Christmas Markets in Vienna: 3 Amazing Hotels To Redeem Points For

As you make your way down the snowy path from warmly lit stall to stall in search of trinkets and handicrafts, you catch the scent of roasting chestnuts. You stop to buy a small glass figurine at one of the wooden shops and gaze at the softly floating snowflakes as the seller wraps your item. Later you meet up with friends to enjoy some Glühwein (German drink of hot wine with mulled spices) and perhaps share a hot Belgian waffle covered in cream and spices.

Magic Christmas Markets

The Christmas Markets in Vienna are wondrous to explore and a special experience. If this is on your bucket list of things to do, this year in particular there is a special 30th year advent celebration. Festive decorations, Christmas tree lightings, pony rides, a town hall that offers kids the chance to make their own handicrafts, and hundreds of stalls offering everything from hot cocoa and fairy floss to wood carvings from artisans create a fairytale land for adults and children alike.

M Vienna Markets

Vienna’s Christmas markets run from November 13 – December 26th this year (2015). The hours are 10am-10pm all days except for December 24, 2015 when it closes early at 7pm.

Which of Vienna’s quaint Christmas markets is the best?

Some say it is the main market at Am Hof…or Spittelberg…possibly Freyung…maybe Schönbrunn Palace or on Maria Theresien-Platz…and in front of the Karlskirche (church of St. Charles Borromeo). You’ll have to try them all and decide for yourself. Luckily the town is very walkable, so you can map out which ones you want to visit. Here’s a great resource with a map of the Christmas markets in Vienna.

Perhaps the toughest part is deciding what hotel to stay at. Rates don’t get any less expensive during the holidays, and if you are already shelling out for airfare and food, you may not have a ton of extra cash to spend on a hotel while visiting the Christmas markets of Vienna. But, if you’ve got some hotel points stashed away, here are 3 fantastic hotels you can redeem points for at an excellent value.

1. Hotel imperial Vienna – Starwood Preferred Guest property.

Hotel Imperial - Click here for review
Click here for Hotel Imperial Vienna Review

Selecting the random weekend of December 4-6, 2015 on Starwood’s website the basic Classic Room at this hotel (single or King for 2) is at 459 EUR (over $500 a night!) using the best available rate.

M SPG Hotel Imperial

 The former residence of Prince of Württemberg is steeped in charm. From a special advent brunch with live music to a lavish 6 course Christmas dinner, the luxury property prepares for the holidays with flourish. Here’s the website’s page with some details on the Christmas markets as well. 

The Hotel Imperial Vienna is a Category 6 property, which means that it requires only 25,000 Starpoints for a free night. Plus, all three times I’ve stayed at this property as a SPG Platinum, I’ve been given a complimentary upgrade to the Elisabeth Suite which goes for around 800 EUR a night.

The Hotel Imperial is just blocks away on foot from one of the Viennese Christmas Markets. Here’s a handy SPG booking link.

2.  Ritz-Carlton Vienna – Marriott/Ritz-Carlton property.

Click here for Ritz-Carlton Vienna review
Click here for Ritz-Carlton Vienna review

Using random sample weekend dates of December 11-13, 2015 the best available rate is 375 EUR per night (approx 415 USD).

M Ritz-Carlton Vienna

Instead of paying, you can instead redeem 50,000 Ritz-Carlton or Marriott Rewards points per night (for a total of 100,000 for the weekend).

M Ritz-Carlton Vienna redemption

The Ritz-Carlton Vienna even offers guests special dining options during Christmas market season with everything from a Christmas Eve buffet to gingerbread decorating and a visit from Saint Nicholas and Krampus (free for those under 6). The Ritz-Carlton Vienna’s rooftop bar even hosts their own Christmas market, called “Christmas Spirit High Above the Sky” open November 15-December 23, 2015 M-F 4pm-10pm, and Saturday/Sunday 2pm-10pm. Here’s their website’s page with more details.

Here is a Ritz-Carlton room booking link.

3. Park Hyatt Vienna – Hyatt property.

Click here for a Park Hyatt Vienna Review

Selecting again the dates of December 4-6, 2015, the best available rate came to 490 EUR (approx 541 USD).

M Park Hyatt Vienna paid

Redeeming 25,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for a free night is a great way to stay at this gem of a property without having to pay a ton of money.

M Park Hyatt Vienna redemption

The Park Hyatt Vienna happens to be in a prime location as well; there’s a Christmas market right across the street from the hotel! They also offer a special traditional advent brunch on November 29, December 6, 13 and 20, 2015 from 12.00pm to 3.00pm (for an extra fee). Here’s their website’s page with more details on their holiday dining options.

Here’s a Hyatt room booking link.

All 3 of these are really great hotels to stay at while enjoying the Christmas markets in Vienna. Will you be going this year?


    • Melinda Danielsen says

      DeltaGoldLassisPM, me too! So much rich history, easy transportation, beautiful buildings, and great food!

  1. Counsellor says

    A very nice praise of Vienna and its magnificent Christmas markets. Personally, I prefer the markets in Munich and Nuremberg, but that’s just a personal preference.

    However, I don’t think the recommendations — at least the first two — for redeeming points instead of paying for the hotels would be a good bargain. Here’s why:

    As to the Hotel Imperial Vienna, the quoted price of €459 is the equivalent today of $506. Redeeming Starwood points requires 25,000 Starpoints. Because of their flexibility, I value Starpoints at about 3 cents per point, which would make 25,000 equal to about $750 in value.

    Plus, one must factor in the lost opportunity costs in redeeming points instead of paying. If you have Starpoints, you’re probably a member of Starwood Preferred Guest, and would earn about 3 Starpoints per dollar paid, for a total of 1518 Starpoints. Additionally, if you carry the SPG AMEX and use that to settle the bill (no foreign transaction fee now), that would net you an additional 2 Starpoints per dollar, or 1012 points, for a total of about 2530 Starpoints (which I would value at $75.90) that would be foregone by redeeming points instead of paying cash.

    So, you’d be “giving up” 27,530 Starpoints if you redeem the points for the room. As I value the Starpoints at 3 cents each, that would be giving up over $825 to avoid paying $506, not good bargain in my book, unless you have a surplus of Starpoints and want to save your cash for shopping at the Christmas market.

    Similarly, at the Ritz-Carlton Vienna you’re paying €375 (about $415) or 50,000 Marriott Reward Points. I value the Marriott Reward points at about a penny apiece, so 50,000 would be worth about $500 to me. And again one must consider the loss of the points you would have earned by paying for the hotel room instead of redeeming points.

    If you have Marriott Reward Points, I can infer that you’re a member of the Marriott Rewards program. As such, you would earn a base 10 points per dollar spent at the hotel. If you’re elite with Marriott Rewards, you can earn a bonus of up to 50%, or 5 additional points per dollar. Finally, if you charge the room to the Chase Marriott Rewards VISA (which also does not charge a foreign transaction fee), you get an additional 5 bonus points per dollar charged. So, by redeeming points instead of paying for the room, you’re foregoing at least 10 points per dollar, and as high as 20 points per dollar, or 4150 to 8300 points on top of the 50,000 you’re redeeming.

    And since I value them at one cent per point, the 58,300 total points I’m giving up would have a value to me of about $583. I’d rather pay the $415 instead.

    This is not to say the hotels are not beautiful, or are not worth the price. I’m just saying that, to me, the points I’d be giving up to redeem the room are more valuable than the money I would be saving. However, for someone on a tight budget but with a lot of hotel points, the calculation might be different.

    • Melinda Danielsen says

      You value your Starpoints a bit higher than I do Counsellor (3 cents per points vs 2 cents in my book), but I do agree with your (very good) analysis that the first two properties ring up close to the amounts that you’d spend in cash vs the value of the points being redeemed. It is always smart for readers to do the math before redeeming so they can see clearly the benefits and drawbacks to using points, and then make the decision.

      That being said, I think the hotels themselves offer a phenomenal value for anyone looking to use points to pay for a stay in Vienna. As I often find myself heavy in points but light on cash around the holidays, these properties represent an excellent value for me and hopefully some other readers as well. Thanks for reading!

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