If you’re looking for a way to beat the summer heat in the US, one safe bet is to head to the southern hemisphere. Better yet, head to a beachfront city in the southern hemisphere that has a relaxing, mild climate all year! A prime candidate for such a city is Rio de Janeiro, a coastal gem featuring familiar sites such as Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) and Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as the sandy beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.

Rio is not the capital of Brazil (that would be Brasilia) but it is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro. One of the neat things about the city of Rio de Janeiro is that it expands well beyond the central district; it isn’t just a bustling metropolis with residential suburbs, but it also includes several national parks, mountain ranges, marshlands, coastal stretches, islands, and farmlands. Adventurous travelers can take advantage of a rich variety of experiences without ever leaving the city!

The hotel scene in Rio de Janeiro is typical of most coastal towns; it features a couple of “hotel rows” along famous beaches, namely Copacabana and Ipanema in this case. However, there are a few other properties sprinkled around the area and all of them are worth checking out. Here are a few points properties that we think would be excellent spots to redeem your stockpile of points on your next trip to Brazil.

Marriott

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro

Speaking of Copacabana, the JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro is an ideal accommodation for anyone yearning for some prime real estate on the beach. This modern yet elegant space features a rooftop bar as well as a rooftop fitness center, plus several different dining options and a spa.

Don’t spend all of your time at the property, though; be sure to hit the beach as well as the surrounding natural areas. Rio hosts the largest urban forest in the world: Tijuca National park, which covers over 15 square miles! An excursion to this jungle is easily bookable through the hotel.

A night at this Category 5 property is available from 30,000 Marriott Rewards points.

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro (Image Courtesy from Marriott)

Cards to Help You Earn Marriott Points

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

One of the quickest ways to earn Marriott points is to open a line of credit with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card from Chase. Not only do cardholders have the opportunity to earn more Bonus Points on everyday spending, but they also earn automatic Silver Elite status simply by being cardholders. Cardholders earn 6X points per $1USD spent on purchases at Marriott Properties and 2X points per $1USD spent on all other purchases.

With all of these benefits, this card is well worth the $95 annual fee; however, there is another way to skip the annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

If you want extra benefits without the annual fee, apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card from Chase. You’ll still have access to complimentary Silver Elite Status and earn 3X points per $1USD spent on purchases at Marriott properties. You’ll also earn 2X points per $1USD spent on travel purchases and 1X points per $1USD on all other purchases.

If you want a quick path to Silver Elite and a decent earning potential without committing to an annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold could be the right pick for you

Hilton

Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

Up the Avenida Atlantica from the JW Marriott lies the Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana, another excellent waterfront accommodation.

This highrise features unbeatable views of the water and surrounding mountains and cityscapes. Of course, this property has its own rooftop bar that shouldn’t be missed, as well as several beautiful pools that serve as more sheltered, intimate alternatives to the beach.

If you like to hunt for urban art during your travels, check out Escadaria Selaron. This beautiful staircase was designed by Jorge Selaron, a Chilean artist who created the steps as a “tribute to the Brazilian people.” This famous installation is easily accessible from the hotel; just be aware that the staircase is no secret, and you certainly won’t be the only one visiting!

A night at this beachfront property is available from just 31,000 Hilton HHonors points.

Hilton Rio de Janeiro

Hilton Rio de Janeiro (Image courtesy from Hilton)

Cards to Help You Earn Hilton Points

Hilton has a long-standing partnership with American Express and offers four different co-branded cards: three personal cards and one business card. Here, we’ll mention the perks of our favorite personal card as well as the business card.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Perfect for business owners on the go, tThe Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees) is a card with decent earning potential and plenty of travel benefits. While it comes with a $95 annual fee, cardholders earn 12X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on Hilton purchases, 6X Bonus Points per $1USD on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, and on car rentals booked directly through select car rental agencies, and 3X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on all other purchases.

In addition, this card is an excellent way to jump straight to Gold Status; a $95 annual fee is a pretty small price to pay considering that benefit. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to Diamond Status depending on how much you’re planning on using the card, which is a definite bonus.

Hilton Honors Aspire

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is our favorite credit card in the collection, and it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee.

At first glance, it might not seem worth it to splurge on a high-fee card when the Bonus Points earning potential is only marginally better than the other three cards in the collection. However, when weighing the annual fee against the additional benefits, it might be a good deal if you’re looking to skyrocket your status.

Cardholders earn 14X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on Hilton purchases, 7X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on purchases at US restaurants, flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, and cars booked directly through select car rental agencies, and 3X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on all other eligible purchases.

Note that the value of the accompanying travel benefits surpasses the annual fee, so as long as you’re planning on using the benefits, this card is well worth it.

IHG

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro

While Mr. & Mrs. Smith hotels are not cobranded with IHG, they are a part of the IHG Rewards Program and as such, you may choose to redeem your IHG Rewards points on a Mr. & Mrs. Smith property such as the Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro.

It’s a fortunate partnership for IHG members because this property is always alive with color, music, dancing, and vibrant poolside parties! Situated across the street from Botafogo beach, this hotel features excellent views of the nearby Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay.

Enjoy a bottle of champagne as a welcome gift, compliments of the house, and expect your room design to feature modern touches, pops of color, and nods to the nature that surrounds the city.

A night at this IHG partner property is available from 75,000 IHG Rewards points.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro

Smith Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro (Image Courtesy from Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro)

Cards to Help You Earn IHG Points

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase is the premium card in the IHG collection.

This card comes with an $89 annual fee, but it includes automatic Platinum Elite Member status and up to 25X points per $1USD spent at IHG properties, which include existing reward benefits from your status.

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Of course, the Premier level card doesn’t suit everyone. If you are an IHG Rewards member interested in opening an IHG line of credit but don’t want to bother with any annual fees, then signing up for the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card from Chase could be a better move.

This card does come with the opportunity to bump up to Gold Elite, which is a nice perk for members with Club Member status. Additionally, you can earn up to 15X points per USD spent at IHG properties worldwide when combined with your status.

Hyatt

Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro

Located on the other side of Tijuca National Park is the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, situated comfortably along Rio’s southern coastline. This lovely resort is tucked between a lagoon and the ocean, overlooking a natural reserve and flanked by the upscale Barra da Tijuca district.

Ideal for couples on a romantic getaway, the Grand Hyatt features several different onsite restaurants as well as a spa. Visitors also have easy access to the exquisite shopping and nightlife in the surrounding neighborhood, as well as concert venues and the Barra Olympic Park. For those who love to golf, Hyatt offers a special Golf Experience package that includes discounts at some of the most exclusive golf courses in Rio.

A night at this property is available from just 12,000 World of Hyatt points.

Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro Room View

Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro (Image Courtesy from Hyatt)

Cards to Help You Earn World of Hyatt Points

If you’re looking to maximize your earning potential with World of Hyatt, the best way to do that is by – you guessed it – opening up a line of credit. Currently, The World of Hyatt Credit Card is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 Bonus points, equivalent to 12 free nights at a Category 1 property.

Cardholders earn 9X Total Points per $1USD spent at Hyatt properties, 2X Bonus Points on transportation, restaurants, flights purchased directly through the airline, and fitness club memberships, and 1X Bonus Points per $1USD spent on all other purchases.

Chase Travel Portal

The above properties are wonderful options for Rio de Janeiro, but they aren’t so exciting if you haven’t stocked up on a bunch of points in exactly the right currency. If you don’t have a stash of brand-specific points lying around, there is another option.

Many credit cards offer their own rewards programs that include the opportunity to redeem points on travel. If you’ve been stockpiling credit card rewards instead of brand-specific hotel rewards, a trip to Rio de Janeiro could be a great way to redeem them.

For example, you could use your stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to book your hotel. When Chase points are redeemed on travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards Portal, they are worth 50% more than other select categories. That bonus is a great incentive to use them on a trip to Rio de Janeiro! Here are a couple of the properties in Rio that you can book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

JANEIRO Hotel

Located across the canal from Ipanema beach along Leblon beach, the JANEIRO Hotel is a relatively new but already award-winning hotel. With natural light as the central feature in each open-concept room, this property offers stunning ocean views and clean, simple, refreshing vibes.

Enjoy a meal at their onsite Brazilian restaurant and a stroll along the beach towards Ipanema and back, then relax in your room as the sea breeze flows through your open window. This is a lovely beachfront alternative to Copacabana and Ipanema that offers a quiet oasis, as well as views of the archipelago on the horizon. Book in solo or with a companion for a beautiful retreat away.

A night at this waterfront hotel is available from 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

JANEIRO Hotel room view

Image Courtesy from JANEIRO Hotel

Vila Santa Teresa

Located up the hill from the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yoo2 property, the Vila Santa Teresa offers an inland approach to accommodations in Rio de Janeiro. This gorgeous property also boasts views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay, only from a bit higher up in altitude.

Vila Santa Teresa defines itself as an “eloquent urban oasis,” shrouded by one of the many urban green spaces that Rio holds so dear. Book in at the onsite restaurant, take advantage of a full menu of relaxing spa treatments, or even request a private outdoor yoga or pilates session. This property is located down the hill from Christ the Redeemer, and functions as a mountain greenery alternative to the white sandy beaches below.

A night at this property is available from 18,500 Ultimate Rewards points.

Villa Santa Teresa

Image Courtesy from Villa Santa Teresa

Cards to Help You Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A consistent favorite of the Chase collection is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offering unparalleled opportunities to earn Ultimate Rewards points and benefit from travel perks. Its hefty $550 annual fee is offset by an annual $300 travel credit, plus built-in insurance and protections for when you’re on the go.

Currently, new cardholders can earn a 60,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account — that’s a bonus of $900 if redeemed through the Travel Portal!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If a $450 annual fee just doesn’t sound like a good time, apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead. With a $95 annual fee and an even more impressive 100,000 point sign-up bonus offer, this card is ideal for a first-time Chase Sapphire applicant.

Final Thoughts

A holiday in Rio de Janeiro is guaranteed to be an unforgettable one. Between the pleasant year-round climate, hopping nightlife, colorful festivals, captivating mountains, and wide stretches of oceanfront, Rio is an urban center unlike any other. Whether you’re more of a mountain lover or a beachgoer, there are plenty of points properties that can tick all of your boxes in Rio de Janeiro.