Andaz Tokyo: Choosing Between Points + Cash and All Points Award Reservation

April 13th, 2016

Generally, the choice between booking a Points + Cash or an All Points Award reservation is a no-brainer in favor of Points + Cash. The reasons for this are:

  1. Points + Cash stays count towards qualified nights and stays for tier renewal
  2. Points + Cash stays can generally be combined with a Diamond Suite Upgrade
  3. The “cash” portion of Points + Cash allows one to effectively buy points at a very attractive rate.

For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that the benefit of a qualified stay is negligible.  If you’re cutting it that close on stays, then there are a lot better mattress stay options available than Andaz Tokyo.

Let us consider the Andaz Tokyo at this particular point in the space/time continuum that I am posting this (sadly, most of my previous articles are now woefully outdated…one of many reasons why actual posts here have become so infrequent)  First, the regular rates at this hotel have become so high that it is always a good value to use points towards a reservation. Unfortunately, Andaz Tokyo is one of the exempt hotels that do not allow the use of Diamond Suite Upgrades (a pity, because they are REALLY nice!)

And now, for some of you that have purchased points in the past, there is another way to buy points and a very attractive rate:

Darned right my loyalty deserves to be rewarded…

With this new promotion, let’s crunch the numbers and see what happens.

First, the Andaz Tokyo Points + Cash reservation.  As a Category 6 hotel, the cash portion of the Points + Cash rate at Andaz Tokyo should be $150;  HOWEVER, as the hotel charges in yen, Hyatt uses it’s own exchange rates to give us 17,785 yen:

Because $150 * 109 yen = 16...wait, what?

Because $150 * 109 yen = 16…wait, what?

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  Because Andaz Tokyo also charges the following on all paid rates (whether they’re supposed to or not):

There's even a tax on tax!

There’s even a tax on tax!

Putting my degree in nuclear engineering to good use, I calculate the total total of the cash portion of this stay to be…22554 yen.

Whereas, if you can participate in the 40% point bonus promotion, then you can purchase the additional 12,500 points needed for a full award stay (plus an extra 100) for $216.

You have more control of the exchange rate with this purchase.

You have more control of the exchange rate with this purchase.

Using a generous exchange rate of 109 yen gives us a total of 23544 yen.

So, even with all of the Andaz Tokyo tomfoolery and a 40% point bonus, it’s still a slightly better value to book a Points + Cash rate. However, given the scarcity of Points + Cash rates that are actually available at Andaz Tokyo these days, there’s no need to feel bad about topping off your points with this sale to book an all points stay and experience the fizzy jacuzzi at a discount.

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BREAKING NEWS: Next Year’s Diamond Suite Upgrade Policy Change

December 21st, 2015

Currently, a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade can be used towards reservations past the expiration date of the Upgrade, provided that no changes are made to the reservation after the expiration date. For example, this year’s DSUs expire on February 29, 2016, but if you apply them before that date, they can be used for reservations on March 1st, 2016, or any day after.

I have confirmed from Hyatt spokesperson that, starting with Diamond Suite Upgrades received on March 1, 2016, they can not be used on any reservations after the expiration. They will expire on February 28, 2017, and they cannot be used on reservations for March 1st, 2017, or any day following.

Since reservations can be made up to thirteen months in advance, this brings up the bizarre case where a March 2017 reservation can be upgraded to a suite using a 2015 DSU, but not with a 2016 DSU!

Probably the worst devaluation of benefits since I have become a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member.

Details can be found here and here.

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Adventures in Claiming Retroactive Non-Stay Hyatt Gold Passport Points Part 1: Grand Hyatt Tokyo

October 23rd, 2015

Although I pride myself on being fairly proficient in the Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions, it wasn’t until a recent meal at the Park Hyatt Tokyo New York Grill that I realized that people can earn Hyatt Gold Passport points at restaurants even when they’re not staying at them. From the T&C:

3. Five Hyatt Gold Passport points will be awarded for each whole U.S. dollar or U.S. dollar equivalent, paid by a member for Eligible Non-Stay Charges. “Eligible Non-Stay Charges” vary on a hotel-by-hotel basis, but generally include spa and salon services, spa and salon retail items, one (1) day spa membership and food and beverage expenditures (except at outlets not operated by the hotel).

It was only by virtue of paying with my Hyatt Credit Card that that the staff noticed the membership number on it and used it to apply the credit, which showed up in my account almost immediately.

This only resulted in about 200 additional points but, after going over the past year’s worth of credit card statements, I realized that I had patronized Hyatt bars and restaurants without staying about a dozen times without receiving anything. That seemed like a decent chunk of points that I was leaving on the table, so I went back to research the T&C to see if it was possible to retroactively claim the credit.

You already know by the fact that I’m writing this that it is, but here’s the relevant text that proves it:

5. In the event a member does not provide their Hyatt Gold Passport membership number at the time Eligible Non-Stay Charges are incurred, the member must contact the hotel’s outlet directly to request retroactive point issuance. Retroactive point issuance credit timeframes vary hotel-by-hotel. Retroactive credit for which a receipt can be provided will only be awarded on Eligible Non-Stay Charges by the shorter of: 1 year from outlet visit, or the date on which the outlet began participation in the benefit (varies hotel-by-hotel). Eligible Non-Stay Charges prior to a member’s enrollment in Hyatt Gold Passport will not be eligible for retroactive credit.

It seemed like I was good to go…but first, I had to figure out what made a Non-Stay Charge “Eligible”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as cut and clear as I had thought it would be:

1. Hyatt Gold Passport members may earn Hyatt Gold Passport points for Eligible Non-Stay Charges (defined below) at participating outlets at Hyatt-branded hotels even when such charges are not affiliated with a stay at such hotel. Outlet participation is limited and this benefit may not be available at all hotels. Please ask outlet associates for participation eligibility.

To figure out whether or not a particular hotel participates in this program, see this handy link for the full breakdown. If you expand the Japan section, you will note that, while the Hyatt Regency Naha and Hyatt Regency Fukuoka are conspicuous by their absence, all of the Tokyo Hyatt hotels offer restaurant non-stay credit (and all but the Hyatt Regency Tokyo offer non-stay credit on spa visits)

Now I was finally able to start contacting each individual hotel for back credit. I started with the simplest and easiest, a single meal at the Oak Door Bar at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo (the Oak Door Burger was solid, but I have to say that I prefer the Andaz Tokyo burgers at BeBu) Armed with the knowledge of the date, location, and expenditure of the meal from my credit card statement, I fired off a quick e-mail to the mail address on the Grand Hyatt Tokyo website requesting retroactive credit.

Less than a day later, I received a very nice response from a representative of the restaurant apologizing to me for the oversight, and notifying me of the immediate deposit of points from the expenditure into my account, backdated to the original date of purchase. With the 30% Diamond bonus, this amounted to a whopping 92 additional points!

The only embedded image you're getting this time. Fear the almighty wall of text!

The only embedded image you’re getting this time. Fear the almighty wall of text!

Quick and painless, the way it should be! But, unfortunately, not the way that it always is.

In Part 2, we will begin our exploration into what could go wrong, as I break down my experience claiming retroactive non-stay credit with the Park Hyatt Tokyo!


Hyatt Violates Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions With Flash Sale

September 16th, 2015

This post is not related to Tokyo Hyatt hotels (yet…), but since I’m not exactly burying you under an avalanche of content these days…

The Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions is a meaty beast of a document, coming in at just under 13,000 words in total. With that in mind, perhaps it’s understandable that even Hyatt itself has trouble keeping straight with what’s in it.

On the heels of their successful Southeast Asia Summer Flash Sale, Hyatt has decided to offer another one for the rest of the year. But this time around, Hyatt decided to get a little bit cheeky, and hid one tiny new sentence in the tiny fine print of the offer Terms and Conditions. Even I didn’t find it on my first run through; it took an observant Flyertalk Poster to alert me to this gem:

Offer not applicable to Diamond Suite upgrade.

To me, the Diamond Suite Upgrades are the crown jewel of Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status: the opportunity to upgrade up to four paid reservations a year to a suite. At the eligible Tokyo Hyatt hotels (sadly, Andaz Tokyo is exempt from this benefit, but I did manage to sneak into their suite once anyway…), and especially the Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Park Hyatt Tokyo, this Diamond benefit alone has the potential to be worth tens of thousands of dollars a year! And the best part is that, unlike the ability to upgrade to a suite for 6000 points a night that requires booking at the Hyatt Daily Rate, the Diamond Suite Upgrade is good with any paid rate!

Since the people that put this promotion together obviously cannot be bothered to read and comprehend the 13,000 word behemoth, I have outlined the relevant passage of the Terms and Conditions that spell this out (in image form, lest the original text end up “changed” in the near future…)

Taken from my smart phone so I could make my case on Twitter while riding the train

Taken from my smart phone so I could make my case on Twitter while riding the train

Had to dig into another section to find where "Eligible Rate" was defined. Way to be user friendly, Hyatt!

Had to dig into another section to find where “Eligible Rate” was defined.
Way to be user friendly, Hyatt!

I’ve brought this to the attention of Senior Vice President of Hyatt Gold Passport, Jeff Zidell, who has replied to say that they are looking into the matter. I think that it’s very clear that Hyatt will have to make a choice: change the Flash Sale to allow Diamond Suite Upgrades, or change the Terms and Conditions to inform Diamonds that they will have to read the fine print of each and every rate to determine if this benefit will apply. I certainly hope that they will choose the former…

Regardless, I’ll send another update when we get a final verdict!


OT: The Conrad Tokyo Royal Hamarikyu Suite

June 23rd, 2015

Recently I cheated on Hyatt with a one-night-stand at the Conrad Tokyo. In my defense, they made it worth our while by giving us the Royal Hamarikyu Suite, some pictures of which I share here for posterity.

The main entrance leads to a very large living room. The giant TV and BOSE sound system served our Playstation 4 party well. The painting on the wall reminds me of that which we saw in the Andaz Suite.



The other entrance leads to a small kitchen, complete with everything you need to cook your own meals, from an oven to oven mitts, as well as all the silverware you will need, as someone will come to wash them all for you every day.



The spare bedroom has two twin beds and its own bathroom. The bathtub looks pleasant enough, though we never used it, for reasons that will become clear momentarily. We did, of course, take the extra bath duck home.




The master bedroom featured a single, larger bed, and this very comfy chair.



But what really stood out was the master bedroom bathroom.


For starters, there is the fanciest shower I have ever seen…even fancier than those in the Club on the Park at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Two rain shower heads, one move showerhead, and eight mist sauna jets! It’s like having your very own miniature water park!


But that’s only the setup for the main event: the bathtub in the center of the room.


An observant person might look at this and say “There’s no water spout! How do fill it with water?”



Yes, the water falls from the ceiling into the middle of the tub! Which is good, because you’ll need to keep it running while you’re bathing to the magnificent views of Hamarikyu Gardens and Tokyo Bay, because an even more observant person would see that the bathtub is only the inner chamber, which you must overflow to fill the outer chamber so that the jacuzzi will activate.

Apparently, super rich people amuse themselves by making Rube Goldberg machines for bath time.

Anyway, well done Conrad. For one night, you made me forget about Hyatt. Of course, if there’s anybody from the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, or Andaz reading this, I’ll gladly give you and your swankiest suite equal time on this blog if you’ll hook us up next time we swing by!