Last month, he scored us a ridiculous 6 night stay at the Conrad Koh Samui for FREE using Hilton HHonors points before the big devaluation that happened yesterday (March 28). While that was an amazing hotel and a standard room, this time around, we're staying at a very nice hotel but in a phenomenal room - or shall I say, suite.
After discussing a few weeks ago about shifting loyalties to Hyatt Hotels (see post "Looking Hard at Hyatt"), this stay at Park Hyatt Mendoza reminded me to highlight one of the truly amazing Hyatt Gold Passport program deals that Starwood doesn't have: the 6,000 Hyatt Point Suite Upgrade.
Room Types 101
As some of you traveling lapchildren know, there's 3 buckets of rooms at a hotel: (A) standard rooms, (B) club lounge access rooms and (C) suites.
- Standard rooms are... well, regular rooms. They come in different sizes and locations, but they're all basically a studio bedroom with varying levels of comfort/quality views.
- Club lounge access rooms are generally the same as standard rooms, but offer entry into the hotel's club lounge where you can get free breakfasts and afternoon drinks/snacks in addition to computers and wifi.
- Suites are often entirely larger accomodations with a separate bedroom and livingroom area. Sometimes it's just a studio with a wall/door put up (you New Yorkers know what I mean). But other times, they're the equivalent of massive 1 bedroom apartments, large enough to have some killer Disney Princess sleepover parties. Each hotel property is different so you need to do your online homework beforehand.
Now back to Hyatt.
If you have an existing paid (cash) reservation coming up and some extra Hyatt Gold Passport points to redeem, you can call Hyatt and use your points to upgrade from a standard room to either a club room for 3,000 points or a suite for 6,000 points for up to 4 nights (assuming you have a cash booking at an eligible rate). You can also apply for the points upgrade at the same time you make the original booking.
But unfortunately, you can't redeem points for the suite upgrade over the world wide web. You need to call and have the Hyatt agent look up availability manually like we're still in 1993.
Points Upgrade - Hyatt vs. Starwood
This 6,000 Hyatt point upgrade for up to 4 nights compares very favorably to Starwood, which requires 100% the award night cost in points PER NIGHT. So for a nice (but not super luxury nice) Category 5 Starwood hotel like the W Santiago Hotel we just stayed at, it would cost 12,000 SPG Points per night to upgrade our standard room to a suite (as seen in the chart below).
In case you're
Cost vs. Value of a Hyatt Suite Upgrade
I personally value Hyatt points at about $0.02 a piece, so that means it costs about $120 total in points to upgrade from a basic room to a suite. But since Hyatt points have become so easy to earn (via Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold credit cards), you might as well upgrade just about every paid Hyatt stay you have coming up.
To be crystal clear, I'll walk you through this example for a 1 night stay on May 10th:
- Hyatt Morristown (Category 2) - $97/night standard room and $117/night suite
- Park Hyatt Washington DC (Category 6) - $329/night standard room and $429/night suite
However, at some properties, you can really extract a ton more value, particularly the more expensive Hyatt hotels outside the US where the dollar has a weak exchange rate.
- Park Hyatt Milan (Category 6) - $667/night standard room and $1,077/night suite
- Grand Hyatt Istanbul (Category 4) - $399/night standard room and $687/night suite
- Hyatt Regency Mumbai (Category 3) - $132/night standard room and $295/night suite
First, when you use points for a suite upgrade with Hyatt on an existing reservation, you are essentially (a) cancelling the original reservation, (b) re-booking a new cash reservation for a standard room at the then current rates and (c) redeeming 6,000 Hyatt points. But when the new cash rate is booked, it may (or may not) be the same rate you originally booked. So as you get closer to your check-in date, the standard room rates may have gone up significantly, and you're SOL.
Second, not all suites are created equal. Some Hyatt suites are magnificent, spacious accommodations that could fit a large Catholic family. But other Hyatt "suites" are modestly larger than a regular room with a psuedo-wall in the middle. You need to figure out which Hyatt properties have which types of suites before you try to upgrade your room.
And third, within a single hotel property, there are often multiple types of suites with varying sizes and features. For example, the Park Hyatt Mendoza (where we're at right now) has 3 different suites.
- Park Suite - 1,200 sq ft including marble bath and generous workspace
- Governors Suite - 1,400 sq ft including the above + kitchenette
- Presidential Suite - 1,600 sq ft including the above + full kitchen + guest bathroom + separate study + view of the Andes
But sometimes, on super rare occasions when all the stars are aligned, you have Hyatt Diamond Status, and you flash them your cutest baby smile, you get super lucky (like we did yesterday) and end up kicking it Presidential style.
To be continued...