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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C’mon Hyatt Gold Passport, You’re Better Than This…

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I’ve long been a fan of Hyatt Gold Passport. Historically I think they’ve offered the most rewarding hotel loyalty program, and most importantly, they’ve under promised and over delivered. That’s something that’s important to me, since I don’t remember the last time I’ve been disappointed in elite recognition as a Hyatt Diamond member.

Now, Hyatt Gold Passport will be going away in a few months time, as “World of Hyatt” takes over as Hyatt’s new loyalty program. The new program has drawn mixed reactions, and perhaps in the miles & points community the reaction has been especially negative.

Personally I see why Hyatt is changing their program, but I do have some concerns. The biggest new benefit that Hyatt is adding is unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability. It’s a big benefit, and also a big point of concern for many, as we don’t yet know what that will look like in practice. Will all standard suites be available for upgrade? If it’s available at check-in, is the Diamond member entitled to it, or is it at the hotel’s discretion? How will hotels be trained on this new benefit?

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What You Need To Know About Lifetime Hyatt Globalist Status


Several weeks ago the details of World of Hyatt were announced, which will be Hyatt’s new loyalty program as of March 1, 2017. There are things I love and hate about World of Hyatt, though at least in our community most people view the new program as a negative.

As far as top tier status goes, presently you need 25 stays or 50 nights to earn Diamond status, while with World of Hyatt you’ll need 60 nights to earn Globalist status, which is the new top tier status. However, if you’re requalifying for status then you’ll “only” need 55 nights.

There won’t anymore be an option to qualify based on stays, though you will be able to qualify based on spend; Globalist status will require $20,000 of spend per year.

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Review: Hyatt Regency Baku


Baku is a fascinating hotel market. The city is growing quickly, and in 2012 a handful of luxury hotels opened in the city, though there hasn’t been too much hotel growth since then. There used to be a Park Hyatt that was attached to the Hyatt Regency, though apparently it’s undergoing a long term renovation, and is now closed. Our tour guide explained that there was a Trump Hotel that was built in Baku, but for whatever reason they never ended up opening it.

So as Hyatt and Starwood loyalists, our best option was the Hyatt Regency Baku. We got a great rate of just ~$100 per night for our two night stay. That was a better value than redeeming 12,000 Gold Passport points per night, in my opinion (I value those points at ~1.5 cents each).

The ride from the airport to the hotel looked like it was only supposed to take about 25 minutes, but we hit horrible rush hour traffic on our way to the hotel, so the drive took closer to an hour.

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The Easy Way To Earn Hyatt Globalist Status?

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A couple of weeks ago the details of World of Hyatt were announced, which will be Hyatt’s new loyalty program as of March 1, 2017. There are things I love and hate about World of Hyatt, though at least in our community most people view the new program as a negative.

As far as top tier status goes, presently you need 25 stays or 50 nights to earn Diamond status, while with World of Hyatt you’ll need 60 nights to earn Globalist status, which is the new top tier status. However, if you’re requalifying for status then you’ll “only” need 55 nights.

There’s no option to qualify for status anymore based on stays, though you do now have the option of qualifying for Globalist based on $20,000 of spend per year.

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