Istanbul is one of the most beautiful and captivating cities in the world. A city straddling two continents, it’s steeped in history, culture and romance. Visitors come to Istanbul to enjoy and experience its magnificent architecture, shop at the Spice Bazaar and, of course, delight in the delicious and very diverse Turkish food. 

There’s definitely no shortage of things to see and do in Istanbul. Did you know that every year since 2006, the city of Istanbul plants tens of millions of tulips in its parks, squares, roundabouts and other open spaces? So every year, in March and April, the city explodes in a rainbow of colors. Most of us associate tulips with the Netherlands, but, as it turns out, the tulips came to the Netherlands from Turkey more than 500 years ago. 

This is what makes Istanbul so special – all the unexpected delights (including, but not limited to, the best Turkish delight you’ve ever had in your life) and surprises awaiting you everywhere. You’ll also be surprised by the amazing hospitality of the Turkish people and how much value you get for your money in Turkey. 

Let’s look at the best hotels in Istanbul that you can book with points.

Hyatt Hotels in Istanbul

Hyatt is one of our favorite hotel programs. The points are quite easy to earn with the combination of the World of Hyatt Credit Card and a number of Ultimate Rewards earning cards issued by Chase.

Image of the exterior of the Grand Hyatt Istanbul

Grand Hyatt Istanbul

The Grand Hyatt Istanbul gets great reviews and is located a few minutes walk from Taksim Square and one of Istanbul’s prettiest pedestrian-only shopping avenues, Istiklal street. Taksim Square is a big transportation hub, which makes it easy to get anywhere in Istanbul. And there’s even a pool – perfect for a dip on those long, hot Turkish summer days. 

This is a category 3 property that you can book for 12,000 points per night.

Park Hyatt Istanbul

Park Hyatt Istanbul Macka Palas

If you’d like a bit more luxury, you might enjoy the Park Hyatt Istanbul. This is a category 4 property bookable with just 15,000 points per night. You can also use the free anniversary night award that comes with the World of Hyatt credit card.  

The hotel is located in Istanbul’s posh Nisantasi district, close to trendy bars, restaurants and upscale shopping. This is one of the most beautiful and European-like areas of this multifaceted city.

Tomtom Suites

Tomtom Suites

A part of Small Luxury Hotels, the Tomtom Suites is located in a converted convent. This all suite hotel is located in the heart of Beyoglu, one of Istanbul’s most colorful districts. You can enjoy breakfast and dinner on the rooftop terrace with a wonderful view of the Bosphorus. And if you want more sweeping views, the famous Galata Tower is just a 10 minute walk away.

This is a category 4 property bookable with just 15,000 points per night. You can also use the free anniversary night award that comes with the World of Hyatt credit card.

Cards to Help You Earn Hyatt Points

Chase’s World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with a generous welcome bonus and great earning rate on Hyatt stays.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our favorite cards. It comes with a nice welcome bonus and a whole lot of great travel benefits such as $300 annual travel credits and a Priority Pass membership.

Marriott

If you have a good stash of Marriott Bonvoy points, there are a number of excellent Marriott properties in Istanbul in different areas of the city. You can choose one based on category, the number of points you want to spend and, most importantly, the most convenient location.

Marriott has standard, peak and off peak rates, so consult their chart to see how many points exactly you’ll need for your stay. The price in points will change based on the time of year and the overall demand.

Marriott's Award Pricing

Istanbul is also a great place to redeem the 35,000 points annual free night certificates that come with a couple of Marriott’s co-branded credit cards.

And remember that when you book four nights with points, you will get the fifth night free.

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul

This is a brand new hotel slated to open in March of 2021 in the historic old town part of Istanbul, not far from the Galata Bridge. Most other Marriott properties are located on the side of the Golden Horn in the newer parts of the city, so it’s really exciting to see Marriott add a beautifully renovated historic property in the old town, within easy walking distance to some of Istanbul’s most popular attractions, such as Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

And here’s a personal recommendation from me. If you are going to stay at the Orientbank Hotel Istanbul, make sure to visit Cağaloğlu Hamam that’s located just a 10 minute walk from the hotel. If you’ve never been to the Turkish hamam, I am not going to give you any spoilers, but believe me when I say that it’s like nothing you’ve experienced before.

This is a category 4 property and requires between 20,000 and 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Note: The opening of this property has been delayed. Check the hotel’s website for more updates.

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus

JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus

Located in the eclectic and bohemian Karaköy, the hotel sits in a perfect location, just minutes away from the famous Galata bridge and the ferry terminal. The ferries are a fun way to get around Istanbul – take a ferry across to the Asia side of town and you get bragging rights of visiting two continents in one day! And don’t forget to check out the incredible Bosphorus views from the rooftop restaurant. 

This is a category 5 property and requires between 30,000 and 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

For a bit more luxury, the Ritz-Carlton is always a good bet. All three on property restaurants have  incredible Bosphorus views and the rooms are pure modern Turkish luxury. The hotel is located next to a beautiful park and within walking distance of Dolmabahçe Palace, one of Istanbul’s most gorgeous palaces of the former sultans . 

This is a category 5 property and requires between 30,000 and 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

W Istanbul

W Istanbul

For something a bit different and more hip, stay at the W Istanbul. The hotel is located in a historic building in the Besiktas neighborhood. Besiktas is a very colorful, hip, young and fun area with lots of cafes, coffee shops and other fun eateries around.

You’ll be just minutes away from the Besiktas ferry station. Ferries are a super affordable way to get around and you can string a couple of ferry trips for your own do it yourself Bosphorus tour.

This is a category 4 property and requires between 20,000 and 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Cards to Help You Earn Marriott Points

Marriott has co-branded cards with both Chase and American Express. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card comes with a generous welcome bonus and a free annual night award that you can use on stays that cost 35,000 Bonvoy points or less. Depending on when you are visiting Istanbul, all the hotels mentioned here could be booked with an annual free night certificate.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card is a great card for the small business owner. The card has great bonus earning categories such as U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and wireless and also comes with an annual free night that can be redeemed on stays up to 35,000 points.

IHG

IHG has eliminated the award chart and now has dynamic award pricing. This means the award rates will fluctuate, just like cash rates, based on demand.

IHG has quite a few lower end properties in Istanbul, including a few Holiday Inns. Those might be an excellent value if you are trying to save your IHG points, but we’ll look at a couple of higher end hotels because thanks to the general affordability of hotels in Istanbul, you can stay at an InterContinental for the same price you’d pay at a Holiday Inn Express in another city.

If you have an IHG credit card, and use points to book your stay, you’ll get the fourth night free.

InterContinental Istanbul

InterContinental Istanbul

Located in the modern Taksim district, the InterContinental is within easy reach of most Istanbul attractions. This is a high rise hotel, so you’ll enjoy great views over the Bosphorus and the historic city skyline.

The hotel is just steps away from the airport bus stop, so you don’t even need to get a cab to get there from the Istanbul Airport.

You can expect to pay between 30,000 and 40,000 IHG points a night.

Crowne Plaza Istanbul - Old City

Crowne Plaza Istanbul – Old City

The hotel is located in a beautiful old building in a historic part of Istanbul, about 20 minute walk from Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. 

The rate in points will depend on the demand, but you can expect to pay between 10,000 to 17,000 IHG points a night. 

Cards to Help You Earn IHG Points

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with a sizable 140,000 points bonus and a generous earning rate at IHG hotels. You’ll also get one free night on your account anniversary. Only the IHG cardholders get fourth night free when they redeem points for any stay of four or more nights.

Hilton

Hilton also doesn’t have an award chart, so the number of points needed depends on the demand and the cash price. Silver, Gold, or Diamond Elite Hilton Honors members who book a five night stay will get the fifth night free. Hilton Honors elite status is easy to earn with a number of Hilton’s co-branded American Express credit cards.

Hilton’s mid-tier Gold status is very rewarding and comes with a free breakfast – a great benefit, because Turkish breakfast is very generous and includes a good number of hot and cold dishes. A Turkish breakfast is definitely an experience in itself, and is not to be missed!

There are a lot of Hilton properties all around town, but let’s look at a couple of the more conveniently located hotels.

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hilton’s Curio properties are always some of the most original hotels, and this one is no exception. The property consists of a collection of individual mansions located in the heart of Old Town. You’ll be right next to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, and Sultanahmet tram station. The hotel has a spa, a pool, open-air dining, and shuttles to both Istanbul airports.

The rates start at 50,000 Hilton Honors points for a standard king room.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Istanbul - Sirkeci

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Istanbul – Sirkeci

This is another property with a very convenient location to the major transportation hubs and all of Istanbul’s attractions. While it doesn’t have the character of the Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, it’s a lot more affordable. The rates start at 20,000-26,000 Hilton Honors points, depending on the season.

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus

For a bit more contemporary luxury, there’s Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus. The Conrad is located in the newer part of town in the Besiktas district with panoramic views of the city and the Bosphorus Strait.

The rates start at around 40,000-43,000 Hilton Honors points, but could easily go higher in the high season.

Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus

Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus

This is another property located in the newer part of Istanbul. You’ll be just minutes away from Taksim square, which is a transportation hub, and within walking distance to the Galata Tower, one of Istanbul’s big attractions. The rooms have balconies and the hotel is surrounded by the lush gardens. And there’s even a pool to help you cool off after a long day of sightseeing!

The rates start at around 40,000-43,000 Hilton Honors points, but could be higher during high season.

Cards to Help You Earn Hilton Honors Points

American Express has three personal cards and one business co-branded card that earn Hilton Honors points.

 

For a small business owner, there’s the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. It comes with an excellent welcome bonus and valuable Gold status.

Chase Travel Portal

The Chase travel portal has a huge range of properties where you can find some really nice, charming and affordable non-chain hotels. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25c each. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the points are worth 1.5c each.

Why should you check out the portal? Because Istanbul is a very affordable city and you might find great non-chain hotels that cost fewer points than any of the chains we discussed here. And you can book any room type, for as many people as you need, with whatever amenities strike your fancy (like a free breakfast) – no status needed!

This option might be especially useful to families, as most chain hotels limit the number of people in the room when you are booking an award stay.

For example, this lovely property could be yours for about 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points/night if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Using the Chase Travel Portal to Book Hotels in Istanbul

Cards to Help You Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

There are a number of excellent Ultimate Rewards earning cards issued by Chase. You’ll need to have the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the best value out of the travel portal redemptions.

If you are a small business owner and have one of the no fee cards such as the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card or Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card, you can combine the points earned on these cards with the points earned on one of the premium cards (i.e. a card with an annual fee) and use these points for travel portal redemptions.

Final Thoughts

Istanbul is a world class city, but it’s also an extremely affordable city. All major hotel chains are well represented in Istanbul, but if you have a good stash of Ultimate Rewards points don’t forget to check the Chase travel portal as you’ll probably find some very affordable local gems.

One thing’s for certain, once you visit Turkey you’ll fall in love with this beautiful country and will want to come back again!

Travel well,
Anna