Tag Archives for hyatt.

Just booked: New Orleans for Mardi Gras!

We have lost our minds here at the Out and Out headquarters in NYC (AKA me in my living room in Brooklyn) – and my dog is giving me the side eye for using the royal “we.”

I’m going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! (That is kind of a misnomer. “Mardi Gras” is a 3-week celebration. I am just going for the Baccus Parade and Fat Tuesday. But still – super stoked.)

How it happened

Really, I was just tinkering around on the Hyatt website looking at Category 3 and 4 hotels on a dark, snowy evening because that’s what points junkies do in the evenings, right?

But really, I had a free night cert from the Chase Hyatt Visa that I needed to use and wanted to maximize my value. I noticed, in the Category 3 list, the Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans. And then thought hmmm…. I wonder if…. (Basically a repeat of Oktoberfest booking.)

I couldn’t get the website to cooperate with redeeming the free night cert, so I called up Hyatt and a very patient agent plugged in a variety of dates surrounding Fat Tuesday (February 17th this year).

While she did that, I played around with points bookings with both Hyatt and Club Carlson (my two fave programs).

Paid $75 for the Hyatt card annual fee, getting back $315

Paid $75 for the Hyatt card annual fee, getting back $315

Hyatt French Quarter availability - 15,000 points or $500?

Hyatt French Quarter availability – 15,000 points or $500? #nobrainer

Now, I’d been saving my Club Carlson points for when I go to Ireland in May, but seeing that the Country Inn and Suites on Magazine Street in New Orleans was eligible for a BOGO booking sent me over the edge. I figure I can always manufacture some more Club Carlson points in the next couple of months, anyway. I still have my eye set on their Radisson Blu in Cork, Ireland.

Anyway, the Hyatt agent found a night at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans that was eligible for the free night cert. A quick Google search showed me that it was on the route for the Bacchus Parade. PERFECT.

But then, flights…

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Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, Australia

Grand Hyatt Melbourne

I’ll go ahead and make this the most anti-climatic review EVAR: I loved the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.

We came here off the heels of the InterContinental in Sydney and directly before an awesome Etihad flight that left us in the UAE, which was challenging for me, and a brief stay at the Park Inn Yas Island before heading back to the US of A, which closed our epic RTW trip that started in Fiji. Whew, that was a long sentence.

Anyway, side note, do NOT take a taxi from the airport. MEL is really far from downtown Melbourne, and a taxi was about $70USD. My eyes almost popped out of my head once we got there and I saw the price. Landing at the airport feels like you’ve arrived in the middle of the outback… and driving into the city takes a solid 45 minutes. I recommend the airport bus – it’s so much cheaper and takes just a little longer.

The Grand Hyatt is located right in downtown Melbourne, in the middle of numerous destinations, close to the water, the arts district, museums, trains, everything really…

It was a great home base for a few days in Melbourne, and as a Hyatt Category 3 property for only 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night, it is a total steal. One of those hidden gems in the system that is so worth taking advantage of.

Rooms here are often over $500 a night

Rooms here are often over $500 a night

However, since it was so centrally located, I went ahead and redeemed for a Club King room – I knew I could pop in and out of the Club Lounge for snacks and drinks throughout the day, and I wanted that breakfast! I often receive outsized value from the Club rooms, as I know I get my money’s (or points’) worth in drinks alone – especially when it is so easy to come and all day.

After paying the taxi driver, we headed into the Grand Hyatt. Checking in was a breeze. They were pleasant and helpful, and offered up details about the area, but weren’t overly long about it.

Entrance to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Entrance to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

We learned that we could have breakfast in the restaurant instead of the Club Lounge for a small co-pay (I think about $20 extra), so we went ahead and added that to our room to start off with… pics will be below.

The room

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Booking Dublin: Hotels

The Delta attack on United hubs elicited my first post written in utter excitement with little no editing.

After I booked the Dublin trip, I realized there were more pieces that had to fall into place, and thought it would be a good opportunity to document my trip-planning process.

The trip is IAD-ATL-DUB, and back the same way. I’m in New York, so I am anticipating:

  • Booking hotel rooms for six nights
  • Probably renting a car
  • Getting myself down to Washington, DC from NYC
  • Using my American Express Platinum Card to get into Delta and/or Priority Pass lounges in IAD and ATL (and DUB on the way back)
  • And of course, being in Ireland for the first time

Hotel options

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Details about FoundersCard benefits (Cathy Pacific, Avis, hotel discounts)

I recently got a thoughtful email from a reader with a few questions about FoundersCard benefits (HT: Kevin).

I’ve written before about the many benefits FoundersCard offers.

Also see:

I thought I’d turn my reply into a blog post as others might have similar questions before deciding to sign up for the card.

His email:

Let me get your advice…

1.  I am already BA Gold (Emerald) but could use a bit of VS Silver and CX Silver headstarts… and definitely could use the 10% off on US-originating BA flights to the UK (and the rest of Europe?).

2.  I’m already Avis Presidents’ Club so not sure about the Car Rental benefits.

3.  Especially keen on the hotel discounts, eg Park Hyatt Tokyo, SLS in Los Angeles.   Would you be able to share with me as a prospect what the rates are at these properties if you have the FoundersCard?

Awesome questions! I’ll go in order.


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Confession: I didn’t love the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (A Review)

park hyatt paris vendome review

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome Entrance

Yep. I stayed four nights here as part of my free Paris vacation valued at over $20,000. Both my partner and I opened a Chase Hyatt Visa credit card. Both came with two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world. Hyatt now has a handful of properties that are in a new category: aspirational Category 7. I was torn between redeeming the free nights at the Vendome or at one of the two Category 6 properties in Hawaii. It’s obvious which one I picked because I’m now reviewing the Vendome. I was underwhelmed by it. It was “meh.”

The reason I chose the Vendome was mostly because of the hype. In the points-and-miles blog stratosphere, people talk about the Vendome like it’s the holy grail of hotels.

Expectations. I tried not to have very many. I was hoping for a nice room as a Platinum member with Hyatt. Nearly the second I walked into the Vendome, I kinda had this sinking feeling that I’d wasted my precious four free nights.

Arrival and check-in

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Just booked: A ~$20,000 Dollar Trip to Paris for FREE? You betcha!

See you soon, Paris!

See you soon, Paris!

I am over the moon right now because I just booked an epic trip to Paris in June. I have booked complex, multi-stop and RTW itineraries before, but even still, was amazed at how easily and quickly this trip came together.

The trip

Leaving from EWR.

  • EWR-ORY in business class on British Airways
  • 4 nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
  • 1 night at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile on Club floor
  • ORY-LHR-JFK in business class on British Airways
  • 2 incredibly stoked adventurers

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Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt Manchester, San Diego

Grand Hyatt Manchester entrance

Grand Hyatt Manchester entrance

I was in San Diego for some business and spent a few nights at the Grand Hyatt Manchester, near downtown and the Gaslamp District. It was my first time at this Hyatt, and I was quite looking forward to it.

This review also feels kind of gratuitous (like the review of the Centurion Lounge @ DFW) because Lucky has also reviewed the same property. BUT – I have breakfast pictures! Take that!

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Hotel Review: New York-New York, Las Vegas

Outside New York-New York in Las Vegas

Outside New York-New York in Las Vegas

Weekend in Vegas

I took a cab here from LAS, which was super cheap – only about $15. I read a tip somewhere to the cab driver to “avoid the tunnel,” whatever that means, so I said that and about 10 minutes later arrived at my introduction to the most artificial place in the world:  Las Vegas.

I went to Las Vegas for the weekend to hang out with a friend from high school. It had been a couple of years, and a visit was overdue. Also, Ms. Britney Spears announced a residency at Planet Hollywood, so that was reason enough for us. Add to that Shania Twain at Caesar’s Palace, and you have a recipe for the gayest weekend ever.

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Las Vegas is great for Hyatt Gold Passport Members

Screenshot 2014-03-04 19.16.12

After the stay at New York-New York Hotel & Casino for two days, it was time to move across the walkway for a one-night stay at Excalibur. Both of these hotels are part of MLife, MGM’s loyalty program, and they’re literally connected by a long walkway. These hotels are located on the south side of The Strip, and very close to the airport. A taxi to/from was only $15 in each direction.

Why so focused on MLife? For Hyatt stay credits, of course. By switching hotels, I got three nights and two stays credited to my Gold Passport account, which is Hyatt’s loyalty program. A few months ago, Hyatt announced a partnership with MGM with reciprocal benefits between MLife and Gold Passport. I recently got the Chase Hyatt Visa, which comes with Platinum status just for having the card. And because of this partnership, I found myself as a mid-tier Gold with MLife, which gave me priority checkin/checkout, bonus points for staying in the rooms, and a bonus for gambling in the casinos.

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Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt Santiago

Atrium at Grant Hyatt Santiago
Atrium at Grant Hyatt Santiago

Holy *bleep*. And you guys know I don’t use profanity lightly (not).

This was a gorgeous property, and is only categorized as a Category 2.

Upon walking in, I immediately thought this property should be in a much higher category than it is. But after further reflection, it’s the location that brings it down so much.

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