properties through Hyatt. These days, there are more than 350 SLH properties participating in the Hyatt partnership. And if you do, you’ll be able to earn and redeem points for your stay. That’s on top of other extras, like free breakfast and Wi-Fi.
Why you should book SLH properties through Hyatt
When you book qualifying stays at Small Luxury Hotels of the World through Hyatt (regardless of your tier of Hyatt elite status), you’ll get:
5 base points per eligible $1 spent.
Complimentary continental breakfast for two.
Early check-in at noon (based on availability at check-in).
Late check-out at 2 p.m. (based on availability at check-in).
One category room upgrade (based on availability at check-in).
Nights counted toward Hyatt elite tier status.
Bonus points on eligible room rates for customers with Hyatt elite status (10% Discoverist, 20% Explorist and 30% Globalist).
Given that we value a Hyatt point at 1.9 cents, you earn roughly 10% back on the cash rate of your room in the form of World of Hyatt points when booking through Hyatt.
When it comes to other benefits like free breakfast, you’re also in for a treat — and can expect more than the average experience from a normal breakfast buffet. After all, you’re staying at a boutique, luxury hotel. Instead, you might find yourself dining for free with a view of the giant, mirror-like waterscape at the Alex Lake Zürich.
Booking SLH with the World of Hyatt Credit Card
Pay for your stay with the World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn even more. You’ll earn 4 bonus points per eligible $1 spent at participating SLH locations. That means you earn a total of 9 points per dollar when you book an SLH property with your World of Hyatt Credit Card. Since we value one World of Hyatt point at 1.9 cents, you’re looking at earning and even higher (about 17%) back on the cash rate of your room in the form of World of Hyatt points when paid for with that card.
» Learn more: The best hotel credit cards right now
SLH hotels you can book through Hyatt
Even though SLH has about 500 hotels worldwide under its umbrella, only about half of them can be booked with Hyatt. More SLH properties continue to be added to the Hyatt partnership on a recurring basis.
Most of them are located in foreign countries; there are about a dozen SLH hotels you could book via Hyatt in the U.S.
Booking SLH properties with Hyatt points
Using World of Hyatt points to book SLH properties tends to make a swell deal. Hyatt points can most easily be earned through transferring Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ points to Hyatt, spending on the World of Hyatt Credit Card, or staying at Hyatt properties.
Hyatt breaks down its properties into various tiers, with a standard room night at a Category 1 (that’s the lowest tier) hotel starting at 5,000 points per night. Tiers progress up to Category 8, which cost 40,000 points per night. The lowest-cost SLH properties fall into Category 3, which will cost 12,000 points per night (we value 12,000 Hyatt points at about $240).
And there are some sweet deals to be found here. Take the Olive Boutique Hotel in San Juan, Puerto. With just 15 rooms, guests are treated to amenities like complimentary coquitos in the garden, which is a favorite local cocktail with Puerto Rican rum and coconut milk. Cash rates easily top $450 — and sometimes more than $500 depending on the night. It’s a Category 5 hotel under the World of Hyatt program, which requires 20,000 points per night (which we value at $400).
To book an SLH property through Hyatt on points, log in to Hyatt’s website and find the hotel you want. Select the date you want to book and toggle from "View Rates" to "View Points." Click "Select," upon which you’ll be redirected to a booking page just as you would book any other Hyatt award night.
World of Hyatt free night certificates, which are issued to customers for various qualifications including the anniversary of holding a World of Hyatt Credit Card, work toward SLH properties as well. Hyatt’s free night certificates are typically good for a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort, as long as there are still rooms available.
As long as it’s at a Category 4 or lower hotel, then the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which has just a $95 annual fee, could earn you a free night at one of SLH’s luxury properties.
To book an SLH property on a free night certificate, go through the same process that you would to book on points. If a free night certificate is on your account, then you’ll be able to choose whether you want to book on points or with your certificate.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
The drawbacks of booking through SLH
For all the benefits, there may be some cases where it might not make sense to book SLH properties through Hyatt.
You might not always get the lowest price
Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee doesn't apply to SLH hotels. So while you can confidently book Hyatt-owned luxury properties and know you’ll get the best rate, that might not be the case here.
Sometimes, a hotel might offer a rate directly on its site that’s lower than the advertised Hyatt rate. Or you might be able to snag a deal through an online travel agency or via a travel agent.
For example, an oceanview terrace suite at the La Casa Que Canta, a romantic hotel on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, typically costs $329 nightly during most weekend summer nights of 2021 when booked directly on the La Casa Que Canta website. But we found it for $435 when booked through Hyatt. In that case, you’d save 25% by booking directly through the hotel.
If you find yourself in a similar pricing predicament, you have a decision to make. Are the bonus points earned, the extended check-in/checkout times and free breakfast worth the roughly $100 in nightly savings? If you were going to purchase hotel breakfast anyway and like the extra points earned, then you might still come out ahead. But for many people, the cash savings might be preferable.
Of course, we’ve also spotted lower rates on Hyatt’s site than anywhere else. Just do your research and compare rates across sites before booking.
Some hotels have minimum stay requirements
A handful of SLH properties require a minimum night stay (usually 2-3 nights among hotels with such a requirement) during peak times of the year. Don’t count on an SLH hotel if you like to bounce from place to place.
You won’t earn Hyatt points on extra costs like dining or spa services
While you earn World of Hyatt points on purchases at Hyatt restaurants and other purchases like spa treatments or room service at official Hyatt hotels, don’t expect the same at SLH hotels. World of Hyatt points are awarded on room rates only at SLH properties.
If you’re considering Small Luxury Hotels
By booking SLH properties through Hyatt, you get all the benefits of small, independent properties and the benefits of a large, worldwide loyalty program.
And while you should always compare prices before booking, it’s almost always a good deal to book SLH properties through Hyatt to take advantage of benefits like free breakfast, room upgrades and the ability to earn points for your stay.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card