Tag Archives: Hyatt

Hotel Points

This post is dedicated to my sister who has recently joined the travel hacking family.  As the Frugal Travel Guy talked about today, networking is one of the best things you can do in this game.  And I’m so happy to have another family member joining this game.  One thing that she said she wished she knew more about was how to earn and maximize use of hotel points.  I do not profess to be an expert in this arena, but it did get me thinking.

I love the Starwood Amex credit card.  I’m sure you’ve heard many travel blogger touting this card and there’s a reason why.  You get a point for every dollar you spend.  When you transfer 20,000 points to an airline program, you get an extra 5,000 points transfer, essentially making your earn rate 1.25 per dollar spent.  But the feature I like best with Starwood points is the cash and points option for hotel redemption.  For example, if you wanted to stay at one of their category 5 hotels, it would cost 12,000 – 16,000 points OR 4,800 points and $90.  The cash and points option allows you to stretch your points further which is important for those of us who don’t have as many points.

You could also get one of the other hotel credit cards if you don’t want to stay at a Starwood hotel.  The one that I like the most right now is the Chase Hyatt Visa.  It comes with 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt (you get the first one after your first purchase and the second one after you spend $1,000 on the card within 3 months).

Another option is to get a non-hotel credit card that allows you to transfer points to hotel programs.  There are many credit cards that fall into this category.  My favorite all around use card that allows this is the Chase Sapphire Visa.  It is now my go to card.  However, there is a great offer out there for the Bank of American Virgin Atlantic American Express card.  You get 20,000 miles after first purchase and another 25,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on the card within the first 3 months.  (You can also get another 5,000 miles if you add 2 authorized users to the account.)  Virgin Atlantic miles transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 rate.  So this deal will yield you nearly 100,000 Hilton points!

Now 100,000 points means very different things in different programs.  So how do you know if 100,000 points is any good?  My suggestion would be to check out the Million Mile Secrets web site.  One of the top tabs on the site is called Miles & Points Resources.  This gives you a drop down Airline Award Charts, Airline Frequent Flyer Program Sign-up, Hotel Reward Night Charts, and Hotel Reward Program Sign-up.  It’s a quick and easy way to navigate to each program’s chart (so you don’t have to hunt and peck around each site).  In Hilton’s case, 100,000 points will get you 4 nights at a category 3 hotel, about 3 nights at a category 4 – 5 hotel or 2 nights at a category 6 – 7 hotel (you could get quite a bit more at a category 1 – 2 hotel, but personally I wouldn’t stay at a category 1 – 2 hotel).  Hilton also has a cash and money option, so you could stretch your points even further.

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Hyatt Regency Maui – Activities

There are many, many activities, shops and restaurants at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.  We attended the Drums of the Pacific Luau and our kids attended Camp Hyatt at night while we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Japengo.

Last year we attended the Royal Lahaina Luau.  We were worried that it wasn’t going to be good based on the review on TripAdvisor.  People were rather harsh, especially about the buffet.  We really enjoyed the show and the fact that they had a kids buffet.  This year, we decided to try a different luau to get a different perspective. So we decided to attend the Drums of the Pacific Luau since it was located right at the Hyatt Regency.

The location for the Drums of the Pacific luau was definitely better than the Royal Lahaina luau.  The food for adults was also better, but I did miss having a kids buffet area.  I’m not a drinker so I can’t really tell you if there were major differences in the drinks.  They both served mai tais as the main drink for the adults.  At the Drums of the Pacific you could also get beer or wine.  But I have to say that I enjoyed the Royal Lahaina performance much more.  The Drums of the Pacific show had a fashion show of different ways you could where pareaus (sarong).  And there dances were slower paced with several of them telling a story.  After the performance at the Royal Lahaina performance last year that was very upbeat, I wasn’t expecting so many slow songs.  And considering the Royal Lahaina luau was less expensive (especially if you have kids), I would recommend it over the Drums of the Pacific.

Before we left for our trip, we decided that we should treat ourselves to a nice night out alone.  Using Hyatt’s e-Concierge service, I set up reservations for the kids to attend Camp Hyatt while we went to Japengo.  I got a confirmation email from Hyatt for both reservations.  Camp Hyatt opens at night at 6PM.  Our reservation for Japengo was for 6:30.  We decided we’d take the kids down to Camp Hyatt at 6 and walk around on the beach until 6:30.  However, when we got down to Camp Hyatt, it was closed; all the lights were off and the door was locked.  We walked down to the Concierge Desk to find out what happened.  Long story short, they lost the reservation.  At one point, they said it wasn’t even possible to book Camp Hyatt through e-Concierge.  I then showed them the email confirmation which showed that it was possible and which concierge had confirmed the reservation.  This may sound like a little nightmare, but it really wasn’t.  The concierge who assisted us was absolutely wonderful.  She got someone up to open up Camp Hyatt, talked with the manager about the situation (who asked for a copy of the email so he could look into it) and called Japengo to let them know we were on the way.  We got there right at 6:30.  They also reimbursed 50% of the Camp Hyatt charge.

Our dinner at Japengo was incredible!  I had read reviews on TripAdvisor where people complained about the price.  It’s a fancy restaurant overlooking the ocean at a resort on Maui – do you really expect it to be inexpensive?  We were seated outside near the ocean.  Our waitress was attentive without being annoying. And the food was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. We got sushi and the crab and shrimp cakes as our appetizers and loved it. I got the Tengu Seafood Grill and my husband got the China Town Chow Fun for our entrees. I seriously wanted to lick the sauce off the plate it was so good.

And while we were enjoying our dinner, our kids had a great time at Camp Hyatt.  They made “stained glass” crafts and watched the Smurf movie.  It was an amazing end to an amazing vacation.

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Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

This is the first post in the trip report of our trip to Maui.  I will have posts about: the Hyatt Regency Maui in general, Hyatt Regency Maui activities (including the Drums of the Pacific Luau, Camp Hyatt and Japengo), Ka’anapali Beach, Haleakala, the Road to Hana, the Pacific Whale Foundation, and the Northwest region and Iao.

We were so fortunate to stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.  Last year, I applied for the Hyatt Visa which came with 2 free nights at any Hyatt property.  I also got the 100,000 point bonus Capital One card.  I redeemed the points for $1,800 worth of Hyatt gift checks.  We stayed at the property for 6 nights, our kids went to Camp Hyatt for 2 hours one of the nights, my husband got mai tais at the grotto bar and we went out for a fancy dinner at Japengo.  Our out of pocket expense at check out was….about $60.

The Hyatt Visa gave me platinum status with Hyatt until February 2013 (so about 2 years).  One of the benefits of platinum status is you get “a preferred room including rooms on higher floors or larger rooms, based on availability upon arrival”.  We booked a standard double room and we were given a partial ocean view room!

Our room:

The grounds:

Our kids loved the pools.  They mainly stayed in the kiddie pool area.  The area in the pictures below show this.  There is one area where the water is only about 1 – 2 feet deep (where you see all the floating animals).  This area also has a small slide for the little kids.  The area right behind that area (beyond the nets) is around 5 feet deep.  There is a much larger slide that empties into that area.  Kids must be at least 48″ tall to go on that slide.  The slide empties into water that is about 9 feet deep.  My older son, husband and I loved the slide.  My younger son wasn’t tall enough to go on it but he loved the smaller slide.  The larger slide take 5 – 7 seconds to slide down.

There is a larger pool area that we didn’t spend any time at.  The water is deeper – 4 feet and up.  Between the kiddie pool and the larger pool is a cave area that has waterfalls at both entrances.  The grotto bar is located in the cave.

About the only “complaint” that I have is that I wish there was a pool area where the depth was around 3 – 3 1/2 feet deep.  There were some areas, right where you get in that were around that depth but they quickly got deeper to around 5 feet deep.  The kiddie pool was quite shallow and 5 feet deep is too deep for most kids.

I had read some reviews on TripAdvisor that weren’t so favorable.  Many people talked about some construction that they were doing to update the hotel.  I’m happy to say that that seemed to be over when we were there.  We saw no signs of construction.  And as you can tell from our room pictures, the hotel is very up to date.  There were also some comments on TripAdvisor complaining about parking.  We had absolutely no issues with parking even when the luau was happening.  There are 4 parking lots that you can use.  Two are fairly small in the front of the hotel (to the right as you’re entering the resort).  There’s also a rather large parking lot in the back of the resort (the entry is to the left right before the circle for valet parking).  We never had a time when we couldn’t find parking in one of those 3 lots.  However, if those are ever full, you can also park in the self-parking lot near the golf course.

We loved our stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui.  We found everyone we encountered to be very friendly.  The grounds were absolutely beautiful and the kids loved the pools.  There was so much to do at the resort and it’s located at Ka’anapali Beach.  I would definitely recommend this resort to friends.

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Hyatt Card Free Night Annually – Category 1 – 4 only

Recently Hyatt Visa announced that their credit card would come with a free night (Categories 1 – 4 only) annually.  This matches what a lot of other hotel credit cards already do.  Hyatt has 6 categories for their hotels.  There are a relatively few number (32 in the US) which land into categories 5 and 6.  Those are the higher end, resort type hotels.  The card comes with a $75 annual fee, so the free night might make it worth it to keep the card.  That will help your credit age, which should help with your credit score.  You can check out their list of hotels by category using this link.  There’s a drop-down box in the upper right of the main section where you can filter for each category level.

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