I’m Embarrassed By How Many Upgrades I Have Expiring Next Week…


As someone obsessed with loyalty programs, I do everything I can to maximize the benefits associated with the status I earn. After all, earning status comes at a cost (both in terms of time and money), so not maximizing benefits is like throwing away money.

No matter how hard I try, I’ll never do a perfect job maximizing these programs, though I’m especially embarrassed by how many upgrades I’m having go to “waste” next week.

Most loyalty program status is earned on a calendar year basis, though typically there’s some grace period before the status expires. In the case of American AAdvantage and Hyatt Gold Passport, earned status for this past program year is valid through the end of February. The same is true of the upgrade instruments earned with those programs.

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Hyatt’s New Globalist Status Requires Even More Nights Than We Thought


We’re only days away from the launch of the new World of Hyatt loyalty program. As we learned last fall, World of Hyatt will replace Hyatt Gold Passport starting on March 1. I’m in the midst of putting together my thoughts on the new program — spoiler alert, I’m not impressed.

There are a few things to theoretically like in the new program, particularly if you hold top tier status. Globalists, as Hyatt has decided to call them, will get unlimited complimentary upgrades to suites in addition to the four confirmed suite upgrades of the past. Perhaps I was prescient when I wrote “4 Free Upgrades Are Better Than Unlimited Suites, Really” a year ago…

Anyway, that’s about the extent of the good news. There are at least some positives to look forward to for those who can maintain top-tier status, but getting there is going to be a challenge. In fact, it’s arguably harder than most of us thought it was going to be.

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Is This The Best Hotel Room TV Setup Ever?


I don’t usually get too excited about hotel room TVs. In fact, it’s pretty rare for my family to ever turn them on. Maybe if we’re in a foreign country, we’ll watch a cartoon so the kids can have a cultural experience, but that’s about it.

I suppose some will say that the hotel room TV is going to go the way of the desk because millennials just don’t use them. Call me old school, but I still prefer to watch TV on a big screen. And I also like to listen to it. Like really listen with real speakers, not uncomfortable earbuds or tinny laptop speakers.

The problem is that flat screen TVs are notorious for having awful sound. There just isn’t space to fit a proper speaker. So you end up with undersized cones that are typically pointed to the side, or worse, out the back. I remember being at a Hyatt Place where my wife — who was trying to sleep in the bedroom area — could hear the TV better than I could even though I was sitting right in front of it.

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The New Park Hyatt Bangkok Is Now Bookable


Bangkok is one of the best hotel markets in the world for reasonably priced luxury hotels. Even the top five star hotels in the city can often be had for $200 per night or less.

For years I’ve been looking forward to the opening of the Park Hyatt Bangkok. However, as is common with far too many hotels, the opening date has been pushed back repeatedly. It was supposed to open in 2015, though still hasn’t opened.

The renderings of the hotel look beautiful, including of the exterior, pool, and rooms.

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Review: Grand Hyatt Amman


I arrived in Amman at around 1:30PM, and my flight out of Amman was the following night/morning at 1:30AM, meaning I had about 36 hours on the ground.

Amman has a few options for Hyatt and Starwood loyalists. There’s the Grand Hyatt, Le Meridien, and Sheraton. While not yet open, there’s also supposed to be a W Amman opening on October 1, 2017, and a St. Regis Amman opening on December 1, 2017.

All the Hyatt and Starwood options were roughly comparably priced, so I ended up booking the Grand Hyatt, given that Tiffany was staying there, as my visit to Amman was overlapping with the tail end of her trip to Jordan.

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The 7 Best Hotel Perks Offered By Credit Cards

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There are many reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth picking up for the sign-up bonus, some are worth picking up for the return they offer on everyday spend, and some are worth picking up for the long-term perks they offer.

While there are all kinds of perks offered on cards, in this post I figured I’d look at the best hotel perks you can get with credit cards. Here are my favorites, roughly in order:

The Citi Prestige® Card has my single favorite perk offered by any credit card. While a lot of credit cards offer some type of “free night” hotel benefit, there are usually major strings attached. Citi Prestige’s fourth night free benefit is the most straightforward out there. To sum up the basics:

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Which Hotel Programs Let You Earn Points & Elite Nights For Multiple Rooms?


Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies as to how many points, elite qualifying stays, and elite qualifying nights you can earn if booking multiple rooms. In other words, if you often travel with family and book two rooms, can you receive elite credits and points for each of the rooms?

The rules vary by program, so in this post I figured I’d look at the policies of the major hotel loyalty programs, as they impact earning points and elite qualifying credit for multiple rooms (in the title of each section I’ve added a link to the terms & conditions):

Club Carlson lets you earn points for up to three rooms booked on the same reservation. However, you don’t earn elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms.

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Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)


In 2016 my goal was to review as many new airlines as possible, and that’s something I want to continue into 2017. So I figured I might as well get my year off to a good start, and plan a heck of a trip for the first week of the year.

The primary motivation of this trip was to review as many new airlines as quickly as possible, though I was also excited about having stopovers that allowed me to briefly visit two countries — Jordan and Brunei — for the first time.

I only planned this trip in late December, about a week before I was due to takeoff. Let’s briefly look at the planning process.

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Hyatt’s Bizarre New Category 7 Hotel Is Where?!?


In early 2014, Hyatt Gold Passport added a new hotel category for redemptions. Specifically, they added Category 7 hotels, which go for 30,000 points per night. Fortunately Hyatt hasn’t moved too many hotels up to this category, but rather has kept it for what are truly their most expensive hotels, like the Park Hyatt Sydney.

That’s why it’s interesting that Hyatt seems to have quietly added a new hotel to their portfolio, and I’m shocked to see what category it’s in.

Hotel Levent Istanbul is now a “Hyatt affiliate hotel.” This seems to be the former EDITION Istanbul, which is a Marriott brand. I’m not sure why the hotel chose to leave Marriott, but perhaps it has to do with their takeover of Starwood, and the number of properties that Marriott now has in the city.

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Review: Park Hyatt Vienna Park Suite


I reviewed the Park Hyatt Vienna just over a year ago, so I’ll keep this review pretty short. We spent three nights at the Park Hyatt Vienna, and I managed to book both rooms using Points + Cash, which cost $150 plus 12,500 Gold Passport points per night. I considered that to be a pretty good value in comparison to the paid rate of 400EUR+ per night, or even in comparison to redeeming 25,000 points per room.

I used a Diamond Suite Upgrade Award for one room, though they ended up upgrading both rooms to suites, which was extremely generous. This is an area where I find that Hyatt consistently excels. While they don’t award stay credits for multiple rooms, I find that more often than not they honor all elite benefits for both rooms.

At a minimum, if you make a “Guest of Honor” booking you’re guaranteed elite benefits when redeeming points for others, even if you’re not traveling with them.

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All The Ways To Earn Hotel Elite Status With Credit Cards

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One of the trends we’re increasingly seeing is the ability to earn hotel elite status through credit cards. Rather than having to put in up to 75 nights per year worth of stays in order to earn top tier status, many hotel groups are now letting you earn status for spending certain amounts on credit cards

In this post I wanted to look at all the ways to earn elite status with credit cards for several of the major hotel chains, including Club Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. I’ll break down the option by loyalty program and then status level:

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Introduction: Christmas Markets With A Touch Of Garuda


As is usually the case, the motivation behind this trip started innocently enough. Ford and I were going to take Ford’s mom to the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Initially we were going to do a simple five day trip to Munich and Vienna (while I know there are other great markets, we wanted to keep the logistics as simple as possible).

So we redeemed Aeroplan miles (transferred from Amex Membership Rewards) for Lufthansa first class for the three of us. However, that didn’t last very long.

In late November I wrote about how Garuda Indonesia was having a Black Friday sale for travel originating in the UK. The fares were available for travel in both first & business class, and they had some of the lowest fares I’ve ever seen.

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One Change I’d Like To See 5 Major Hotel Loyalty Programs Make

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Everyone has their own reasons for why they have a preferred loyalty program. Even though we may love our preferred programs, chances are there are still things we’d like to see them change. There are practical things we’d like to see them change (things that allow them to catch-up with the competition), and then also more aspirational changes (like unlimited presidential suite upgrades and spa treatments).

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to look at five of the most popular loyalty programs, and changes they should make to catch up with the competition. This list isn’t intended to be about the greatest changes I’d like to see them make, but rather about fairly minor yet substantial changes they could make to catch up with the competition. In other words, what’s one area where the major hotel loyalty programs are lagging?

In no particular order:

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Will World Of Hyatt Globalist Members Really Receive Unlimited Suite Upgrades?


This coming March, World of Hyatt will replace Gold Passport as Hyatt’s loyalty program. The new program is drawing mixed reactions, and naturally how you feel about the program probably varies based on what type of guest you are. In theory benefits for guests spending 55+ nights per year with Hyatt are increasing, while benefits for those who earn Diamond status based on 25 stays per year are decreasing.

I’ve shared my overall thoughts on the changes, though in this post I wanted to address a question I was asked by reader Joseph, regarding the terms of World of Hyatt Globalist suite upgrades.

Presently Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members receive:

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