5 Nights In Tokyo for $100: BOOKED!

I’m writing this somewhere over Nebraska, 35,000 or so feet up. Coach on United really isn’t that bad from New York to San Francisco, although I think my days of flying United to Europe in economy are over – SWISS has my favorite economy product and a pretty great business class product from what I’ve read, as well (Hint, it’s the chocolate and gratitude).
Anyway, this post is really about how I booked 3 nights at the Conrad Tokyo using Hilton HHonors points and 2 nights at the Hilton Tokyo using a combination of HHonors points and cash for the DTJO September Extravaganza. DT is a good friend who has not traveled internationally before and we had spoke of a trip involving 4-5 days in Europe and 6-8 days in Asia sometime in the fall when it’s not hot and touristy, hence the September Extravaganza moniker (better name pending). Since March 28 was the last day to book nights at Hilton Hotels before their new, massively  devalued points system went into effect, March 27 I went onto the HHonors website and booked 5 nights in Tokyo for 190,000 Honors points and $200. I think this is a crazy good deal, since the new valuations, listed in the chart below, show how drastically the points structure changed for the worse.

In particular, the top level establishments – Categories 9 and 10, or the hotels that are the most luxurious, beautiful and cosseting – have become prohibitively expensive. This is bad.

 For example, the Conrad Tokyo, as a new Category 10 hotel versus the previous Category 7 rating, would have cost me between 210,000-285,000 points for the three nights instead of the 150,000 I paid. Below, are some pictures of this luxe beast.
Definitely will be taking a dip at the Conrad Tokyo pool
Regular room w/ a bay view at the Conrad Tokyo
View of Conrad Tokyo
The Hilton Tokyo, pictured below, I paid for with cash and points – 25,000 points and $100 for each of the two nights, the monetary cost being split between myself and DT. I consider this a good deal as well, since I was able to drain my Hilton account before the devaluation and it works out to paying $20 a night for a hotel room in Tokyo for each of us…which is sick!
Hilton Tokyo Lobby
Hilton Tokyo Twin Bedroom
The link here is a complete list of all the Hilton Hotels and what category they fall into.
Since I plan on being a Diamond HHonors member – which is the highest status tier – by meeting the $40,000 spending requirement on the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card with mostly manufactured spending (Vanilla Reloads/Amazon Payments), I’m hoping to get upgraded from the basic twin city view room at the Conrad to either a executive level room or a twin suite.
Conrad Twin Suite Bay View Picture and Description

The Conrad, frankly, looks amazing and there’s a lot of information in this Flyertalk thread about the service, room quality and general experiences. The Conrad management frequently posts in the thread as well, which is a good sign that the management is proactive in meeting customer’s requests/demands.

The Hilton is near the Shinjuku train station, which is great because we plan on taking the train from Narita, which is one of the two Tokyo airports, as taxis are probably ridiculously expensive and I’ve heard traffic is terrible. I don’t know much about this area either – I’m going to get the DK Eyewitness Tokyo book, since the book series is generally very informative and this particular edition was just published March 18, 2013! I think since this hotel isn’t as nice as the Conrad, which is Hilton’s top level brand, the chance for a suite upgrade is greater. Obviously, we’ll see.

I found it somewhat hard to sleep after I had booked the hotel. Tokyo has always been a dream vacation place and now it’s no longer a nebulous hope – it’s tangible and only six short months away. I haven’t booked the flights yet, but I’m not too worried – Lufthansa only offers first class two weeks out, anyway, and there seems to be great availability on Asiana and ANA, per Milevalue, from New York to Seoul and Tokyo

Thank you for reading and I will have more updates on this trip the more we decide on where else we will go!

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