The other day, my friend (the same friend I helped book Disney!) was looking at hotels to stay in Portland, Maine for his anniversary. He had roughly 15,000 Ultimate Reward points and he had plenty of options. I knew there was a Hyatt in Portland and he could also book through Chase travel. The Hyatt would be better use of his points since it would be only 12,000 points for the night. That’s when the fun started…
When we initially tried booking his room, we checked Hyatt’s website (around 5 pm) and the rooms were expensive! I picked the date he needed, selected “Show Hyatt Passport Points” and we received this message:
I reached out to Hyatt via twitter (their social media team is amazing) and I asked if there were any rooms available on points or possibly cash and points. They responded pretty quickly:
At this point, I decided to call (it was around 5:30) to book his room, since I was just told there were rooms available for points alone. When I reached customer service, I was told I was given incorrect information and there were no rooms available to book using points. I again, mentioned that I was told there were rooms from their social media team on twitter. She assured me there were not.
While in the process of calling and tweeting, we started looking at other options, using Orbitz or hotels.com. All of which he could cash out his points and pay $15-30 for the night. I told him to hold off because I was receiving different information from Hyatt and wanted to get a solid answer for him. Plus, it would be better use of his points if he stayed at Hyatt as well.
I replied to they twitter team right before I left his house, informing them that there were in fact no rooms after speaking to a person. They responded (while I was driving) asking me to DM them for further assistance because they said there were rooms.
Wait, so which was it? Were there rooms or were there not? Both the website and customer service over the phone told me no, but twitter team said yes? I would think they all would be able to see award availability.
When I got home around 6:30, I sent Hyatt a DM and I was told there was a King bed available for 12,000 points that night. He said availability was limited, but there was a room available and he would hold the room for me.
I told my friend about Hyatt’s response and had him ready to transfer his Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt if I were to receive confirmation the room was actually available. I didn’t want him to transfer his points before because once he transferred them, there was no going back.
After verifying my friends information around 8 pm, I was told the room could not be held without the points in his account. At this point, I told my friend to transfer his points to his Hyatt account.
Once the points were transferred, I was given a reference number(around 9 pm) and phone number for him to call to fully confirm the reservation. I haven’t made a complete reservation over twitter before, so I was a little nervous. Especially, since it was pretty much all of his Ultimate Reward points!
He called, completed his reservation and received his confirmation email from Hyatt. His Hyatt point balance was now back to 0 and he had his room booked.
All in all it took about 3.5 to 4 hours to have his room booked from start to finish. I’m not sure why the website and customer service had no availability using points, yet their twitter team did.
What was the value of his stay?
If he were to pay for his room he would have spent $341.28! He had other options that were less than Hyatt’s paid rate, but he would have cashed out all of his points PLUS he would have paid roughly $15-30 as well! Instead, we were able to book his room for 12,000 points which we transferred from his Ultimate Reward account to his Hyatt account. He redeemed his points for 2.8 cents per point! That is a great value! Plus he still has around 3,000 points to use for another redemption!
If it weren’t for reaching out to Hyatt through their twitter team, I wouldn’t have been able to book his room using his points. The website said, no availability and the customer service representative said no availability.
I think this is a good example to show that taking one person’s word over the phone or looking online, might not always be correct. You should try a couple of different ways to see if there is any award availability. Will it always work out like this? No, but I was happy to help a friend book a room, especially for their anniversary . Even if it took almost 4 hours to complete his reservation :-).
Hyatt’s twitter team is always great and always helpful. I would try reaching out to them if you need help booking, or with your reservation.
What’s the longest time you have spent booking award travel? Have you used twitter to make a reservation?