TravelWhimsy and I recently spent our Easter weekend in Washington, DC for the 100th Anniversary of Cherry Blossom. For most of our cross-country weekend vacation runs, we’d use the $50 Country Inn & Suites certificates or Choice points we scored in last year’s Daily Getaways for hotel stays ($30-50/night).
For this trip (not our first time in DC), we decided to book and pay for one night at the Park Hyatt Washington DC, which normally goes for $400+/night. After the 14.5% tax, our hotel bill came in at $227.85; all the benefits we received for booking through American Express FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) made this stay practically free. I am going to talk about how you can do this, too, even if you don’t have the American Express Platinum card required for an FHR booking (I’ve cancelled my card already).
American Express FHR or other luxury hotel booking services usually offer the same rates as the hotel’s best available online refundable rates. The base rate I got in November 2011 was $199. When booked with American Express FHR, we received:
- $100 food & beverage credit (tax & gratuity included);
- Complimentary breakfast buffet for two (tax & gratuity included, a $60 value);
- Complimentary room upgrade (we were upgraded to a Hypo-Allergenic Respire suite);
- Late check-out at 4pm.
Park Hyatt Washington DC also offers complimentary bike rentals, which we took advantage of and saved us $70 for a rental period of 4 hours. In addition, use of the well-equipped business center, fitness center, pool/Jacuzzi is complimentary. The hotel even offers a complimentary BMW sedan service on weekdays (we did not get a chance to use it). Wifi is free for elite members, but you can get platinum status just for having the Hyatt Visa Card. I was able to pay for the stay with my Hyatt card (even though I booked with my American Express Platinum card), which enabled me to earn a total of over 1,800 Hyatt points (at least a $27 value) for the one-night stay.
Now, let’s walk through an example of how you can book a night at the Park Hyatt Washington DC, without having an American Express Platinum card. You only need to have any Visa Signature card or any Chase card (the Chase Luxury Hotel Collection is supposed to be for premium card holders only, but I tested it with my fee-free Chase Freedom card and had no problem accessing the site).
Let’s say you are looking for a room for Saturday night during Memorial Day weekend. The official Hyatt site is showing the best daily rate of $249 ($285.10 after taxes).
Option 1: Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection
Access the website here to search for the hotel we want.
You can get the same rate of $249 for the date you prefer.
If you click on the “see details & book” button, you will see the property-specific benefits – you get only a $25 food credit, but you instead get complimentary valet parking (which could be valuable for Washington, DC, or any other metropolitan areas).
Option 2: Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
You can access the website here.
A search for the Park Hyatt Washington DC will take you to the following page.
If you check availability, you will be asked to enter the first six digits of your Chase card number.
Following the steps will lead you to the list of available hotels, and the Park Hyatt Washington DC lists the following room options (add-to-cart prices include taxes) and guest privileges.
As you can see, the Chase benefits include a $75 food credit but no valet parking. Both the Visa Signature and Chase options give you a $75 value (instead of the American Express FHR $100 food credit). When your vacation needs call for a luxury hotel stay at the likes of the Park Hyatt Washington DC, this might give you the best bang for your buck!
By the way, the Park Hyatt Washington DC is a Hyatt top-category-6 hotel, which requires 22,000 Hyatt points for a free night. I conservatively value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents/point (Hyatt points can be purchased at 2.4 cents/point), so if I am in need of such a hotel night, anything under $330 is worth considering. Feel free to try your luck buying Hyatt points in the upcoming Daily Getaways promotion.
Let me know what you think! I respond to all comments.