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When it comes to visiting the Holy Land, and especially Jerusalem, finding hotels to book with points can be frustrating. In fact, in Jerusalem, there are 4 options: Waldorf Astoria, Crowne Plaza, Ibis, and a Wyndham. Soon, circa mid 2020, Intercontinental will open a $130 million property that will give the best of the best a run for its money. Until then…there are 4.
While I would have much preferred to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, throwing down 95k points or $500+ a night just wasn’t going to happen, especially when we had full day tours planned. Not only is it a gorgeous property, but it’s location is right next to the Old City. If you’re looking for 5 star properties, I’d suggest investigating it alongside the King David and Mamilla.
We landed on the Crowne Plaza Jerusalem.
- When: May 2019
- Where: Jerusalem
- Stay: 4 nights
- Loyalty: IHG Spire + Platinum
- Perks: Club Level, room upgrade
- Rate: 20k per night
Both of my parents are Chase IHG Premier cardholders and, as a perk of the card, get a 4th night free when booking with points. Considering that this hotel is only 20k points per night, and cash rates were $225+, it was a fantastic value for money. Here’s a look at the math, but we booked two rooms for 13.5k per night, per room. IHG often sells miles for 1/2 cent, so you could essentially buy a $225 a night room for less than $70 per night.
- 3 x 20k per night – 4th night free with IHG Premier
- 10% as a perk of IHG Select
- 13.5k per night, pro-rated.
This is a big thing to note. The hotel is FAR from the Old City. If you have transportation lined up, great, but otherwise, you’re kind of on an island. You could walk up the street to hop on the train, but if you’re thinking you may waltz on over to Jaffa gate, think again. There is a shopping center down the road with a movie theatre ( we saw Avengers: End Game – epic experience ).
Not the best first impression at all. Front desk staff was gruff, the building was under construction, and no one helped us with our bags. Elite status was recognized, and a category upgrade given, along with club access, but to stay we had a welcomed arrival would just be a lie.
In fact, the arrival experience was so lackluster I was looking to see if there was any way we could change hotels and pivot. After convening in my parents room, they thought it more effort than it was worth, and we decided to stay.
We were upgraded into view rooms that had been updated. The rooms were a breath of fresh air compared to the lobby and common spaces of the hotel, but they left our head scratching with two issues. One…the safe was bolted to a shelf that could be easily removed. The second, the doors didn’t close flush with the ground. As in, we could hear everything in the hall, but worse yet, if I laid on the floor, I could see right under the door into the hallway.
On the plus side, they featured newly redone bathrooms and large flat screen tvs.
The best aspect of the club was the view. Unreal, 360 degree, sweeping views.
While the view was fantastic, and the food wasn’t too bad, there were major service issues. Multiple times during our 4 night stay we encountered food set out without plates and cutlery. Coffee machine was out of order or there just weren’t any cups in which to put coffee in if it were operational. In addition to these issues, we came up several times to just find crusty food laid out, and dirty plates sitting on tables.
Gym and Pool
There is a large pool complex and a gym. Both looked as though they could use an update.
Would I stay here again? For so few points, probably. It is a far, far cry from the likes of the Crowne Plaza Singapore, and fell short of even the Crowne Plaza LAX. With that said, in total, we spent 108k points total, for 2 rooms and 4 nights. How do you beat that?
The Waldorf has residences that can be rented, and if the price was right, I’d lock one of those down. Additionally, if we were just renting one room, I’d think about using my Citi Prestige and booking the Mamilla which is adjacent to the Old City ( rates were in the $400s ).
But…if cash isn’t an option, and you’re traveling after the Intercontinental Jerusalem opens, I’d stay there. Odds are it will be somewhere in the 50-70k range ( the Intercontinental Tel Aviv is 50k ), and at that rate I wouldn’t even look anywhere else. Throw in a 4th night free with the IHG Premier, and you are sitting golden in what looks to be a world class hotel in a hard to beat location.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.