Now, you already know I saved tens of thousands of dollars on my business- and first-class flights from the US to Korea and Japan and from Japan to Hong Kong back to America. The free luxury doesn’t stop with just the airlines, however; opulent city hotels are just as relevant to making a vacation comforting, pampered and posh.
So far, my friend and I have booked two nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Conrad Tokyo, one night at the Park Hyatt Seoul, one night at the Conrad Hong Kong, and one night at the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong.
All 7 of these nights were paid for by points or free night certificates.
Let’s see how much my friend and I saved!
Park Hyatt Seoul:
This hotel is in the Gangnam district, or Psy’s ‘hood. Yeah, him, the number 1 oppa.
That ditty was about Gangnam District, Gangnam meaning south of the (Han) river. It’s a high-faluting shopping and business area that I probably won’t spend much time in, as I didn’t go to Seoul to find Tribeca East. But, it’s in the center of town and is a good base for exploration.
I transferred 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards into my Hyatt Gold Passport account to book one night at this hotel. I earned these points from regular and bonused spending on my Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire credit cards. Since 15,000 points is equivalent to a $150 statement credit or $180 in travel rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and I am staying at a hotel that would normally cost approximately $450, I consider this to be an excellent redemption. I’m getting three times the value I normally would.
In the name of all prophets in the history of all the religions, on planets in this solar system and others we haven’t yet discovered, I hail this property. I absolutely love this place; it’s equivalent to flipping your pillow and every single time, the other side is impossibly, ineffably cool.
From the beyond helpful attendants to the suite upgrades to the daily executive lounge happy hour to to the decadent pool to, lastly, the views of Tokyo Bay and Shinjuku, this hotel is the hospitality lodestar. Of course, the prices are just as celestial:
I included a suite as a possibility, since that was what I received last time as a Hilton HHonors Diamond. Either way, the cost would be significant and since my friend and I are staying 2 nights, we are saving between $1174-$1644 for these nights, our first two in Tokyo. I booked these rooms using my two remaining free night certificates from the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card. These nights were the signup bonus from that credit card.
Park Hyatt Tokyo:
Have you seen Lost in Translation? This is Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s hotel from that movie.
The hotel bar has a cover charge for the nightly, live jazz performances. Lady Gaga even performed here on a whim!
So, yes, it’s expensive. We are booked into the lowest level room, the Park Twin, but since my friend has Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program through possessing the Chase Hyatt credit card, we are eligible for an upgrade to the next highest room, the Park Deluxe Twin. We are staying the nights of June 30th and July 1st. The picture below indicates how much the room, with taxes, would normally cost:
This hotel was paid for by my friend, who had earned two free Hyatt nights – valid at any Hyatt on Earth – as the signup bonus on the Chase Hyatt credit card.
Conrad Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Harbor is stunning at night, as you can see below.
Luckily, I get to partake in this view, as the Conrad Hong Kong is on the Kowloon side, opposite the nightly light show, “A Symphony of Lights.” I haven’t been to Hong Kong before, so I don’t knot what kind of ugprade a Hilton Diamond normally receives. Therefore, the below picture shows the two different room possiblities I will receive:
The room prices of $580 and $1,109 are without taxes, so round-up to $650 and $1200. I booked this night using the last of my Hilton points, earned from the signup bonuses on the Hilton Visa Signature and Hilton Gold credit cards. I don’t need a suite since I will be traveling alone a this point, but I’m definitely going to ask for one. Why not, right?
Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Shui
This is the “worst” hotel I am staying at. It’s rated a 91% on TripAdvisor and 31st out of 603 total hotels in Hong Kong. Sounds good to me! This hotel received a great writeup on Rom’s Deals and also has fantastic views of Hong Kong! In case you were pondering, Tsim Sha Shui means “pointed, sandy mouth,” since it refers to an area built on reclaimed land.
I saved a quick $300 by using 15,000 more Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transferred to my Hyatt Gold Passport Account. While I am not getting as much value per point as the Park Hyatt Seoul, I’m still saving $300 in real money.
So how much, in total, did I save?
Park Hyatt Seoul – $450
Conrad Tokyo – $1175-1650
Park Hyatt Tokyo – $940
Conrad Hong Kong – $650-$1200
Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Shu – $300
Added, I’m saving between $3515-$4540. Splitting the difference, I’m saving $4000. In reality, I’m not actually saving $4000, because I can’t at all afford to spend $4000 on hotel rooms, but I am receiving $4000 in tax-free value. Hostels are great, especially in the countryside and in less-developed countries, but in big cities like Tokyo, I prefer luxury hotels. Thanks to points, preferences turn into realities!