Are you planning to witness the Great North American Eclipse on April 8, 2024, and wondering how to make the most of your budget? The upcoming total solar eclipse is an event that you wouldn’t want to miss. It is also the last total solar eclipse that will be visible from North America until 2044.
With so many people planning to travel for the occasion, the cost of hotels in the path of totality is expected to skyrocket. The good news is that you can save a significant amount of money by using hotel points to book your accommodation. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to maximize your hotel points to secure a comfortable and budget-friendly stay for the 2024 solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
Cities to Watch 2024 Solar Eclipse
If you’re not familiar with the term, the “path of totality” refers to the area on the Earth’s surface where the total phase of the solar eclipse can be seen. This is the part of the eclipse where the Moon completely covers the Sun, creating a momentary darkness during the day. Being within the path of totality is essential to experiencing the full extent of the eclipse, and fortunately, there are plenty of cities and towns that fall entirely within the path of totality for the 2024 Great North American Eclipse. These cities include:
- San Antonio, Texas
- Austin, Texas
- Waco, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Buffalo, New York
- Rochester, New York
Using Hotel Points to Book Your Stay
One of the biggest expenses of any trip is accommodation, and with the 2024 Solar Eclipse being a popular event, prices are likely to go up and up as it gets closer. But fear not, if you’ve been saving up hotel points, this is the perfect chance to use them and save on your stay.
If you don’t have points for a stay yet — you still have time to prepare! Even one credit card bonus can be more than enough to book a weekend stay.
The most important thing is to book ASAP! Hotel bookings will open starting in April 2023 (some won’t open until May 2023). The earlier you book, the better chance you have to secure a great deal.
Best Hyatts To Book For the Eclipse
The World of Hyatt Program is one of our favorite hotel loyalty programs.
Hyatt hotels are assigned a category and this category determines the cost in points to book a hotel room. Category 1 is the cheapest and rooms cost a standard rate of 5,000 points per night. Category 2 rooms costs 8,000 points per night. The great news: there are Category 1 or 2 Hyatts in every major city that is in the “path of totality.”
If you’re a family, look for Hyatt Place or Hyatt House hotels. Both include free breakfast for all guests. Hyatt Place hotels typically sleep 6 people in a room with two queen beds and a sofa bed. Hyatt House hotels also offer some rooms with a kitchen.
Need Hyatt points? We have a full guide dedicated to Hyatt. The best card to start with is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Though this cards earns “Ultimate Rewards” you can transfer Ultimate Rewards over to Hyatt points for no fee. The standard bonus on the Sapphire Preferred is 60,000 points, that’s 12 nights of stays if you choose a Category 1 hotel!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 60,000 points
Bonus: 60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- $95 annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
- $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
- $15 per quarter statement credit for Instacart
- Great transfer options to Hyatt, United, Southwest, and more
- Earn 3x on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my top beginner cards for miles & points. This limited time bonus can get you at least $1000 of travel. The travel insurance it provides is top tier, too! Get this card early in your travel points journey, it’s a keeper.
Recent Bonus History
A publicly available online offer for 80,000 points ran from March 2023-May 2023. Another 80,000 point bonus ended in Fall 2022. Standard bonus is 60,000 points.
An offer for 100,000 points ended in Fall 2021.
Best IHG Hotels To Book For the Eclipse
The IHG Points Program is another loyalty program that can help you save on hotel costs during the 2024 solar eclipse. Similar to the Hyatt Points Program, you can earn points by staying at any of the IHG hotels, which include popular brands such as InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza.
Unlike Hyatt, IHG hotels use dynamic pricing for award nights. That means the cost in points will go up and down according to demand. If you’re able to book early, you can snag a deal with your IHG points — but if you wait till the last minute, except prices to be soaring.
One big benefit of holding the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is that you can get the 4th night free when you book four consecutive nights with points.
If you’re a family, look for Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites — both of which have free breakfast. Be sure to check the reviews of the hotel you’re looking at. We find that some are very nice and some are disappointing. If free breakfast isn’t a priority for you, our favorite IHG brand is Kimpton! There are also two Holiday Inn Vacation Club properties in Texas that sleep 6 people that would be in the path of totality. You can find them here.
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
- $99 annual fee
- Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide (worth 40,000 points)
- 4th night free when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- $50 in United TravelBank cash each calendar year
Best Marriott Hotels To Book For the Eclipse
Like IHG, Marriott has a large number of hotels which means lots of potential options! But unfortunately, it also uses dynamic pricing which means I expect Marriott hotel pricing to increase as the eclipse gets closer.
There are two family friendly Marriott hotels in Texas in the path of totality listed on my Family Friendly Marriott map. You can also look for Residence Inn or Fairfield Inn which have free breakfast and also often larger rooms for families. With Marriott, if you book a 5 night stay with points, your cheapest will be free.
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
- $95 annual fee
- Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening
- 1 Free Night Award annually after your Card account anniversary (up to 35k)
- Earns 6 points per $1 at Bonvoy (Starwood / Marriott) properties and 2 points per $1 on everything else.
- After holding this card for 1 year, you can upgrade to the Ritz Carlton card, which is one option for families to get airport lounge access.
Book Vacation Homes with Wyndham Rewards
Another option to consider for lodging during the 2024 solar eclipse is vacation homes.
With Wyndham Rewards you can book Vacasa vacation rentals for as cheap as 15,000 points per night. Even better, cleaning fees and taxes are covered by your points! For a detailed description of how to find and book vacation homes this way, check out our full blog post.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards – Limited time 75,000 mile offer
- $95 annual fee
- Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
- Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
- Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
- Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.
The 2024 solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event that should not be missed. By using hotel reward points programs like Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Wyndham, you can save big on accommodations and have the perfect spot to witness this incredible astronomical phenomenon. Remember to start planning your trip today and don’t let the high demand for hotels in major eclipse cities deter you!