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!

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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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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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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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