For many, the idea of “winter wellness” is an oxymoron. The holidays are a time of stress, family drama, and pie — not serene cross-legged meditation.
But a growing number of travelers are beginning to seek health and wellness on their vacations, and hotels are rushing to meet the demand. Activities that would have once seemed fringe or bizarre — such as crystal sound baths and shamanic healing — are increasingly common activities at mainstream resorts.
The problem is, these wellness experiences often cost an arm and a well-toned leg. And nobody wants to pile more charges on their credit card near the holidays.
Thankfully, as more hotel brands add wellness activities to their hotels, they’ve also begun opening opportunities to pay for them with reward points. This offers a great way for savvy travelers to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on wellness experiences.
Here are a few winter wellness activities you could book with hotel points. They’re “free” in that they don’t require cash, but many require a hefty trove of points. You can splurge for yourself, or consider them as a gift for a (very) special someone. Pro tip: You can keep the “paid with points” part to yourself.
Sunrise yoga and a vegan meal (Miami)
17,857 Hyatt points
Looking for some vitamin D and a respite from gravy? Head down to Miami Beach and join meditation, yoga and tantra teacher Sujal Sudarshan H.V. Patel for a private morning yoga class followed by a vegan restaurant meal.
This experience is bookable with Hyatt points through Hyatt’s new Find search tool. Other notable experiences include goat yoga, ayurveda classes and hiking with a wolf. Yes, that’s right — you can use hotel points to go on a hike with a wolf.
Short on Hyatt points? Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, making these experiences available to more people than just Hyatt loyalists.
Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat (Pune, India)
54,400 to 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night
Situated in the hills southeast of Mumbai, this wellness retreat offers a luxurious way to unload stress (and a bunch of Hilton Honors points). The retreat’s spa offers complimentary activities including yoga, meditation and cooking classes, as well as (paid) multiday wellness programs.
Though 60,000 points might sound like a lot, keep in mind that Hilton Honors points are some of the least valuable out there. We currently value them at 0.4 cent each, making 60,000 worth about $240.
Wellness dome dinner experience (Dubai)
60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and up
Marriott recently introduced a program that lets you bid on high-end experiences using Bonvoy points. These range from sport events to concerts to VIP cupcake decoration.
Equally intriguing (or confusing, perhaps) is this “Macrame Masterclass and Exclusive Westin Wellness Dome Dinner Experience,” though the description offers little information about what actually happens inside a wellness dome. Presumably, whatever it is, it stays there.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be earned in many ways beyond staying at Marriott properties, such as transferring Chase or American Express points. However, to place a bid you must have the necessary number of Bonvoy points in your account — meaning you could end up losing the auction with an account full of Bonvoy points. That makes transferring points for these auctions a bit riskier than the other options on this list.
Miraval Arizona (Tucson)
45,000 Hyatt Points per night (+20,000 points per night for a second guest)
Want to really splurge? Hyatt’s Miraval resorts are not for the faint of heart, spirit or budget. This Arizona property’s simplest single-occupancy rooms can cost $700 or more per night, which makes the price tag of 45,000 Hyatt points a bit easier to swallow.
Sweetening the deal even more: Each award night includes a $175 resort credit (per person), as well as unlimited food and nonalcoholic drinks. The resort’s complimentary wellness activities include workshops and lectures on “understanding crystals” and “quantum consciousness.” The resort also offers paid activities like mindful horseback riding classes and Himalayan sound baths.
Miraval award nights aren’t bookable online. Call Hyatt at 866-792-3395 to use your points.
The bottom line
Whether you’re seeking a little woo-woo this winter or just crave a workout on the beach, there are plenty of opportunities to use your hotel points to book top-tier wellness experiences. And even if they’re not your cup of anti-inflammatory tea, they could make a memorable gift.