Awayz by Odynn: Maximize Hotel Award Bookings

Once you’ve gotten a handle on the accumulation part of this hobby, redeeming points optimally becomes the focus of the game. After all, the points you worked hard to accrue only have value once you redeem them to save money. Finding the best points redemptions can take time and, as we mentioned in our Beginner Guide, it’s as much an art as it is a science. 

In the case of hotels, there are three core programs that we typically consider for points bookings. But rather than searching Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, or World of Hyatt individually, enter Awayz by Odynn, a new search tool that helps you find the best hotel points redemption.

Awayz by Odynn logo

Plans and Pricing

Of course, the time-saving and potentially points-saving service comes at a cost. The cost is not astronomical and can be recouped relatively quickly with one or two high-value bookings. 

Awayz offers accounts geared towards Canadian and American loyalty maximizers, but anyone can sign up and pay for the service.

For Canadians, the Awayz premium membership cost is $129.99 CAD yearly and $15.99 CAD monthly. American pricing is $99.99 USD yearly and $11.99 USD monthly. A small benefit is that the service codes as travel. So any card that offers a general Travel multiplier will be the right one to use for your subscription.

The main difference between these accounts is the type of credit cards you can add to your virtual wallet within Awayz. Currently, the Canadian version supports Chase and Capital One but doesn’t list all of the cards they offer, whereas the US version does. This might become a limiting factor for Canadians with ITINs and US credit history. 

For example, the IHG cards offered by Chase include a 4th-night free benefit when booking on points. Awayz does have the capacity to include the discount in searches, but only for US accounts.

However, keep an eye out as US credit cards are continuing to be added to the Canadian version of Awayz. On the other hand, if the US side of things is your priority, you could consider signing up for a US Awayz account rather than a Canadian one.

Feature Comparison – Premium vs Trip Pass vs Free

One of the great things about the service is that there’s quite a lot of access, even in the free trial. It will even allow award availability alerts after you run out of your five free searches.

Awayz by Odynn pricing and feature comparison table.

Furthermore, if you find you only need the tool in short bursts for some focused trip planning, the Trip Pass pricing option might be for you, offering 72 hours of access to 50 searches and 10 alerts for $4.99 USD.

This pricing is for a limited time, but Awayz has assured customers that prices will be grandfathered indefinitely for those who sign up early.

Features

Award Search

Before I started using Awayz, I often used the Hotels feature within Google Maps to see which different hotel chains were available in the cities I wanted to visit. Google Maps sometimes works well, but it can often miss newer properties. Awayz removes the extra step of searching each loyalty program after looking at Google Maps to see how many points it will require to stay.

The Wallet and Awards tab is an important feature to pay attention to before you do too much searching. Here, you can input how many points you have in each program. Doing so will allow you to easily see which hotels are bookable with your points.

Awayz wallet and awards view showing points balances in different hotel loyalty programs.

There’s not much point in inputting cards to your wallet in the Canadian version as currently only the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve impact search results. They impact the search results by offering a “points as cash” option, allowing you to redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point, respectively. If you don’t know, you can often redeem those points at a much higher value by transferring UR points to Hyatt.

After your search populates, the results are sorted from highest to lowest by the hotel’s number of stars (5-star, 4-star, etc). I didn’t find that to be particularly useful and promptly chose to sort by distance from the center.

With so many hotels in the New York City area, it would be nice to filter these results down to just Manhattan. Even when using the ‘Search This Area’ button on the map, the results still included options in New Jersey and beyond.

Another nice feature Awayz offers is searching for hotels that can be booked with free night certificates. As Marriott Free Nights can be topped up with 15,000 points, I would recommend choosing a 50K filter when searching for a 35K free night certificate. Otherwise, you might miss out on a great deal that would have only been an extra 1,000 points out of pocket.

Less helpful for Canadians, but still somewhat useful is the ability to search by bank program. The options here are limited to American Express, Chase, and Capital One (USA). As Canadian MR Points have a preferential 1:1.2 transfer ratio, it is nice to see the reminder not to transfer from Chase or Capital One, should you have either of those currencies.

Sadly, the tool did not recognize that Canadian MR Points had a 25% transfer bonus to Marriott Bonvoy when I was writing the article. Transfer bonus recognition is a feature that Awayz promotes for its US users. Here’s to hoping they add compatibility for Canada! Check out our Transfer Bonus Tool to keep up with all the latest transfer bonuses.

One of the most valuable tools for a general search is the availability calendar view. I find most availability calendars offered by hotel chain’s to be sluggish, and Hyatt doesn’t even offer one. To access the availability calendar, select the hotel you want to see and click on Award Availability.

This will bring you to a convenient view that saves many extra clicks through Hyatt’s website.

Awayz calendar view for Hyatt hotels.
Awayz hotel availability calendar view 

Award Availability Alerts

This feature should be most exciting for miles and points veterans with aspirational properties or destinations on their bucket lists, particularly for rewards programs like Marriott and Hyatt which only make a certain number of rooms available for points bookings.

Some properties that come to mind immediately are JW Marriott Masai Mara Safari Lodge in Kenya and Alila Ventana just north of San Francisco (Hyatt).

Setting an alert is relatively easy, as you’ll see below. 

After searching and not finding any availability, simply click on the “View” button below the property in question.

After that, you’ll see the very expensive cash total for your trip that you’ll want to use points for! Click on Availability Alert, and if points availability pops up, you’ll be one of the first to know.

I tried to set some alerts for the Waldorf Astoria Maldives but was alerted immediately as the room was available…for a whopping 1,000,000 points per night. Sadly, no price thresholds are available so that you can be alerted if the price drops to what you are willing to pay.

Deal Alerts (Newsletter)

This is one of the few features available only to monthly or yearly subscribers. How much value you put into this feature will depend on your willingness and availability to travel on shorter notice. Often, the deal presented here will be of outsized value. Think 8 Cent Per Point Hyatt redemptions (usually worth 2 cents) or 2 Cent Per Point Hilton redemptions (usually worth 0.05 cents) on limited days. 

As a free user, you’ll still receive a weekly round-up, but the deals will likely be booked by the time they arrive in your inbox. Here are a few examples I’ve seen in my weekly round-up.

I find them helpful for some travel inspiration and ideas of where I can search in the future to get maximum value.

Limitations

For the US market, I think this is a pretty well-rounded tool. But for Canadians, I think there is some work to be done. 

I ran into my first snafu with the Canadian version of Awayz while searching for hotels in New York. The search engine recommended that I pay cash for this hotel rather than use points.

I found that the conversion ratio from USD to CAD was not accurate, and the rate of $678 didn’t include taxes and fees. On top of that, the rate displayed was for a pre-paid, non-refundable booking, which I rarely recommend or book myself. In most cases, if your travel plans change, your pre-paid money is gone.

Once I selected a rate with equal cancellation policies to points bookings, my total rose to $981 CAD.

To give Awayz credit, this did not occur at every hotel. Odynn doesn’t claim that Awayz is perfect for cash rates. They state their pricing is accurate to 96%. I performed hotel searches in 10 or so cities. Most Hyatts were more expensive by at least $150, but the Marriott and Hilton cash prices were close, with the exception of taxes and fees not being included.

I believe that all search results should include taxes and fees, as you must pay them if you don’t redeem points; they must be accounted for. At the very least, a checkbox or option to enable them should be available. 

Having to double-check cash rates is frustrating. However, saving more money than you thought you would is never a bad thing. It would be a nice finishing touch if Odynn could polish this tarnished edge to what is a helpful and well-designed tool.

Sign Up Now: Frugal Flyer Readers Get $15 Off Forever

Frugal Flyer offers its readers an exclusive discount on Awayz Premium. Sign up through our unique affiliate link or by entering coupon code ‘FRUGALFLYER’ and get a $15 CAD discount off the annual Premium subscription. 

This discount applies in perpetuity, meaning you will retain your discount on your yearly subscription fee year after year.

Conclusion 

Awayz is a welcome addition to the points and miles community, allowing members of all skill levels to simplify their redemptions. If you’re just getting started and find searching multiple websites when booking hotels to be tedious, this aggregator is a great way to hunt for good deals. 

Conversely, for those who have specific hotels in mind with hotly contested award space, this tool can be the head start needed to book elusive rooms. As time progresses, I’m sure that Awayz by Odynn will only improve their product. I’m encouraged to see how refined it becomes!

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.

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