Diamond Treatment at @HyattOsaka, Regardless of Status

October 6th, 2017

Nearly five years as a Diamond member of Hyatt’s former Gold Passport loyalty program brought me great value for countless stays at places like Park Hyatt Tokyo, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Tokyo, Andaz Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Hakone, and other Hyatt properties.  Alas, the improving outlook for the hotel industry brought about higher prices and deteriorating loyalty benefits until, ultimately, I could no longer justify maintaining such status on leisure stays alone, resulting in my fall to the…ugh…”Explorist” level of their new program. Though, thanks to the loophole in their reciprocal status arrangement with MLife, I will probably remain at that level for some time, even the Club Upgrade awards do not provide a compelling reason to stay exclusively loyal to Hyatt anymore.

In some ways, this has been quite liberating. Without feeling “compelled” to stay with Hyatt, I have had new experiences at places like the Prince Sakura Tower, Sheraton Yokohama, and the Marina Bay Sands resort (all of which I’m too lazy to post about, but those following my Twitter account are made aware of such enjoyment)  These stays were all enjoyable in their own way, but little things that differed brought back bittersweet memories of the way things used to be. The last two years were rang in from a Park Hyatt Tokyo suite, with access to all the hotel’s many luxuries. But without…ugh…”Globalist” status, even the most meticulous planning would not bring such a celebration within my financial reach for this year.

That's not a tear trickling down my cheek. It's just condensation.

That’s not a tear trickling down my cheek. It’s just condensation.

But all is not lost!  There is a place that rolls out the red carpet for not only Globalists, but also well-prepared Explorists, Discoverists, and even basic Members of World of Hyatt. That place is the Hyatt Regency Osaka, a place whose praises I sang long and loud earlier this year. Here are the World of Hyatt and Hyatt Regency Osaka specific rules that allowed me to book this coming New Years bash with all the trimmings of top status on an affordable budget.

1. Suite Booking Using Points: Globalists receive Tier Suite Upgrades that can be used on most types of reservations to upgrade to a suite, but those in lower levels of the program have options to do this as well. World of Hyatt offers two options for using points to help secure a base level suite. One option is to book the stay entirely with points. The amount of points required depends on the award category of the hotel. As of this writing, Hyatt Regency Osaka is classified as Category 2, so per this chart:

Suite Award Chart

A Regency Suite at the Hyatt Regency Osaka can be booked for only 13000 points per night. Per the current World of Hyatt Terms and Conditions, a stay booked in this manner must be for a minimum of three nights, so you will need at least 39000 points on hand for this option.

If you don’t have that many points available, or only want to stay for one or two nights, the other option is to upgrade a stay booked through Hyatt at the Standard Rate or higher (sorry, no Member Discount rate) and upgrade the stay using points. This option is irrespective of award category; it is 6000 points per night for all hotels.

So could be a really good deal for a place like Park Hyatt Tokyo

So could be a really good deal for a place like Park Hyatt Tokyo

Neither of these options are available online;  you will need to get in touch with Hyatt Customer Service to make these arrangements for you.

2. Hyatt Regency Osaka Suite Benefits: Globalists are automatically conferred club lounge access on all of their stays. Explorists receive some club lounge upgrade certificates that can be used to upgrade most reservations with access. But neither of these powers are necessary when you are staying in Hyatt Regency Osaka suite, because they are included in the benefits of the suite itself.

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 6.45.07 PM

The complicated situation regarding Hyatt Regency’s Osaka’s club lounge arrangement is explained in my hotel review posts, but, in summary, not only do all staying guests get access to afternoon and evening offerings that exceed the new arrangement at Hyatt Regency Tokyo, they also get to have a full breakfast in the restaurant that exceeds the arrangement at Grand Hyatt Tokyo!

3. High Quality At Reasonable Rates: As I’ve said before, I feel that this hotel is of incredible quality for a Category 2 level hotel in the second most populated area of Japan. While many people complain about the location, I, in the parlance of engineers, think it a feature, not a bug. Until the Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island comes online, this is the closest thing to an actual resort hotel that Hyatt offers in Japan.

Again, something I discuss in detail in my hotel review

Again, something I discuss in detail in my hotel review

Osaka can be beautiful, but mostly so from a distance, and your suite will provide you with both the height and the distance with which to fully appreciate it.

At night, the Ferris Wheel puts on quite a light show

At night, the Ferris Wheel puts on quite a light show

A New Years Suite Stay at 13000 points a night is an absolute steal, but even the Standard Rates can be quite reasonable. Booking many months in advance, I found Standard Rates over the three nights spanning the New Years holiday for only 25000 yen a night, less than half the price of a comparable room at Hyatt Regency Tokyo over the same period.

I did such a good job of divesting points ahead of Diamond demotion that I had to use this option

I did such a good job of divesting points ahead of Diamond demotion that I had to use this option

Of course, this plan is dependant on being able to find Regency Suite availability, and, of course, it is no longer available for NYE 2017 this late in the game. But I like planning things well in advance, and I was able to pull this off back in March with no problem.

I’m no longer a big shot with Hyatt. But, thanks to the Hyatt Regency Osaka, I’m going to be treated like one, one more time.

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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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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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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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Inside Hyatt Regency Tokyo: the Atrium Suite

June 4th, 2014

I was discussing the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Atrium Suite with a Twitter follower the other day, so it seemed like a good time to cover it on the main site.

In 2012, I  was doing a series of three night stays at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo to fulfill the requirements of the Diamond Trial to maintain the Hyatt Gold Passport status.  Even as trial members, Diamond tier members receive four suite upgrade certificates, which can be used to take any paid reservation of up to seven nights and guarantee an upgrade to a base-level suite.

The Hyatt Regency Tokyo has two base-level suites eligible for the upgrade: the Regency Suite and the Atrium Suite.  The Regency Suite is a decent sized place that is an improvement on regular room accommodations, but not something that I would go out of my way to stay at.

The Atrium Suite is a room that I would go out of my way to stay at.  In fact, I believe that it is the best use of a suite upgrade currently available in all of Tokyo.  Not to take away from the Grand Hyatt’s Grand Executive Suite, or the Park Hyatt’s Park Suite, which are both tremendous, but…well, let’s just say that they are merely an extension of the normal pleasures that you could have in a regular room at those establishments.

The Atrium Suite is a completely different animal, unlike anything you can experience anywhere else in the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, any Hyatt in Tokyo, or perhaps even any other hotel in the world!

This suite is unapologetically funky.  For starters, just look at this floor plan:

If you think that that looks somewhat phallic, you're not alone.

If you think that that looks somewhat phallic, you’re not alone.

The door is on the left, and when you enter you see a long path that allows you to walk the full hypotenuse of your triangle.  I think that I was able to take 19 full striding steps from the door to the end of the room.

Three more steps than you can take in a Park Suite. Yes, I measure things like that...

Three more steps than you can take in a Park Suite. Yes, I measure things like that…

Along the way you pass the bedroom, which contains two queen beds (all Atrium suites have two beds.  I don’t get why some people consider that a deal breaker. If a queen bed can’t contain your rolling sleepitude, then just push them together!)

Test

If I knew that I was going to write a blog someday, I would have taken better pictures.

That big window you see in the background looks directly into the bathroom, and a big oval tub in the middle.

Test

Once again failing to do the Atrium Suite justice

The main living area of this suite, which I failed to take any pictures of (or, more positively, succeeded in leaving to your imagination) is a relatively cozy triangular cove.  People that enjoy a nice view may be disappointed to find that there is only one small window facing outside by the work desk, facing a rather uninspiring street view (the suites at the Hyatt Regency are on the low floors;  the four Atrium Suites are located two apiece on opposite sides of the seventh and eighth floors)  However, should you choose to raise the drapes behind your sofa, you will transform your cozy little room into the most voyeuristic place in the entire hotel.

No amount of contrast fiddling can save this picture, but you get the idea.  Right?

No amount of contrast fiddling can save this picture, but you get the idea. Right?

Yes, your room looks right out unto the Atrium of the hotel.  You have a door to step outside onto a surprisingly large balcony (I cannot promise that the melon beach ball did not make an appearance here).  And if you look over the edge, you will see this:

Wow.

Wow.

And if you look down, you will see this:

How often do you look down on a giant chandelier?

How often do you look down on a giant chandelier?

Just as I spent hours freezing in quiet contemplation in my private rock garden at the Grand Hyatt Deluxe Club Corner Queen room, I spent hours watching the mass of humanity crawl throughout the lobby like ants beneath me.  You would feel like a king addressing his subjects, were it not for the weird, diagonal angle that you’re placed at.

And if there’s anything that should keep you away from staying from this room, it would be an allergy to weirdness.  Because the weirdness permeates into the very fiber of this room.  There are nooks and crannies all over the place to explore;  there are things in this room that I only just discovered at the very end of my three night stay, and I’m not at all confident that I’ve discovered them all.  It may not be the most comfortable suite, it may not be the most intuitive suite.  But if you relish an adventure, this suite is really, really fun.

The suites in the Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt are excellent, high quality options, but unless you have the money for, or the very good fortune to be upgraded into, one of the high end suites at those properties, then I would say that the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Atrium Suite offers the most special option available to you at a Hyatt hotel in Japan.  Whether you love it or you hate it, I guarantee that you will never forget it.

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