Best Hotels Near Universal Orlando to Use Points and Free Nights

by joeheg

The Universal Orlando Resort has evolved into a complete vacation destination, featuring three theme parks (soon to be four, with the opening of Epic Universe in 2025), a shopping and dining district, and a variety of on- and slightly off-property hotels. If you’re a Harry Potter fan or enjoy Halloween Horror Nights, finding the nearest hotel to Universal Orlando could be vital to your vacation.

Here’s a list of hotels near Universal Orlando that you can pay for using your hotel program points or free night certificates:

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Lowes Hotels runs the hotels located on Universal Orlando Resort property. Lowes did away with their hotel loyalty program in 2018, but even at that time, the hotels at Universal Orlando were excluded from the program.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use points to redeem free nights at the on-property hotels. The Universal hotels are listed on the Chase portal so that you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for free hotel nights.

a screenshot of a hotel

If you have a Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when booking hotels like the high-end Hard Rock Hotel and the mid-priced Cabana Bay Beach Resort (which is so darn cute, with their Alberto VO-5 and Zest soap amenities).


If you’re interested in using your points to stay near Universal Orlando, you can choose to stay at a hotel on Major Boulevard. These hotels are located right across the street from the entrance to Universal Orlando, and some of them are even closer to the theme parks than the hotels on Universal property.

I’ll try to list them in the walking distance from Universal Orlando. The closest hotel to the Universal Orlando Resort is located right across the street.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando


This hotel is located directly across from the entrance road to the Universal Orlando property. Since Hilton doesn’t publish award charts for their hotels anymore, it appears that award nights at this property run between 30,000 and 40,000 points a night. The hotel also charges a self-parking charge of $29 a night or $38 for valet parking.

Holiday Inn & Suites across from Universal Orlando

Located just across the street from the DoubleTree is the Holiday Inn & Suites. Currently, a reward night at this hotel will cost you 20,000 to 30,000 IHG Rewards Club points. I’d suggest checking cash prices and using the estimate of 1/2 cent per IHG point to see if it’s a better deal to pay with cash or points.

Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Universal Orlando

The Hyatt Place is a Category 2, and Hyatt House Universal Orlando is a Category 3 Hyatt property, with standard award nights costing 8,000 to 12,000 points per night. They can also be booked with the free night certificate earned with the World of Hyatt credit card.

Both of these hotels offer larger than normal rooms, with the Hyatt House offering a room with a full kitchen and the Hyatt Place giving 400 square feet with a sofa bed. Additionally, both hotels offer free breakfast.

Rooms at these hotels often go for $160 a night and up. Make sure you’re getting good value before redeeming World of Hyatt points for a free night.

Clarion Inn & Suites across from Universal Orlando Resort 

The Clarion Inn & Suites is part of Choice Hotels, and you can book rooms using your Choice Privileges points. A free night at this hotel starts at 12,000 to 16,000 Choice points per night. Cash rates seem to run between $80-$120 so make sure it’s a good value before booking with your Choice points for a free night.

Residence Inn near Universal Orlando


The Residence Inn near Universal Orlando charges 37,000 to 54,000 points a night. Depending on which Marriott co-brand card you have and the price for the night you’re looking at, you may be able to use a free night certificate at this hotel.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites nearest Universal Orlando

This standard Holiday Inn Express is located a little further down Major Blvd. Currently, rewards nights at this hotel cost 25,000 to 37,000 IHG Rewards Club points. I’d suggest checking cash prices and using the estimate of 1/2 cent per IHG point to see if it’s a better deal to pay with cash or points.

If you find availability, you can take advantage of one of the Wyndham Rewards sweet spots and book a suite for the same 15,000 points a night.

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 2.47.41 PM

Final Thoughts

There’s no shortage of hotels to stay at if you want to be close to Universal Orlando. Whether you use your flexible points to pay for a night at one of Universal Orlando’s hotels or you want to redeem hotel points for a place just across the street, you have plenty of options. No matter if you collect Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Hyatt, Choice Wyndham or Best Western points, there’s an option available for you.

I’m not even starting to include the places that are a short drive across Interstate 4, like the Four Points by Sheraton and the Homewood Suites.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary, or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian January 14, 2024 - 6:55 pm

Don’t the on-site locations that you list at the top include some entrance benefit or line-jumper pass or something like that or am I being delusional?

Tennen January 16, 2024 - 9:25 pm

Am I the only one who thinks that almost 40k of Chase UR points (or any CC transferable currency) is a huge waste for a single night at a hotel? From the screenshots, it looks like you *still* have to pay over $200 on top of it!

@Christian, IIRC, only a few of the on-site hotels include the line jumping benefit (Express Pass?). The Hard Rock and the Royal Pacific are two of them.


Leave a Comment