Succesfully Complete Hyatt Diamond Trial and Diamond Status is Valid Until 2014

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Back in March, I wrote about a piece about Hyatt’s Diamond Trial. You can access the post for complete information about the status match here. Just to give you an update. I just received an email from a reader who had confirmed with Hyatt that, if you signed up after May 31st and successfully complete it, the Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status will be valid until February 2014.

You can bring down the cost of doing this by taking advantage of airline related bonuses that the Hyatt is offering this summer.

My Hotel Award Dilemma for Doha Qatar

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I have been to Doha few times in the past when flying on Qatar Airways. The city is an easy stop for a longish transfer of less than 24 hours or for a short stopover. Normally there are only a handful of people at the luggage claim as most of the passengers are on transit. The immigration has always been a breeze. Airport is close to the city center and the taxi fares are cheap

It is not the most exciting city in the Middle East, but there is enough to do for a couple of days.

I have checked out the W, InterContinental (old one), and the Sheraton hotels on my previous trips. There are new hotels popping up almost every few weeks and decided to try something else this time around. The headline prices for hotels in Doha seem to start at $200++.

When there isn’t a stellar promotion around, I tend to check both the paid options and award options for quite a few chains. Preferably, I would have liked to have a stay at any of the three Club Carlson brands that are giving away points enough for a free night (see the promotions here, here, and here). Unfortunately there are no Club Carlson properties in Doha.

So, I decided to check Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham options for Doha and eventually settled for Points & Money option with the Hilton.

Hilton HHonors

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There was four options for Hilton; pay 820 QAR, use 40K HH points, Points & Money option of 20K HH and 254 QAR, or use the last free night certificate from the Hilton’s promo last year.

Hyatt Gold Passport

The Grand Hyatt in Doha is located close to the sports world complex and now burned Villagio mall. The location is horrible if you are planning to do sightseeing in Doha.

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With Hyatt there are basically two options, pay the 1000 QAR or use 15K Hyatt Gold Passport points. There is a nice promotion going on with the Hyatt for the airline points, but not worth paying the premium for this hotel, however.

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club

There are two InterContinental hotels in Doha. The old one, where I have stayed at previously, and the new one that is located in the city center, and is very close to the nice City Center mall.

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Both were in the 900 QAR range and would require 40K PC for the old and 30K PC for the new one. Hotels had points and money option available as well.

Marriott Rewards

To my surprise Marriott had the greatest number of properties in Doha and they would have been the best deal using points.

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The Renaissance and Courtyard hotels are both collocated at the City Center mall that I was referring earlier. You have direct access, at least from the Courtyard, to the mall itself. The number of points require for the Renaissance is 15K and for the Courtyard 10K. I think that both of these present exceptional point redemption value. Then there is the older Marriott that is located close to the airport. It also requires rather modest number of points (15K) considering the going rates of 950 QAR at this hotel.

There are also two Ritz-Carlton properties that are Tier 1 point wise in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards. I probably wouldn’t use points at these two properties, but could considering using a free night certificate that the Ritz-Carlton was giving on their last promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest

There are three Starwood properties in Doha, and I have previously stayed at the W hotel right after it opened few years ago and at the Sheraton Doha Resort late last fall. I like the location of both of these hotels. There is a brand new St Regis in Doha as well, but the location of that hotel is disadvantageous.

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The Sheraton Doha Resort (category 6) is absolutely horrible value point wise. It would require 20K SPG and didn’t have any cash & points available.

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The W is category 5 hotel and would have had a price tag of 999 QAR for last night. The number of SPG points required for a free night would have been somewhat reasonable 12K, but the Cash & Points at 4800 points + 90 USD for the night is a great deal for Doha.

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The St Regis had the highest price at 1400 QAR and category 6 award level. Neither 20K SPG or 8K SPG + 150 USD would had represented any value for me.

Wyndham Rewards

I haven’t stayed too much at the Wyndham family for hotels. Last time when I stayed at the Ramada in Colombo, I later found out that I would not earn any points. This was not clearly presented on the website, but was rather hidden in the terms and conditions of the rewards program. You won’t earn any points for stays in Sri Lanka and number of other countries.

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Wyndham family would have had three options in Doha; two Ramada properties and one Wyndham. All these are located in the old city center of the Doha and are quite close to the airport.

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The cheaper Ramada property would have required 15K points and the more expensive 30K points.

Conclusion

It pays to be part of number of frequent guest programs as not all the chains has coverage in all cities or offer reasonable point based pricing.

On this trip I decided to check out the new Hilton in Doha and use Hilton’s Points & Money awards. I am going to be back next week for a night as well and have decided to stay at one of the Marriott Rewards properties as they are offering exceptionally good redemption value for Doha.

Sometimes SPG’s categories seem to be somewhat unreasonable as is the case in Doha. Both the old Sheraton and the brand new St Regis are very expensive to use points. The best Starwood option is the W that is still category 5 hotel.

Why Hotel Websites (Hilton, Hyatt & InterContinental) Are So Unstable?

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When you are trying to make a booking around noon EST and there is a message about a “scheduled” maintenance, you can be 100% sure that there is nothing “scheduled” about it.

Yesterday, for the first time, all these three websites were down simultaneously when I was trying to make some reservations, check prices, and make sure that points/stays had posted correctly.

Hotels are trying to make their very best to channel as many bookings through their websites as possible. The main reason is that travel agents typically get a 10% commission of the room revenue, and websites like Expedia have much higher margins on their prepaid rooms.

Quite often only the bookings made through hotel chains own channels are eligible for stay/night credits and points, unlike with the airlines, where it doesn’t really matter whether you book on the Expedia’s of the world or the airlines own websites. I have always preferred online booking sites like Expedia over the airlines ones i.e. United.com.

This is the reason why it is imperative that the sites are actually up and running. Quite often I make bookings for the same day arrival, and I really don’t want to deal with the phone reservations. Hyatt has probably lost more than 10 stays from me alone in the past 14 months due to the non-functioning website that has these outages several times throughout the week. Sometimes, I have been able to make a reservation using the mobile site when the main site has been out.

I was somewhat surprised that yesterday

InterContinental Hotels Group was down:

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Hilton was down:

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Hyatt was down:

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Are all these hotel companies buying the infrastructure from the same vendors? Having non-functioning websites at this day and age is totally unacceptable.

Hyatt May Edition of the 48 Hour Sale May 15th to 16th – C48MAY

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 selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels from the end of May to August. The promotional dates for individual properties vary.

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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 cancellable.

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday May 15th and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday May 16th Central Daylight Time, for travel between Friday May 25, 2012 and Saturday August 25, 2012 at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt and Andaz properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Offer is for a limited time only. Simply request offer code C48MAY when you book your reservation and pay the 48 Hour Sale rate. Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. Full, non-refundable, Prepayment due at time of reservation. No changes, amendments or cancellations allowed. Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable. Canceled reservations and no shows will forfeit the full prepayment. Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, minimum length of stay and day of week restrictions. Offer may not be combined with other offers or discounts. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this program at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved

May Hotel Promotions Update: Accor Hotels, Best Western, Carlson Hotels, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

Both Hyatt and Starwood had their new promotions starting at the beginning of May. Carlson Hotels, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton don’t currently have promotions going on. I will continue to patronize Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group due to their current promos and will probably max out the Hyatt’s airline related promotions as well. Personally I am very underwhelmed about the SPG’s summer promotion of 2012.

Accorhotels – Le Club

Accorhotels is offering triple points for weekend stays until June 10th, but these need to be booked by May 10th, 2012. Also there is an offer for 500 Le Club Accorhotels points for playing a game on their Facebook page (no Facebook account needed).

Le Club Accorhotels 500 Points for Free & Triple Points For Stays Including Weekend Night

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There is another offer for 1000 Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan miles for a stay by May 31st, 2012. You can earn this only once.

Le Club Accorhotels Offer of 1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

Best Western Rewards

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Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card started on April 15th and ends on June 3rd. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

You can get a Gold status with Club Carlson by being a Rezidor shareholder.

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

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

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

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Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

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?

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

Currently there are six different one time Priority Club bonus points offer that you should sign up for.

Six Priority Club Promotions to Sign Up For (UPDATE)

Then IHG has teamed up with Visa to offer you 1000 Priority Club bonus points for registering your Visa card + an additional 5000 points for using the same card to pay for a stay by July 31st, 2012.

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Priority Club Rewards On the Go – 1000 Bonus Points for Signing up + 5000 Bonus Points After a Stay

You can earn 2000 Priority Club bonus points for just signing up for three different Priority Club programs (no purchase required).

Priority Club Shopping Bonus – Receive 1000 Priority Club Points for Signup Up & Registering Your Credit Card + 500 Points Dining Bonus + 500 Points Sailing Bonus

Priority Club is offering 5K/10K/15K bonus points for 3/5/6 nights at InterContinental hotels in the Americas and the Caribbean by the June 30th, 2012.

InterContinental Offer for 5K/10K/15K Bonus Priority Club Points for 3/5/6 Nights

Marriott Rewards

Marriott’s nest promotion starts on June 1st, 2012 and has the usual number of different variations.

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Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood just launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leak, my ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011.

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SPG Nice Choice Promotion Finally Launched

Starwood seems to be promoting their Sheraton brand hard these days. There are three different promotions for Sheraton stays going on.

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

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

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Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

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Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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This promotion starts on May 1st and end of August 30th, 2012. You will receive the normal number of miles or points for the first stay, triple bonus for stays 2 and 3, and quadruple miles or points for the stays 4 to 11.

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Please note that this promotion is NOT based on nights but rather on stays. You will receive the same number of miles or points regardless how many nights you stay. The promotion is capped at 11 stays.

The cumulative maximum number of points that you would earn by having 11 stays on Air China’s and China Eastern’s programs would be 39200. By crediting 11 stays to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards would earn you 29400 points. In all other programs the cumulative number of points after 11 stays would be the grand total of 24500 miles/points.

This promotion quite frankly works for me. Most of my stays are for one night. Getting 2500 miles for a one night stay is a rather good deal. Maybe I will finally set my foot to Hyatt property this year.

Air China – Phoenix Miles

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Air France-KLM Flying Blue

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ANA Mileage Club

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American Airlines AAdvantage

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British Airways Executive Club

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China Eastern

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Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

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Etihad Guest

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Lufthansa Miles & More

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Qatar Airways – Privilege Club

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Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

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United Airlines – Mileage Plus

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Here are the promotional terms and conditions of the United offer, but they are basically identical for each of these airlines.

More stays means 5X more miles and even more rewards

ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to participate in the Hyatt Summer Airline Promotion (“Promotion”), you must be a member of Hyatt Gold Passport and a member of United MileagePlus.

HOW TO REGISTER: Between April 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Promotion Period”), you can register for Promotion via hyatt.com/UNITEDSUM12A or by calling 1-800-228-3360 and requesting enrollment code UA12S. You must register in advance for stays to qualify. Stays completed before registration are not eligible. You only need to register once.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: After registering for the Promotion, complete two (2) or more stays at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place® , Hyatt House™ or Hyatt Residence Club™ hotel and resort worldwide between May 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (“Stay Period”) and request United MileagePlus miles for each Eligible Stay. You must provide your United MileagePlus member number at check-in for each Eligible Stay. For each Eligible Stay during the Stay Period, you will earn the award miles as summarized in the chart below. A Eligible Stay is a stay at a participating hotel during the Stay Period with at least one (1) Eligible Night during the stay and request United MileagePlus miles for each stay. For the purpose of this Promotion, an “Eligible Night” is defined as one (1) night at any participating hotel or resort at an Eligible Rate when choosing United MileagePlus miles as the method of loyalty reward upon check-in at a participating Hyatt property and paying an Eligible Rate (as defined below). Award nights do not constitute an Eligible Night. Hyatt Gold Passport members will only receive eligible night credit for the room they physically occupy, regardless of the number of paid rooms. Only stays that occur after registration for Promotion will be counted as Eligible Stays.

Hyatt Gold Passport 90 Day Platinum Trial for Visa Signature Cardholders

The time is running out on the Hyatt’s 90 day Platinum trial for Visa signature cardholders. The last day to register for this offer is May 11th, 2012.

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If you complete 8 nights during the 90 day period, the Hyatt will grant you the Platinum status beyond the 90 day period. It doesn’t hurt to sign up even if you do not have plans to stay at Hyatt. You never know when you might end up staying at Hyatt.

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There are some valuable benefits that come with the Platinum status like free internet access worldwide and 2PM check out. You will also receive 15% bonus on points and preferred room. Maybe you end up liking Hyatt a lot and will go for the Diamond status?

Here are the frequently asked questions by Hyatt:

What are the promotional dates?
March 29, 2011 through May 11, 2012

Can anyone participate in this promotion?
Y
es, as long as they are a Gold Passport member, have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature consumer card, and register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com

What if I am not a Gold Passport member and I want to participate?
Individuals may join the Hyatt Gold Passport program by visiting www.GoldPassport.com or by calling 1-800-228-3360, and then they may register for the promotion at www.visasignature.hyatt.com. You must be a Gold Passport member and have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card to participate.

What if I do not have a Visa Signature card and I want to participate?
Individuals may apply for a Visa Signature card at www.visa.com/visasignature. You must have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card and be a Gold Passport member to participate.

Who is eligible to participate in this promotion?
This offer is open to all Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S.-issued card who are enrolled in Hyatt Gold Passport and register for the promotion.

Do I have a Visa Signature card?
Visa Signature cards has the words “Visa Signature” on the front of the card. If a your are not sure if you have a Visa Signature card, they may enter your 16-digit card number at visasignature.hyatt.com and attempt to register for the promotion. Numbers that are not Visa Signature cards will display an error message.

Are there any other methods to register for this promotion?
No, your Visa Signature card and Gold Passport account information must be verified through the website www.visasignature.hyatt.com.

Are all hotels participating in this promotion?
Yes, all hotels and resorts in the Hyatt Worldwide portfolio will be participating in the promotion. There are no non-participating properties.

Is this promotion only for our U.S. Gold Passport members?
This promotion is open only to Visa Signature consumer cardholders with a U.S. issued card. The Platinum status, however, applies to any worldwide Hyatt property.

If my stay begins before the promotion start date but includes nights within the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. check in March 25 and check out March 31)
Unfortunately, this offer does not apply for any stays that began prior to signing up for the promotion. You will receive Platinum status benefits beginning with your first stay after you have registered for the promotion.

If my stay begins before the promotion end date but includes nights after the 90 day promotional period, will I still receive this offer? (i.e. register on April 2nd, check in June 29th and check out July 2nd)
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking out, your stay will count towards the offer. A “stay” is defined as the total number of consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, whether or not a guest checks out and checks back in again.

If I check into the hotel prior to registering for the promotion, can I still receive my Platinum benefits?
A Gold Passport member must register for the promotion prior to checking in for their hotel stay in order to receive the on-property Platinum benefits. However, if you register during your stay and check-out using your Visa Signature card, then you will receive benefits that would apply after check-out from the property, i.e. the 15% bonus points.

If I made reservations prior to the promotion start date, but the reservation dates are within the promotional period, can I register and participate in the offer?
Yes, as long as you register prior to checking in and use your Visa Signature card upon checking out your stay will qualify for the offer.

How secure is the landing page since I am entering my full 16-digit credit card?
The page is very secure. The 16-digit verification process transmits your information securely with highly effective industry standard level of encryption (SSL).The card number entry is encrypted and only the last four digits of the cardholder’s account number are displayed. The cardholder is also instructed to enter the two words displayed on the screen (varies) as an added layer of security.

When can I expect my Gold Passport Platinum Membership materials?
If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program and 2) have never stayed at Hyatt prior to signing up for the promotion, and 3) don’t stay at a Hyatt property during the trial Platinum period, you will not receive any materials until your first eligible stay after the promo period ends, in which you will receive your Gold Passport Kit. If you are 1) new to the Gold Passport program at the time in which you sign up for the promotion and 2) you stay at a Hyatt property after signing up for the promotion, but not enough to earn on-going Platinum status, at the end of the trial Platinum period you will receive a letter thanking you for your participation in the promotion and a Gold Passport Kit. If you achieve on-going Platinum status during the trial Platinum period, you will receive a Platinum Welcome Kit as soon as you achieve the on-going Platinum status. Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive the kit in the mail.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

You must be an active Hyatt Gold Passport member in order to participate in this offer. Hyatt Gold Passport Members must register by May 11, 2012 with their valid U.S.-issued Visa Signature card at www.Hyatt.com/visasignature. Registration through any other source will not qualify for this offer. Once registered, Visa Signature cardholders will receive Platinum status for 90 days beginning with the day of registration. To maintain Platinum membership through February 2013, member must complete eight (8) eligible nights at any Hyatt worldwide within 90 days of enrollment. Platinum 15% point bonus will be awarded for all eligible stays during 90-day trial membership period when member chooses points for their stay.  If you qualify to retain Platinum status through February 2013, you will receive a new membership card, valid through February 2013, within 3-4 weeks of qualifying. Membership benefits will be available to you when you present your membership card at check-in. Limit one trial tier offer per member. Hyatt Gold Passport will track all eligible nights for which a Hyatt Gold Passport account number is provided. An eligible night is defined as a single night at any Hyatt in which an eligible rate is paid. For the purposes of this promotion, an “Eligible Rate” shall be defined as any hotel published room rate, including, but not limited to rates found on Hyatt.com, the Hyatt Daily Rate, Volume Account Rates, AAA and Senior Citizen rates. “Ineligible Rates” are discounted rates, including, but not limited to, any free night stays, Third Party Internet Rates (examples include priceline.com, hotels.com, Expedia, and Travelocity), traditional wholesale rates (examples include GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, etc.), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, Club at the Hyatt discount certificate stays, Hyatt employee or employee family discount rates, airline interrupted-trip vouchers or contracted rooms (a contract is a room that has been reserved pursuant to a written and executed agreement between a hotel and a corporation, government agency or individual for a negotiated room rate in exchange for an agreed upon number of rooms to be rented for an extended period of time). Back-to-back stays at a single Hyatt are considered one stay.

Offer available only to qualifying U.S.-issued Visa Signature cardholders and is not transferable. For more details of Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership and to join, click here. Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership benefits are subject to availability and may vary at each hotel. Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this offer at any time without notice. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised, or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Hyatt Gold Passport membership, earning of points and redemption of points are subject to Hyatt Gold Passport Terms and Conditions available at Goldpassport.com. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2012 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

Discover America Daily Getaways Announced for the 5th Week May 7 – 11

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The last week of Daily Getaways are finally out as well. Just a note. The better offers seem to sell out almost instantaneously, and it might be difficult to get into the deals. On this final week the Hyatt’s offer is really good, but the number of packages that they have available for sale is very low. I think that it is going to be borderline impossible to buy even one of them.

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You can get additional 10% discount off these prices, if you pay using an American Express branded card.

 

Best Western Rewards Monday, May 7th

Package available

10000 Best Western Rewards points for $67 835 packages

You can buy 5 sets of this offer.

 

Hyatt Gold Passport Wednesday, May 9th

Packages available:

24000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $260 100 packages

30000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $330 35 packages

36000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $415 15 packages

69000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for $775 14 packages

Hyatt Gold Passport points at these prices is an excellent deal. You are only paying about a cent for a point. You can use 22K Hyatt Gold Passport points for a night i.e. at the Park Hyatt in Sydney or Maldives that are going for $500 to $800 per night.

You can buy one each of the Hyatt’s four offers, but I don’t think that it is possible due to the extremely low number of packages being sold.

 

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson Thursday, May 10th

Packages available

50000 Club Carlson points for $194 142 packages

100000 Club Carlson points for $387 71 packages

You can buy two sets of each of these two offers for maximum number of four packages. Last year, Club Carlson was running an excellent promo for 50K Club Carlson points for a one stay. If you were able to find a property at a low price, you could have gotten 50K points for far less than $100.

There are some Radisson Blu properties that are very expensive, and buying points and then paying using points can make sense.

British Airways Offering 25% Conversion Bonus for Transfers from Hotel Programs

British Airways is offering a 25% conversion bonus for transfers from hotel programs to BA’s Avios. This offer is valid from transfer made from 20th of April to June 20th, 2012. You can stack this offer with possible transfer bonuses from hotel programs i.e. 20K SPG transferred to BA would become 25K BA + additional 25% conversion bonus from BA.

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Please note that you need to be logged in to your Executive Club account in order to see the offer details.

This transfer bonus applies for conversions from Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, Carlson, Starwood, Shangri-La, Hyatt, and Accor programs.

British Airways revamped their program last year. Long haul redemptions became rather expensive using Avios, and you have to bear in mind that BA collects “fake” fuel surcharges on most of its awards. Expect to pay in excess of $1K in YQ’s for C/F redemptions between Europe and the United States or vice versa. B

A’s program does have some bright spots as well. Short haul redemptions in economy are quite good value especially between expensive markets.

Here’s how transferring Starpoints from SPG’s program would work:

Hyatt April Edition of the 48 Hour Sale April 17th to 18th – C48APR

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 selected US, Canada, and Caribbean hotels from May 1st to August 1st, 2012. The promotional dates for individual properties vary.

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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 cancellable.

Here’s the link to the March sale that brings up some of the participating hotels for the April sale as well. For some reason it doesn’t seem to bring up all of them, however. It might make sense to check hotels that you are interested in too see if they offer the sale rate.

Here are the Terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer valid for bookings only between 12:01a.m. on 04/17/2012 to 11:59p.m. on 04/18/2012 Central Daylight Time for stays from  05/06/2012 to 07/31/2012 at Hyatt Regency Montreal. Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking.  Offer is for a limited time only.  Simply request offer code C48APR when you book your reservation and pay the 48Hour Sale rate.This offer rate reflects 15% off the Hyatt Daily Rate. ” Discount is off the Hyatt Daily Rate for the room type requested at time of booking. Rate is per room, per night, excluding service charges, taxes and other incidental expenses. Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion.  Changing a reservation made under this offer may result in a change in the rate.  Changing to a different property is considered a cancel and re-book, and is non-refundable.  Canceled reservations and no shows will results in a charge to your credit card for your entire stay.

April Hotel Promotions Update Best Western, Carlson, Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

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Here’s the monthly hotel promotions wrap up.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card won’t start before April 15th. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

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Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

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

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Hilton HHonors

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?

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

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The following promotion expires at the end of this month. You can get a free night certificate after five night resort stay or two after ten. You can also do two give night resort stays.

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

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s promo that expires at the end of April is for up to 44000 extra Hyatt Gold Passport points after 16 nights.

Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

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InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

Double points or miles end on April 30th.

Double Points or Miles – 2X More

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Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Three Priority Club Points Promotions That You Should Sign Up For

One is for 1000 bonus points per stay for 90 days after registering (this is the most lucrative if you have number of paid stays), another one is for 3000 bonus points after a stay, and the third one is for 1500 welcome back bonus.

There is a forth one that I have yet written about. It is 1500 Priority Club points after a stay. The promotional code for that one is 5109. I tested it last week when I was staying at an IHG property. It posted without a problem.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has two promotions running until the end of April. MegaMiles and MegaBonus.

Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

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MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles

Ritz-Carlton Rewards

You can get two free night certs after four stays. This promotion expires on April 15th.

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

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Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood promotion Better by the night is expiring on April 8th. We don’t have information about their next move.

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

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

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

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Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

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Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

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Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

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Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa – Review of My Fantastic Stay

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Last August, I was on my way from Marrakesh to Bangkok and decided to use BMI miles for a business class award ticket. Using their award chart it was actually cheaper to have the final destination in Maldives, and to have an extended stopover in Bangkok on my way there. I had been to Maldives before and stayed at the Hilton hotel that has been since converted to the Conrad brand. I didn’t like the treatment that I received there as a Hilton HHonors Diamond member and left after three nights, although my award was for six.

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There was lot of chatter on the various frequent traveler message boards about this property that was being converted from Alila brand to the Park Hyatt one. Some guests were complaining that it wasn’t the Alila that they had booked, and the ones that had booked it as the Park Hyatt one weren’t all satisfied either.

Park Hyatt  Maldives Hadahaa

As I had been to many of the Park Hyatt hotels (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Johannesburg, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, Seoul – some of these are no longer under Park Hyatt brand) all over the world, I was quite frankly very interested to have a look at, how the Park Hyatt brand would work in a non-urban environment.

BOOKING

You can use cash, points, or stay certificates to stay here. I used points, but wished that I had remembered to check the stay certificates as well. They are terrific value when used here. You can read the piece I wrote about getting a good deal at the Park Hyatt Maldives.

PREARRIVAL

After booking the hotel, I was contacted several times by the hotel to confirm my arrival details.  Couple of days before my arrival, I had a change in my schedule that had me arriving and departing a day later than originally planned. It was not a problem for the hotel to adjust both my arrival and departure dates.

For sure, the resort can book your overnight accommodation in Male, but in my case this was not needed. I had been to Male before and can take care of a simple hotel reservation and transfer by myself.

Mookai Hotel MaleMaldives View Of The City 2 August 2011

If you haven’t been to the city of Male before, I would suggest spending a a night int he city before or after your Park Hyatt stay. It is a small vibrant city and there is definitely enough to see and do for a day.

TRANSFER EXPERIENCE TO THE RESORT

I stayed at the Mookai hotel in the male proper. It is very close to the pier where all the jettys to the airport island leave every ten to twenty minutes or so. The transfer itself costs maybe a buck in the local currency, and at the same time is quite a scenic journey.

At the airport, I just followed the directions to the domestic check in terminal. I had used the Maldivian Air Taxi before that leaves from the other side of the airport. These “real” airplanes just have a different check in area close to the international terminal.

The check in was very efficient. To my surprise they didn’t want to weight just the bags but the passengers as well.

Maldivian Departure Lounge Male Reception Area

After the check in, I was given an invitation to use the Maldivian lounge. The lounge was outside of security on the domestic terminal. You could get a free wireless code from the ladies working the desk.

Lounge was basic but did what it was supposed to do. They had soft drinks, tea, coffee and some snacks available. Here I met a guy who was a representative of the resort. He just confirmed who I was. The lounge was first rather crowded. After a flight or two it was rather empty.

The flight was announced and it was time to move to the tarmac and further to the aircraft itself. The security check was very cursory.

Maldivian Dash 8 Aircraft MLE KDM

Not sure but there appeared to be a “first” class on the flights south. On my way back there was none. Maldivian offers two kinds of fares. The lowest ones are only sold for local people who travel between islands. It was quite surprising to see that those on the local fares were offered nothing during the flight. Others flying to resorts were offered some beverages.

The KDM airport is small as one can expect. After landing the luggage came out in no time. There were four/five other guests transferring to the hotel. I was bit thirsty and walked to a café next to the airport building and picked up a coke.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Transfer Boat

The small harbor, where boats are is few hundred meters from the airport building. The boat from the resort was waiting. We were advised to put on the life vest upon entering. Soon we were on our way. We were then offered water bottles. The sea was calm and the ride to the resort uneventful.

RESORT

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Resort Map

The resort itself consists of 14 over water villas, 20 pool villas, and 16 garden villas. Handful of the pool villas also have an unobstructed ocean view. For privacy the villas with the garden view are better, as everybody walking around the island on the beach can see the villas that don’t have the vegetation protecting their privacy. The employees all live in the middle of the island on their own quarters.

The resort has two restaurants and one bar. Moroccan themed Battuta’s restaurant is open for the dinner (they are now changing the concept of this restaurant). I probably should have read about the Maldivian history but apparently it was a Moroccan who found the islands in the first place and introduced the Islam there. By the main poo,l they have the all-day dining restaurant Relish/Horizon and the Bell’s bar.

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You can find the island using Google Maps. If you choose the satellite view you can get an idea what it was before anything was built there.  If you use Bing Maps on the other hand, you can see what the island looks from the air (partially) today. You can also interlace it with the resort map to see what pool villas have the ocean view and which ones do not.

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Upon arriving the General Manager was there to meet all the incoming guests. Here I met my island host for the first time as well. She took me to my pre-assigned villa on a buggy and showed the villa around. There was a handwritten welcome note signed by the GM, some biscuits/sweets, a fruit tray, and a properly chilled bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne waiting.

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The villa itself was very spacious and had an outside shower area.  Loved the Blaise Mautin amenities that you can find at some Park Hyatt hotels. I am not sure I f the brand of the shampoo and the shower gel were the same brand as they were in jars.

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The biggest drawback of this villa I had, that others may prefer, was the ”being in the jungle” feeling, or some might call it privacy. There was lots of vegetation in front of the villa and the beach itself. I am not even sure of there was a way to get through the bushes to the beach.

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The following day, I had a look at couple of other villa; a pool villa and an over water villa. Decided, that I would prefer to move to an over water villa; instead of continue staying at the garden one. I was moved there promptly.

BREAKFAST

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Main Restaurant

The breakfast menu is extensive consisting of western and Asian dishes.  I typically went to the breakfast after 10:30AM, so it was more like a brunch for me. Every morning they would bring three different bakery items with the tea I ordered. Then, I would just pick two to three items from the menu.

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The breakfast is served at the main restaurant by the pool. You can decide to sit either inside or outside. I always chose the outside option. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

FITNESS CENTER

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Oh well. This was bit of a disappointment. It was rather small and not equipped with the latest equipment. Probably most of the visitors don’t bother using it anyway.

AMENITIES

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Every day during my stay there was bottle of still and sparkling water brought to my villa. These were not foreign ones but bottled at the resort. Fruits were refreshed daily and some evenings they brought some delicacies.

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TECHNOLOGY

The resort has wireless internet on the villas but not everywhere on the public space. Sometimes I was able to get a wireless signal at breakfast or at the nearby bar but not most of the time. There were not any issues when it came to the speed itself inside the villas. I was able to do the usual browsing and couple of Skype calls without issues.

To my surprise they didn’t have BBC or CNN on the television. They did, however, have Russia Today and Deutsche Welle. I was told that they were looking at the issue and trying to get the lineup changed.

DINNER WITH THE GM

One day I had a letter waiting inviting me for a dinner and drinks with the GM. Over the years I have attended quite a few events at hotels where the management have meet and greet type of cocktail party with some of the hotel guests.

I have learned to go to these events always maybe half an hour late. Little did I know that I was actually the only guest invited.  So, I made the GM to wait me for twenty minutes.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Bar Bells Bar

We had a cocktail at the Bell’s bar before going to dinner at the Moroccan themed restaurant. Over the dinner we discussed wide range of issues from how the hotel is run in the Maldives to Park Hyatt in Dubai where he was starting up the hotel.

It came obvious that the GM is very hands-on person at this property, that is probably required in a place like remote island somewhere in the Maldives.

TRANSFER FROM THE RESORT

For logistics reasons the property probably tries to schedule the guests to leave on the same flights. I didn’t like the early flight that they have scheduled for me. It wasn’t a problem for the property to switch it for a later one. I was going to the Sheraton resort close to the airport, but didn’t want to go there too early in the morning. I left on an afternoon flight.

park-hyatt-maldives-hadahaa-departure-kdm-flights

The boat took me to the KDM airport. The check in was breeze and I then had an access to the Maldivian departure lounge that was reserved for resort guests. I was the only on there. The flight that I was on was serving mainly locals on their way to Male.

Conclusion

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I had absolutely fantastic three nights at this property. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed few days longer, but I was going to spend some time and burn SPG free resort nights at the Sheraton Full Moon resort.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Over Water Villa Sunset View From The Deck

The over water villa I had was really stunning. The best part of the day was to lie on the sofa on the deck while the sun was going down on the horizon.  It was very relaxing.

Hyatt March Edition of the 48 Hour Sale – C48MAR

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 118 participating US, Canada, and Caribbean Hyatt hotels.

hyatt-march-48-hour-sale-c48mar

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.

Hyatt Free Time (FRTIME) Rate Promotion – Stay for 2 Nights & Get 3rd Night Free

This special rate is popping up on quite a few Hyatt Resorts that are in the United States. Unfortunately the website referenced under the Terms and conditions “Hyatt.com/freetime” is not up as of today. Not surprising considering how unstable the website has been lately.

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Depending on the property you will complimentary night if you pay for 2, 3, or 4 nights.  This rate also includes a breakfast for 2 and guaranteed 2PM check out. This offer is valid until December 30th, 2012 and is bookable until November 30th. This is valid for resorts in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. You can check minimum stay requirement if you first choose the hotel and then browse the hotel offers. The minimum sty requirement for the Palm Springs Hyatt was 2 nights and 4 to 5 nights depending of the season at the Hyatt Key West.

This “Free Time” rate is apparently the Hyatt Daily Rate + $20.

Here are rate examples from the Hyatt Palm Springs

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Free Time rate is $229

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Advance purchase rate is $146.30

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Hyatt Daily rate $209

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members have free breakfast and 4PM check out guaranteed as a benefit. You should always check the AAA and Costco rates as well. This offer probably does make sense if you are not a Diamond member and/or there are no discounted rates available during your stay.

Here are the Terms and conditions of this offer:

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