Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to choose a hotel brand to be loyal to?

I've been around the hotel block a few times. I've been loyal to different brands and I saw the rise and fall of their hotels, service and loyalty program.

I believe that the biggest disappointment I've ever experience was with Hilton and its Hilton HHonors program.  Through the years, Hilton properties lost their appeal and became mass market hostels. I know it's an exaggeration, but that's how I feel after several stays in different Hiltons and its brands hotels, that include: Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites, etc.

These are a few reviews I did on Tripadvisor on Hilton US  properties recently:

Tropicana Las Vegas 
Hilton Palm Springs Resort 
Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown 
The Fess Parker: A Doubletree Hilton Resort

Hilton Honors points have no value at all and you need at least 50.000 (yes, fifty thousand points) to get a one night stay in one of their properties. You can easily find 100.000 point for a night in a mediocre Hilton property. 

Internationally, the bar is higher for Hilton, but the name's brand became synonymous of a bad stay for me, so I started to search for a replacement brand for my travels.

That's when I found Hyatt and their Gold Passport program. 

With several brands like Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Park House, Grand Hyatt and Andaz, Hyatt has a hotel for every taste and budged, but all of them have something in common: a step ahead of the competition with good service and more luxurious accommodations.

I recently stayed at the Andaz Maui at Wailea and it was amazing to experience the level of service they provided at this property. My review at Tripadvisor is called "Perfection" and you can read it and see images by clicking here.

Their Gold Passport program is the best loyalty program out there. The points necessary to get free stays are fair and accessible:

 I opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred card with Chase, and I got 50.000 points as part of the sign up promotion. On top of it, you get double or triple points for travel and restaurants expenses. You can transfers points from the Chase Sapphire program into your Hyatt Gold Passport account on a 1:1 ratio.

As a result, I'm spending 6 night at the Hyatt Regency in Hong Kong (a four stars, level 4 hotel) at the end of the year, and I will be able to do it, just using 90.000 points for the whole stay. In comparison, every night at the Conrad Hilton in Hong Kong will cost you 70.000 Hilton Honors points and they blocked out several nights around New Year's Eve. 

Hyatt just opened the Park Hyatt 57th Street in Manhattan, the flagship hotel for the brand. It's nice to be loyal to a brand that is always improving and evolving.

Safe travels, everyone!


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