Tag Archives for hyatt.

Just Booked: 2 Nights at Hyatt at The Bellevue for $150 (Worth Over $900!)

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I’ve written about the incredible value you can get with the annual free night from the Chase Hyatt card at Hyatt Category 4 hotels.

A hotel I listed as an “honorable mention” is the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.

For my last weekend as a New Yorker, I’ll actually be in Philly, at this Hyatt. Jay and I both recently got our free night certs and I’ve been itching to burn them.

We got a super deal on a weekend getaway.

Hyatt at the Bellevue

Hyatt at the Bellevue

This is an awesome example of how easy it is to get value from the Chase Hyatt card. The annual free night makes it well worth keeping!

By the numbers

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Taking Another Look at Hilton, Hyatt, and Diamond Elite Status

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To begin, I must say I’m disappointed I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to receive Hyatt Diamond status. Although I did luck out with Hilton Diamond status.

I realize I’ll likely sound like a spoiled brat whining about something I didn’t get for free. Especially when others have spent much more time and money to actually earn the status. That said, the way Hyatt handled the Diamond status match – from free-for-all to the later restriction to only match SPG Platinum members, and all the missteps in between- was very mishandled.



Hyatt had an opportunity to capitalize on the SPG/Marriott merger and they blew it – unless you got the match, then you win. I likely would’ve gone out of my way to stay with Hyatt more in 2016 and beyond. This whole thing has left such a bad taste behind that it makes me want to actively avoid Hyatt, and only use them for free award night stays.

Although I think what Hilton is doing is genius, at least from a marketing perspective. And, let’s face it: Hilton has a much larger footprint than Hyatt (4,100+ hotels compared to ~600). And Hilton is in every place there’s a Hyatt with few exceptions.

For example, there are NO Hyatt hotels in Barcelona (where I’ll be in a few weeks). But there were 4 Hilton options:

Furthermore, the next time Hyatt has a Diamond status challenge to stay 12 nights, I won’t even consider doing it (even though you can complete it with only 9 nights if you have Citi Prestige). Why would I spend $1,000 on something so many others got for free?

Anyway, that’s my preamble – just wanted to clear the air here. Again, I completely understand I don’t “deserve” the status in way. It just sucks to see so many get it for free, even though my credentials where enough – at one point – to get me in, too. A case of “early bird gets the worm” if there ever was one.

But now, I’m taking another look at Hilton, as I expect to have more paid stays there, at least for now. And, it’s not as bad as you’d think.

Hilton Diamond Vs Hyatt Diamond

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5 Hyatt Category 4 Hotels Where the Hyatt Card Annual Free Night Rocks

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I’ve had some pretty good experiences with Hyatt points, even though the way they handled their recent Hyatt Diamond promo was a disaster. #jaded

Anyway, one can have a finite number of Chase cards, but I choose to renew the Chase Hyatt card year after year.

That’s because you get a free night certificate when you renew the card each year, and it’s good at Category 1 through 4 hotels. So obviously, I try to use them at Category 4 properties to get outsized value.

Last year, I gave my free night away to Jay’s grandparents for a night at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch (which is a Category 2), because the certificate was about to expire and it was their anniversary. Jay and I both have the Chase Hyatt card, so we gave them 2 nights at the hotel. They loved it!

hyatt category 4 hotels

New year, new options!

I just renewed the card again and paid the $75 annual fee, so I thought I’d take a spin through the Category 4 hotel list to see where I might use the annual free night in 2016.

I found at least 6 hotels where you’ll recoup the annual fee 4x over… or more. It got me thinking.

Never change

Never change

Oh, and because these are all Category 4 hotels, you can also redeem 15,000 Hyatt points for a free night. In many cases, you’ll get over 4 cents per point in value!

5 Hyatt hotels worth 4x or more than the annual fee on the Chase Hyatt card

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Hotel Review: Hyatt House Dallas/Uptown

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After staying at the Hyatt Place in “Austin”, I headed to Dallas to do some house-hunting.

Picking up the rental car was a nightmare, but once on the road, I was at the Hyatt House Dallas/Uptown in about 25 minutes.

The parking garage is beyond a gate where you have to swipe your room key, and there are maybe 4 parking spots outside the hotel, as it’s located off a major thoroughfare (Harry Hines Boulevard), which, if there are more than a few people checking in, creates a huge, annoying queue.

Thankfully, I got a spot, grabbed my wallet, and headed to checkin/get a room key within a couple of minutes.

Checkin and arrival

After flying and driving, it hit me that I was super thirsty once I saw the water for sale near the checkin desk.

The desk agent greeted me warmly, and quickly found my reservation.

He acknowledge my Hyatt Platinum elite status, which is completely useless except for random scenarios like this checkin.

I didn’t know parking was an extra $14 a day, and had a 3-night stay… an extra $42.

For some reason, I thought it would be included as the hotel isn’t in downtown Dallas or in a particularly clogged area. Whatever, I asked if he could add it to my Chase Hyatt card along with… abottleofwaterI’msothirsty.

He validated my parking, gave me a room key, and said there would be no charge for the parking, and to enjoy the water. In fact, he gave me another bottle to take to the room!

I was bowled over by the gesture after getting through a flight and driving and parking and finding the place. It was very kind, and I was grateful. It really is the little things.

So, checkin could not have not any smoother. And the gracious service from checkin continued through the entire stay.


Hallways of the Hyatt House Dallas/Uptown

Hallways of the Hyatt House Dallas/Uptown

Everyone, from the cleaning staff to the bartenders to the other desk agents were attentive and professional the entire time.

The room

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That AARP Membership You Just Bought? Save Money With AARP Discounts and Rewards

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So, how many of us are newly minted AARP members after that insane deal for British Airways Business Class?

AARP heats things up starting with the homepage

AARP heats things up starting with the homepage

I took a poke around the website and found some worthwhile member benefits that can more than make up the $16 spent to join – and this membership might be a good thing to keep!

AARP Rewards and Discounts

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Austin/Arboretum

File this under “Writing about it before I forget it happened.”

First impression: Wow – there are a LOT of chain hotels in Austin. I… had no idea there were so many.

In fact, there are three Hyatt Place locations in Austin:

But I’ll focus on the last one.

We passed many, many other hotels on the way to it.

I flew down to Austin for a work meeting, and that’s what I did most of the time. So I didn’t get to enjoy the amenities of the hotel, like the pool or gym.

I kinda flew down, checked in, and slept there in the evenings. Which was fine. Here’s my take on it.

Arrival and check-in

Great! I was harried. I’d left my ID in the rental car, and was a mess of bags and random crap after traveling all day. But the desk agent could not have been more thorough or professional or welcoming.

My Hyatt Platinum elite status was acknowledged, and she asked which room I’d prefer. I opted for the bigger room on a higher floor near the elevator: PERFECT.

Hyatt Place Austin lobby

Hyatt Place Austin/Arboretum lobby

I got room 516 on the 5th floor, was given a wifi code, and was told about the free breakfast in the morning.

The room

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Complete the Hyatt Diamond Challenge in 9 Nights With the Citi Prestige Card

Random thought of the evening.

I’m going through my cards and want to dump:

And replace them with:

The hitch is that you have to wait ~8 days between applications with Citi, so I’m not sure which of their cards to get first. But I’m warming up to the idea of Category 1 and 2 Hilton hotels – there’s a ton of value to be had there.


Citi Prestige + Hyatt Diamond Challenge

Via The Points Guy, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge (something that’s always tempted me). You’ll have 60 days to complete it when you sign up (so until September 30th).

And via View From the Wing, the Citi Prestige card’s 4th night free benefit is “too good” to last. (I agree.)

Hyatt hotels are easily bookable with the Citi Prestige travel program. (Here’s the link to Carlson Wagonlit to search.)

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

A quick search in Dallas turned up 6 Hyatts, most under $100 a night

If you book a 4-night stay for $100 a night, you’d pay $300 (after the Citi Prestige statement credit).

Do this 3 times in 60 days, pay $900, get Hyatt Diamond status. Any many hotels are available for under $100.

If you have Hyatt stays coming up anyway, this might be something to mix-and-match with cash + points stays.

And hotels booked with the Citi Prestige card do earn elite credit.

What’s Hyatt Diamond status worth?

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Boston

Hyatt Regency Boston reviews

Since the BOS-DUB flight on Aer Lingus tonight flies out of, um, Boston, I decided to build in a day to explore this culturally rich city. As a base, I decided on the Hyatt Regency Boston.

It’s a Hyatt Category 3 hotel, meaning it’s 15,000 Gold Passport points per night, and also eligible for use with the annual free night certificate given as a perk to cardholders of the Chase Hyatt Visa.

Since I’d already redeemed my annual free night certificate earlier this year at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I redeemed 15,000 Gold Passport points.

Daily rate was $313/night

Daily rate was $313/night

This saved me $313 for a one-night stay, which means I got a value of 2.1 cents per point – and meets my 2 cents per point minimum. However, since I’m a Chase Hyatt Visa cardholder, I’ll get 20% of those points back due to a promo they have going on right now until July 31st (but you had to register by March 31st). That gives me even more value out of the points redeemed – closer to 3 cents per point. Considering how easy it is to earn Ultimate Rewards points, I consider Hyatt stays one of the best uses of Ultimate Rewards – especially with this 20% discount going on.

Getting there and check in

After getting off the Amtrak train at Boston’s South station, it was a short 10-minute walk to the Hyatt Regency. The streets in Boston drive me absolutely batty. I’m a lover of the grid. Well-planned cities like Chicago and Phoenix appeal to my sense of order greatly. I can deal with New York’s mish-mash of a kinda-sorta grid. But Boston is something else altogether.

Once I found the Hyatt Regency, I entered through the sliding glass doors. You have to take an elevator up to the lobby on the 3rd floor, and from there, you have to take another elevator up to your room. So to enter and/or exit, you always have to take two elevators. This design feature/flaw was not my favorite thing in the entire world, and I can see how it could be confusing to some.

Ground floor entrance of the Hyatt Regency Boston

Ground floor entrance of the Hyatt Regency Boston

Check-in area on the 3rd floor

Check-in area on the 3rd floor

The desk agent was very, very welcoming and acknowledged that I was Platinum with Hyatt. After just a couple of minutes, we headed up to our room.

The room

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Booking Dublin: A Change of Plans

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Major change of plans is more like it.

Thanks to The Points Guy, I caught wind that an award I’d long had my eye on, BOS-DUB in business class on Aer Lingus, was widely available for booking with Avios points.

The good news: it still is.

I immediately transferred over some Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards (I love combining them when I can and British Airways is perfect for that – so is Singpore) to my British Airways account, and called in to book my dates.

Get 'em while they're hot!

Get ’em while they’re hot!

Throughout April and May, and possibly into the summer months, award availability is peppered here and there.

Business class award availability on Aer Lingus

Business class award availability on Aer Lingus (Click to enlarge)

That screen shot was taken just now. There are still some flights out there.

The best way to book this is by checking availability on the United website, then by calling British Airways to book over the phone.

I called them post Avios-hack (to change a different set of flights), and my hold time was less than 5 minutes. In fact, I was all booked and set up with flights in under 15 minutes (pre-Avios hack).

If you’re interested in booking, you have either one month or when availability runs out, beginning today. The Avios program is changing on April 28th, and this particular award will go from 50K round-trip in business to 75K, which is a pretty staggering change.

I’ve been interested in experiencing Aer Lingus business class, and visiting Ireland, for a very long time, so it’s all very serendipitous.

But what about the Delta flights?

Of course I had a pretty severe schedule change with Delta.

The mighty schedule change

The mighty schedule change

I was willing to get down to DC to take advantage of an awesome fare that Delta had earlier this year. I was even thinking I could spend a day or two in DC, maybe catch the tail-end of the cherry blossoms. But when the Aer Lingus award availability came around, I was then willing to get myself to Boston, and am now thinking of spending a day there instead.

I called Delta and explained that I had a schedule change of over 4 hours, and that those times no longer work for me – could I please cancel and get a refund? They immediately canceled the ticket and said to expect a refund in 5-7 business days. Awesome. So those are done.

It was a great deal, but then again, so is the Avios redemption on Aer Lingus, and even more so now that it’s time-sensitive.

The 2 round-trip flights would’ve been over $10,000 had I paid for them. Instead, I got nearly 11 cents per point of value by booking with Avios. An incredible deal – get on it if you can!

BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus business class

BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus business class

Getting to Boston

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Hotel Review: Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans

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After leaving the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, we grabbed our bags (well, I grabbed my Tumi T-Tech) and wheeled them over to the Hyatt French Quarter.

Hyatt French Quarter exterior

Hyatt French Quarter exterior

Checking in

It was the height of Mardi Gras. The day before Fat Tuesday.

All of the hotels were on a wristband system and checking them at the door. And the staff at this location could not have been any more welcoming or gracious. Especially Magen (hope I spelled her name right). She was at the check-in desk and consistently provided amazing hospitality service at every turn. Kudos to the check-in staff here!

As soon as we wheeled through the door, the concierge at the door verified that we had a reservation, and we were able to walk right up to our room within minutes. It was one of the best check-in experiences I’ve had at a hotel: fun, quick, welcoming, and thorough. Really, they couldn’t have done a better job, especially considering it was a holiday in the city.

Upon walking in, I noticed the beautiful decor, the wine bar and breakfast/cafe area, and the fact that this is a small boutique hotel of only 4 floors (a far cry from the 30+ floors at the Hyatt Regency from earlier that morning!).

Upon walking through the doors

Upon walking through the doors

View of the lobby

View of the lobby

Powdered Sugar, the cafe/breakfast area

Powdered Sugar, the cafe/breakfast area

Seating inside Powdered Sugar

Seating inside Powdered Sugar

Batch, the wine bar/cocktail lounge

Batch, the wine bar/cocktail lounge

Hotel directory - only 4 floors

Hotel directory – only 4 floors

The room

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New Hyatt Promotion with American… Interesting

There is a new Hyatt promotion whereby they are offering 100,000 AAdvantage miles and a 3-night stay at either Ziva or Zilara all-inclusive resort.

To enter, you simply send a tweet with a link to the promo video, and the hashtags #HyattAllIn and #HZEntry.

The promotion has been open since February 17th and ends on March 10th, so you still have some time to enter – but not if you are a resident of either Florida or New York (hmph).

Here is a link to the complete rules of the promo. And here is my tweet that you are welcome to copy and/or modify if you’d like to enter (and feel free to follow me to Twitter, too!):

Why this is interesting

American is the only legacy airline left that doesn’t have a hotel partnership.

  • Delta is with Starwood (and sometimes Hilton) – all 3 are linked because of American Express
  • United is with Marriott (and deserve each other IMO) – and are linked because of Chase

And American doesn’t have a hotel partnership yet.

Hyatt + American would be a dream come true for me, as I love Hyatt hotels, and am partial – for now, pending further changes – to American.

After the merger completes, American will be the biggest airline in the United States. And Hyatt is far from the largest hotel chain. Their imprint is tiny compared to American’s network. American needs a hotel partner with a similarly large imprint. The obvious choice would be Hilton: they are both linked to Citibank (and to American Express, kinda) and both do not have existing partnerships.

But this Hyatt + American promo is interesting because:

  • 100,000 American miles is nothing to scoff at
  • The implication is that American will fly you to the Hyatt resort
  • This is their first promo together (that I can remember)
  • It signals that they are open to partnerships, which is exciting

In fact, in the linked YouTube video, Hyatt put a little note to American at the bottom of the video’s description: Special thanks to our friends at American Airlines. How cute!

Bottom line

Not only is this a great promotion to enter if you haven’t already (it requires just 1 tweet, and the limit is 1 per day), but it interests me highly because Hyatt and American are starting to work together.

Realistically, we won’t see any changes to American – period – until after the merger completes, but after that, I plan on bracing myself for a whole spate of rapid-fire announcements, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this partnership is in the mix.

Good luck to those who entered the promotion! Would a Hyatt + American partnership be of interest to you? Do you think it’s a good idea, or would Hilton be a better choice?

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency New Orleans

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After arriving hella late to New Orleans, me and my partner Jay hopped in a cab and made our way into the city. A cab from MSY to the French Quarter area is $33 flat each way, just FYI.

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans is about 6 blocks from the French Quarter, where most of the “action” of that blurry string of days took place.

I made a map!

I made a map!

As you can see on the map, New Orleans is chain hotel heaven. There are properties from IHG, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, etc.

The reason I picked this the Hyatt Regency is because I have an affinity for Hyatt, and because, over the circus that was Mardi Gras, I couldn’t find a block of consecutive days anywhere else. So, I had to move hotels – twice. But it’s good because I get to write about them now.

From my vantage point now, I liked the Hyatt Regency the best. It is a little off the well-worn French Quarter track, and isn’t particularly pedestrian friendly as it’s technically in the CBD (Central Business District), but I had no trouble getting around on foot. Might be a consideration for others, though.

Checking in

We bounced in at around 2:30pm. Check-in was supposed to be at 3pm, but judging from the constant stream of people going in and out, I could tell they might have trouble turning the rooms over so quickly.

We checked in on February 15th, and this image came to mind and made me lol:

The agent at the check-in desk told me the room wasn’t ready yet, but offered to take out bags and showed us where we could wait and grab a snack or a drink. How long would the wait be? I asked. 20 minutes. That’s nothin’. I was happy to try a New Orleans craft beer for a bit while the room got ready.

  We headed over to Borgne, the restaurant attached to the lobby. We were told that happy hour started at 3pm, but that we could order and ring everything in after 3pm. The happy hour was awesome! $3 local craft beers, $7 pitchers of sangria, $3 well drinks.   We ordered a pitcher of sangria (which was yummy and spicy), and I ordered a stout beer: the SPB Southern Prohibition Hipster Breakfast Oatmeal Stout, which is actually brewed in my home state of Mississippi. It was delish!

SPB Southern Prohibition Hipster Breakfast Oatmeal Stout - nom!

SPB Southern Prohibition Hipster Breakfast Oatmeal Stout – nom!

By the time that all went down, I went over to the check-in desk again and out room was ready by then. Perfect! So that is my check-in story. And here are some more pics.  Read More