Two of our final destinations in Asia were Japan and Hong Kong, some of the more expensive places in Asia (and the world). We decided this would be a good use of our points. While researching, we found accommodation to be outrageously expensive. I’ll give a mini review of each hotel we stayed at, and then an explanation of how you can stay for free as well.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
This hotel is gorgeous and considered one of Hyatt’s best properties. It is located on the top floors of the Shinjuki Park Tower building. It’s also the hotel made famous in the movie Lost in Translation. The room felt a little dated, but was still top notch. Our view of the city was breathtaking. A platinum status benefit we received was two complimentary wake up drinks in the morning. All we needed to do was call room service in the morning and order the drinks we wanted.
The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to and from Shinjuku station throughout most of the day (otherwise it’s a 15 minute walk). From there you can connect to anywhere in Tokyo. There may be more convenient properties in Tokyo, but it was nice to spend 3 nights in pure luxury at this hotel.
How we did it
The Hyatt credit card awards two free nights at any property worldwide after meeting the minimum spending requirements. Brittany and I both applied for this card. We used 3 of our total 4 free nights after meeting this offer at this hotel. This is one of the best uses of these free nights as this is one of Hyatt’s few category 7 properties. If you do not have free night certificates, the other option is to use points. This is a category 7 property that costs 30,000 Hyatt points a night.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto
We ended up staying 2 nights at this hotel (we spent our first night in Kyoto at an Airbnb). This hotel was located within walking distance of many temples and attractions. However, it is not located close to many restaurants (except a McDonalds). One nice touch is that the hotel offers a free one-way taxi from Kyoto station with MK taxi. We ended up taking this taxi after we left our Airbnb. We liked the decor of the room and thought it felt very Japanese. For a platinum gift, we received a 3,000 Yen (~$30) coupon that was good at any of the hotel restaurants, bar, or spa treatments. We used it one night during happy hour at the hotel’s bar and had a great time! We really enjoyed both Kyoto and this hotel.
How we did it
This is a category 5 property costing 20,000 Hyatt points a night. However, there was a promotion that you needed to register for a while back that gave 10% back in redeemed points through the end of October, so this only really ended up costing us 18,000 points a night. I transferred over some Chase Ultimate Rewards points into my Hyatt account to make this booking.
Hyatt Regency Osaka
We knew we wanted to visit Universal Studios Japan (USJ), in particular to visit the Harry Potter theme park. This hotel is located very close to USJ. Unfortunately, it is not close to anything else, but we knew that in advance.
Getting Downtown Osaka
The hotel offers free shuttles between the hotel and Osaka station that run every 30 minutes. They start at 8:00 in the morning from the hotel, and 8:30 AM from Osaka station; 9:30 PM is the last shuttle from the hotel and 10:00 PM is the last shuttle from Osaka station.
Getting to USJ
They also offer a free shuttle to USJ that departs 30 minutes prior to the park opening, and 30 minutes after the park closes. For us, this meant an 8:00 AM shuttle to the park, and a 9:30 PM shuttle from the park (which we did not take).
Getting Back from Osaka
If you are in downtown Osaka past the hotel shuttle times, taking the train is easy and there is a station about 5 minutes walk from the hotel. They also offer a reasonably priced bus service to the airport, which was very convenient. It cost us 1,550 Yen, or about $15, each. This hotel was perfect for our stay, but its location may be a major drawback to some who are looking to visit Osaka.
How we did it
This is a category 2 property costing only 8,000 points for a standard room, or 12,000 points for a club room. I booked 2 nights at a club room, which gave us free drinks and appetizers (for us this meant dinner for 2 nights…) from 6 to 8 PM as well as free breakfast. It also gave us access to the club lounge with free water, coffee, and cookies throughout the day. We thought these benefits were well worth the 4,000 point premium. For the last night, we opted for a points and cash award costing us 4,000 points and $55. We flew business class the next morning from Osaka to Hong Kong and so we did not need breakfast, as we would get it both in the airport lounge and during the flight. Once again, this was eligible for the 10% back in points, so this 3 night stay cost only 25,200 points and $55.
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
We stayed 2 nights at this hotel. To start, this hotel is located in Kowloon and not on Hong Kong island if that’s important to you. Getting to the hotel is very easy. You can take the MTR train from the airport to Kowloon station and then connect to the complimentary K3 shuttle bus, which will take you directly to the hotel. We ended up getting to Hong Kong a bit later than expected (our flight was delayed 8 hours) and so were exhausted. We did not get to explore the area much. The hotel itself was fairly nice. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again on a future visit to Hong Kong.
How we did it
One of the benefits of the Hyatt credit card is that you get a free night every year upon card renewal that is good at a category 4 property or lower. It turns out that the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong is a category 4 property and our free annual nights appeared in our accounts a few weeks before our visit to Hong Kong. I was thinking of using these nights at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne in a few months, but it looked like we would get even better value using them there. This is a great use of Hyatt credit cards’ annual free night certificate. The other option is to use points, which would cost you 15,000 points a night.
Japan and Hong Kong present fantastic value for redeeming points/certificates for free nights. For example, when I booked the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, I looked up the cash value had I booked those two nights in cash. It would have cost us $1,100 (which we would have never done), but instead we booked for 36,000 points (factoring in the 10% point discount).
If you have any questions about anything I mentioned or any of these hotels let me know!