Amex just recently started offering Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status for all of its AmEx Platinum members. Which by this time you should have both the Regular Version and the Mercedes-Benz version, both have their combined $925 annual fees waived for a $400 airline credit to use annually. Plus $100 each for global entry for you and a friend.
HHonors membership was easy I called the number on the back of the card and they gave me a new HHonors number right away. You can also link an account if you already have a number. This also can be registered online if you don’t like calling anyone.
I think they got me good with their marketing. In the past month I got to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and The Ritz Carlton Kyoto for free as a benefit of using their branded credit cards. Certainly they did not lose money on the whole deal because I ended up spending pretty heavy at each place. For example we went out and spent a good $258.39 at the hotel bar on several hand carved diamond ice infused cocktails (the video is from bar high five, but you get the point).
…and yes I did it for the sweet 5x points for 1,291.95 RC rewards points to use at a Marriott.
Earlier in the month we ended up staying the entire day pampered on the top floor of the Park Hyatt on a rainy Tokyo day with the best American breakfast anywhere in Tokyo as well as 6 hours at the spa. So there was another $818.69 spent at a hotel that I would of never set foot in if it wasn’t free.
…but check out the sweet 3x points per $ for 2,456 Hyatt points to use at any of their more reasonable properties. So in the end the Hotel gets to fill some empty rooms and get paid on their other hotel services. It makes me wonder if the room rate make them any money at all. I assume most of the weekdays these rooms sit empty, yet the overhead remains the same as you have the same staff on salary. I certainly see why they have such good benefits on their branded cards. I really gives them a chance to showcase their properties.
Thats right, Kyoto Ritz gives you soap with solid gold flakes in it! It takes two months to make a bar and it has a fragrance to remind you of Kyoto. So that pretty much sums up the height of Japanese hospitality in Kyoto. This is the gold standard, the bar that shows what can possibly be achieved in terms of hospitality in the world. The best part was I got it all without spending a dime at the Ritz. (just $95 with Chase).
It seems like the last quarter of the fiscal year is is the most competitive for your Christmas dollars. The first change I saw was they are offering 500 SPG points from the usual 333 for 1000 Amex Points. I went ahead and checked, I was the lucky one to get selected for this offer. I am thinking about it, seeing how I have been pretty successful in getting lots of SPG hotels during holiday seasons.
Go ahead and check your awards transfers on your amex MR page. Then on top of that, I called AmEx and they are now offering Hilton Gold status on HHonors which means free food, WiFi and points!! Doesn’t cost anything for military for an AmEx Platinum Card (both Mercedes and Normie). Oh, I also broke the AmEx referral system, they say I only have a lifetime limit of 7 referrals per card, so I got one left if anyone wants to be my last!
So AmEx Platinum is now my #1, the only cards that pay me $500 a year to have! Thats 2x$200 for United fees and then $100 for Mercedes Schwag.
On the other side of the coin, we got Barclay loosing bennifits. No longer do I get trip it pro with the membership. Makes me wonder why I even have the card, I have 40k in rewards and I have yet to spend it on travel credits. The only saving grace is it is a World Elite Master Card giving you among may things the benefit of Avis First (Preferred Plus) just call 888-963-7036 to claim your benefit.
End of year checklist: Get your $200 spent before Dec 31, 2015!! Also call them up and get both your SPG gold as well as your new HHonors Gold!
There are two Gajin Fares offered by JAL: The new OneWorld Yokoso that requires you to fly in and out of Japan with a OneWorld Carrier. And the Visit Japan Fare that has been around since 1997. Looks like the same pricing structure as well as rules as ANA Experience Japan. There are two systems though:
The oneworld Yokoso:
Discount domestic air fare for overseas visitors to Japan
One requirement is that travel to and from Japan from overseas must be made on oneworld carriers. Also, the fare is available overseas only and is not on sale in Japan.
I can’t tell if they are a book of tickets and unused segments are refundable:
- 1. Totally unused – Refund the fare paid less JPY5,000.
Note: Penalty is waived in the case of death of passenger or passenger’s immediate family member.
- 2. Partially used – Refund the difference between the fare paid and the applicable normal domestic fare for the portions used (calculate in JPY only.)
For cases (1) and (2) above, refund in Japan is not permitted.
Visit Japan Fare:
Same as the other, but fly any arelines to Japan and Away. It does cost more though.
So there you go, nice they are refundable, but apparently need to be bought in America and only on OneWorld airlines for Yokoso, and then they charge more than ANA for the Visit Japan Fare.
Haven’t tried, please comment below if you had any success in using this.