I thought I had stumbled upon the glitch of the century while putting together a trip to New York this spring… If you don’t have millions of points, New York hotels can be tough, since even the mediocre ones are high-category hotels within the loyalty program. I had planned to cash out my IHG points on two nights at an Even hotel, and then drain what’s left of my Hyatt balance at one of the many category 6 hotels in the city. Because I don’t have cash available for this trip, I’m willing to accept less-than-ideal returns on both of these (although the IHG one is almost coming up at $.01 per point, which is actually pretty good for them).
Anyway, I logged in to my Gold Passport account and looked at award availability, and something curious popped up:
One, I didn’t expect to see points availability at the Park Hyatt NY, since they almost never have basic room availability. However, what really got my attention was the free night showing up, since this is the one I earn through the Hyatt card, and it’s supposed to be limited to categories 1-4. I selected it and tried to complete the booking, although it kept throwing an error on the final step, telling me that the rate rules prevent me from booking the room online and suggesting I call the service line. I know exactly what the service line would tell me – that the free night doesn’t apply to the Park Hyatt and would I please stop trying to bend the rules already. I tried in a couple browsers just to see if I could make magic happen, but it was to no avail. What a tease, right? I was also getting cha-ching eyes thinking about how I could write about yet another Hyatt glitch, and I think I might even be more disappointed about losing out on all that potential sweet blog traffic!
At that point, I was considering transferring in an extra 5000 points and trying out the Park Hyatt, but after my last two Park Hyatt experiences, I don’t know if it’s worth it. I mean sure, the hotel looks gorgeous, but the PH Chicago and PH Vendome looked amazing too, and I wasn’t blown away by either. Instead, I slunk back down to category 6 and booked the Andaz 5th avenue, which I’m to understand is halfway decent. (I love the Andaz Wall St., and they even had upgraded rooms available for the normal 25,000 redemption rate, but the location just doesn’t work for this trip.)
Am I crazy for giving up the Park Hyatt luxury lifestyle to save a paltry 5000 Ultimate Rewards points? I thought the Andaz was a reasonable compromise, given that the only cheaper options were a Hyatt Place and Hyatt House for 20,000 points each, which seems really high for what you get. I still have time to change my mind in either direction, though, so if the Hyatt Place is amazing and the Andaz is just meh, I might downgrade. Likewise, if the Park Hyatt blew your socks off and you had to buy more socks because of how much it kept blowing your socks off, let me know. I’ll also see if I can find your socks.
I ran across the same almost-hack last summer when I was booking a birthday trip for my wife. I ended up booking the Andaz 5th Avenue instead and loved it so much we returned again 2 months later. All of our stays were booked with points and it was well worth it. The location of the Andaz 5th Ave is really ideal, in my opinion. Also, thanks to my frequent business travel and recently acquired Diamond status, I was able to take advantage of my Diamond benefits and enjoy ~$100 worth of room service breakfast every morning. I’m very tempted to stay at the “flagship” Park Hyatt New York but finding availability has been difficult and the location just isn’t ideal for most of our planned NYC activities.