I am Going Skiing in Utah… For Free!!

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I just planned a trip to Park City, Utah for my second ski trip ever out West. I grew up skiing on the icy mountains in the Northeast and after last years trip to Utah I was anxious to get back out on the powdery slopes! For this trip: Delta miles + Hyatt points = 1 very inexpensive trip for 2! While lift tickets aren’t cheap, the ski mountains in Utah are pretty reasonable and purchasing tickets from Liftopia always helps!

This time we will be staying at the Hyatt Escala Lodge. This is a relatively new hotel and just fully opened all of their amenities. This hotel is at the base of the Canyons Mountain and is only a category 4! I am actually pretty surprised to see a slope-side mountain to be a category 4, but have a feeling it has to do with their soft opening this past year (category 6 is the highest at Hyatt). Last year I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria which is also at the base of the Canyons so I am interested to see how the two hotels compare. This hotel will cost 15,000 points/night + $20/night resort fee. The typical rate at this hotel is about $500/night. This is an unbelievable usage of my Hyatt points! My assumption is that this hotel will go up a category eventually, but maybe this will remain a hidden gem. Luckily, I was able to use my Hyatt points accrued from years on the road. For those of you who want to increase your Hyatt point balance my best recommendation is the Chase credit card offers (or find a company who will pay for your travel)!

  • The Chase Ink Bold Credit Card and Chase Ink Plus Credit Card will give new approved applicants 50,000 bonus points points. These 50,000 points can then be transferred to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. The resort requires 15,000 points/night so one credit card approval will give you 3 free nights at the Hyatt Escala Lodge plus an additional 5,000 left over – a savings of about $1,500! Transferring your Chase Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt points is one of the best hotel redemption options with this program since Hyatt requires the least number of points for a free night.

For flights I was able to snag two Delta awards for 25,000 miles each (plus $5 in taxes). This will actually be the first time I will be using miles for a domestic trip. To purchase the ticket outright was $350, so I was content with using my miles especially since a low level award was available and those are hard to find nowadays with Delta. Currently, there are a few great ways to get more miles if you do not have enough for an award redemption:

  • Taking advantage of the current 100% transfer promotion. To earn 25,000 points with this transfer bonus would have cost $280 ($0.01/mile + $30 processing fee) – still less than the cost of purchasing the ticket.

I do not have the Delta credit card, but wish I did since baggage fees are waived for credit card holders. About 99.9% of the time I do not check baggage, but with a ski trip that is not really an option. Luckily ski gear is not charged any extra fees aside from the typical checked baggage fee. For both my husband and I, we will be spending an additional $100 to check our ski gear ($25 each way per bag). It actually might make sense to rent skis and carry on my boots. That is something I will have to look into more as the time comes closer.

I am so excited for this trip and so happy that my points are allowing me to stay on the mountain! Of course there are many options in Salt Lake City, but they do not have the same resort feel as staying right at the base of the slopes! I will be sure to report back on my stay!

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card by using my affiliate links. As always, I appreciate you using my links and will always include only the best promotions out there.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Wow I got really excited seeing the header as I thought you may have found the holy grail of finding a good deal to get lift tickets on points 🙂 However you are absolutely right the Hyatt Escala Lodge seems a great points deal.

    I have been using points to go ski the last couple of years. We usually go to Whistler which is kind of fun as you can use the Cathay Pacific flight from JFK so you get to go in a top class business class product for decent mileage. But after next year I will be loaded up on Southwest points so maybe Colorado or Utah will beckon instead. The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is not a bad use of points either, more expensive at 22k but such a well located property at a great resort

  2. Nice job of using your points and liftopia.com to save money. Here’s a ski deal that you should know about:

    If you fly into SLC, you can ski for FREE at any of the 3 Park City ski resorts the same day you arrive. Just take your boarding pass to the ticket window of Deer Valley, Park City or the Canyon’s ski resorts for a free one day lift pass. For more details, visit http://www.visitparkcity.com and click on the Quick Start heading. Enjoy.

    • @Mommy Points – I know! Also, since snowboarding is really my husband’s love of life (next to me of course), he is really understanding this points and miles obsession!

    • @DGF – I saw the post today. Although they count for one I actually never check my boots. For some reason I have a poor track record with lost baggage. As long as my boots make it, I am content!

  3. Sorry, it’s not “free”. Unless Chase or Amex started allowing more than 1 lifetime bonus for those credit cards you cannot ignore that opportunity cost which is the value of the points or miles. Similarly for the cost of replacing those points or miles. So we come full circle to the reality it cost you what the points or miles were worth, or what it costs to replace them without using up one time opportunity costs.

    • @HikerT – You are correct, nothing in life is free, right? There is definitely an opportunity cost as I could have used my points and miles elsewhere. I earned my points for traveling from work. For those that get the miles from the credit cards, you could instead use the points and miles as cash back essentially, and received about $500 instead.

  4. Is it just me or does Hiker T always chime in with some lame comment like this? We ALL know it’s not FREE. Maybe evaluate the opportunity cost of having to correct every persons verbiage and do something more productive.

  5. @Mike – I agree, I think every post I see is corrective. What if @dealswelike didn’t care about the opportunity cost? Sometimes I think it’s easy to get caught up in asking the question “did we get the maximum value out of our points?” We should be asking ourselves if we are happy with what we’ve gotten. That’s what is important.

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