Hyatt Makes Searching for Award Nights Easier

The Hyatt website has received a few enhancements recently. Most importantly, the Free Night search has been revamped in a great way.

Searching by City

A simple change that many hotel websites already have but Hyatt never did was a smart search. Begin to type in the name of the city and the new site will display a number of choices, most helpful being the list of properties in that city.

Displaying results for "new yo"

Displaying results for “new yo”

Award Searches

Previously, searching for an award night on Hyatt.com was pretty painful, as far as hotel sites go. First, you had to have enough points in your account to cover the amount of points you would be redeeming. That means if you wanted to redeem at a top tier Category 6 hotel for 5 nights, you would need 110k (22k per night) Gold Passport points in your account. Or you would need 22k points in you account and search night by night… FUN!

Now, that is a distant memory! The new way to search for Hyatt Free Nights is great.

Any time you enter a reservation search, the results displayed will display multiple rates, now including the ever-important Hyatt Gold Passport Points rate!

You don’t need a certain number of points in your account. You can search over several days. I’ve been playing around with it for a few hours and it’s great.

Hyatt Free Night Search

Hyatt Free Night Search

What I did notice was that it only displays the basic award room. If you want to redeem for a suite, you’ll still have to call Hyatt Reservations (1-800-228-3360) to search for space for you.

Also, if, for any reason the award rates aren’t showing, make sure the Show Hyatt Gold Passport Points box right above the rate tabs is checked.

Leave it to Hyatt to add a wonderful and much needed enhancement to their website. It’s a bright spot in a year of hotel devaluations.

As if our stay at the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires last week wasn’t enough to catapult Hyatt to the top of my hotel chain list, this certainly put it over the top.

The ease of searching for free nights definitely gives me a little extra push to earn more Chase Ultimate Rewards points for transferring to Hyatt and United, my two favorite partners of the program.

Hat tip to Mommy Points.

RTW to Bali: Bali Hyatt, Sanur

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We were really excited to arrive at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur. The driver stopped right at the entrance and, immediately, someone was there to take all of our bags. Before entering the main lobby, we had to go through a bag check and metal detector. It was a little odd, but at least they’re being safe.

Check-In

Right away, someone offered us welcome drinks and cold towels on a platter. It was really refreshing since it was quite humid.

Main lobby & check in area

Main lobby & check in area

After seeing us finish those up, they offered to take us to the ‘dedicated’ Hyatt Platinum & Diamond check-in area.  It was really just a separate desk with a little plaque; it would have been more helpful if check-in was busy but it wasn’t.

The agent confirmed our Club King room and told us that the hours of the Regency Club for drinks and snacks. He thanked me for my Platinum status (that I got for free this year from a promotion) and walked us to our room, giving us a mini tour of the resort as we went.

The Room

Our Club King Room was a steal at 7,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points a night; the Bali Hyatt is a Category 1 hotel. If you don’t want Club access, it can be a thrifty 5,000 points a night.

Alternatively, the actual paid rate of this hotel isn’t bad. I don’t think I ever saw the rate over $200 for a regular King Room in the months leading up to our stay.

Either method is a steal, in my opinion, because this hotel is great. We were even given an upgraded room from Garden View to Ocean View because I emailed the hotel a few weeks before our arrival inquiring about paid upgrades. Never hurts to ask!

When we arrived to our room, our luggage was waiting for us along with a welcome letter explaining the benefits of the Regency Club access.

  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Complimentary evening drinks and snacks
  • All day coffee, tea, soft drinks, and juices
  • 20% discount on food and beverage
  • Complimentary [wired] Internet access in room and free WiFi in public areas

Note on the wired-only room internet: I didn’t think we’d run into that issue. My fault for not being prepared, but that problem was fixed because Santa gave me this travel router for Christmas – TRENDnet TEW-654TR.

Club King Ocean View Room

Club King Ocean View Room

Club King Ocean View Room

REALLY dated bathroom

IMG_2593-2

Stylin’!

The very tight balcony

The very tight balcony

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RTW to Bali: Arrival at DPS & Transfer to Bali Hyatt

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After 25 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Bali!

Arrivals Process at DPS

Our first stop the Visas On Arrival counter; signs were easy to follow. I was a bit nervous since many of the people on FlyerTalk who have been to Bali before said the lines can be horrendous.

This is what you're looking for when you get off the plane

This is what you’re looking for when you get off the plane

We were some of the first passengers off the plane and decided to speed-walk to the Visa On Arrival counter. To our surprise, it was EMPTY.

We walked right up and handed the teller $25 each. The visa is $25 per visitor for up to 30 days.

From there, we went down the hall to Immigration which also had very short lines. We waited for a few minutes then got our passports stamped. We were in!

First thing was first… before we exited into the chaos and humidity of Southeast Asia, we needed to get a little local currency. Right before the exit, there are plenty of official money changers. I just walked up to one, checked out the exchange rate, handed over money, and got a receipt. It was pretty easy, but you definitely should be aware of the situation and make sure you don’t get short changed by any money changers.

Also, in places like Bali, the bigger bills you have, the better your exchange rate will be. 50s and 100s got much better rates and if you have a raggedy or damaged bill, they sometimes won’t even accept it! It happened to a few 20s during our stay.

Me exchanging for some Indonesian Rupiah

Me exchanging for some Indonesian Rupiah

All in all, it was a very easy arrival process. The only tips I’d give are to get to the Visa On Arrival counters before most of the people on your flight and to always be wary of anyone exchanging money for you. Know how much you should receive and use your own calculator (on your phone)!

With about a million Rupiah in hand, we headed out the exit to try to find our driver.

Transfer to Bali Hyatt

I arranged a car through the Hyatt e-Concierge for about $30. I suppose we could have taken a local taxi from the airport, but I wanted the piece of mind upon arriving.

After scanning the crowd of dozens of drivers looking for work, we finally found our contact from the Bali Hyatt. He wasn’t our actual driver; he was just going to escort us to the pickup area.

He took both our checked bags and we walked underneath an open air corridor for about 5 minutes. The actual pickup area was pretty far away compared to what we’re used to in the US.

IMG_2562-2

When we got the pickup area, the contact told us to wait there and he called for the Bali Hyatt driver to come get us. The pickup area reminded me a lot of the Philippines – way too many cars and way too much traffic.

Picked up in style

Picked up in style

 

Right hand drive

Right hand drive

After making our way out of the terrible airport traffic, the ride to the Bali Hyatt in Sanur wasn’t bad at all… around 30 minutes.

Bali Hyatt gate

Bali Hyatt gated entrance

Bali Hyatt, Sanur

Bali Hyatt, Sanur

 

Credit Update: August 15, 2012

How long has it been?

It’s been pretty quiet on the credit card front for both Joann and me. The last time I applied for cards was back in April. For Joann, March…

What’s the latest for Joann?

Joann applied for the 2 Southwest Airlines credit cards about three weeks ago and was approved with a monster limit on the personal card. We already met the easy spend goal of $1,000 each and are anxiously waiting for our first statement to post so we can see where we stand for getting her the Companion Pass. This will be easy to hit before year end because of Amazon Payments (AP). She’ll use the business card for her AP account and I’ll use the personal for my AP account since I’m an authorized user on that card.

She also applied for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card last week and wasn’t instantly approved. A few days later, we checked the status of her application on this web page and found out that she was approved! We still don’t have the card yet but $5,000 spend in six months won’t be difficult at all with good old Amazon Payments once again. This 30,000 Starpoints offer is only for a limited time and will expire on September 4, 2012.

American Express also sent Joann an official FICO score that they pulled from Experian. I like that about their application process. They always include a credit score; it’s nice to know every once in a while. Even with all the credit cards we apply for, she still has a credit score of 718.

Good score! Keep on churnin’!

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Trip Planning: Vancouver, British Columbia

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Intro – Planning
Cathay Pacific Business Class New York – Vancouver
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Shangri-La Vancouver
MARKET by Jean-Georges

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BACKGROUND

Ever since our visit to Vancouver en route to a Whistler snowboarding trip, Joann and I have wanted to go back to enjoy the city for a few more days. Things fell into place when she scheduled a long weekend off – she’s a nurse and works odd schedules. Along with her free weekend, the other driving factors were visiting family, fulfilling the Hotels.com promotion, and completing our NEXUS interviews.

NEXUS approval comes with Global Entry which is a great perk to have while traveling. See The Points Guy’s review on Global Entry. The TSA is also piloting a new Trusted Traveler program to Global Entry and NEXUS users that will allow these users to use expedited security lines. Expedited security lines??? Sign me up! Anyway, let’s plan this trip…

DEPARTING FLIGHT

There aren’t many nonstop options to Vancouver. My first thought is always Continental or Star Alliance because I have the most miles with them and they are Newark-based. Air Canada, a Star Alliance member, is 1 of only 2 nonstop flights from the NYC area to Vancouver (YVR). Unfortunately, that flight had no availability for our strict dates.

Plan B was Cathay Pacific. We have flown their nonstop JFK-YVR service and enjoy the airline very much, at least in Economy class. Also, Joann and I have hoarded a lot of British Airways miles (over 300k) so we might as well use them! Remember, there’s no prize for who has the largest mileage account! BA miles are best used, in my opinion, for their oneworld partners. BA’s most luxurious partner is probably Cathay and any time you can fly in their premium cabin, I’d call that a great day. Take a look at this series of screenshots for a quick and dirty way to book a partner award flight on BA’s site.

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