Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: Looking up rates for sold out inventory

May 28th, 2014

The previous article on New Years Eve rates left out the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, as there is no availability for that date whatsoever.  But, if it does open up again, what will the rates be?

Of course, there’s a Stupid Hyatt Website Trick for that.

The trick is that we must first look for a date that we know plenty of availability.  Let’s go back about 2 weeks before that.

December 16th-17th at Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa

December 16th-17th at Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa

On this date, a Twin Room is going for 36600 yen at the Hyatt Daily Rate (unlike the other Tokyo Hyatt hotels, there are very few extra fees on top of this rate, just a 150 yen per person hot springs fee as mandated by the city of Hakone)  From this same screen (i.e., do not go back to the top page), let’s check on the status of New Year’s Eve:

Changing the dates to December 31st - January 1st.

Changing the dates to December 31st – January 1st.

As expected, we get a notice that the hotel is fully booked:

Alright people, move away, nothing to see here.

Alright people, move away, nothing to see here.

The site implores us to click the “Go back” link, but let’s do what most normal people would do instead and hit the back button on the browser.  When we do this, we find that something most unusual happens…

Wait...what?

Wait…what?

According to the website, New Years Eve rates are now available, and for the same price that we saw for December 16th!  But it’s only when we click the SELECT button for the Twin Room at the Hyatt Daily Rate (just as an example…any rate and room we select will do) that things get really trippy!

IT'S TWO PRICES AT THE SAME TIME!

IT’S TWO PRICES AT THE SAME TIME!

On the bottom of the page, we see the room rate charges as it would be for a December 16th reservation.  But in the left side of the middle of the page, under the Selected Rate and Room area, we see a completely different rate of 68300 yen!

It turns out that hitting the back button from the Sold Out screen creates a “Frankenpage”, where the date information is from the previous request, but the rate information is from the request before that.  And when you try to make a booking, the bottom part of the page uses the previously cached booking information from December 16th, the Selected Rate and Room area grabs the information from the most recently entered December 31st date.

In other words, the Selected Rate and Room section tells us the real rate price of the room for the sold out inventory!

Now I know what you’re thinking, “So what happens if you actually try to book this room?”  Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…

Frankenbooking doesn't work.

Frankenbooking doesn’t work.

The booking engine looks at the real availability for December 31st, and even though this technique lets you “try” to make the booking, ultimately, the attempt will fail.  So this trick merely lets you look at some information that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

Doing it that way only works if there is absolutely no availability at the hotel;  if there is any availability at all, a rate will display and the browser back button bug doesn’t occur.  But we can combine this with the technique we learned in our previous Stupid Hyatt Website Trick to open up information on limited availability as well.

When they’re not completely shutting down reservations, another thing that the Hyatt Regency Hakone is notorious for is making rooms available only under one ridiculously high rate.  For example, on December 27th, the last Saturday of the year, only this exorbitant Bed, Breakfast, and Dining Rate is available for booking:

Our prices prove that we're twice as good as the Park Hyatt!

Our prices prove that we’re twice as good as the Park Hyatt!

But what would this room cost for the Hyatt Daily Rate?  Let’s bring up the December 16th rate once more, but this time, when we change to the December 27th rate, we will also add the special 58872 code to the Group or Corporate Code box:

The old Stay Certificate code that no longer works

The old Stay Certificate code that no longer works

Because there will never be any availability with this code, we can get to the sold out error screen once more:

Hello whiteness my old friend...

Hello whiteness my old friend…

Click the back button to bring up the “fake” availability for the Hyatt Daily Rate…

Back to the Frankenpage

Back to the Frankenpage

And when we click SELECT, we see that this room really should be going for 68300 yen.

With so many screenshots, I've run out of pithy things to say.

With so many screenshots, I’ve run out of pithy things to say.

I’d love to hear if someone could come up with a practical application for this trick!

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UPDATE: Andaz Tokyo room can NOT be booked for under $300 in July and August

May 27th, 2014

May 30th Update: The Rate Rules have changed to specify that a valid company ID is required:

Picture 11

While you may have a valid claim if you booked before this change was made, it is obvious now that this rate is not made available to the general public.

I will leave the remainder of this post intact for archival purposes, but you should not expect to get this room for only 30000 yen a night any longer.

Continue reading

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Free Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Status for Anyone

May 23rd, 2014

EDIT: As of November 1st, 2014, this offer is no longer available.

As mentioned in my previous post outlining the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program, the Platinum tier offers a variety of benefits over that for regular and non-members, most notably free upgrades and free 2pm late checkout.  The normal method of qualifying requires the lesser of five paid stays or ten paid nights at a Hyatt hotel within a calendar year, but there are at least two ways to attain this status for free with no stays whatsoever.

If you have a good credit record and a residence in the United States, then your best option is to apply for the Hyatt Credit Card by Chase.  There are a myriad of affiliate sites that describe the benefits in great deal, one of which is Platinum status for as long as you are a cardholder, but the best way to get the card is via the Hyatt website.  To get the best offer, you must go to the website of a United States Hyatt and proceed to the booking phase of a mock reservation;  it doesn’t matter what room you select;  you will not actually book a reservation.  Near the bottom of the Guest Information page, the page that comes up after you select a room and rate, but before you actually book the room, you will see the following link describing the special offer:

Credit card offer with $50 rebate on your first hotel stay

Credit card offer with $50 rebate after your first purchase with the card

There is no annual fee for the first year, so in effect, Hyatt is actually paying you to attain Hyatt status, plus a host of other benefits.

If you don’t have a United States residence, or do not want or need another credit card, there is another option that is available to everybody in the world:  the Hyatt Platinum Trial.  Basically, all that you have to do is send an e-mail to goldpassport@hyatt.com requesting enrollment, and within days they will make you a Platinum member for 60 days.  If, within those 60 days, you are able to complete six nights worth of stays at any Hyatt worldwide, your Platinum status will become permanent until the end of February 2016.  As a special bonus, you will also earn 1000 points for each of the six nights that you stay at a Hyatt hotel during the Platinum Trial.

The full terms and conditions of this offer are as follows:

To qualify for this promotion, new members must enroll in the Hyatt Gold Passport Trial Tier with Offer Code PLT14.

New and current members must contact Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service at 1800.304.9288 or submit a Trial Tier Enrollment Form to goldpassport@hyatt.com between May 1, 2014, and October 31, 2014. Upon enrollment, member will receive a trial Platinum membership for 60 days.

To maintain Platinum membership through February 2016, member must complete six (6) eligible nights at any Hyatt worldwide within 60 days of enrollment. Member will also receive 1,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points on their first six (6) eligible nights within 60 days. Maximum 6,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points may be earned.

Platinum 15% point bonus will be awarded for all eligible stays during the 60-day trial membership period when member chooses points for their stay. If member completes the stay requirements, they will receive a new membership card, valid through February 2016, within 3-4 weeks of qualifying. Membership benefits will be available when member provides their Hyatt Gold Passport number at time of reservation and check-in.

A handy form for filling in the information required by Hyatt to process your application can be found here.  It is a simple PDF form, so you will need to fill it in, save it locally, and attach to your e-mail to Hyatt.

As you may notice on this form, there is also a Hyatt Diamond Trial available to take you to the highest advertised tier of membership.  This trial is slightly more difficult to achieve and complete, and requires proof of top level status and stays at certain competing hotel loyalty programs.  In a future post, I will explain how to make this trial more accessible as well.

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Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: Forcing Guaranteed Availability

May 22nd, 2014

In my recent post introducing the Hyatt Gold Passport program, one of the benefits I mentioned about the Platinum and Diamond tiers was “guaranteed availability”.  In theory, given sufficient advance notice (48 hours for a Diamond, 72 for a Platinum), this benefit would allow these higher level members the ability to book a base level hotel room even for a night when the hotel is fully booked, kicking somebody else out of the room if necessary

In practice, hotels are allowed to designate certain periods of anticipated very high demand, such as New Year’s Eve, as exceptions.  Another limitation is that guaranteed availability rooms only come up when the hotel is fully booked.  If there’s even one Diplomat Suite at the Park Hyatt Tokyo available for booking, then that constitutes “availability”, and you will not be allowed to book the cheaper base level room.

However, there is a way to do an end around and force the booking engine to show you a Guaranteed Availability rate for the non-exception periods, which I will demonstrate below.

For example, suppose that you want to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo during the last weekend of the year:

I've heard good things about the kadomatsu.

I’ve heard good things about the kadomatsu.

As at many times in the year such as Golden Week or the Obon period in Japan, the Park Hyatt Tokyo will show no inventory for a base level room (the Park Twin or Park King rooms)  On this particular date, the lowest priced room rate available is for the Park Deluxe, at 63000 yen.

Over 77000 yen including taxes and service fees.

Over 77000 yen including taxes and service fees.

Allow me to give a brief history lesson before explaining the trick. In years gone by, Hyatt used to sell an item called Stay Certificates, in which you paid a fixed price for a certificate that allowed the holder to redeem it for a free night at a certain level of Hyatt hotel.  Though intended to be used as gifts, many people bought and used them for themselves, because they could be much cheaper than regular reservations, especially during periods of high demand.  Unfortunately, this trick became too popular and too much of a money drain for the hotels and the parent company, and Hyatt discontinued the program for consumers last year.

However, the codes for registering a Stay Certificate stay remain in the system.  In this case, we will use the Elite level certificate group code of 58872.

This is similar to the method that we used to reveal the Unpublished Andaz Tokyo discount rate.

This is similar to the method that we used to reveal the Unpublished Andaz Tokyo discount rate.

Rooms are no longer made available under the Stay Certificate codes.  If you enter this code and you are not logged into to your Hyatt Gold Passport account, or you are not a Platinum or Diamond level member, you will see a message stating that there is no availability.

Picture 23

It’s actually a rather helpful page, showing you the lowest normal rates at all of the Tokyo Hyatt hotels.

But if you are logged in as a Platinum or Diamond, you now have access to the guaranteed availability rate for the Park Twin or Park King room that is 6000 yen cheaper than what was previously available.

And you'll probably be upgraded to at least a Park Deluxe anyway.

And you’ll probably be upgraded to at least a Park Deluxe anyway.

Not the greatest rate you’ll ever find for this hotel, but if you have your heart set on staying on this date, that’s another 6000+ yen that you can put towards a nice steak at the New York Grill.

Guaranteed availability rates are often quite expensive, but the Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the few hotels in the world where it can make sense to use them.

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Stupid Hyatt Website Tricks: Booking 13 months out

May 18th, 2014

Here’s a bit of content that’s applicable to all Hyatt hotels, as I strive to push my reader count into double digits. If you have a good amount of experience with booking on the Hyatt websites, you are probably aware that the calendar function only allows you to select dates up to a year before the current date.  For example, as the date of this writing is May 18th, 2014, if I go to the Park Hyatt Tokyo website right now, I am unable to select a check-in date beyond May 17th, 2015.

Nope, one year out is all you get.

Nope, one year out is all you get.

You will notice that, when you click on a date in the calendar, it fills in the ARRIVE or DEPART text box to the right.  However, when you click on the text box, you can manually edit the date to anything you want!

Alright!  Imma book me a fifty year stay right now!

Alright! Imma book me a fifty year stay right now!

So, we can edit the date in the text box, but does doing so actually change the date that the Hyatt booking engine looks at?  Let’s give it a try! Let’s try to look up a night’s stay starting from June 14th, 2015.

Will it work?

Will it work?

We cross our fingers, click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button, and we get…this.

You didn't really think it would be that easy, did you?

You didn’t really think it would be that easy, did you?

The good news is that the booking engine did recognize the dates that we manually entered that could not be entered via the calendar tool.  The bad news is that it tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we cannot book dates beyond a year out. That is what happens if you try this from the top index page.  But let’s try something else now.  Going back to the index page, let’s proceed to enter in a regular date within the current year:

Just normal blah dates a few weeks from now.

Just normal blah dates a few weeks from now.

If the Hyatt website is not broken (and 96.3% of the time it’s not), you will get a correct set of results showing availability for the dates selected, in this case June 14, 2014 – June 15th, 2014.  Now from this page, let’s try manually setting the dates another year ahead, nearly thirteen months beyond the current day, click CHECK AVAILABILITY, and see what happens now.

Isn't trying the same thing and expecting different results the definition of insanity?

Isn’t trying the same thing and expecting different results the definition of insanity?

Well, whaddya know!

Then just go ahead and call me KWAZY!!!

Then just go ahead and call me KWAZY!!!

Success!  We can now see the hidden inventory beyond one year out! Please note: the Hyatt booking engine is very finicky with the format of the date strings.  Everything is taken care of for us with the calendar tool, but if you enter dates manually, you must be sure that they are entered EXACTLY in the following format: {first 3 letters of the month}{space}{slash}{1 space}{day rendered in 2 digits}{space}{slash}{1 space}{4 digit year} Here is an example of a date in a format that Hyatt’s website will accept: Jul / 07 / 2014 Here are examples of date formats that Hyatt’s website will not accept: July / 07 / 2014 (month not three letters) Jul / 7 / 2014 (day not two numbers) Jul / 07 / 14 (year not four numbers) Jul/07/2014 (spaces not used) From trial and error, I have determined that most hotels have rates entered for 30 days beyond one year out (one exception is the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, which appears to have rates for exactly one year only)  Try any more than 30 days beyond a year, and you’ll get the error message that we encountered in our first step.  I have not determined the exact time that the next day’s dates start becoming available, nor whether there is a defined time for this…perhaps that’s an extra credit question for some other aspiring Tokyo Hyatt Fan to work on. Additionally, if you go into this “extra inventory”, you may find rooms that are not normally available to book online.  For example, from the Hyatt Regency Tokyo website, over one year out you can book the Presidential Suite on the web.

This Presidential Suite is not nearly as impressive as that of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo or Park Hyatt Tokyo.  Not that I have any first-hand experience in the matter...

This Presidential Suite is not nearly as impressive as that of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo or Park Hyatt Tokyo. Not that I have any first-hand experience in the matter…

Anyway, if you really have your heart set on spending next New Years Eve at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, now, instead of waiting until 2015 like the unwashed masses, you can use your new-found trivial Hyatt website knowledge to jump to the head of the pack on December 2nd!

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