Gold Passport Hyatt's loyalty program

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Last year Hyatt announced their latest Hyatt Gold Passport enhancements earning of points for dining and spa treatments even when not staying at the hotel, and the ability to burn points for the same services as well. Starwood has had both of these going on for years. As a matter of fact you can use your Starpoints, probably shouldn’t, for anything on your folio when checking out.

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hyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption-charthyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption-chart-valueThe value for Hyatt Gold Passport points is from a low of $0.005 to $0.0083 when redeemed for these services. These values are simply put terrible, and nobody should bother.

Here is a list of participating properties right now. During the year this will expand to cover all the properties.

Participating Hotel Restaurant Locations

Hyatt Dulles
Hyatt Regency Baltimore
Hyatt Regency Cambridge
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing
Hyatt Regency Phoenix
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport
Hyatt Place Detroit/Utica
Hyatt Place Phoenix/Gilbert
Hyatt Place Phoenix/Mesa
Hyatt Place Richmond/Arboretum
Hyatt Place Sterling/Dulles Airport-North
Hyatt Place Tempe/Phoenix Airport
Hyatt Place Tucson Airport

Participating Hotel Spa Locations

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch

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Last week Starwood announced their lifetime Platinum status requirements that are 500 nights and 10 years as a Platinum member. Hyatt has had their lifetime Diamond program already for quite some time. You won’t find any information about it from the Gold Passport website but the qualification requirements aren’t secret.

Here’s what you need to get lifetime Hyatt Gold Passport Status:

1. You must have earned 1000000 BASE points that is $200000 in spending. Note that only stays that are credited to points will qualify.

2. You must have been a Gold Passport member for 10 years.

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One thing to note that base points are not the same as the lifetime points you can see in your Gold Passport account. Lifetime points include all the Hyatt points that you have earned from number of sources i.e. bonus points, credit card points, transfer points etc. Hyatt Gold Passport base points are only the points that you have earned from your stays based on the revenue before any bonus points. There is no other way to find the number of base points that you have earned than to call the Hyatt Gold Passport customer service.

The huge negative for me is the fact that all the stays that I have credited towards airline miles don’t count towards lifetime status at all. Hyatt has run quite a few attractive airline related bonus offers with Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, American Airlines, and even with Southwest, when it hasn’t made any sense to credit the stay towards Hyatt points.

Overall this requirement is quite difficult to achieve. Let’s say that you have 50 Hyatt nights per year and the room revenue is $150 per night. It would take you 27 seven years to qualify for lifetime Diamond status with Diamond.

I will most likely expire before hitting the lifetime Diamond requirement with Hyatt Gold Passport. Not so with Starwood and Marriott.

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It is time for February hotel promotion update. All the hotels have their promotions up and running again and some like Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group have several concurrent promotions that you can take advantage of.

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.

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Club Carlson “Triple Points – Faster Nights” Promotion – Triple Gold Points Worldwide

Hilton HHonors

Hilton has the most promotions running that you can combine together. You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

You can choose one of these airline promotions as your double dip earnings partner. My personal favorite still is BMI that would earn 1k per night and up to three nights regardless of the Hilton brand.

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Triple ANA and Double Emirates Miles for Hilton Stays Until March 31st

Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

Earn 2012 Bonus Delta SkyMiles per Two Night Hilton Stay

These are the two main promotions for the time. More Points promotion for extra points for each nights and more for weekend stays, and free night certificates for longer resort stays.

Hilton HHonors 1st Quarter 2012 “More Points” Promotion

‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Last month Hyatt didn’t have any promotions running besides the AA one that ended in the middle of the month. Hyatt’s latest promotion just started today. You can earn up to 44K extra points for 16 stays during the promotional period. That is extra 2750 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

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Hyatt Announced Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

The first promotion for double points starting from your second stay and the 5/7/15 stays for 5K/10K/15K bonus points are combinable. The first one runs until the end of April and the second until the end of March. Note that you need to choose the bonus after 5, 7, or 15 stays. If you don’t meet the threshold, you won’t get the associate bonus.

Priority Club 1st Quarter 2012 Promotion Announced – Double Points or Miles – 2X More

Priority Club Bonus Points Promo for 1st Quarter 2012

There is Anniversary bonus that you can combine with these two promotion. It is extra 1000 Priority Club points for every stay for 90 days after you register. Do not register before the date of your first stay to maximize the promotional period. The promotion code is 6102 and you need to register at http://www.priorityclub.com/register. Please note that I cannot guarantee if this specific promotion will work for your Priority Club account. It never hurts to try, right?

Marriott Rewards / Ritz-Carton Rewards

Remember that you can have only Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. You cannot have both. You can, however, switch between accounts as often as you wish just by calling the rewards customer service.

ritz-carlton-rewards

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

Note that you can only register for the MegaBonus or MegaMiles promotion. There are number of different MegaBonus thresholds. Pick up the ones that fits you best, and call the Marriott Rewards customer service if you need to switch your targeted promotion to something else.

Marriott Rewards Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer

Earn Up To 50000 Virgin America Elevate Bonus Points During Marriott’s MegaMiles Promotion

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood has two different promotions that are both exclusive. The Better By the Night is valid in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The list of non-participating properties is rather long. Note that this is NOT valid in the Asia-Pacific region that has their own promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

Starwood Preferred Guest Asia Pacific Promotion

The following promotion is valid in the Asia-Pacific region for two free night certificates after 9 stays. Must use MasterCard to pay.

‘Two Days of Happy’ – Stay 5 Nights Get One Free Night Certificate – Stay 9 Nights Get Two Free Night Certificates – 4MCFN

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My friends always think that I would complain a lot about hotels, but that is really not the case. Last year I had more than 300 hotel stays at Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott, and Starwood hotels. Of these 300 stays only three were “disastrous” enough to warrant a written complaint; St Regis, W, and Ritz-Carlton hotel.

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I have thought about it few times – the higher the perceived quality of the hotel, the more chances they have not to meet your expectations. Not sure if I have ever complained about the physical condition of the hotel. You can always fix/update the rooms, but getting the soft product (service) right is more complicated than that. Especially, when you are staying at “affordable” luxury hotels, they shouldn’t promise you more than what they can deliver. This is usually the reason for discontent.

Normally, I try to resolve any issues I have on the spot. Calling the operator and asking them to connect you to the Manager on Duty, is most of the time enough to get any stay related issues corrected while you are still at the property.  But, when you have many issues going wrong with your stay, then it might be worthwhile to write-up a letter to let the property and possible the franchisor know about the issues you have had. This is also another chance for them to make it right i.e. offer you compensation (read points).

If I have had a bad stay, I never write the letter immediately. It is better to let the things settle and not to write anything when you are “emotional”. I just write down the issues I have had on a notepad and revisit them a week or two later.

The structure of the complaint

– Your name and address

– The confirmation number

– Your account number with the hotels loyalty program

– The date(s) of your stay

First paragraph: I normally include some information about the number of hotel stays I have had and statuses, if any, I have with the hotel loyalty programs.

Second paragraph: There is always something positive about the stay as well. I always start with the things that I liked about the hotel.

And then the complaint part. I always try to be as short as possible and straight to the facts. I tend to use points to make it clearer. One or maximum two lines per issue or problem.

Third paragraph: If you know what would be your preferred resolution for the complaint, don’t hesitate to communicate it. I normally request points in the hotels loyalty program.

Fourth paragraph: Just closing the letter and thanking them.

Where to send the complaint?

With the chain hotels, like the ones I listed above, there are always two ways. You can send it to the attention of the General Manager of the property in question, or you can send it to the corporate who will delegate it to the property. I tend to send it to the corporate because then it gets to the attention of the person at the property who deals with issues like this.

How to send it?

With Starwood, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton, and Marriott you can just send it by email. I don’t like using web forms for issues like these that Hyatt requires, so I just fax it to the Hyatt customer service department.

How long to wait for a reply?

I would say that hotels are typically very fast at resolving any issues raised post stay. You should hear back from the property itself, or the guest relations department of the loyalty program, in just a few days.

Conclusion

I really don’t like the word “complaint” at all. Think of it as giving feedback to the property about the issues that they should be looking more into. Business are generally happy when you give them the opportunity to make things right. Also, there must be quite a few guests that have come across the same issues, but who have never taken the time to give feedback.

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Here’s the updated registration link for this promo that now alive.

Hyatt’s promos were rather lackluster in 2011 compared to what Hyatt had been offering for years. The beginning of 2012 doesn’t look any brighter.

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

The spring promo starts on February 1st and ends on April 30th. It is based on nights and not on stays. There are four thresholds for extra points, and Hyatt credit card holders will get 25% bonus.

4 nights – 4000 bonus points = 4000 cumulative points = 1000 average nightly bonus

8 nights – 8000 bonus points = 12000 cumulative points = 1500 average nightly bonus

12 nights – 12000 bonus points = 24000 cumulative points = 2000 average nightly bonus

16 nights – 20000 bonus points = 44000 cumulative points = 2750 average nightly bonus

In overall scheme of things the promo is ok, but doesn’t really compare to what Hyatt had been offering up to 2011.

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It appears, if all the major airlines and hotels are suddenly in the points selling business, based on the number of offers in the past few weeks. Now, it is Hyatt’s turn to offer 30% bonus for buying Gold Passport points.

hyatt-gold-passport-buy-points

Offer available for purchases made between January 18 and March 15, 2012 inclusive. Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of individual transactions. Offer only available when points are purchased for the purchaser’s account. Offer not valid for transactions gifting points. Offer may be withdrawn or changed without notice. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible for the promotion.

You can buy maximum 40000 points per year not including the 30% transfer bonus in this case. The points purchase is handled by Points.com, but it really doesn’t make a difference. You would receive 52000 points for $960. The price of a point would be 1.85 cents.

hyatt-gold-passport-buy-points-final

park-hyatt-sydney-pointsNow, does it make sense to buy these points? In most cases, I would say no. If you don’t have enough Gold Passport points and planning to stay at the soon to be opened Park Hyatt Sydney, quite likely the answer is yes.  The Park Hyatt Sydney doesn’t yet participate to Hyatt Stay Certificates, and the daily rates are rather high to say the least, but only 22000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

Two nights for 855 AUD each comes to $1779. You buy the points for $960 and will have 8000 points to spare after the stay. Of course, you have to bear in mind that the paid stay would earn you more than 10000 points, if you are a Diamond member + all other promotional points that Hyatt might be offering during your stay.

park-hyatt-sydney-money

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Hyatt tends to run these 30% off sales every month/two months. Last time they had this in mid-December. I am always bit skeptical when hotels are running “sales” as often they don’t offer their lowest rates. This rate promotion only applies to 58 participating properties in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

hyatt-48-sale-january-2012

A little rest and relaxation can go a long way, but the opportunity to save at Hyatt hotels and resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean is only valid through 11:59 PM Wednesday January 18th.  For a limited time, simply book a participating Hyatt hotel or resort using offer code C48JAN beginning Tuesday January 17th and save up to 30% on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or just a holiday for you.  Offers and stay dates vary by participating hotel.  Offer ends 11:59 PM Wednesday January 18th.  Give into the urge to get away, and take advantage of this exclusive 48 Hour Sale

Things to remember is that these sales rates are prepaid, non-cancellable, and non-refundable. One should only book then if the plans are firm. The sale is up to 30% off but the discount is lower if one has access to AARP, AAA, and Costco discount rates that are often cancellable and not prepaid. I personally would probably book one of the latter ones as my plans often change.

Here are some prices for a one night stay in March at Hyatt Waikiki.

hyatt-48-sale-january-2012-waikiki

hyatt-48-sale-january-2012-waikiki-club

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hyatt-48-sale-january-2012-waikiki-costco

hyatt-48-sale-january-2012-waikiki-aaa-discount

At least in the Waikiki Hyatt the 48 hour sale rate appears to be the lowest. It is very interesting that they are selling the Club rooms during the sale at the same price as the regular ones. As you can see the club rooms are normally priced at 50% premium. This is a good deal if you don’t have Hyatt Diamond status that would guarantee the lounge access regardless of the rate paid.

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Please refer to February hotel promotions update: February Hotel Promotions Update: Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott/Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood

By now all hotel chains except Hyatt have announced their first quarter 2012 promotions. Here are the Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Starwood Preferred Guest promotions.

Hilton HHonors

Hilton HHonors has two ongoing promotions that should be combinable. “Resort Escapes – you can get one free night certificate after contiguous five nights stay and second one after another five.

Hilton 'Escape to a Resort' Promotion

The other promotion is More Points promotion that is basically extra 1000 Hilton HHonors bonus points per night + 5000 extra bonus points for two night contiguous weekend stay. Weekend is defined as Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. You can earn one 5000 bonus points per weekend. [click to continue…]

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Last week, I was scheduled to fly out from Abu Dhabi. The opening date of the Hyatt Capital Gate had been brought forward by couple of weeks. Previously, it was not bookable before the beginning of 2012. Decided to spend the night there and just take a cab to the airport the following morning. The location of the hotel is about half way from both the city center of Abu Dhabi and the airport. My stay there ended up being on the opening day.

The Capital Gate building is an iconic one already due to being the largest man-made tilted structure. The hotel part of the building begins from the 18th floor. The lower floors are reserved for office space. You can read more about the building itself at www.capitalgate.ae.

hyatt-capital-gate [click to continue…]

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First of all, I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way. I kinda have my rule of thumb. Since 2004, I have had more than 300 hotel stays early. Normally, I choose a hotel from Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, or Starwood collections due to the fact that I have the top tier status with all of them.

Last night I was researching hotels in Kiev, where I was supposed to be later today. I will write about my experience with PS (Ukraine International Airlines) at some later date that made me change my plans at the very last minute.

Ukraine, where Kiev is the capital, is one of those interesting former eastern bloc countries that still have relatively low standard of living, but where hotels are very expensive. The city is hosting a football tournament next year and quite a few new hotels are coming online, including Fairmont, Hilton, and Sheraton.  Hopefully this will bring the prices down.

So, last night when I was looking at the hotels I had to make a choice between a Hyatt Regency Kiev and the InterContinental hotels. The Hyatt had a best available rate of 330 euros and InterContinental 295 euros per night. Both hotels had award inventory available as well. Hyatt at 18000 Gold Passport points and InterContinental at 30000 Priority Club points per night.

hyatt-regency-kiev-rate-sheet

[click to continue…]

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Hyatt apparently loves these short term sales every couple of months. This time they are offering up to 30% off of 108 properties in United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. These are prepaid, non-refundable, and non-cancelable. Diamond members can use their suite upgrades on these rates, subject to availability of course. These rates need to be booked by midnight on 21st of December.

hyatt-december-sale

The following Hyatt web page has the list of all the 108 participating properties and the terms of this offer.

Sometimes these rates “work” and sometimes they don’t. You get a lower price but you give up the flexibility. I would only book the sale rate if my plans were absolutely set in stone. [click to continue…]

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As a Starwood Preferred Guest member, I have been able to earn Starpoints, even when not staying at a hotel, for food and beverage charges already for years. As a matter of fact, just did it last week when I was having couple of beers and a burger at Captains Arms in Le Meridien hotel in Abu Dhabi. Starwood employee just fills a credit card style slip with your SPG account number and the revenue amount, and the points eventually find your account.

hyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption

Hyatt had been whispering about their coming change for the past few months. The program, however, was just officially announced yesterday. You can earn 5 Hyatt Gold Passport points for every eligible charge in/converted to one USD. [click to continue…]

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Was scheduled to stay few days in Abu Dhabi, and decided to check on my way out the new Park Hyatt hotel opened for the Formula 1 race last month. Saadiyat Island is just 15 minutes from the commercial center of Abu Dhabi. There isn’t much on the island yet, but they have rather grandiose plans for the area in the future. Some of those plans were put on hiatus last month but not cancelled.

Check in:

After getting off from a taxi I was escorted to the front desk for check in. The usual Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum/Diamond sign was at the other end where nobody was working (nothing new here). They had correctly read my name from the airline tags attached to my bags as they greeted me by my name. [click to continue…]

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Hyatt stay certificates have been a great way to save money when the rates are high. Also, location like Park Hyatt Maldives is a bargain, in Maldivian standards, when using stay certificates ($319 per night). Only thing to remember is that the stay is not a qualifying one when it comes to Hyatt Gold Passport promotions, stay credits, or points. You will get points for any incidentals during your stay but not for the value of the cert itself.

hyatt-stay-certificates-prices

Now, Hyatt has come up with a new Exclusive level of stay certificate that is valid at the following locations below. They haven’t, however, made it possible to buy them yet, and thus the price is unclear. My hunch is that the price will be around $450. Currently the highest stay certificate (Inspire) costs $319 per night. [click to continue…]