I Just Booked A Room At the Hyatt Olive 8. In July. On Points.

I just booked an award night at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle. For a night in July. On points.

Normally I don’t see why this would be of interest to anyone, but supposedly the Hyatt Olive 8 is blocking all award nights for the the entire summer. As in every single day from now until September 1.

Hyatt-Olive-8-Seattle-22
A view you won’t be seeing if all you have are points this summer!

How Did I Do It?

I picked up the phone and called the Hyatt Diamond line. I told the agent that I wanted to make an award reservation. For the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle. For the night of July X.

He checked availability and informed that there weren’t any rooms available on points that night. I feigned surprise.  Then I politely told him that I have been a Diamond for many years (true) and that I had heard great things about this property (sort of true) and wanted to check it out (not really true), so could he please call over to the hotel and ask them to open up a room on points. He quickly retorted with “we don’t do that here”. I almost laughed, but thanked him and hung up.

Second Time’s The Charm

Of course, I called again.

This time around, I got a woman who sounded like she was in a good mood. I went through the same routine and got the same answer — No room in the inn, unless you want to pay cash. As before, I told her that I had been a Hyatt Diamond for many years (still true) and ask if she call over to the hotel and request that they open up a room on points. She said “sure” without a bit of hesitation.

I waited on hold for about 5 minutes until she came back to ask “Would a king be OK, Mr. Travis?” 

I thanked her and had the email confirmation within minutes. It really was that simple.

Ask (nicely), and ye shall receive.
Ask (nicely), and ye shall receive.

Could I have used a credit card anniversary night instead? Probably, but I didn’t have one. As you might recall, I used mine in December at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.

Would this have worked if I weren’t a Diamond? I don’t know. It might take a few more HUCA’s, but I have a feeling it would work.

Hyatt Customer Service Is Fantastic

I can think of at least 3 ways to have booked this room on points.

Call the Diamond line.

They are pretty awesome, and I’m actually surprised that this took a HUCA!

Private message the HGP Concierge on FlyerTalk.

I’ve had some amazing experiences with them as well. Heck, you can even PM Jeff Zidell, the head of the program.

Call the property directly.

If you have any sort of relationship with the property (and sometimes even if you don’t) they will often take care of you. In this case, I’ve never been to Olive 8.

The Hyatt Ambassadors on FlyerTalk can also be really helpful in pointing you in the right direction.

I’m a 1%er

In the miles and points world that is. And if you’re reading OMaaT, you’re probably a 1%er too. I define 1%er in terms of how many miles and points you have in your account, and the knowledge you have about how to maximize their value.

Telling me that there are no award nights at the Hyatt Olive 8 is like telling me that Dividend Miles (RIP) only allows a stopover at a hub city. Sure, that might be what the website says, but everyone who has been in this game for a few years knows how to get what they want. I literally do something like this about once  a week, either for myself, a family member, or a friend.

These rules don't apply to 1%ers.
These rules don’t apply to 1%ers.

But shouldn’t we care that the common man can’t get an award room at the Olive 8 this summer? 

Yeah it sucks for him. And so do checked bag fees and economy seats. Frankly I see that as Chris Elliott’s problem. (Spoiler alert: He’s going to conclude that loyalty programs are a bum deal.)

OMaaT readers are the most sophisticated in the entire miles and points world. We know better.

When Bad Is Good

Remember the Delta award calendar which was broken for years and years? The Delta apologists (do we have any around here?) would often claim that the broken calendar was actually a glorious thing. They would argue that since only a few people knew the tricks to finding saver award inventory, there would be more available for them.

Honestly, I never really ascribed to that theory, but then again I was never really into SkyMiles. But I do see their point.

No this isn’t a perfect analogy, but hopefully you see what I’m getting at here. It’s important to know how to get what you want in in this world. And that goes far beyond miles and points.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cancel an award night at the Hyatt Olive 8….

Comments

  1. @ Travis — I almost did the same thing as you when I called the Diamond Line (see my comment on the original post). Diamond Line people are very good. I’ve not been Diamond for long but so far I prefer going through them when it comes to asking hotel for something special.

  2. As the more or less common man here, I have no status to draw upon with Hyatt at present. I’m glad that you managed to use top status to leverage an exception, but most readers here are not multi year diamonds. I think it’s wrong for you to make someone else look bad just to prove a point. Maybe that’s not your intent, but it kinda looks that way.

  3. Two writers for the same blogging arguing against each other? Seems kinda weird and not good for the blog’s image. But anyway, to the important point, most people aren’t Diamond, so I think your example is not useful for the average Joe Shmoe and realize is for the 1%…

  4. Christian — why not give it a try? I wouldn’t be at all surprised that this is available to anyone, just for the asking. Remember, I’m defining 1%er both in terms of points AND knowledge. The fact that you read OMaaT means that you have the knowledge of how to work the system, even if you don’t have the status.

  5. @ @Yehuda — I don’t at all view this as them arguing with one another. I appreciate the different perspectives here. Nick and Travis are very different travelers and take very different approaches to the hobby, and I think they both have valid points. The different way people approach the hobby is part of what makes it so fun.

  6. @travis do you realize you have taken advantage of the good people at the diamond desk just for your bragging right? All the power to you, but for a room you don’t actually need?

  7. @Travis – Kind of you to say, but as far as working the system, pretty much it can be summarized in this case as HUCA. Except for Twitter, hopefully with a lot of followers, the only other options seem shady at best, like flat out lying. Personally, I suck at lying, so I’d try a HUCA or two, but probably give up unless it was really important to me. If it was that important, I’d nag at them a bunch to at least increase my chances. One point I agree with you wholeheartedly is if you don’t ask, your odds drop like a rock.

  8. @Christian – I did. I still don’t see how Travis is making anyone look bad. Nick made HIMSELF look bad.

  9. Christian — Well, it did take a HUCA (which surprised me) but the key here is to ask HCP to call the hotel directly. They should be willing to call regardless of whether you’re a Diamond or a General Member. Then it comes down to the hotel. Of course, calling the hotel directly may yield the same result. (I’ve done that as well.)

    And yes, my Dad told me as kid: “You don’t get, what you don’t ask for.”

  10. Love it!! Nick turned a small problem into a big problem, Travis solved the same problem with a simple solution!!

  11. The elitism of this post is off-putting, and doesn’t help the image of this blog. The tone seems contentious, and the whole “1%” thing is just insulting to many readers, despite the assumptions of the author.

    It feels as if it is directed more toward one person in particular rather than the actual readers of the blog.

  12. I have to agree with @Bret about the obnoxious tone of this post.

    >Yeah it sucks for him.

    >OMaaT readers are the most sophisticated in the entire miles and points world. We know better.

    Yay for us!!!

    Please.

    Should there be another blog where people who pay for revenue F talk about the plebs who can’t afford to pay for their ticket and have to use miles?

    @Lucky – Recall how people warned you about bringing on “guest” bloggers? This is the sort of thing that people predicted. Remember always that you are your brand. I’m sorry, but your brand was diminished by this blog post. You wouldn’t write something like this and you should expect better from people who write under your brand.

    Personally, while I had no issues with any of Travis’s previous posts, now I’m not so excited about reading them, because this post makes him seem like not so great a guy, which is not how you’ve built your brand.

    Greg

  13. Greg —

    I’ll assure you that the only F ticket I’ve bought in my life was on a mistake. Same for business class. And I’ll bet you that I fly more in coach than the rest of the folks who write for OMaaT put together. So in that sense, economy seats suck for me too!

  14. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this game, it’s that almost anything is possible with some effort, creativity, and persistence. Good to know the workaround, though it IS a devaluation. Just like AA increasing the hold time by 3x is a devaluation.

  15. I made a similar comment to this in the past in the last few months, “… I used to come here for tips/tricks, but now I come here for entertainment”. True today, point proven again!

    And just for light-hearted laughing, these seems to be the go to principles when things go wrong or defending self rights (read: what I entitled to) or wanting something from these [ahem] “so-very-customer-friendly loyalty programs:

    @Lucky – “OMFG twitter it so help me god. Save me from this mess.”
    @Nick – “Shady shenanigans. shady shenanigans. GURL, I’ll have the last words in yer face [eyes rolling], where’s my flute of Lanson?”
    @Travis – “Hmmm, crap, that elite trick didn’t work. I’ll manipulate it some more. I’ll stretch the fact/the truth some more. HUCA. HUCAAgain. Repeat story with more sincerity voice. More manipulation. Manipulate the staff. Create new rules staff believing it’s true. Spend as much time manipulating the system. Put analytical skills to work. It always work. Yay.”
    @Tiffany – yet to be determined!

    Next post from Tiffany we expect no less! 😉

    @Lucky
    Have to agree with previous comment that Ben you should be careful how you want to represent your Brand and how you want to manage it. These last few posts make your blog business very messy (albeit entertaining). Though not a good representation of your brand at all. Different opinions and writing styles are beneficial I’m sure. But to what extent of that you willing to stand behind it when it has become a “I one-up you” bragging as we’ve seen here. Totally agreed with Greg’s comment. @greg99

  16. Agreeing with Greg here. First time reading this blog that I’ve questioned why I’m reading.

  17. Some of these guest posters are really starting to bring down the quality of the blog. You were able to book a room …. big deal…..

  18. “It really was that simple” – nice bitchslap, shame that your simple involved multiple calls calls, pushing limits, and was probably more effort than it was worth to redeem a night in a so-so hotel. But hey, anything to throw an evil eye right?

    If you had said “there is a convoluted way around this” instead of engaging in a pissing (over) contest, fair enough, but if you want to get a ruler out so you can engage like a three year old please don’t take your childish spats public (waste of Internet space).

  19. Less is more. Maybe posts should have an auto-destruct that needs a manual override before they are published. Oh, and Team Tiffany.

  20. Wow, Travis …good for you! You’re a Hyatt Platinum and you booked a room that other can’t seem to book. Nicely done!

    Why is this even a post, Lucky? Things have begun to unwind rather quickly…

  21. It shouldn’t matter if you’re in the 1% or not, everyone who has the points or free nights available should be able to book these rooms online without any hassle. This isn’t some creative routing that an airline system can’t handle online. One hotel room for one night should be bookable for everyone, plain and simple.

  22. Meow.

    Different points of view from different folks are fine. But do we need a battle re Seattle on this blog? I agree with terms from previous posters; Nic was having a hissy fit. This is a bitch slap.

    Enough.

  23. Now ya know why I called the original post a cry-baby post!
    I could see all these comments coming…

    Nothing against the writers – but as others have put it, please retain the brand image of this blog!

  24. bottom line is Nick was taking advantage of this blog’s prominence to pursue a completely self-interested, cry baby rant about a tiny little injustice that happens every day in this hobby.

    it;s one thing if Nick simply used this example to demonstrate how Hyatt GP is being eroded or devalued, or part of a larger trend, or something interesting we can learn. Lucky is great about doing that. But that wasn’t his purpose. It was a one-off hissy fit about a very, very specific situation that doesn’t look TOO bad considering this dude here got a room booked with a little extra effort.

    Nick’s underlying purpose was probably hoping Hyatt notices – they absolutely follow this blog, Lucky is one of the most prominent travel bloggers – and then Hyatt rectifies the situation so Nick can have the vacation he believes he is entitled to with his husband as his tradition. Hence all the absurd over-the-top generalizations and hysterical tone over something that is, yes, annoying but not the end of the world and a one-off anecdote without any real learning for the rest of us. It’s just like a consumerist rant.

    So, with all that out of the way, I don’t mind the bitch slap. It’s up to Lucky and his pageviews to decide whether or not this drama is good or bad for business.

  25. Pretty sure this post just adds fuel to Nick’s post, despite supposedly refuting it. This post makes clear that the rooms which are used for standard awards are actually available (Travis got one), but the hotel is blocking them, which is against HGP’s own rules. This proves that Nick was absolutely correct.
    “Hyatt Customer Service is Fantastic” because you can call them (twice) as one of their most loyal clients and get what their own rules say is what any member is supposed to get without even talking to them? Pretty sure that this is crappy customer service, not fantastic customer service.

  26. @bontrial I agree. Nick was turning a small issue with one specific property into a general devaluation since he couldn’t find a second example. And 1/500+ was hardly a devaluation. Yes, the property may be getting away with it for now. Raise it to Hyatt customer service and explain the situation like Travis did.

    @travis – thank you for sharing your experience!! Much appreciated!!

  27. I liked this post. I like most of the posts. Because even when I don’t agree with them fully, or even when they don’t really apply to me, sometimes they still make me think about things I don’t ordinarily think about.

    Also – pro tip: Coming back to this blog time after time to tell Ben that people aren’t coming back to this blog time after time because of his guest authors might not be the most convincing argument. I dunno, I’m sure y’all have a strategy.

  28. 40% drop

    Productivity

    Incentive program

    151000 in May and inbound 750

    219000 in June 1500

    Controversy may bring readership but not necessarily quality. IMHO Nick’s question was a valid one, but he could have packaged it a little bit more neatly and be more thoughtful about it. Travis reaction was not invalid, but was ugly. You just don’t treat your coworker and expose yourself like that. I know Ben has always taken a lighthearted approach to his writing. So we shouldn’t all take it too seriously either. But I do think it may be worthwhile for the team to think about where to take this blog, a thoughtful informative entertainment as it has been, or a entertaining piss fight as its descending towards? I hate to generalize. After all, it’s only 2 entries, which doesn’t make a trend. That said, it takes care and hard work to build a brand. Somehow it takes much less to destroy one.

  29. Lucky, Travis and Nick,

    Don’t worry about all of these people talking about how you are ruining your brand or things like “You just don’t treat your coworker and expose yourself like that.” Your true fans see the lightheartedness in your writing and love to see back and forth like this. All of this shows even more how to work the system and to get things that aren’t available to the masses.

  30. WOW – some of those comments are off-putting, arrogant … they probably never had a humble beginning… or perhaps they had forgotten?

    @travis Thank you for sharing
    @lucky Appreciate all blog very much. I love your blog because despite of your popularity/fame, you still come across as a very down to earth and humble person. Keep it up … continue to be yourself …

  31. Well, well, well. So Neil S’s “pro tip” wins my coveted Best Comment of the Day prize even though the day is yet young. Congratulations, Neil!

    I always learn something on this blog and, mostly, I get a lot of entertainment as well — including from the comments. Especially from the comments.

  32. >Why do people come here to complain about the posts?

    Probably the same reason people come here to complain about the people who come here to complain about the posts.

    Snark aside, I’ll tell you why I commented.

    I actually didn’t mind the back and forth between the two guys. What I found off-putting and inconsistent with the general theme of the blog was the blatant arrogance: the sheer “I’m/We’re better than the ‘common man'” attitude.

    The post didn’t need it to communicate the message, and the fact that a bunch of people here have commented on the tone meant that it was distracting. Whether you had a problem with it or not, some people did.

    Lucky has set a pretty freaking high bar for the quality of his posts. A key element of that quality is the tone. Arrogance is not part of that tone.

    While I’m not always in agreement with Lucky, I’m a big fan/supporter, and have gotten other people introduced to the site who wound up using links to apply for CC (I don’t do it myself). I commented because I think he should consider and discuss with his guest bloggers what (if any) “house style” should be applicable. Personally, I don’t think arrogance should be a part of it, but ultimately it’s Ben’s call.

    It’s fair, though, for people to suggest that the tone didn’t need to be what it was.

    Greg

  33. Did you really have to mention the old Delta calendar? It was heaven compared to the 2015 and late-2014 redeeming miles process on DL.

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