I have talked a little bit about the transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, but I have yet to put them in action. I talk so highly about the benefits, but haven’t actually used them yet. So naturally, one should not believe me one bit.
Well, I have finally put them to use. I have an upcoming trip to Seattle, WA and I have been trying to book a stay at one of the numerous hotels in the downtown area. There are a few different properties, all with really good award rates–the problem is a lot of the hotels only offer a certain amount of “standard” award capable rooms. While I was able to cash in on the 100,000 point sign up bonus, I am not looking to blow all my points on this one 3-night stay. The Grand Hyatt and Hyatt at Olive 8 properties are the nicest Hyatt properties according to the company scale (category 4). But I know I can get even better value at the Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown. A category 3 hotel, right across from the Space Needle. In going to the Hyatt website, I knew the Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown (yes, the one right across from the Space Needle) offered a 12,000 points/night rate.
When I go on to try and book for that hotel, during the three nights I need, I see availability for paid nights but no award availability! (There is not really any award availability in Seattle for those nights) So I am stuck. But how can there be nights available but no award nights?
First what I did was dig around the Hyatt website for policies in regards to blackout dates and award policies. And this is what I found (straight from Hyatt’s website)
So this is saying, standard-rooms are not subject to blackout dates when booking with awards. In other words, as long as there are standard rooms available, the hotel must offer award nights. When I say standard rooms, I mean standard rooms not standard rates. I spent the better part of two hours hopping on and off the phone with Hyatt, combing through the policies–all to go to fail.
When I saw “standard rate,” that’s what I interpreted as the standard room. Unfortunately, standard rooms are defined by each hotel, and the standard rate you see was explained to me as the daily rate of the room. The ‘King Bed Studio’ has a standard rate of $419/night, but is not a standard room, however the ‘King Bed Den Guestroom’ is the standard room. There is no way of knowing that until you try to book with awards.
While I thought I would be able to book over the phone because of the “no blackout” policy, all reps I spoke to stood firm that no standard rooms were available. I had lost all hope.
Which brings me to this morning. My daily routine for the past week or so has been to check on this hotel for award availability. With some kind of miracle, the 12,000 points/night room was available for the dates I wanted! I was ecstatic–haven’t seen this in the month or so I’ve been trying to get it. I wanted 3 nights, totaling 36,000 points– one problem, I only had 30,391 points in my Hyatt account (amassed from a 3 month work assignment). I knew I had to act fast in fear that room would be gone.
So what I needed to do was transfer 6,000 points over from Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and fast! As mentioned above, I have talked very highly about Chase Ultimate Rewards but never actually used them. With the exception of a few, most point transfer are supposed to happen simultaneously (with Hyatt being one of those). Today, I can say that is completely true. I actually expected a few minute delay, but no! Once I got the “Successfully Transferred” screen with Chase, I went straight to Chase and booked the room with points. No problems whatsoever. When Chase says instantaneous, they mean instantaneous!
The final leg…
While this ended up working out for me, the biggest fault I made here was booking too late. While Hyatt has a no blackout date policy for their free award nights, some hotels have only a select few rooms that qualify for that benefit. And when it comes to a Hyatt property right across from the Space Needle, the award space is going to be limited. Nevertheless, persistence is always key. And with that persistance I booked a room for 36,000 points, with a total cash value of $1,197! The rest of my trip I plan on booking directly through the Ultimate Rewards portal, stay tuned!