I’m not one to procrastinate booking travel, especially holiday travel when I know flights and hotel rooms cost extra and the availability is limited, but there I was, six hours before a flight to my next destination without a place to stay on Christmas Day.
Here’s how it all began.
December in Southeast Asia
I spent most of December in Southeast Asia, thanks to an awesome flight deal from San Francisco to Hong Kong that I booked last summer. The transpacific flights on Cathay Pacific cost only $347, and I took advantage of the low fare to visit both the Chinese autonomous territory and a Southeast Asian country that has fascinated me for quite some time—Myanmar.
Typically, if I travel in low/shoulder season, especially in inexpensive destinations, I book my nights as I go. This strategy gives me an opportunity to make plans on a whim and change them as I see fit. My travel companion and I were moving at a pace we were both comfortable with for a few weeks and somehow didn’t think about booking a night in Hong Kong before our return flight home. We both knew it was going to be Christmas Day but somehow didn’t bother to book anything in advance.
So, image my “surprise” when we were frantically rummaging various hotel websites mere hours before having to wake up for our flight to Hong Kong and not finding anything decent in our budget. The affordable options were ridden with bed bugs and stained sheets, according to grim hotel reviews, and we wanted to avoid paying premium rates at a fancy place.
Points and Miles to the Rescue
Feeling increasing anxiety, I messaged a points and miles enthusiast who happened to be a World of Hyatt Globalist member and, more importantly, a friend. I explained our dire situation and asked if she could book a room at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui on our behalf. At only 15,000 World of Hyatt points, this five-star property is a steal, and I had already checked to make sure that standard rooms were still available.
Within minutes, she sent me a confirmation email and tips on which food to try at the Club Lounge. See, as her Guest of Honor, I qualified for the same Globalist benefits as she did because she used points from her Hyatt account to book this award stay.
Guest of Honor Perks
From the moment we checked into our room on the 22nd floor, I knew we made the best of our dumb decisions. After sleeping on hard beds, and even the floor, in Myanmar, the Hyatt beds felt like clouds. And a high-pressure shower that didn’t flood the entire bathroom after use was a bonus. (If you’ve been to Southeast Asia, you know exactly what I mean.)
At dinner time, my friend and I enjoyed complimentary snacks and cocktails on the 23rd floor and viewed a laser show put on display by the skyscrapers across the bay. And in the morning, we had a wonderful breakfast overlooking the same bay in the daylight, also free with our stay. It was a Christmas miracle! We went from having a panic attack the night before to experiencing a luxurious hotel the following day, all thanks to the points and miles and having friends in the right places.
Of course, I could’ve transferred points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to my Hyatt account, but then we wouldn’t have gotten any of the Globalist perks (I’m a Discoverist member, thanks to my Hyatt Credit Card). And if you’re curious about the fate of the owed 15,000 points, I will pay my friend back from my stash of Ultimate Rewards points.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
To start collecting World of Hyatt points, you can open the World of Hyatt Credit Card that comes with a bonus of 60,000 points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card opening. Sixty thousand points is enough to cover four nights at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, and you can see this wonderful property for yourself.
Do you know anyone with the Hyatt Globalist status? Have you experienced great benefits thanks to their status?
[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Mingboaugdea]
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