Hotels

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?

Starwood-Platinum-Challenge

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

Omni-1

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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Today Only: Buy IHG Points For Under 0.6 Cents Each

InterContinental-London

Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week promotion 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. 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 IHG Rewards Club points at a discount. This is likely to be one of the most popular Daily Getaways packages, and it’s also the promotion with the most items for sale — there are over 6,000 sets of IHG points packages available.

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Today Only: Discounted MGM Las Vegas Packages

Daily-Getaways

Daily Getaways is back this year, which is a five week promotion 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. 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 MGM Las Vegas stay packages.

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A Hotel That Gives You A Discount For Being Young

Rooms-Hotel

There are all kinds of ways to be eligible for special rates at hotels. Some hotels have AAA rates, others have AARP rates, others give special rates for being a certain age, etc.

However, I came across something for the first time while researching room rates today. I’m in the process of planning a trip to Georgia and Armenia, and was looking at rates at Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia. The hotel looks awesome, and like a much cooler experience than staying at one of the big chain hotels.

Best of all, this is a Design Hotels property, so I can earn Starpoints and get SPG stay credits for my stay. The catch is that Design Hotels isn’t fully integrated into SPG, but rather it’s a marketing partnership. As a result, you have to book through an SPG channel to be eligible for those benefits.

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My Latest Experience Using The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Benefit

Andaz-Maui

The fourth night free on 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.

About a month ago I discovered that these fourth night free bookings could actually be made by email, with the Citi Prestige’s concierge. Previously I always called, which was a time consuming process. It was still totally worth it, but if I can help it, I’ll avoid spending 30 minutes on the phone.

When I wrote about my positive experience making a fourth night free booking by email, some commented that they didn’t have as stellar of an experience. I wasn’t sure if I just got lucky or what, but I figured I’d report back on my second experience of making a Citi Prestige Card fourth night free booking by email.

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10 Of The Starwood Hotels I Most Want To Visit

LC The Castle, Dalian, China

While I stay at a variety of hotel chains, I spend more nights at Starwood properties than any other hotel group. I’ve stayed at a lot of great Starwood properties (most of which I’ve reviewed), and I certainly have my favorites. For example, it’s tough to beat the W Taipei, St. Regis Maldives, Keraton at the Plaza, Cala Di Volpe, etc.

However, I also love sharing the travels I’m considering, which is what I’m doing with this post. I figured it would be fun to do a post about 10 of the Starwood properties I most want to visit, in the same way that I’ve shared the destinations I most want to visit, and also the airlines I most want to fly.

This post is focused primarily on the hotels rather than the destinations, though admittedly the locations in some cases factor into what interests me about these hotels.

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Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Hotel Status

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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 the free hotel status you get just for having the Amex Platinum Card. This is a benefit that’s available as long as you have the card, though you do have to activate it. I imagine a majority of cardmembers don’t take advantage of this opportunity, so here’s an explanation of how you can do so easily.

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Review: Le Meridien Paro

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After three nights at the Le Meridien Thimphu, we spent the balance of our time in Paro, and stayed at the Le Meridien there. As a reminder, we booked this stay using Cash & Points, which I considered to be a great value.

While the Le Meridien Thimphu is located right in the heart of the city of Thimphu, the Le Meridien Paro is about 15 minutes out of town, so it’s pretty secluded. There’s nothing within walking distance of the property.

The hotel was stunning from the outside. It’s right on the river, and it’s just such a beautiful setting. As much as I spend most of my time indoors sitting in front of my laptop, there’s nothing I love more than being in a place with natural beauty and fresh air, and just sitting by the river delivered plenty of that.

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Review: Le Meridien Thimphu

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Le Meridien has two properties in Bhutan, which is pretty cool. Bhutan is a country that has a lot of independent hotels, and then also a lot of super high end luxury hotels (like Amans), which run $1,000+ per night. So it’s great to have a mid-range option where you can redeem points. There aren’t really any other mid-range chain hotels in the country where you can redeem points, which is why I was excited to review these hotels.

With five nights in Bhutan, we split our time between the two Le Meridien properties — we spent the first three nights at Le Meridien Thimphu, and then the next two nights at Le Meridien Paro. The order and number of nights we stayed was entirely dictated by availability. The Paro property was sold out for the first three nights, which is why we did the first three nights in Thimphu.

At the time I booked, both of these hotels were Category 5 SPG properties, and both had Cash & Points available, so the cost was $110 plus 6,000 Starpoints per night. Both hotels had cash rates of $400+ including tax and service charge, so I considered that to be a good deal.

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