World of Hyatt - Hyatt's loyalty program

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UPDATE: If you signed up for the challenge after May 31st and successfully complete it, your Hyatt Gold Passport status will be valid until the end of February 2014.

Hyatt has a nice little program, and I have been a Diamond member since 2004. The program has grown significantly since 2004 mainly by Hyatt acquiring both Amerisuites, which were later converted to Hyatt Places, and Summerfield Suites, that became Hyatt Houses. Both of these acquisitions were a way for Hyatt to enter the limited service market i.e. Hilton’s Hampton Inn.

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How to get matched to Hyatt Diamond status?

Hyatt ended doing direct status matched back in 2010. Since then Hyatt has started to do challenges called Hyatt Diamond Trial. You can probably still get a direct match, but you need to do it through a hotels sales department, and it is probably quite a hassle.

 Do you have any of the following statuses?

– Hilton Gold (you can get one easily using this or this) & Hilton Diamond

– SPG Platinum

– Marriott Gold & Platinum

– Priority Club Platinum

Hyatt may match others as well, but it could be worth printing your stay history that shows significant stay activity.

You will be awarded a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Trial, which is in fact a full-fledged Diamond status for 60 days. You will get all the Diamond level benefits during this 60 day period including the four Diamond Suite Awards that are valid up to 7 days each. You can use these to upgrade any paid stay (eligible rate) to a suite at a property that is not on the exclusion list, and has confirmable suite inventory available at the time of request. You need to do the request over the phone as the website is incapable of processing these.

Timing of the Diamond Trial

If you request your Diamond trial now and complete the required number of nights (12), your Hyatt Diamond status will be valid until February 2013. You need to complete the required 25 stays or 50 nights before end of this year to qualify for Diamond status all the way until 2014.

It might be better idea to start the Diamond challenge/trial in the second half of 2012. If nothing has changed, your status should then be valid until February 2014 after doing the required 12 nights in 60 days. Unfortunately I am not aware of the exact cut-off date for this.

Process of requesting the Diamond Challenge/Trial

Do you have a Hyatt Gold Passport account set up? If not it is probably best to set it up online first. Then you need to call (this would be my choice) or send an email request to the service center using the online web form.

You should then receive a following reply within 24 hours:

Thank you for contacting Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service. I
appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Regarding your inquiry, currently a Diamond Trial Offer is available.
You will receive trial Diamond membership for 60 days with proof of top
tier status with one of our competitors program.  However, you must
complete 12 nights in 60 days to maintain Diamond tier through February
of 2013.  You will also receive 1000 bonus points on your first six
eligible nights within 60 days, up to a maximum of 6000 bonus points.

Please note this offer can only be made one time and can not be extended
beyond the 60 day period.

Please note the list of competitors that Hyatt Gold Passport will match:

Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
Priority Club Platinum

Please email or mail a statement of your account activity with a
competitor to us for processing at:

PO Box 27089
Omaha, NE 68127-0089

To find more details on our exclusive Diamond status please visit us
online at:
http://goldpassport.hyatt.com/gp/benefits/membership_diamond.jsp

I appreciate your support of Hyatt and the Gold Passport program. Please
let me know if I may assist you further.

Sincerely,

XX XX
Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service

You can mail the requested documents to the above mentioned address or email them to goldpassport@hyatt.com.

They should process the documents within 24 hours and you can then immediately see the updated status by logging in to your Hyatt Gold Passport account.

Note that theoretically this is only once in a lifetime (or program account). You should probably do it if you plan on staying with Hyatt to experience the Hyatt Diamond treatment. As a bonus you will also receive 1000 bonus Gold Passport points for first six of your eligible night during this period.

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US Airways has been very predictable of running continuous promotions for buying, gifting, transferring, or converting, money or points to Dividend miles. Their latest offer is 50% bonus for points conversions from number of hotel programs. US Airways run identical offer last year.

Please note that according to the Terms and conditions you can only earn the conversion bonus ONCE.

us-airways-conversion-offer

The beauty of Dividend miles program are the rather generous routing rules, competitive award chart, ability to earn and burn on all Star Alliance carriers and then some, and these continuous offers from Dividend miles.

Essentially, US Airways is selling miles at a reasonable rate that enables the travelers like you and me to experience international business and first class at a fraction of the cost.

But, as always when you are dealing with award space, you need to be flexible and often book either well in advance or at a very last minute. I tend to typically do the latter. When airlines realize that they have unsold business and first class inventory, they often dump it to the award inventory few days before.

There are some drawbacks with US Airways Dividend miles as well. You will end up paying some fees unless you are top tier on their program. There is a booking fee (up to $50) as these cannot be booked on the web, and a quick ticketing fee ($75) if you book less than 21 days in advance. There are no fuel surcharges, however. The US Airways may not be the most stable of the airlines, and there has been some chatter lately of some changes to come. I would do a transfer or buy miles without hesitation, if I know how I would spend them in the next 6 to 12 months.

Look at the conversion partners

The conversion partners this time are Best Western, Choice Privileges, Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest, Wyndham Rewards, and La Quinta.

us-airways-conversion-offer-partners

I am only concentrating on Club Carlson, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest conversion possibilities. I don’t believe that the other options provide too much value unless you just need to top off your Dividend Miles account for small number of miles.

Club Carlson

club-carlson-us-airways

This is very straightforward offer. 100K Club Carlson points would transfer with the 50% conversion bonus to 27K Dividend Miles.

Hyatt Gold Passport

I don’t think that this is a good use of Hyatt Gold Passport points, but this is the last opportunity to transfer them to US Airways and earn the conversion bonus. You cannot earn Dividend Miles or transfer Gold Passport points to Dividend Miles after March 15th, 2012. Hyatt announced their discontinuance of this and some other airline partnerships on February 23rd.

hyatt-gold-passport-us-conversion

50K Hyatt Gold Passport points would become 37.5K Dividend Miles after Hyatt’s and US Airways’ conversion bonuses. It is actually not that shabby at all.

Marriott Rewards

I transferred close to a million Marriott Rewards points when AA was running somewhat similar conversion bonus before their partnership with Marriott Rewards ended. It was the major push to take me over 2 million lifetime miles in AA’s program and granting me a lifetime AA Platinum status.

us-airways-marriott-packages

The key here is to use Marriott Rewards points for travel packages that have a miles component as well. You can get a seven night award category 1 to 5 Marriott Rewards property and 120K (180K with conversion bonus) US Airways Dividend Miles for 270K Marriott Rewards points.  This is what I did few years ago with AA. The hotel part of this is valid for a year. I was, however, able to extend them by an additional year, but it is no longer possible. There aren’t that many interesting cat 1 to 5 in North America, but there are quite a few in Asia.

Starwood Preferred Guest

This is my favorite hotel program when it comes to transferring points to partners. Starwood has a nice list of partner airlines where you can dump points when needed.

us-airways-starwood-conversion

For every 20K Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a 5K miles bonus from Starwood. With the US conversion bonus 20K Starpoints becomes 37.5K Dividend Miles. Note that you can transfer only 60K Starpoints per day to US Airways if you want to maximize the bonuses. This would be 112.5K Dividend Miles.

Here are the Terms and Conditions of this offer that can also be found here.

Eligibility: Offer void where prohibited by law. No registration required. Only miles converted with an activity (‘eligible activity date’) date between March 11, 2012 and March 31, 2012 will earn a bonus. Earning bonus miles: Bonus miles are in addition to Dividend Miles awarded by hotel partners for points conversions. Only hotel points that are converted into Dividend Miles from March 11, 2012 – March 31, 2012 are eligible. Hotel bonus miles do not count towards Preferred status. Bonus miles will post 6-8 weeks from date of the eligible activity date. Dividend Miles members will earn only one bonus when they transfer hotel points into Dividend Miles during the promotion. Dividend Miles members will earn a 50% bonus. Eligible activity date: Eligible activity date is based on the date the qualifying partner records the mileage transaction, and not necessarily the date on which the transaction occurred. US Airways assumes no responsibility for how qualifying partners record activity dates. Check with the applicable partner to confirm policies and procedures for recording activity dates. The last date that activity from a qualifying partner can be received by US Airways for bonus miles consideration is April 10, 2012, regardless of the eligible activity date for such activity. General terms: All US Airways Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply. You may opt out of US Airways emails at any time. US Airways is not responsible for the quality or delivery of goods and/or services provided by Dividend Miles partners. All Dividend Miles partner terms and conditions apply. Partner offers are subject to change without notice. Hotel transfers (points to miles conversions) are subject to terms and conditions as stipulated in your agreement with your hotel program.

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Hyatt, Marriott and now also Starwood has realized that giving out a lifetime status after meeting some pretty tough revenue, number of nights, and number of years in the program could be an important part to make members stick with the chain long term.

I have already independently written about Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood requirements. Currently neither InterContinental Hotels Group (Priority Club/Ambassador) nor Hilton offer a lifetime incentive for their members.

My preference in easiness of achieving the top tier lifetime status in these three programs is as following:

1. Starwood Lifetime Platinum

Requires only 500 nights (now all nights count including cash & points/award) + 10 years of Platinum membership

This is in my opinion the easiest. The night requirement is not onerous. The only “real” requirement is the fact that you need to have Platinum status for 10 years. These years do not need to be continuous, but other years do not count for lifetime Platinum.

2. Marriott Lifetime Platinum

Requires 2 million points, 1000 nights & 12 years as a Marriott Rewards member.

The biggest hurdle is the number of night’s requirement, although all the nights count including the ones from credit card + possible meeting ones.

The 2 million point’s requirement might sound high, but in reality it is not considering how many points you will earn from the stays including all the status based bonuses, Megabonus promotions, and points from the credit card spend.

You need to have been at least ones a Platinum member during your membership of the program.

3. Hyatt Lifetime Diamond

This can be the easiest or hardest depending how much you spend. The requirement is one million base points. These are NOT the lifetime points that you can see in your account, but only points that are from eligible revenue before any additional bonuses. It translates to $200K in Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points. If you have credited some of the stays to airline miles, none of those count for this lifetime status.

The only other requirement is the requirement of having been a Gold Passport member for 10 years. There is no need to ever have a status with Hyatt.

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It is always sad when a one of supposedly the best Park Hyatt locations let you down service wise. This is just what happened at the Park Hyatt Shanghai. The hardware is excellent, but the service is very inconsistent and sometime borderline terrible.

park-hyatt-shanghai-view-from-the-lobby-lounge

Yes. I know. This is China and you shouldn’t expect the same level of service as from hotels in other parts of Asia and in Europe. I have heard that line so many times from my friends. Also, the hoteliers always complain how difficult it is for them to employ competent staff. But, I am not buying any of that. You train the staff or hire competent ones, and pay and treat them well enough, so that they stay. Shouldn’t be more complicated than that.

Unfortunately I don’t have the usual number of photos, but I happened to leave my camera to a taxi on my way back to the airport in Shanghai before I had uploaded them.

Location

Depending where you need to be in Shanghai the location may or may not work for you. I know that I probably should use the underground, but the taxis are generally so cheap, unless they try to scam you, that it is really the transportation that I tend to use in Shanghai.

From the airport I took the Maglev train to the station near to the city. Then I took a taxi from there, that turned out to be a scam one, but luckily I knew how much the meter should be from the station to the hotel, and paid based on that, and not what was shown on the meter.

Check in

This is where everything started to ravel. I had an early morning flight in from Apia via Auckland. I had informed the hotel about my early arrival. If it hadn’t suited them, I would have just booked an InterContinental hotel where I have guaranteed 8AM check in as a Royal Ambassador member.

When I arrived the taxi parked on the side of the road. He “missed” the entrance on purpose. Anyway, I wasn’t traveling too heavily so I just walked towards the entrance with my black 22 roller board and computer bag.

I was waving trying to get the bell boys attention so that they could take my bag and escort me to the lobby. It took a while before I was able to get one, and he only took me to the elevator and left my bag there.

So, I was rolling with my bag from the entrance elevators to the front desk. The first question was if I was checking out. Why would I be checking out when I am coming from the elevators that don’t have quest room access with my carry on bags? I promptly replied that I would like to know where the Diamond check in area at this hotel is. Other lady just said that the check in time is at 2PM.

This was absolutely ridiculous and no hotel should operate like this. I had arranged an early check in and they didn’t even bother typing my name to their reservation system to see my reservation. At this point, I politely asked them to get a manager on duty to help me and went to sit down on the chairs by the windows.

The front desk manager was polite and noted that I had come a bit earlier than what was indicated. Yeas, I was. The flight landed early, didn’t have to wait for the Maglev train, and just took a taxi from the station to the hotel. I just told him that if this early check in is a problem I don’t mind just booking another hotel and they can just cancel the reservation I had at the Park Hyatt.

The manager went on his way while I was doing some emails. He came back shortly telling that the room was ready.

Room 8411

This was a very beautiful corner room that almost felt like a junior or studio suite. Per Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond upgrade benefits hotels are not required to upgrade Diamond members beyond best available room.  I believe that this was probably very close to the best, although it was only on the 84th floor. BTW I don’t think that the floor itself makes a huge difference because due to the weather you can hardly see anything besides some smog/cloud on this level. The view could actually be better on much lower floors.

Fitness Center / Pool

park-hyatt-shanghai-pool

Here my service problems continued. Came to the right floor and asked where the fitness center was. The guy directed me to the fitness center, but he should have realized that I need to go and change to the gym attire first as I was carrying shoes and work gear. I just walked back to the “reception” and asked where the lockers are. They were entirely the other way.

park-hyatt-shanghai-fitness-center

The fitness center was nice as one should expect from a Park Hyatt. I was the alone for an hours. That’s good.

On my way to the locker rooms I decided to take a picture of the pool using my cell phone. The same guy came and said that one shouldn’t take photos here. There was nobody in the entire area so there was no excuse for this no photos nonsense.

Breakfast

Breakfast was one of the better ones in the Hyatt chain. I ordered eggs benedict with smoked salmon sauce on the side from the menu. It came almost as I had ordered it.

park-hyatt-shanghai-breakfast-eggs-benedict

The breakfast selection was nice, but the service at times bit too much. I was up  rather early so there was way too many servers compared to guests. I like good service but not when five people are looking at me when I am eating.

Concierge

Again a problem spot. I needed to buy a new SIM card as the previous one that I had for China was purchased in Lhasa, and it would be better to have a “local” one. The concierge couldn’t really understand a word that I was saying. I was able to get a hold off of a western associate that was able to explain my request to the concierge. I then had an employee escorting me to the China Mobile office nearby and get me a local SIM card for data access that I needed. But this whole process was way too complicated.

Diamond Amenity & Welcome Letter

Not sure what is the standard Diamond amenity at this Park Hyatt. All that I got was five pearls. No welcome letter.

Early Arrival Continental Breakfast

As the hotel had noted my early arrival, I had nice selection of pastries and orange juice waiting for me when I finally got to my room. This was very nice touch.

After Stay Satisfaction Survey

You do get these quite often after staying at international properties. I gave them less than stellar score due to the numerous problems I had. I also noted the problems in the written in sections of the survey.

I was really surprised that the following day I received an email from the property. No. It actually came from the survey company and the reply to-address had been changed to some executive assistant at the property. The content of the email was partly mail merged from the comments that I had left.

If they had had look at the record of my stay, they would have quickly noticed the problems that I had and what I had reported. I find this kind of “automatic” responses very amateurish for supposedly one of the flagship Hyatt property.

Conclusion

It is a very nice property hardware wise, but you need to lower your service expectations to the same or lower level than your average domestic US Hyatt.

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Hyatt decided to finally update the locations where Diamond Suite Awards are not valid. It had already been known for months that the exclusion list they had up on the website was no longer valid. There might be still properties that officially participate, but where you cannot find a single date for confirmable upgrades.

The following properties supposedly don’t have any standard suites where you could use Diamond Suite upgrades:

Hyatt Regency Kyoto

hyatt-regency-kyoto

Not sure what is so special about this Regency Suite that would make it non-standard for Diamond Suite upgrades?

Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine

hyatt-regency-madeleine-suites

This 60 square meter Regency Suite sounds a lot like a really regular suite to me, but apparently it is not.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort 

park-hyatt-beaver-creek

Again, this location seems to have quite a few different suite types available. Why this fireside one wouldn’t qualify as a standard one?

Park Hyatt Maldives

I really believe this one as I have been there. They don’t have suites. They have Over Water Villas, Pool Villas, or Regular Villas.

Park Hyatt Sydney

park-hyatt-sydney

Not sure what is going here. The lowest suite is actually smaller than their Opera or City Deluxe, but it is still not considered a “standard” suite.

Hyatt Santa Barbara 

Fair they don’t have suites. I have stayed there few times and it is a nice hotel.

Key West Resort and Spa 

This is a small property that doesn’t have suites. I have stayed there once.

Hyatt Regency Wichita 

 hyatt-wichita

This property has suites, but apparently not many. Wondering what is so special about this Bluestem suite that it couldn’t be categorized as a standard suite for suite redemption purposes?

Hyatt Regency Tulsa

Apparently no suites here.

Conclusion

Apparently four of the nine non-participating properties don’t have suites. The other six that supposedly don’t have any standard suites, do have suites that one could think by reading the suite description to be a standard ones

Hyatt must have had hard time getting some of the better properties to sign up for this suite upgrade thing. They either don’t compensate properties or compensate very little for usage of these suite awards.

Apparently the Park Hyatt Chicago is not available using these Diamond Suite Awards per several Hyatt Private Line agents, although Hyatt has not added that property to the list (yet).

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It is time for a March hotel promotions update. This is the first time I will include the Choice Privileges in this update as well. In the future you will most likely see Accor and Best Western promotions as well. There are so many different promotions going on that there is, for sure, something for everyone.

I am working on the Two Days of Happy Starwood promotion that is about to end. Will probably have quite a few InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton stays next. Both have very good promotions going on.

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. This promotion is valid until March 16th, 2012. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.

club-carlson-triple-points

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

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

Choice has a promotion starting on March 8th for 8000 points for every two stays. On some brands you need two nights for a stay.

choise-hotels-march-promo

Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

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. Please note that all these airline related bonuses are scheduled to end on March 31st.

hilton-hhonors-emirates-promo

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

The British Airways promotion shows 1500 bonus Avios, but what has been posting to members is 1000. If you don’t get the correct amount,  I would suggest that you write to Hilton and reference their own promotional page for this offer.

hilton-hhonors-avios-campaign

Hilton HHonors With British Airways Offering 1500 Bonus Avios Per Stay Until March 31st, 2012

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

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.

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

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

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. The Two Days of Happy end of March 15th.

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

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

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

spg-1000-bonus-points-sheraton-club

Starwood Offering 1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

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Hyatt announced today that they are discontinuing partnership with Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, and US Airways on March 15th, 2012. You cannot earn miles based on your stay or exchange Hyatt Gold Passport with these partners after that date.

hyatt-airline-partners-change

It is always sad to see partners go because sometimes transferring miles from a hotel program is the best way to hit a promotional offer that airline partner is running i.e. US Airways. Discontinuance the partnership with Aeroplan is somewhat surprising considering that they were recently running a promotion.

Here’s the list of partner’s as of today:

Airline Partner You Earn
Aeromexico® 1,000 Kilometers
Aeroplan (Air Canada) 500 Miles
Air China 800 Kilometers
Air France / KLM 500 Miles
Alaska Airlines 500 Miles
All Nippon Airways 500 Miles
American Airlines 500 Miles
Amtrak 500 Miles
Asia Miles Airways 500 Miles
Asiana Airlines 500 Miles
British Airways 500 Points
China Airlines 500 Miles
China Eastern Airlines 800 Points
Continental Airlines® 500 Miles
Delta Air Lines® 500 Miles
Emirates 500 Miles
Etihad Airways 500 Miles
Frontier Airlines 500 Miles
Hawaiian Airlines 500 Miles
Japan Airlines 500 Miles
Jet Airways 500 Miles
Korean Air 500 Miles
LAN Airlines S.A. 1000 Kilometers
Lufthansa 500 Miles
Qantas Airways (600 or 1,000 Points)2
Qatar Airways 500 Miles
Royal Brunei Airlines 500 Miles
Singapore Airlines 500 Miles
South African Airways 500 Miles
Southwest Airlines® 600 Points
Thai Airways International 500 Miles
Turkish Airlines3 500 Miles
United Airlines® 500 Miles
US Airways® 500 Miles
Virgin Atlantic Airways 750 Miles

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Hyatt is having their monthly 48 hour sale where you can save 15% to 30% off of best available rates (BAR). Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money and sometimes you cannot. These rates are valid at US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels.

hyatt-48-february-2012

Sometimes it is actually better to book an AAA rate that might include some extras like a complimentary breakfast. AAA rates are also normally not prepaid and cancelable. Here’s the link for the Hyatt’s web page for this promotions: http://www.hyatt.com/hyatt/specials/corpofferslist.jsp?offerId=39730828.

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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.

hyatt-dining-and-spa-redemption

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.

hyatt-gold-passport-lifetime-diamond

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.

club-carlson-triple-points

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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