9 Nights in Asia: Hotel Points

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9 Nights in Asia: Hotel Points

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In about a month, we will depart on our long-awaited trip to Beijing and Tokyo.

Our routing will look something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 6.14.32 PM

Leg 1: JFK-HKG-PEK

Leg 2: PEK-HND

Leg 3: NRT-JFK

We will be in Beijing (PEK) for three nights and Tokyo (HND/NRT) for 6 nights.

Hotels in Beijing

Though good deals can be had for hotels in Asia, why not use points?

For Beijing we will be spending three nights at the Hilton DoubleTree Beijing. Though located in the business district, Ubers are relatively cheap. We’ll also only have two full days, one of which will be occupied by the Great Wall, the other occupied by the Silk Market and other must-sees in Beijing city center.

Hilton Doubletree Beijing: 10,000 HHonors points per night x 3 = 30,000 HHonors points.

998 Chinese Yuan = $150 vs. 10,000 Hilton points? HILTON

998 Chinese Yuan = $150 vs. 10,000 Hilton points? HILTON

A low category, but get’s a 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor.

And as a recently minded Hilton Diamond I’m hoping to score a suite upgrade.

I earned these Hilton points with the AMEX no-fee HHonors Credit card, which has currently gone up to 70,000 points for $1,000 spent in three months. This is the highest this card has ever been. That could get you 7 nights at this Hilton!

Hotels in Tokyo

There are lots of hotel options in Tokyo. The most common ones for miles and points enthusiasts are the Park Hyatt (30,000 Hyatt points) and the Andaz Tokyo (25,000 Hyatt points). Both a great use of Ultimate Rewards points, Hyatt points, or the Hyatt credit card sign-up nights (rooms can go for upwards of $800!).

The Park Hyatt Tokyo became famous in 2003's "Lost in Translation", where Bill Murray stayed.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo became famous in 2003’s “Lost in Translation”, where Bill Murray stayed.

With no nights at the Park Hyatt available and not wanting to spend 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points at the Andaz, I looked into other options.

The Best Tool for Finding Hotel Award Night Availability

Hands down, the best tool for finding hotel award night availability is Wandering Aramean’s Hotel Hustle. All you do is enter the airport code, so in my case, HND or NRT and search the nights. I recommend searching one night at a time, then verifying it on the hotel’s website:

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 6.29.34 PM

I then used the ‘Hotel Chains’ box to filter by what chain points I had, which were 117,000 Marriott:

hotel hustle prince sakura

With the options being 40,000 – 70,000, I choose the 40,000 point option. But with 117,000 points, 6 nights of staying, I’d need 240,000 points, right?

Though Marriott points don’t have the greatest value and devalue (more to be discussed in the next post), this seemed like a great redemption: solid location, good reviews, and 40,000 points per night for a $386 hotel room.

Marriott and Hilton have a stay 4, get 5th night free policy, even on points! So, 6 nights would cost me 200,000 points! I still needed 83,000 points, but I didn’t want to lose the award night availability.

Marriott also allows you to book without enough points. You just need to be sure you have all the points in your account 14 days before you check-in. So I made my reservation, prematurely.

Having already earned the sign-up of 80,000 points on the Marriott card, I signed up for the same offer for my wife. After meeting the spend and getting approved, she had 83,000 points. Marriott ALSO allows you to share points if it’ll complete the award stay!

117,000 + 83,000 = 200,000 Marriott points/6 nights, or $2,298.

Why Marriott points aren’t as bad as everyone thinks:

  • Make redemptions without all points in account (you can do this online)
  • Stay 4 nights, get the fifth night free (this discount is automatically taken into account online)
  • Share points to complete award stays (you must call in, but the process to share points takes about 15 minutes)

Not only does Marriott have these three great benefits, they’re all relatively straightforward processes.

Marriott Credit Card

Currently, like the Hilton card, the Marriott card is at it’s highest of 80,000 points for $3,000 in spending in three months, plus an additional 7,500 points for adding an authorized user. If you and your significant other or friend both sign up for the account, after spending and adding an authorized user you’ll each have 90,500 points, or 181,000 points combined! Lots of great redemptions to be had. The highest category Marriott, category 9, is 45,000 points. With 180,000 points you’d have enough for 4 nights at the nicest Marriott hotels… wait, with the 5th night free, that would be five!

Two last comments:

  1. Remember the new Chase churning rules.
  2. Unless it’s 1 – 2,000 points, you probably don’t want to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott.

 

-The Miner

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