Double Duty Daddy

‘Booking Japan’ – How I Booked 6 Nights Of Luxury Hotels for Free

The title may be a tiny bit misleading. You see, I did pay $0 dollars out-of-pocket for 6 nights of hotel in Japan. However, my credit score and points were sacrificed in order to accomplish this travel feat.

Let me explain.

I wanted to secure our JAL first class tickets first before moving onto hotels but I already had a few particular ones in mind. I’ve said before that I love staying at Airbnb’s but for Japan, the hotel service industry is ultra high-end and customer service is of upmost importance to the Japanese. Simply put, I wanted us her to feel pampered the entire trip and not just on the flights.

I spent an embarrassingly large amount of hours looking at reviews for hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto during the holiday break. Not just any hotels, Hyatt hotels. Tokyo has four well-known Hyatt properties but the grand daddy of them all, Park Hyatt Tokyo, was the one I had my eyes on the most. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Lost In Translation’ with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, you’ll recognize that the Park Hyatt Tokyo was where they filmed practically the entire movie.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo is acclaimed as one of the world’s best hotels for the over-the-top service and eye-popping views of Tokyo. With rates starting at $500 per night, one thing I did know is I wouldn’t be spending anywhere near $500 per night to stay here. Park Hyatt’s are category 7 hotels, the Hyatt chain’s most prestigious tier level. One night at a category 7 hotel will set you back 30,000 points per night which is still a better deal than paying $500+ cash. In 2014, I signed up for the Chase Hyatt credit card that came with 2 free nights at any Hyatt in the world. I used my 2 free nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome and was upgraded to a suite which had a whopping rate of $1,200 per night! Since I had used my 2 free nights already, booking with my Chase Ultimate Reward points transferred to Hyatt was what I would do.

I debated on the Andaz Tokyo (a Hyatt property) that’s got the chic, modern look we both love and outstanding reviews but ultimately, couldn’t pass up not experiencing the Park Hyatt Tokyo for ourselves to see if the hype is warranted.

View from the New York Grill inside the Park Hyatt Tokyo

View from the New York Grill inside the Park Hyatt Tokyo

Because spending 30,000 points on a hotel room is usually not my style, I was still going to book the Park Hyatt but not for all 4 nights in Tokyo as I wanted to preserve my Chase Ultimate Rewards balance and feel great about my booking. Through research, the Conrad Tokyo kept popping up as one of a handful of highly regarded hotels in Tokyo. I’ve long been aware of the Citi Hilton Reserve card as having a generous sign-up bonus of 2 free nights at any Hilton property worldwide but had never felt compelled to apply…..until now.

Since Conrad hotels are part of the Hilton family, I could use my 2 nights at the Conrad Tokyo where rates start at $500 (just like the Park Hyatt) and not need to use any additional points. I signed up for the card last month and just met my minimum spend. In 4-6 weeks I should receive the 2 free nights and I’ll book our first 2 hotel nights in Japan at the Conrad Tokyo for free.

Conrad Tokyo

Conrad Tokyo

I’ll use 60,000 points for 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and 40,000 points for 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto (arguably best reviewed hotel in Kyoto and 4.5 stars) for a grand total of 100,000 points. Thanks to 3 years of accruing Chase Ultimate Rewards (my favorite points currency), I am able to splurge a bit and use my hard-earned points on luxurious hotel stays.

Conclusion:

With a sign-up bonus of 2 free nights at ANY Hilton worldwide from the Citi Hilton Reserve and 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to Hyatt), I was able to get 6 nights at the 5* Conrad Tokyo, 5* Park Hyatt Tokyo and 4.5* Hyatt Regency Kyoto for $0 out-of-pocket.

Summary:

With 2 roundtrip tickets in JAL First Class retailing at $44,000 + six nights of 4.5*-5* hotels retailing close to $4,000, I spent $98 OUT-OF-POCKET on flights and hotels for our entire 7 day trip in Japan.

 

Any questions or comments, please share! 

 

 

Disclaimer: Researching, accruing points and knowing which cards to get requires WORK. Work that requires hours of research, time and effort. The above dollar amount is simply an example of how you can build an aspirational trip with some travel hacking strategies.

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4 Comments

  1. C Contreras January 12, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Great read that effectively highlighted both getting great value with smart point redemption choices with a bit of sweat and research as well of the value of patience when it comes to point redemption.

    Now if I only had all those points racked up to t try and duplicate this awesome trip you have planned!

    • DD Daddy January 12, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks for your kind feedback CC. You could duplicate this trip in 2-player mode with your partner. It would take a couple of months to rack up enough points and get the free nights of hotel but it is absolutely feasible if you really want it. Let me know if I can help at all facilitate an aspirational trip for you. Thanks for reading!

  2. Marcela C January 13, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Great read! Thanks for sharing. I aspire to be this travel savy. Great travels to you and Stephanie!

    • DD Daddy January 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Marcela!

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