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point in the space/time continuum that I am posting this (sadly, most of my previous articles are now woefully outdated…one of many reasons why actual posts here have become so infrequent)  First, the regular rates at this hotel have become so high that it is always a good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

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Discounted Hyatt Points Plus Points + Cash Rates Equals Potential Tokyo Hyatt Hotel Savings

November 11th, 2014

Through December 10th, 2014, Hyatt is offering a 30% bonus on the purchase of 5000 or more Hyatt Gold Passport points.

In most cases, purchasing points for all but a small top-off needed to acquire an award is a bad deal, for two reasons:

  1. It’s usually cheaper to just pay for the room than to buy enough points to pay for it.
  2. Award stays (using just points) do not count towards receiving points, or receiving stay credit for obtaining or maintaining higher status levels like Platinum or Diamond.

However, the current bonus does a lot to make purchasing points for a stay feasible, and the Points + Cash option at Hyatt hotels seals the deal.

Started just this year, Points + Cash rates allow you to use points to receive a deeply discounted room rate (the exact amount of points and cash required varies depending on the Award Category Level of the hotel).  Because it is a paid rate, you also receive points for the stay, and a stay credit.  And, like a regular rewards stay, it is a fully refundable rate.

The best part about Points + Cash rate is that it is a flat rate, regardless of time of year it is used.  So the more high demand/high cost time period it is, the more potential value you can receive from this offer.

Let’s look at how Points + Cash stacks up against the Tokyo Hyatt hotels.  I will choose a three night stay for two adults, during an arbitrary high demand period:  March 27-30, 2015.

First, the Hyatt Regency Tokyo.  This hotel is Award Category 3, so according to the Points + Cash chart, the rate requires $75 USD and 6,000 points per night.  For our three night stay, that is $225 and 18,000 points.

With the 30% discount, we can purchase 18,200 points for $336.  Adding to our $225 gives us a total of $561.  Dividing that by three nights gives us a Discount Purchased Points + Cash (I’ll call it “DPP+C”) rate of $187/night.

As of today, the lowest Hyatt Regency Tokyo refundable rate for those nights is $212.

Score one for PP+C!

Score one for PP+C!

DPP+C gives us a little over 10% savings…and shows that we shouldn’t even bother with this if we must purchase points at the regular price.

Next is the Andaz Tokyo.  This hotel is Award Category 6, doubling the nightly P+C cost to $150 USD and 12,000 points a night, or $450 + 36,000 points for all three nights.

With the 30% discount, we can purchase 36,400 points for $672.  Adding to our $450 gives us a total of $1122.  Dividing that by three nights gives us a DPP+C rate of $374/night.

This just barely beats out the best Andaz Tokyo refundable rate of $397, and if you’re willing to accept a prepaid, no-refundable rate, is worse than the Advance Purchase rate price of $338.

Given the time and effort required, we'll call it a push.

Given the time and effort required, we’ll call it a push.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo is also an Award Category 6 hotel, so the DPP+C rate is also $374/night.  Here we do much better than the Hyatt Daily Rate of $432…an over 15% savings!  It even beats out the inferior Advance Purchase rate.

DPP+C wins the rubber match.

DPP+C wins the rubber match in convincing fashion!

Sadly, I’m not even going to look up Park Hyatt Tokyo.  First of all, the P+C rate can only be used for base room, for which none are currently available for March 27th-30th.  Second, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is an Award Category 7 hotel, which requires 15,000 points and a whopping $300 USD/night.  Buying enough points to cover the 45,000 required for three nights will cost $840, which adds to $900 cash fee for a grand total of $1740, giving us a per night rate of $580.  And if you have to settle for $580/night for a base room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, then you’re just not trying hard enough.

But, outside of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, I think that I have shown that purchasing discounted points for a Points + Cash rate at a Tokyo Hyatt hotel can be beneficial.  And, in the case of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo and the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, the DPP+C rate can be significantly beneficial.

Unfortunately, the Points + Cash rate cannot be booked online;  you must call Hyatt Gold Passport to book it.  And, unlike a straight points reservation, inventory may not be available for a Points + Cash reservation even if it is available for the Hyatt Daily Rate.  But, if you’re willing to put in a few minutes of time on the phone, the resulting savings may be well worth your effort.

Bonus Content: Like the Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Andaz Tokyo, the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa is also an Award Category 6 hotel, so DDP+C rate remains $374/night.  And like the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, DDP+C would give you a savings of over %15 off the Hyatt Daily Rate.

Whether it's actually worth $374 a night is open to debate...

Whether the Hyatt Regency Hakone is actually worth $374 a night is open to debate…

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American Express Buy 3 Get 4 Rate

November 7th, 2014

American Express is running a promotion with Hyatt for a special rate that allows you to book a four night stay for the price of three from December 1st, 2014 through March 31st, 2015. A lot of times these “special rates” are actually marked up significantly from the regular rate, the end result being not much in the way of actual savings. But this rate appears to be tracking the Hyatt Daily Rate, which means that you actually can save up to 25% on your stay.

(EDIT: Unfortunately, the Park Hyatt Tokyo has opted out of this promotion.)

When searching for availability, be sure to use the “Special Offer Code” AX701, as in the following example for February dates at the Andaz Tokyo:

Click on the SPECIAL RATES to open the code entry window.

Click on the SPECIAL RATES link to open the code entry window.

If there is availability for all four nights, the “Amex Buy 3 Get 4″ rate will show up, with the Average Daily Rate being the value of the Hyatt Daily Rate (or Andaz Rate for Andaz hotels) with the last night’s rate fare waved.  In this example, it is three nights at 42000 yen and one night at zero yen, for an average rate of 31500 per night.

Up to 25% savings for stays of exactly four nights.

Up to 25% savings for stays of exactly four nights.

The only limitation of this rate is the requirement of an American Express credit card for payment.  Cancellation policy is the same as the Andaz Rate (or Hyatt Daily Rate at other hotels), for a rate much cheaper than the more restrictive Advance Purchase rate.

If staying eight nights, break your stay into two four nights stays for two free nights.

If staying eight nights, break your stay into two four nights stays for two free nights.

As always, it is best to book fully refundable fares and check periodically for better offers.  This is a good deal, but we should always be on the lookout for more!

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Inside Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills: The Andaz Suite

July 23rd, 2014

Although the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills hotel has opted out of allowing the use of Diamond Suite Upgrades (the ability for Diamond members of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program to upgrade any paid booking to a suite four times a year), Hyatt agents were allowing their use during the initial hours after the start of the opening of reservations for this hotel.  I took advantage of this to upgrade a reservation for this past three day weekend, for what will likely be my only stay in an Andaz Tokyo suite.

Which is too bad, because it is really, really, really nice!

Behold, your kingdom awaits!

Beyond the entrance of Room 5036, your kingdom awaits!

Because the suite came with a big bowl of cherries and a bottle of wine, I decided to forgo the Diamond Amenity (eclairs from the pastry shop) to just collect the additional 1000 points.

I cannot quite fit the living room, bedroom, and bathroom area all in one shot, but the bathroom is dark while the other rooms are bright and beckon for your first attention, so let’s focus on those first.

As you may recall from Andazamania, I was not a big fan of the blocky white walls of the bedroom of the regular room.  Well, they make their appearance here in the living room, but for some reason it seems to work much better in this environment.  Maybe because there are things like televisions and big pieces of art to break up that “trapped in a mental institute” vibe I got from the other bedroom.

This huge sofa is very nice for relaxing and watching the television.

I fell asleep twice on this.

I fell asleep twice on this.

The sleeping vantage point.

The sleeping vantage point.

The big artwork in the corner leads to another angled window with additional views, including that of your own suite!

Go behind this vase and do the Titanic pose. You know you want to.

Go behind this vase and do the Titanic pose. You know you want to.

For people that like to spy on themselves.

For people that like to spy on themselves.

In addition to many views of wide open spaces, there are plenty of little nooks and crannies to appeal to chasmophiles as well.

Excellent for a game of hide and seek.

Excellent for a game of hide and seek.

I was very happy to see that the suite bedroom does away with the blocky wall patterns.  Just a simple white wall that takes nothing away from the MASSIVE window overlooking the Tokyo cityscape.

Now this is a room made for sleeping!

Now this is a room made for sleeping!

That is, when you're not peering out over miles of cityscape and contemplating the meaning of life.

That is, when you’re not peering out over miles of cityscape and contemplating the meaning of life.

They're advertised as king-sized beds. Not sure about that, but definitely larger than twin.

They’re advertised as king-sized beds. Not sure about that, but definitely larger than twin.

No, you’re eyes weren’t deceiving you:  you have your very own brass telescope at the far end of the room!

You'll spend a lot of time tightening the screws on it to keep it upright on its own.

You’ll spend a lot of time tightening the screws on it to keep it upright on its own.

Not good enough for peeping toms, but good enough to be interesting.

Not good enough for peeping toms, but good enough to be interesting.

This will come in handy at nighttime. You'll see why a bit later.

This will come in handy at nighttime. You’ll see why a bit later.

There’s a nice little make-up table on the way to the bathroom, as well as a separate little closet area (there are two of many things in this suite…closets, sinks, even toilets!)

Sorry that the desk didn't quite make it into this shot.

Sorry that the desk didn’t quite make it into this shot.

It was a little dark, so I’m afraid my cell phone didn’t get great pictures of this room.  It’s not too much different from the regular Andaz room bathroom, just done on a larger scale.

The two sinks are on opposite sides of the bathroom, in case you need maximum distance from your partner.

The two sinks are on opposite sides of the bathroom, in case you need maximum distance from your partner.

The bath is pretty much identical.

Personally, I would prefer a tub that I could stretch out in without bending like a banana.

Personally, I would prefer a tub that I could stretch out in without bending like a banana.

But the amenities are very classy looking Argan amenities from France.  This appears to be exclusive to the Andaz Tokyo suites.

I thought they smelled too fruity and sweet, but my wife loved them.  Still prefer Aesop.

I thought they smelled too fruity and sweet, but my wife loved them. Still prefer Aesop.

I thought that I got some shots of the other closet, but apparently I did not.  Sorry about that.  You can kind of see into the area from here.

That's where the room safe is.

That’s where the room safe is.

That door you see on the right is the entrance to one of the toilets, the other one being inside of the bathroom (not the room with the bath…proper terminology is confusing for me!)  Unfortunately, I did forgo getting a decent picture of the toilet room to instead make the funny observation of the opposite mirrors extending past the sink and all the way to the floor!

What am I supposed to be checking down there?

What am I supposed to be checking down there?

This was a city view suite.  The bay view suites apparently run about 50,000 yen extra, and I’m not sure that the room itself is any different.  If I had to choose, I would probably go with the bay view, though I certainly wouldn’t pay an extra 50,000 yen for the privilege.

Nothing looks bad from 50 floors up.

Besides, nothing looks bad from 50 floors up.

Given that this suite has so many windows, it’s no surprise that there’s a completely different feel to it come nightfall.

This giant whatchamacalit looks even more magnificent with a dark background.

This giant whatchamacalit looks even more magnificent with a dark background.

And if you’re in the suite come eight o’clock, then you’ll get good use out of your telescope, catching one of several nightly fireworks shows from the far away Tokyo Disney Resort!

If you could hear them, it would probably be at least ten seconds after the actual blast.

If you could hear them, it would probably be at least ten seconds after the actual blast.

We were extremely lucky on Sunday night to see some even more impressive fireworks in the form of a lightning storm.  Watching dozens of streaks of light fly all around us hundreds of meters in the air was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I wish I could promise such a view to everyone.

Not a picture from that night, but I swear that one of them looked a lot like this.

Not a picture from that night, but I swear that one of them looked a lot like this.

And when it’s time to sleep, the blinds do a good job of blocking out the rest of the world.

I found this bedroom to be, in all ways, much more soothing than the regular Andaz room.

I found this bedroom to be, in all ways, much more soothing than the regular Andaz room’s bedroom.

All in all, I think that this is my favorite of all of the suites of all of the Tokyo Hyatt hotels that I have experienced.  Even the Atrium Suite.  That said, I will not be paying over 200,000 yen a night for the privilege going forward!

Having a more relaxed two night stay with my family helped me to form a much more well-rounded overall view of this hotel.  I do intend to revisit my previous review with what I have learned on this trip in the very near future.

But what I can say right now is, if you were lucky enough to get a Diamond Suite Upgrade for this hotel, make sure that you do not pass up the opportunity!

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