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Big Sur, a small town along California’s Pacific Coast, is a bucket-list destination primarily due to its enigmatic location.

Tucked between the mountains and the ocean, Big Sur boasts an extensive network of trails that offer countless opportunities for outdoor exploration.

The water and the peaks are all just a hike away, waiting to be discovered.

As is always the case with picturesque locales, rates of accommodations typically follow demand, and Big Sur is no exception.

Since the rugged geography of the area does not allow for a construction boom, resorts, and hotels are few and far between.

The Stars Aligned

Ventana Big Sur is one of those captivating holy grail properties.

With a price tag of $1,500++/night for its most basic room, staying here is not only unrealistic for most but also impractical, in my honest opinion.

I’d instead invest that amount to fund my retirement than splurge for a momentary euphoria that quickly evaporates upon checkout.

Ventana Lobby

Then, several things happened recently that made this fantasy into a reality: 

1. Hyatt acquired Ventana Big Sur, making it bookable using Hyatt points. Hyatt is my favorite hotel brand, and I have saved up a sizable chunk of their points accrued from Chase credit cards.

2. In June 2020, Ventana Big Sur made the hotel all-inclusive, catapulting my Hyatt points’ value even higher.

Hyatt kept Ventana at 30,000 points per night even after they made the resort all-inclusive.

May 2021 Update: 30K rooms are almost impossible to find unless you have infinite flexibility. Pro-Tip: The Standard Rooms show up about 13 months out. Nevertheless, the 48K suites are also totally worth it!

October 2021 Peak Award Update: Hyatt recently rolled out their Peak/Off-Peak Calendar and Ventana will now cost 5,000 Hyatt points more during the high season. I think it is still an excellent value at 35,000 points per night so if you find them available, don’t hesitate and book them immediately. With that said, the sweet spot is their off-peak pricing at 25,000 Hyatt points per night. They’re really tough to come by, so grab them while you can.

March 22, 2022 Update: Alila Ventana Big Sur is now a Category 8 property, requiring 35,000 Hyatt points (off-peak), 40,000 points (standard), and 45,000 points (peak).

Current Hyatt Award Chart

At Ventana Big Sur, a Category 8 property, Standard Room Rates will range from 35000 to 45000 Hyatt points.

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 Standard Suites will range from 56,000 to 66,000 Hyatt points depending on the season. 

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Premium Suites will range from 70,000 to 90,000 Hyatt points depending on whether they are off-peak, standard, or peak.  

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3. Due to COVID-19, room demand has significantly plummeted, resulting in more rooms available for anyone with Hyatt points.

May 2021 Update: Sadly, this is no longer the case. The news is out – everyone is trying to book a room at Ventana, and award reservations are exceedingly challenging. Pro-Tip: Book months in advance!

4. Hyatt rolled out a promo that gives a rebate of up to 25% for all stays using points until February 28th, 2021. This significantly reduced the nightly rate from 30K to 22.5K. What a steal! You can register for this promotion until January 15th here.

May 2021 Update: This extraordinary promotion has expired. Hyatt’s current offers can be found here.

On top of that, this top-tier exclusive property is just 2.5 hours away from home, making it a no-brainer decision.

Who would refuse a FREE stay in an all-inclusive $1,500++/night resort in Big Sur, one of my favorite outdoor destinations in the world?

Redwood Trees in Ventana Big Sur

Besides, I’ve been itching to travel outside my house since the lockdown began in March. Ventana was the ripe fruit just pleading to be harvested, so I did. I was beyond thrilled!

Here are Ventana Big Sur’s current rates on the days we stayed there. Since I used my Hyatt points, I paid a total of $0 for our entire stay.


Had I paid cash for my reservation, it would have cost a total of $7,083, including taxes, resort fees, etc.

Paying with points eliminated all these extra charges – another fantastic perk of using Hyatt points.

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How To Earn Hyatt Points For Ventana Big Sur 

Option 1: Travel Credit Cards 

Before we move any further, I just want to make sure that you have already signed up for a World of Hyatt account. It’s free.

Once you have a Hyatt account, you can effortlessly search for free nights at Ventana Big Sur on the app and start planning to earn those valuable World of Hyatt points.

The easiest way to earn Hyatt points is to apply for credit cards that earn World of Hyatt points.

There are several options, and I’m listing them in the table below.

Credit Cards that Earn World of Hyatt Points

Credit CardsDetails
Credit Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards (UR) PointsSteps to Transfer
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardWelcome Offer
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Welcome Offer
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardWelcome Offer
Credit Cards that earn World of Hyatt Points
The World of Hyatt Credit CardWelcome Offer
World of Hyatt Business Credit CardWelcome Offer
Credit Cards that can convert into Chase
Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points
Steps to Convert
Chase Freedom Flex℠Welcome Offer
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Welcome Offer
Ink Business Cash® Credit CardWelcome Offer
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit CardWelcome Offer

As stated above, Ventana requires 35,000-45,000 points per night in its standard rooms.

A standard suite award rate starts at 56,000 Hyatt points, and premium suites, depending on the season, will set you back about 70,000 – 90,000 Hyatt points per night. 

Obtaining any of the cards above guarantees at least one night at Ventana – a $1,500++ redemption.

If you book one of their suites, that specific redemption would have a value of at least $2,000!

Before transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the World of Hyatt program, check if the room you want to book is available using points. Go to, plug in your preferred location and dates, and click USE POINTS. Follow the prompts until you reach the payment page. You lucked out if the room still shows as available using points on the payment page. You can go ahead and initiate the transfer and book your free night right away. This is just a reminder that once your Chase points are in your Hyatt account, you can no longer transfer them back to your Chase account. Unless you are 100% certain that there is award space, do not transfer your points, as the process is irreversible.

A Note About Ventana Big Sur
It is best to be flexible when searching for dates at popular properties like Ventana Big Sur. I found my room a week or so before my stay. Since this is such an aspirational property, it is realistic to expect to encounter some difficulties finding availability. After all, we are competing with other Hyatt members to get a hold of this incredible opportunity. I suggest checking even the day before your planned stay, as Ventana appears to be trying to sell its rooms until the last minute. Since constantly checking for availability is the recommended strategy, just be ready to pack up and drive to the hotel the next day if you luckily find award availability!

Option 2: Borrow Hyatt Points From Another Member 

Our final alternative in obtaining Hyatt points is to borrow from a friend or family member or to have someone generously “gift” points to you.

Hyatt allows sharing points between members once every 30 days.

Even though it involves some type of paperwork, it is fairly straightforward to execute.

If There Is No Award Availability

Rather than giving up altogether, how about considering all the other Hyatt properties in the area?

You can certainly use your points on other exciting properties within the same region, such as Carmel Valley Ranch and Alila Napa.

Big Sur Suite 

Alila Ventana Big Sur Review 


Located on California’s Highway 1, commonly known as the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur is a region of the Central Coast that attracts thousands of visitors mainly due to its natural beauty.

The Big Sur coastline is full of rocky cliffs, secluded coves and beaches, mesmerizing hiking trails, towering redwoods, and fertile valleys.

The landscape keeps changing with the wet and dry seasons, going from lush green hillsides to flower-covered fields and back again.

Views of the Mountains from Ventana Big Sur

Nestled way above Big Sur, almost at the ridgeline of one of the mountains lining the coast, Alila Ventana is enormous and spacious, with its grounds surrounded by awe-inspiring Coastal Redwood Trees.

It is roughly a 2.5-hour drive from San Francisco and 4 hours from Los Angeles.

The closest airports to the property are Monterey (MRY), San Jose (SJC), Oakland (OAK), and San Francisco (SFO). 

Pacific Coast Big Sur


Since our experience was consistent across the board, I decided just to merge our reviews into one post.

First Visit: July 2020, during the height of COVID-19. We stayed at the Big Sur Suite, which has an outdoor hammock but no outdoor jacuzzi.

Second Visit: July 2021. Both standard rooms booked were upgraded to suites with outdoor jacuzzis (Big Sur Spa Suite and Pacific House Suite).  The upgrade was complimentary due to Globalist status.

Third Visit: February 2022. Thanks to Globalist status, our standard room was upgraded to a Big Sur Forest Shower Suite.

Fourth Visit: January 2023. I was able to find off-peak 25,000/night rooms at Ventana Big Sur by searching 13 months out. A step-by-step guide on searching for Hyatt off-peak night awards can be found here or click below.

Bixby Bridge Big Sur
The famous Bixby Bridge on the way to Big Sur


Because mobile phone service is limited in Big Sur, be sure to enter the address on your GPS app while you still have access to your cellular network. It is easy to miss the turn-off to Ventana’s driveway.

The property is located away from the ocean, on one of Big Sur’s peaks.

Once you’re on the windy uphill road toward the resort, continue driving until you reach a checkpoint where your identity will be verified by a guard or a radio that you will ring to alert the hotel of your arrival.

Once the hotel confirms you’re a registered guest, the gate will open, giving you the green light to head to the property parking lot.

There, a golf cart can take your luggage to your room, or you can go to the valet parking drop-off for the drivers to park your car.

At the parking lot, staff ushered us to the gorgeous lobby, where we were greeted and attended to promptly.

We were then offered a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage at check-in. We selected their lavender iced tea and lavender lemonade. Both options were flavorful.

Stationary Bike Located Outside of the Gym at Ventana


Since food is also included in the rate, you can order it to be delivered to your room at no extra charge or enjoy it at the property restaurant.

Breakfast delivered to our room

Overlooking the Pacific, the hotel restaurant The Sur House offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with tables widely spaced apart.

Due to the limited space, reservations are necessary.

In my experience, the resort will go out of its way to find you a table as close to your preferred time as possible.

The restaurant is about a 10-minute walk along a breathtaking trail surrounded by towering redwood trees.

Guests with mobility issues can be transported via a golf cart or car.


All facilities are now open, including the Japanese baths, the heated infinity pool overlooking the Big Sur mountains, the gym, etc.

Now Open: Infinity Hot Tub Overlooking the Big Sur Mountains

Thankfully, the two large pools and the hotel grounds are open for endless hiking opportunities. 



Personally, embarking on a guided walk spearheaded by a knowledgeable staff member was the unexpected highlight of my stay at Ventana.

I learned so much about the region’s flora and climate. This guided hike is offered daily, free of charge. Please ask the front desk for the time and meeting place.

Prepare to be blown away by gigantic redwood trees. Don’t forget your cameras.

Evening s’mores on the grounds

Ventana is also an adults-only resort (sorry, kids!), but dogs are allowed for a flat fee of $150.

This amount will cover the cost of clean-up and the doggie bed and bowls the hotel provides.

Now Open: Japanese Baths

Ventana Big Sur has a fantastic location, and the staff is just exceptional.

They were warm and friendly, making us feel right at home during our stay.

Bed with fireplace view

Staying in Ventana was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am incredibly grateful that I had the rare opportunity to use points to stay there.

I’m always super excited when I get another chance to visit this place using points.

It’s definitely one of my top Hyatt award redemptions in the US.


Room Types

I have had the good fortune of staying in four various suites.

Three were complimentary upgrades for having Globalist status.

If you want an outdoor hot tub, you need to book a premium suite (70,000 Off-Peak, 80,000 Standard, 90,000 Peak).

Big Sur Suite

When I first visited Ventana, I only had Discoverist, so I could not access suite upgrades.

However, because there was little demand during COVID-19, we could have three people stay in one room rather than booking two standard rooms as long as we upgraded our standard room reservations to suites.

We were assigned the Big Sur Suite, which cost 48,000 Hyatt points per night, which was a terrific value for three people.

The Hyatt website describes the Big Sur Suite as a 620-square-foot suite with a one-king bed and either forest or ocean views from the private deck. Most decks have hammocks.

Room Amenities (from

  • Individually controlled heat and air conditioning
  • Blackout curtains
  • Hair dryer
  • Branded bath toiletries
  • Plush robes and slippers 
  • Coffeemaker
  • Minifridge 
  • Iron and ironing board upon request
  • In-room safe
  • Daily newspaper upon request
Hammock in the Big Sur Suite with Views of the Pacific Ocean
Big Sur Spa Suite

This 620-square-foot suite boasts one king bed, a fireplace, a private deck with forest or ocean views, and an outdoor hot tub. This is a premium suite.

Room Amenities (from

  • Individually controlled heat and air conditioning
  • Blackout curtains
  • Hair dryer
  • Branded bath toiletries
  • Plush robes and slippers 
  • Coffeemaker
  • Minifridge 
  • Iron and ironing board upon request
  • In-room safe
  • Daily newspaper upon request
Outdoor Hot Tub
Big Sur Forest Shower Suite

This 620-square-foot suite has one king bed, forest views, a wood-burning fireplace, and an outdoor shower.

Room Amenities (from

  • Individually controlled heat and air conditioning
  • Blackout curtains
  • Hair dryer
  • Branded bath toiletries
  • Plush robes and slippers 
  • Coffeemaker
  • Minifridge 
  • Iron and ironing board upon request
  • In-room safe
  • Daily newspaper upon request

Outdoor Shower

Pacific House Suite

This 630-square-foot room has a king bed, ocean views, a fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and a private hot tub. This is a premium suite.

Room Amenities (from

  • Individually controlled heat and air conditioning
  • Blackout curtains
  • Hair dryer
  • Branded bath toiletries
  • Plush robes and slippers 
  • Coffeemaker
  • Minifridge 
  • Iron and ironing board upon request
  • In-room safe
  • Daily newspaper upon request


Pacific Coast Suite With Vaulted Ceilings

Final Thoughts

Alila Ventana Big Sur is undoubtedly an outstanding points redemption, as its paid rates are astronomical and thus unrealistic for most people.

With World of Hyatt points, the playing field is leveled, and anyone with a considerable stash will now have access to this luxurious bucket-list destination.

And, with the Hyatt and Chase partnership, you can now transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the World of Hyatt so you can easily book this property too.

Out of the many aspirational Hyatt properties around the globe, Ventana Big Sur continues to be one of my favorite ways to use my Hyatt or Chase points.

It will undoubtedly give you the best bang for your buck and an experience to remember forever.

Have you been to Alila Ventana Big Sur? Did you like your experience?

EDITORIAL DISCLOSURE – Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. The content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included in the post.