I’m moving to Tianjin, China!

One of the things I appreciate about you guys is that you set me straight when I have crazy ideas. Yes, maybe in retrospect moving to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal wasn’t the brightest idea ever, though that’s why I run these ideas past you guys before “executing.”

I have another idea, but this time I’m fairly certain it’s genius, though I’ll run it past you guys anyway. I’ve decided to move to Tianjin, China. I know what you’re thinking: what a brilliant idea, go for it! Why Tianjin, you ask?

Well, the St. Regis Tianjin just opened a few months ago, and the rates are rather good, about ~$140USD/night.

My plan is to move there and live on the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts rate, which includes complimentary daily breakfast, guaranteed 4PM check-out, a room upgrade, and a $100 food and beverage credit per stay. Add that to my Starwood Platinum benefits, and I’ll be living the high life for pennies on the dollar.

The only downside is that the food and beverage credit is per stay as opposed to per night, so I guess I’ll have to stay at the Westin every other night. Or maybe I need to move there with a friend and we need to have alternating reservations every other night.

Anyone else want to move to Tianjin with me?

You’ve gotta love the value American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts can provide…

Comments

  1. does the $100 credit come in advance i.e. you effectively pay $40/night, or do you still pay $140/night and then you get a ‘free’ $100 on top?

  2. @ London Tim — Unfortunately you can’t apply it to the room rate, so you have to use the $100 towards food and beverages.

  3. If you get a room with 2 twin beds, you might be able to sublet half of the room and make a small profit. I always saw the Chinese entrepreneur in you.

  4. Just for fun, do the math, Ben.

    6 months @ $140 a night (assuming you spend 6 months at the Westin), with the benefits you mentioned — and figure out how many points you would accumulate at SPG and what those points would be worth.

    You can get a year’s visa so a year is perfect.

  5. Not a town I would want to live, there is a reason the rate is low :-). We went there from Beijing because our son likes trains, not much to do though when you arrive.
    But you can be in Beijing in 30 minutes with the High Speed Train in case you need a change of scenery.

  6. Don’t know how much F&B costs at the St. Regis Tianjin, but i suppose with $100 a day you can eat like a king, not to mention the breakfasts are covered already. I really look forward to more articles in the “I am moving to xxxxx” series. Nice job Lucky!

  7. I’ve been to Tianjin a couple of times, and it’s actually a very special place to me and the people are just wonderful. But living there on an extended basis might not be worth the benefits — the pollution is really oppressive and gives your lungs a workout. Once acclimated, maybe it’s ok, but it’s pretty difficult.

  8. @ bluto — LOL!

    @ michael — Let me crunch the numbers. I think it could work out quite favorably.

  9. I’ve always thought about doing this for a year in Thailand. So I think it’s a brilliant idea.
    I wonder what they offer for the new Platinum continental breakfast though….

  10. Dont think too much. Just do it.
    But one advice, you wont be saving $ instead spending $5,000/month. $100 a day on food and drinks doesnt cover enough. You can do huge grocery shopping in china for much less.

    If you had 5g to spend per month here. You could get an awesome place and do watever you want as well.

    Dont calculate earning pts as a discount as a lot of ppl seem to do. Those dollars are still spent.

  11. nice. Tianjin is an hour away from beijing. You can certainly do a day excurtion to Chengde as well.

  12. Mike,
    You need to compute/value them some way, and as a discount applied to future expenses is one of the better models.

    At some level you are getting something you value provided to you in addition to the room you are paying for. It’s not cash, but it is a “discount”. You just need to think critically about the actual value returned.

  13. Tianjin would be a hell of a commute, but let me think about it for a second. Yeah, um, no! But be sure to let us know when you have other great ideas.

  14. The points earned definitely factor in.. you use them for stays at whichever is better value at time of redemption, Westin or St Regis.

  15. I’ve been there 5-6 times and while I’ve enjoyed my time there, the rate for the hotel is cheap for a reason!! Even those that live there spend considerable time in Beijing!

  16. Sorry Lucky, but Tianjin is the worst Chinese city I’ve ever visited in my 3 years living in Beijing. Awful pollution, depressing city, nothing to do, and not a good expat scene.

  17. Agreeing with Dan; I’ve been to TJ a few times for business/leisure and you wouldn’t want to be there for that period of time.

  18. I will say this about Tianjin — I got the best lattes there I have ever had. We were staying in a section where there were no or virtually no other westerners. There was a Starbucks down the block. I went every morning, and there was never anyone there. All of the chairs were perfectly aligned. None of the condiments were used. The pastries were pristine and untouched. I am convinced I was probably the only customer of the day, each day, because I was likely the only person in a mile radius willing to pay the equivalent of $3 for a cup of coffee and milk.

    When I entered, the three employees were delighted beyond description to have a customer. They also all had impressive English and were happy to get a chance to practice it. To say that I got individual attention would be an understatement. The lattes were made each day with such obvious care and intensity that I think I will never have better. These guys were artists. I kind of felt bad leaving Tianjin.

  19. Trivia : Tianjin houses an Airbus assembly line. Most Airbus narrowbodies being delivered to China now come from Tianjin.

    That aside, it’s a dump. They last saw the sun there in 1997.

  20. There is also a brand new and cheap Hyatt regency in Tianjin. I remember FHR runs a promotion for it too. Maybe you can alternate between the two.

  21. @ Nathan — Nope, you can earn points on FHR/Virtuoso stays since they’re at the prevailing rate.

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