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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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The Hyatt Regency Tokyo Offers Outstanding Redemption Value at 12,000 Points per Night

I recently stayed for three nights at the Hyatt Regency in Tokyo.   The hotel was clearly Hyatt’s flagship property in Japan when built in 1980.   And, while it has seen finer days and the rooms have not been recently renovated, it is a perfectly comfortable hotel in which to base yourself for a couple of days in Tokyo.   The location is perfect for Tokyo, right in the middle of the Shinjuku neighborhood.   There is a great pool and health club on the top floors that is free for guests to use.

All of the blogs about credit card rewards are filled with drivel about which Hyatt is the best in Tokyo – the Park Hyatt, the Andaz or the Grand Hyatt.   And, while I am sure all three of those hotels are great, each of them is going to set you back between 25,000 and 30,000 Hyatt points a night.   It is neat that the Hyatt Regency can be redeemed for less than half of the redemption value of any of these hotels, especially since the rack rate at the Hyatt Regency is about $600 which is not that much lower than the rack rate at these other Hyatts and which gives you a redemption value close to 5 cents per point.

In a major world class city, it is very rare to find great, cheap redemptions on Hyatts (or any hotels for that matter).   You will not find a Hyatt in New York or London or Paris for less than 25,000 to 30,000 points.   But, you will find one in Tokyo.

There of course are other great category 3 Hyatt hotels.    I myself have recently stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto and the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in New Mexico.   The Hyatt Regency Tokyo, however, offers a better redemption value.

Bottom line: Save your Hyatt points for the other great redemptions that Hyatt offers and opt for the Hyatt Regency Tokyo when in Japan.

See and compare all of the credit cards that enable you to earn Hyatt points or points that can be transferred to Hyatt here.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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Considering Delta One to Japan? Think Again

I recently flew Delta One from Minneapolis to Tokyo.   While I used to fly Delta all the time to Europe when it dominated routes from Atlanta and New York to Germany, Spain and Moscow, it has not been my airline of choice for many years.   Yet with all the hoopla around the new Delta One service with Delta being the first to offer a “private suite” with closing doors, I decided to give it a go on a recent trip to Asia.   I had plenty of Delta miles and at 90,000 points for a one-way ticket, it seemed to present fair value on an awards chart that hasn’t had much value for a long time.

The suite seemed comfortable and spacious and the service was excellent.   Delta always has some US flight attendants with tremendous attitudes, but their Japan-bound flights have some Japanese attendants who are excellent.    The seats seemed to me to lie completely flat (some other reviews that I have read suggested that they were not completely flat) and while they are narrower than the business class seats that the Asia carriers fly, I was able to get several hours of sound sleep lying flat on my back.     The door that makes the compartment a suite and provides some level of privacy from the aisle traffic (even though it can easily be looked over) was something that I really enjoyed throughout the flight.  

Where the Delta One product completely failed was as we were arriving in Tokyo and as I adjusted my seat to search for anything that I may have dropped over the previous eleven hours.   At that point, I looked at the floor to discover that I had been sitting in someone else’s filth for a half of a day.   There was food there that was old and crusted, including a Japanese roll that fell out when I adjusted the seat and that had to have been there through more than one cleaning round in Minneapolis or Tokyo.    The entire experience was so disgusting that it totally ruined the whole flight experience, and left me wondering how Delta can compete in the lucrative US – Asia market where their one-way seats routinely sell for $7,000 plus.  American customers may no longer expect clean planes, but Asian long-haul customers certainly still do.

All in all, Delta’s new first class product to Tokyo is fair to good, but they need to do a much better job adjusting and fully cleaning these lie flat seats when they turn their planes around.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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Platinum Card Is No Longer Accepting Delta Gift Cards Against Airline Credits; Platinum’s Value is Increasingly Questionable

American Express’s Platinum card once gave cardholders a $200 annual credit against airline purchases.   Several years ago, Amex “upgraded” its program by only applying the $200 annual credit against incidentals at a single airline that cardholders needed to specify beforehand.   Savvy cardholders realized from searches on the internet that they would continue to get the full credit by specifying Delta as their chosen airline and purchasing 4 gift cards of $50 each.   (There is also anecdotal evidence that this worked for American Airlines too, but with Delta, it was always certain).   As another new “upgrade” for 2019, Amex is no longer accepting Delta’s $50 gift card charges as an incidental and will charge you their full cost.

Amex seems to just be constantly “upgrading” the Platinum card such that it is becoming harder and harder to see its value against the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the newly improved Citibank Prestige card.   It is especially remarkable since Amex used to bend over backwards to keep Platinum cardholders happy.

These days, they now charge $550 per year for the card (“upgraded” from $450) and give you small monthly Uber credits that are often not properly credited.   While access to United and American lounge access has been lost (and Delta is no limited to the cardholder only), you do have access to the Centurion lounges, but they are most likely to be more crowded than the terminal itself.   Plus, you may not always be given access and they won’t let in a single cardholder with more than one kid.

Platinum does now give 5 points per dollar for travel booked directly with the airline, but as of January 4, 2019, that has been matched by Citibank’s Prestige card.   Both the Prestige card and Chase’s Sapphire Reserve Card (which only gives 3 points per dollar on airlines) offer better compensation in the event of a flight delay or cancellation.

Of course, Platinum still has their Fine Hotels and Resorts program that can be incredibly valuable, giving you a third or fourth night free and an upgrade to a suite.  But, if you don’t use that program, the Platinum card’s value is increasingly questionable.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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