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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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!

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Tablet Hotels Offering Tablet Plus Benefits Free for Park Hyatt Tokyo

December 12th, 2014

I have mentioned Tablet Hotels Tablet Plus program in the past.  For paying $195 a year for Tablet Plus membership, you get additional benefits on your hotel stay throughout a variety of hotels in their portfolio.  The benefits afforded to Tablet Plus members at the Park Hyatt Tokyo are very similar to what is received by Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members:

  • Complimentary upgrade upon hotel check-in, based upon availability
  • Guaranteed 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary daily continental breakfast per guest (max 2 guests), a value of 3000 JPY (approx $35US) per per person per day.
  • Complimentary access to ‘Club on the Park’ spa facilities for up to 2 persons during the entire stay (a value of 4200 JPY per person per stay- Approx $50US)

For a limited time, Tablet Hotels is offering Tablet Plus benefits on Park Hyatt Tokyo reservations for free!  No Tablet Plus member ship needed!

Not only are there a ton of great benefits that are normally only afforded to Diamond members, but the Tablet Hotels rate can actually turn about to be cheaper than booking direct through Hyatt.

In a random check conducted today for the dates from April 6th to April 9th, 2015, a Park King room can be reserved for as little as 56,100 yen:

Make sure that "A Gift For You" section displays before making your reservation.

Make sure that “A Gift For You” section displays before making your reservation.

On hyatt.com, the cheapest rate available is 63,100 yen for a Park Deluxe King:

Park Hyatt Tokyo can be stingy about making base rooms available on their website.

Park Hyatt Tokyo can be stingy about making base rooms available on their website.

As the Tablet Hotels reservation includes a complementary room upgrade (based upon availability, but which should very likely be available on week days such as this), you would pay over 7000 yen less for the same room, free breakfast, free spa access, and 4pm checkout!  Even though you won’t get Hyatt points for the stay, if you are not already a Diamond member, then I think that these benefits more than make up for that.

This is one of the rare occasions where I would recommend booking the Park Hyatt Tokyo via a third party booking service.

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Inside…the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Regency Club

November 9th, 2014

I’d like to talk about my recent stay at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo in a Presidential Suite:

The living room of a Hyatt Regency Tokyo Presidential Suite

The living room of a Hyatt Regency Tokyo Presidential Suite

The bedroom of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Presidential Suite

The bedroom of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Presidential Suite

Unfortunately, I merely snuck into the room to take these pictures while the door was open.  This is not the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, which upgraded us from a base room to a Presidential Suite on the last night of our stay this summer.

I might be persuaded to write an off-topic post about this if others are interested.

I might be persuaded to write an off-topic post about the experience if others are interested.

Sadly, we were once again relegated to a View Room.  But regardless of the room, all Diamond members of the Hyatt Gold Passport program are afforded the use of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Regency Club.  Which, on a yen-for-yen basis, is the best hotel club lounge value in all of Tokyo, comparable to those found in rooms twice the cost elsewhere.

A room key is required to enter the club proper, but the club reception desk is directly outside of this door.  So you can go directly to the ninth floor to sit down and check in in comfort, avoiding the long lines in the cavernous lobby down below.

If you arrive a couple hours early, a room may not be available, but you will be afforded entry into the Regency Club while you wait.  Once inside, you will find an enormous space with three separate seating areas, most of which will be almost completely empty at this time.

The lounge is shaped like a giant letter L (or number 7, depending on your perspective.  The first sitting room features a television and easiest access to the snacks and drinks.

When the TV is on, it's almost always tuned to CNN...with the sound off.

When the TV is on, it’s almost always tuned to CNN…with the sound off.

The middle room, the corner of the L or 7, features nice sofas and the best views of the nearby Shinjuku Central Park and the Park Hyatt Tokyo.

This seems to be the most popular, and quickest to fill during breakfast and evening cocktail time.

This seems to be the most popular, and quickest to fill during breakfast and evening cocktail time.

Pay your respects to paradise from the big round window.

Pay your respects to paradise from the big round window.

On the way to the third sitting room, there is actually a separate small smoking room that I forgot to take a picture of.  This room is behind a glass door, and does a good job of keeping the smoke out of the rest of the nonsmoking portion of the club.

The final room tucked in the back is the quietest, and the favorite of our family.

Best to just head straight over here if you arrive when the club fills up during the middle of cocktail and breakfast time.

Best to just head straight over here if you arrive when the club fills up during the middle of cocktail and breakfast time.

At all times during the Club’s open hours (7am to 10pm), there is a coffee/espresso machine, an assortment of hot tea, and various cold beverages available.

They do a good job of making a little seem like a lot.

They do a good job of making a little seem like a lot.

From 10am to just before evening cocktail time there are some cookies and a few additional tea varieties, such as peppermint.  This is enough to make a nice little pick-me-up I call the THF Special: Coca Cola, Peppermint Tea, and lemon.

For best results, let peppermint tea steep for five minutes, and crush lemon with straw.

For best results, let peppermint tea steep for five minutes, and crush lemon with straw.

After 2pm, some additional sweets are available in the form of one or two types of cut fruit and a modest cake.  Some apples and bananas may also be available.

This club really shines during evening cocktails and morning breakfast.  The alcohol and appetizers are set out from 6pm sharp.

Promptness is big in Tokyo

Promptness is big in Tokyo.

Though others feel otherwise, I am a big fan of these huge chunks of reggiano cheese.  Most of the appetizers change from night to night, but the cheese has been a staple for years.

Wash em down with sliced French bread, crackers, and beer snacks.

Wash em down with sliced French bread, crackers, and beer snacks.

A different cake and a fruit cocktail dish is also available.

The fruit cocktail is also a favorite of mine.  Over the past three years I may have consumed a hundred.

The fruit cocktail is also a favorite of mine. Over the past three years I may have consumed a hundred.

Although people will swarm the food immediately after it comes out, the staff do a good job of replenishing it.  If you’re not into competition, you may have a more enjoyable time waiting until the second or third round of food comes around.

This is especially true for the hot appetizers, which start coming out at 6:30pm (sharp).  The first wave is almost always gone by 6:31pm.  Drifting around the entrance to the food and beverage room via the first sitting room around 6:29pm will get you the coveted prize if you’re really hungry.

And the prize has gotten that much better, because the hot appetizers have just been increased from two to four!

It

It was tough to get a good picture on my phone with the light.

My favorite foods ever served at this lounge were the boneless fried chicken and Chinese shumai dumplings.  Neither were available on this stay, but the sliced beef dish and the gorgonzola penne were decent enough.  With four different items to choose from, it is definitely possible to make a meal out of this.

The alcohol is so-so, but it is a decent variety of free alcohol.  The Japanese sake is probably my favorite.

I think that 7pm to 8pm is the best time to arrive, as it becomes easier to get the food without worrying about it disappearing while you are lining up.

The breakfast from 7am is my favorite part of the Regency Club experience.  It goes far beyond a mere continental breakfast that many Regency Clubs settle for, with two hot meat dishes, hot eggs, a hot vegetable, and much, much more.

Plain

Plain omelet, sausage, stewed tomatoes, and bacon.

Lots

Lots of fresh fruit and salad.

Yogurt,

Yogurt, muesli, dried fruits, nuts, milk, juice, and more.

So many tasty breads and pastries!

So many tasty breads and pastries!

And cold cuts

And cold cuts

Extra

Extra tables are needed to hold it all!

All this, plus excellent, caring service from all of the Regency Club staff, make the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Regency Club well worth visiting, even if you must pay for it.

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Maximizing Park Hyatt Tokyo Enjoyment as a Platinum

October 23rd, 2014

I received an interesting e-mail, asking various questions about the Park Hyatt Tokyo in the context of being a Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum member. Although the experience is maximized by reaching the Diamond level, there are still ways to enhance your stay at this hotel as a Platinum member, or even with no status at all.

Here are the parts of the e-mail (along with my responses) that should be of benefit to all:

I am travelling with several of my friends on a one-week vacation to Tokyo, and we have all decided to stay at the Park Hyatt. My other friends have already made their reservations via Tablet. I want to book my stay via Hyatt to try and build up some points. Can you tell me:

- is there a big difference between a PARK DELUXE and a PARK VIEW room? is it worth it?

The Park Deluxe Room is a nice big room. It’s the first room I ever stayed at at the Park Hyatt Hotel, and it impressed me enough to maintain my Diamond status to this day.

The Park View Room is like a miniature suite. It’s the same design as a Park Suite, with the bedroom and living room “smooshed” into one.

While you won’t be disappointed with a Park Deluxe, I personally enjoy the Park View room much more.

- is the hotel okay with people splitting their stay into two bookings to take advantage of better rates on different days?

So long as you qualify for the rates, you can split your stay over as many rates as you like (the purpose of the Date Range Search tool on my site is to make searching for the optimal combination of rates a little bit easier.

However, do not expect the Park Hyatt Tokyo to automatically extend the benefits of the best rate throughout the entire duration of your station. For example, if you book two nights in a Park View and two nights in a regular Park room, it is unlikely that they would let you stay in that Park View for all four nights; they may will stick to the terms of each rate to the letter.

- should I just book a PARK DELUXE room because I am likely to get an upgrade to a PARK VIEW anyway (subject to avails).

If staying in a Park View room is crucial to your stay, then you should book the Park View room. But, as you say, you have a fair chance of getting the upgrade and, as I said, the Park Deluxe is quite nice in its own right, so I would go with booking the Park Deluxe.

- is there any way of getting around their late check in times on weekends apart from purchasing a day rate room?

In the past I have arrived about an hour early and been allowed into the room. Other times I have arrived 30 minutes early but still had to wait a bit. A lot of it depends on how busy the hotel is on any particular day. The only way to guarantee a room to be available in the morning is to bite the bullet and book the room one day earlier (letting the hotel know in advance that you will not be checking in until the following morning)

- are there any perks we should be aware of/travel tips/things to avoid.

The two things I would keep in mind are the restaurants in the basement of the building and the Spa on the Park schedule.

Park Hyatt Tokyo is part of a multi-purpose office building. Though not advertised as part of the hotel, there are several restaurants and convenience stores in the basement level that are of good quality and reasonably priced. The hotel restaurants are awesome, but you’re probably not going to want to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there for a week!

Unfortunately, as a Platinum, you will not get free access to the spa facilities at Club on the Park. However, all of the activities at the pool and exercise area are still free to all paying guests. This includes pool exercises, fitness programs, and a good night sleep stretch. You can find details on the weekly schedule at http://www.parkhyatttokyo.com/Facility/Stay/cotp_exc_schedule_en.pdf.

Finally, if you are not a Diamond member, you can, for all intents and purposes, purchase “virtual” Diamond status for the Park Hyatt Tokyo via a Tablet Plus membership. By paying the $195 membership fee and booking through their website, you would be entitled to the following benefits at the Park Hyatt Tokyo:

Complimentary upgrade upon hotel check-in, based upon availability
Guaranteed 4pm check-out
Complimentary daily continental breakfast per guest (max 2 guests), a value of 3000 JPY (approx $35US) per per person per day.
Complimentary access to ‘Club on the Park’ spa facilities for up to 2 persons during the entire stay (a value of 4200 JPY per person per stay- Approx $50US)

For a one week stay, this would offer considerable benefits that would offset both the $195 membership fee and the points lost through not booking direct via Hyatt.

Regardless of how you stay, relax and enjoy yourself at one of the most luxurious, iconic hotels in the world!

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