Monday, September 30, 2013

Hong Kong Hotel Hopping

Yes, our trip to Hong Kong isn't for ~6 months, but if you're travel hacking like my family, it helps to think far ahead. Especially when we'll be using credit card sign up bonuses and hotel points to offset our travel costs.

Hotels in major cities like New York, Paris and Hong Kong can get quite expensive. While we could have just decided to stay at a modest budget hotel in Hong Kong (or used AirBNB to find a local apartment with a kitchen), my father decided to use a few of his free night awards to get another taste of high living for our Spring Break.

Unfortunately, the two nice Starwood hotels in Hong Kong (the Sheraton and W) were too expensive even on points (16,000-20,000 pts/night). Also, he didn't have any single hotel awards that would cover our full 5 night stay in Hong Kong, so we had to break up the nights across 3 different hotels: (A) Grand Hyatt, (B) Conrad, and (C) Intercontinental. But as you can see from the map below, they are all relatively close, and then we can give you our first hand reviews on each of them.

Here's how we're planning to get the 5 free nights at these great luxury hotels.

Grand Hyatt (3/6-3/8)

We booked our first two nights here using our Hyatt Gold Passport points (22,000 Hyatt points per night). That same room would cost $542/night including taxes. So for two nights, we'd need 44,000 Hyatt points. We had about 42,000 in our account, so we just transferred 2,000 over from our Chase Ultimate Rewards account and booked the room.

Unfortunately, though, my father's great 2013 Hyatt Diamond Elite Status year will come to an end just before the trip (on February 28, 2014). But missing out on free upgrades to suites and complimentary breakfasts shouldn't be a deal killer when you're staying in a major city. After all, we don't plan to spend much time in our hotel room nor do we want to waste an opportunity to eat delicious Hong Kong dim sum by filling up on generic scrambled eggs and boring pancakes.

Conrad (3/8-3/10)

Strategically, we planned to spend the Saturday and Sunday nights at the Conrad, the luxury brand within the Hilton Hotels family.

Why? Because for signing up for the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card and spending $2,500 in 3 months, you receive 2 free weekend night certificates. The cash rate for the rooms would be $433/night including taxes. I've heard mixed things about the quality of the Conrad Hong Kong. While it's better suited for business travelers, I do hope that the high level of service (and our Hilton Gold Status from having the Citi Hilton Reserve card) will make it worthwhile. They say the executive club lounge (free appetizers and drinks) is one of the best in Hong Kong if not the world.

Intercontinental (3/10-3/11)

This hotel is likely going to be our favorite. Located on the Kowloon side of the city, it will have some of the best views of the famous Hong Kong skyline from it's lobby (and hopefully room if we get a Victoria Harbor view).

This room usually runs $493/night, but we're staying there for free using our IHG Free Night Award that comes every year when you have the IHG Rewards Club Visa credit card. Pretty great deal, even if you have to pay the $49 annual fee for the credit card. Unfortunately, having the IHG Rewards card will only get you top tier IHG Platinum Status, but the Intercontinental has its own loyalty program called Royal Ambassador (which you can purchase for $200). So basically, my IHG Platinum won't get us anything special at the Intercontinental (besides a $493/night room for $49).

Here's some lap child math for all of you ...

3 Credit Cards = Free Nights at 3 Luxury Hotels = More Money for Hong Kong Dim Sum

And what credit cards did my mother just apply for?  The Citi Hilton Reserve Visa and the Chase IHG Visa. Do you think that's just coincidence?

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