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point in the space/time continuum that I am posting this (sadly, most of my previous articles are now woefully outdated…one of many reasons why actual posts here have become so infrequent)  First, the regular rates at this hotel have become so high that it is always a good value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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When a Suite is the Cheapest Room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

June 9th, 2014

The following post is geared towards those that have obtained Diamond status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program.  If you do not have Diamond status, read up on what it is and how you can obtain it.

Hotels in Tokyo are notorious for strict capacity control.  And while the Park Hyatt Tokyo does offer some leeway with regards to children staying with two adults in a base room, they will not allow three adults to stay in a Park Twin or Park King.  This will affect you if you are travelling with older children, as all Hyatt hotels in Asia consider those 13 and older “adults” for booking purposes.

This has a big impact on elite Hyatt Gold Passport members, especially Diamond members, because only the base rooms are eligible for the 20% My Elite discount rate.  For example, suppose that we look at a three night booking in September.  If we do the search for three adults, we see the following:

My Elite rate for a Park Twin room for 39200 yen.

My Elite rate for a Park Twin room for 39,200 yen per night.

However, if we do the same search with three adults, then we cannot reserve a base room, and we cannot utilize the My Elite rate.  If we want a similar rate that allows free cancellation up to 24 hours before check-in, we will have to pay a rate 23,800 yen per night higher for a Park Deluxe room.

Hyatt Daily Rate for Park Deluxe XXXX at 60,000 yen per night.

Hyatt Daily Rate for Park Deluxe Twin at 63,000 yen per night.

However, we can also see that a Park Suite room is available.

Arguably the biggest benefit of Diamond status is the ability to take any paid reservation and, if availability exists, get a confirmed upgrade to a base-level suite, up to four times a year.  And the Park Suite does allow for three adults to stay.

So, the cheapest way for a Diamond to book a reservation for three adults in this situation is to utilize the following three-step plan:

1. Book the Park King/Twin room at the My Elite rate for two adults.

2. Call the Diamond Line (available on the back of your membership card) and use one of your suite upgrade certificates to upgrade the room to a Park Suite.

I prefer to hang up and make a separate call for the third step to be safe, but I really don’t think that there is anything wrong with doing this, so you could try doing this all in the same call if you like.

3. Since we now have a room that can accommodate three adults, call back and modify your room reservation to three adults.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo charges a fee of 8,000 yen per night for adding an adult to a reservation, which brings the final room rate of our suite to 47,200 yen a night.  That is 15,800 yen a night less that it would cost to reserve the Park Deluxe room.  Taking into account taxes and room fees, that would result in a savings of well over 50,000 yen (over $500 USD) for the stay!

Used wisely, Diamond status increases the quality of a stay while decreasing the costs.  How cool is that?

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Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: The Hyatt World Map

June 6th, 2014

If you go to the Hyatt top page, you must enter in a destination for your reservation.  The website actually accepts a wide variety of different types of input, from specific hotel names, to city or region names.  It will even accept a spirit code (if you have to ask what a spirit code is, then you don’t need to know)

Test

The Best Rate Guarantee took me five days to straighten out, but my $267/night stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo is finally booked!

Continue reading

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Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: Bookmarking Hotel Availability Searches

June 3rd, 2014

The savvy hotel traveler will often want to check on rates for an upcoming stay many times, in the hopes that rates will decrease in price, or that additional availability might open up.  However, the Hyatt website does not make it easy to do so.

For example, suppose you wanted to make a four night reservation for the New Years holiday at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.  You go the Park Hyatt website and diligently enter in all of the information required:  December 31st arrival date, January 4th departure date, two adult passengers, and possibly some special codes you also want to check out.  Click Check Availability, and the results come up as so:

Results for availability check for four nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

Results for availability check for four nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

We see that there is no Twin Room availability of any sort, so we make it a point to bookmark this page and check the rates again later.

However, when later comes around and you click on the bookmark, you won’t see that screen up there.  You’ll see this screen down here:

Sorry, back to the beginning you go.

Sorry, back to the beginning you go.

Like many hotel websites, Hyatt uses something called a “session”, which is short, predetermined period of time that you can access the website.  Once the session expires, you will have to return to the top page to start a new session.  This is done to safeguard against hackers being able to intercept your data and steal things such as credit card deals.  Which is an important thing to do, but it comes at the cost of our convenience.  Every time we want to look up availability, we have to start from the beginning and enter in all of our information all over again.

However, if we had a way to tell the Hyatt website everything that we want before a session is created, then we could save that information and use it to avoid doing all of that work each time we want to check our rates.  With a bit of reverse engineering, I have found a way to do just that.  All we have to do is access the website like this:

....oh, is that all?

….oh, is that all?

The Hyatt will grab this information encoded in the above URL and use it to create the availability results page as it creates a new session.  So as long as we save our search information in the above format, we can easily look up any rates at any hotel we want with a single click!

Of course, I don’t expect a normal person to create a URL like that on their own.  To simplify the process, I have created the Tokyo Hyatt Power Search, that will allow you to create the above link for any valid date for any Tokyo Hyatt hotel that you wish.  And if you don’t want to be limited to just Tokyo Hyatts, the All Hyatt Power Search will create bookmarkable links for all 587 current and future (as currently known) Hyatt hotels throughout the world.

And for true power users, there’s the Tokyo Hyatt Date Range Search and the All Hyatt Date Range Search.  A straight four night reservation may not always bring up the cheapest rate;  sometimes it can be cheaper to book two consecutive two night stays, or a three night stay with a one night stay.  The Date Range search will bring up links for all possible combinations of reservations for stays of up to nine nights at a time, allowing the most ardent deal searchers to ensure that they are getting the best total rate that they possibly can.

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Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: The Mobile Website

May 31st, 2014

Did you know that Hyatt has a special mobile website? They would probably prefer that you didn’t, as they try to steer you towards their mobile application. But it does exist, and it is gloriously wonky, especially when viewed on a desktop.

The top page for accessing reservations can be found here:

It's built for vertical phone resolution, so everything gets stretch out when viewed on a computer.

It’s built for vertical phone resolution, so everything gets stretch out when viewed on a computer.

It’s very simple, and there’s no hand holding.  No calendar tool pops up, you have to enter a date on your own (no problem if you’re used to using our first Stupid Hyatt Website Trick.)  Curiously, you can search for a broad range of destinations like “Tokyo” or “Japan”, and it will bring up all of the results related to that, but you cannot search directly for a specific property, like “Grand Hyatt Tokyo”.  Anyway, let’s fill in the form like so:

Change

Looking up one night from August 30th in Tokyo for 2 adults

It returns us a list of all hotels in Tokyo for that period, and the lowest price available.

Change

Pictures getting stretched waaaay out there.

The Grand Hyatt Tokyo rate looks decent, so let’s click the CHECK RATES bar for that hotel.

More stretched goodness.

More stretched goodness.

Let’s check out the RATE RULES for one of these rates.  Any one will do, so I will just randomly choose the Advance Purchase for the Grand Twin.  Click the RATE RULES bar and we get the following:

Picture 16

URL

For this screen shot I left the URL bar in for a reason.  Let’s look at it in closer detail:

http://m.hyatt.com/mt/www.hyatt.com/un_rateDetails?checkout=2014-08-31&checkin=2014-08-30&rooms=1&adults=2&children=0&hotelCode=tyogh&roomType=GRNT&RatePlanCode=ADPR&RatePlanType=13&title=GRAND%20TWIN

All of the information related to our request is right there in the URL.  I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out what all of these entries mean, but for now let’s focus on the areas checkout and checkin.

In our previous Stupid Hyatt Website Trick, we used an elaborate trick to create a “Frankenpage” that allowed us to view the price on rooms for any date, even when the room was all sold out.  But with the mobile page, could it be that the process is as simple as merely changing these dates in the URL to whatever we want to see?

Let’s try to change it to a New Years Eve reservation:

http://m.hyatt.com/mt/www.hyatt.com/un_rateDetails?checkout=2015-01-01&checkin=2014-12-31&rooms=1&adults=2&children=0&hotelCode=tyogh&roomType=GRNT&RatePlanCode=ADPR&RatePlanType=13&title=GRAND%20TWIN

Hit the Enter button, and look what we get!

That...that was much easier than what I was doing before!

That…that was much easier than what I was doing before!

Not only can we use this to see whatever day’s rate we want, but we can also bookmark this link and refer to it any time we like!

The Hyatt mobile experience can provide great convenience over the regular website…but it can also be the source of much tantalizing frustration.  An example of this can be found when attempting to modify a booking.

Going back to the list of rates at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, let’s check out the point redemption rates available:

25000 points for a regular room, 33000 for a club room.

25000 points for a regular room, 33000 for a club room.

We’ll attempt to make a points booking for a Grand Twin.  Clicking the BOOK button, you are prompted to log in, on account of needing access to your account to see if you have enough points available.

Valid login information to be supplied by you, the reader.

Valid login information to be supplied by you, the reader.

After doing this, you are sent to the mobile booking site:

Mobile Booking Page

Mobile Booking Page

An interesting thing to note is that the group/corporate code for a points reservation night is “54749″.  This information does not show up anywhere on the main website…and also provides proof that a group/corporate code isn’t in and of itself a factor that limits who or what organization can use it.

Anyway, suppose we’ve had a change of heart, and want to get ourselves an even better room.  Click the “Modify” link on the bottom right to go back to the list of rooms for booking.

Ambassador Suite!?  I love that room!  And only 500000 yen?  Sign me up!

Because the first thing we look for after checking a points reservation are high end suites.

Scrolling down near the bottom, we find that the Ambassador Suite is available in the Advance Purchase for the low price of 488000 yen.  Let’s click the BOOK button here and see what happens:

Whoa!

Whoa!

The mobile site is now telling us that we can reserve the Ambassador Suite for 25000 points!  Of course, we’re going down to the bottom of the page to click the submit button to see what happens…

…c’mon, did you think that this would buried in a Stupid Website Trick if it actually worked?

DAMMIT!  What does that even mean!?

DAMMIT! What does that even mean!?

Alas, the Mobile site bends like the willow…it does not break like the oak.  But, understanding that, you might have fun exploring on your own to find out what other secrets it might hold.

 

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