Hotels

The Park Hyatt St. Kitts Opening Is Delayed… Again

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One of the most anticipated Hyatt hotel openings at the moment is the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. Hyatt doesn’t have many good luxury resorts in the Caribbean, so this will be a very nice addition to their portfolio. The renderings of the property look gorgeous, and I’m sure many will want to redeem their points here.

The Park Hyatt St. Kitts will be a Category 7 World of Hyatt property, meaning that a redemption will cost:

— 30,000 World of Hyatt points for a free night (no blackout dates, as long as a standard room is available)
— 15,000 World of Hyatt points plus $300 using Points + Cash
— 48,000 World of Hyatt points for a free night in a suite (minimum of three night stay required

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Review: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort Al Husn, Muscat

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort entryway

After a 45-minute, 15 OMR ride from Muscat Airport, I arrived at the Shangri-La. Hidden behind a towering mountain range, the resort was built in the middle of nowhere. Turning to the left at the hotel roundabout, we entered the driveway to Al Husn, the most exclusive of the three Shangri-La resorts on the grounds.

Al Husn is an adult-only hotel, featuring a private beach and pool area. While Al Husn guests are allowed to use the general hotel beach and pool facilities, Al Bandar and Al Waha guests cannot use those belonging to Al Husn.

Pulling up to the entrance, we were greeted by a porter who escorted us to the lobby.

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Here Are The 100 IHG Hotels That Will Be Bookable For 5K Points On Monday

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As I posted about yesterday, IHG Rewards Club’s next PointBreaks list will be bookable starting on Monday. PointBreaks is one of IHG’s best promotions, where you can book select hotels for only 5,000 points per night. I value those points at ~0.5 cents each, so to me that’s like booking select hotels for just ~$25…

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Today Only: Buy Loews Hotel Stays At A Discount

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Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week program intended to promote US tourism. It offers opportunities to purchase discounted hotel points and travel packages.

I’ve shared my initial thoughts on the packages for sale, including the offers for weeks one and two, and also the offers for weeks three through five. Daily Getaways packages go on sale at 1PM ET every weekday, and the more popular packages sell out very quickly, so you’ll want to be fast, if interested.

Today at 1PM ET you’ll have the opportunity to purchase Loews Hotels & Resorts packages at a discount.

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Preview Of The IHG Summer 2017 PointBreaks List

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IHG Rewards Club’s PointBreaks is traditionally one of the best promotions in the hotel industry. Through this promotion, select hotels are available for just 5,000 points per night. Since IHG Rewards Club points can be purchased for as little as ~0.6 cents per point, that’s like booking stays at certain hotels for an incredible $30 per night.

I’ve just been informed that IHG Rewards Club will be releasing the full list of new PointBreaks hotels tomorrow (Friday, April 21) at 12PM EST. At that point the new PointBreaks list will be visible here (the link doesn’t show the updated list yet, but rather still shows the first quarter list) which will be valid for bookings and stays between April 24 and July 31, 2017 (though the better hotels tend to sell out pretty quickly).

They’ve provided a sampling of some of the roughly 100 hotels that will be on the list, including the following:

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Hilton Honors Will Offer Reduced Points Earning At Their New Tru Brand

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Virtually all the major global hotel groups are growing the number of hotel brands they have. The reason for these brands isn’t directly because they’re trying to appeal to consumers, but rather because they’re trying to appeal to hotel owners. The major global hotel chains only manage a vast majority of their properties, so a hotel owner might be excited about being able to invest in the first hotel of its type in a city, rather than the sixth Hampton Inn, for example. That’s the main reason we’ve seen such a big increase in the number of hotel brands.

Since early last year, Hilton has introduced two new hotel brands — Tru by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Here’s how Hilton describes Tru:

“Welcome to Tru by Hilton, a revolutionary new brand that is simplified, spirited and grounded in value for guests with a zest for life and a desire for human connection. We have created an original, back-to-basics experience with soul—grounded in value and anchored in the DNA of Hilton—to win the hearts and minds of guests who are looking for social engagement, unexpected certainty and vibrant simplicity.”

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Review: US Grant Hotel San Diego

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Ford and I recently spent the weekend in San Diego visiting Tiffany and her husband. I’ve reviewed quite a few hotels in San Diego, including the Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Sheraton, and W (which is now a Renaissance). San Diego isn’t a terribly exciting hotel market. What I’ve noticed over the years is that there’s very little variability in rates across hotels.

While other cities will have 4-5 star hotels ranging in price from $150-1,000, the San Diego market just doesn’t seem to be able to command a premium for luxury hotels. So there’s not much variability in terms of cost or quality among those hotels.

One hotel I’ve stayed at probably five or so times over the years is the US Grant, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. I reviewed it eons ago, but haven’t reviewed it for my past several stays. However, the hotel recently underwent a renovation, and I was really impressed by the work they did, so figured an updated review would be helpful.

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Why You Should Make Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Bookings Before July 23, 2017

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The fourth night free offered with the Citi Prestige Card is my single favorite benefit offered by any credit card. This benefit has saved me thousands of dollars. For example, in my first year of card membership, the benefit saved me over $2,000, and it has saved me even more since then.

What makes this benefit so great is that you it’s valid on a vast majority of publicly available rates, including pre-paid rates, AAA rates, promotional rates, etc. Also, the reimbursement by Citi happens on the back end, which means that you earn elite qualifying nights, hotel points, etc., based on the rate of all four nights, rather than only based on three nights.

As was first announced last year, the Citi Prestige Card is making two changes to this benefit later this year:

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Everything You Need To Know About The Hyatt Anniversary Free Night Certificate

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Earlier I wrote a review of The Hyatt Credit Card, which is one of my all around favorite hotel credit cards. The card offers a big sign-up bonus of two free nights at any Hyatt in the world upon completing minimum spend, plus an annual free night certificate on your account anniversary.

While there are lots of other perks for the card, in this post I wanted to focus on the annual free night certificate that it offers:

On your credit card account anniversary each year you’ll be issued a free night certificate, which is valid for a stay at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel globally. The certificate should be issued shortly after your account anniversary, and is valid for a stay within a year of when it’s issued.

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Is The Starwood Platinum Status Challenge Worth It?

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For the most part loyalty programs are becoming less generous when it comes to status matches, since I assume they’re finding that in many cases they don’t actually change consumers’ long term behavior. There are exceptions, of course, but there’s a reason we’ve seen many loyalty programs discontinue status matches over the years.

For example, Starwood Preferred Guest stopped status matching in 2011, and has been offering a status challenge ever since. However, only recently did they publish a webpage with the details of the challenge. So this seems like a good time to look at Starwood’s current status challenge, especially in light of Marriott’s takeover of Stawood.

You can earn Gold or Platinum status through the Starwood status challenge, by completing a certain number of nights over the course of consecutive three month period, as follows:

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Buy A Discounted Omni Hotel Stay Through Daily Getaways

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Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week program intended to promote US tourism. It offers opportunities to purchase discounted hotel points and travel packages.

I’ve shared my initial thoughts on the packages for sale, including the offers for weeks one and two, and also the offers for weeks three through five. Daily Getaways packages go on sale at 1PM ET every weekday, and the more popular packages sell out very quickly, so you’ll want to be fast, if interested.

Today at 1PM ET you’ll have the opportunity to purchase Omni Hotels & Resorts packages at a discount.

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Review: Sheraton Kuwait

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Before returning to the US we had a one night layover in Kuwait — we were arriving at 12:25PM, and departing the following day at 9AM. As someone who tries to stay at Hyatt and Starwood properties whenever possible, the options were fairly limited — the city has no Hyatt properties, though has both a Sheraton and a Four Points by Sheraton.

The Four Points is a Category 5 property, meaning that a free night would cost 12,000 Starpoints. Meanwhile the Sheraton is a Category 6 property, meaning that a free night would cost 20,000 Starpoints. Kuwait clearly isn’t a cheap hotel market.

The price difference in cash wasn’t huge between the hotels — the Sheraton was ~$300, so we decided to stay there, and paid cash, since that seemed better than redeeming 20,000 Starpoints.

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Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Fine Hotels & Resorts

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Recently we saw The Platinum Card® from American Express relaunched with new benefits, a bigger sign-up bonus, and a higher annual fee. The card now has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. On top of that, the card’s annual fee increased by $100, though I think for most people the new benefits will more than make up for the increased annual fee.

I get a lot of questions about the details of the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, so I’m writing a series about the various benefits of the card.

In this post I wanted to talk about American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which is one of the perks offered through the Amex Platinum Card. Just for having the card you have access to all kinds of benefits at hundreds of luxury hotels around the world. It’s a program I’ve used many times, and that I find to be quite valuable

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Review: Presidential Suite At The Le Meridien Dhaka

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We had just under 24 hours in Dhaka — our flight from Paro arrived at 9:05AM, and our flight to Kuwait City the next day departed at 8:55AM. As a Hyatt and Starwood loyalist I had a few hotel options. Hyatt doesn’t have any properties in Dhaka, though Starwood has a Le Meridien, Westin, and Four Points.

We decided to book the Le Meridien, given it seemed to be the property closest to the airport, and also looked the most modern. At the time I booked I didn’t realize that the Le Meridien is actually widely considered to be Dhaka’s best hotel.

The paid rate at the Le Meridien was about $220 for our night, while a free night redemption would have cost 10,000 Starpoints, as this is a Category 4 property. That’s roughly a breakeven redemption (I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each), though when you factor in the points you’re forgoing by redeeming points, paying cash seemed like the better value.

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