How I Stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Taipei (& Hotels Everywhere) for Free
My parents recently had a wedding near in Taipei. Being that we live over an hour and a half north, my mom wasn’t fond of the thought of having to travel all the way back home late after the wedding. If the wedding ended at 10:00pm, they would get home at around midnight exhausted.
But my dad wasn’t also too fond of shelling out $200-300 for a hotel room nearby the wedding venue either. The area around is very expensive.
Since it was recently Mother’s Day and Father’s day, I had an idea for a small gift.
In this post, I discuss how I’m able to stay at 4-5 Star Hotels for free.
I always start with the big 3 expenses in traveling. To travel for cheap, you’ll need to save on Flights, Accommodation, and Transportation. The better deal you’re able to find for all 3, the more money you’ll be able to save.
Staying in hotels for free basically comes down to just having points and knowing how to utilize it. Note that this is a very basic (for newbies) discussion on Hotel Mileage and point. Really, it could get a lot more complex but I’ll keep this discussion simple and for the everyday Joe who doesn’t want to spend hundreds of hours studying points.
For this booking, I looked through my Hotel Mileage inventory to see what I could find. Lo, and behold, I found I could book a night at the Hotel the wedding was held at – The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei with rates starting at nearly $7,000NT ($250) a night.
The total mileage required was only 15,000 Hyatt points, which is a pretty good redemption rate. Additionally, had I not had Hyatt points, I could have also transferred from Chase Ultimate Points.
If you don’t have Hotel Mileage, it’s quite likely you may have Chase Ultimate Points if you use any Credit Card with Chase. You could also transfer those points over.
How to Acquire Hotel Mileage:
The easiest and quickest way to acquire a lot of hotel mileage is through Credit Cards.
I know different questions immediately come into play…
Will this affect my Credit? Short answer is very minimal so long as you pay off your balances on time. Feel free to do more research if you don’t believe me.
Now keeping track of cards is a different story.
Is there a minimum spend? Yes, but with some planned spending this is actually very simple and even more so for hotel Credit Cards since the minimum spend is anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 in 3 months.
Isn’t there an annual fee with the Card? This is definitely a valid question and under most circumstances, I would say to avoid Credit Cards with annual fees as they can really stack up at the end of the year!
However, here is where I only recommend certain Hotel Credit Cards. These are the Cards that with a free anniversary night, which basically means you can stay at one of their hotels for free each year.
That perk in it of itself makes the annual fee well worth it. But on top of that, there are usually other perks such as upgraded rooms, status, freebies, etc.
What are the Credit Cards with free anniversary night?
There’s also the Hilton & Ritz-Carlton that I know of. However, I would recommend those as the annual fee or spending requirement to get a free night is way too high for it to be worth having the Card (in my opinion).
Why Get Those Cards?
In addition to the free anniversary night you get each year, the sign-up bonus itself is usually quite lucrative and can get you up to 5-6 solid nights at one of their hotels (depending on the category and location of where you redeem your points).
If you have four of the card I mentioned above, you’ll have nearly a month worth of hotel night stays from just the bonus alone.
But I think the best perk is being able to stay 4 nights at any hotel for free each year after the first year.
Even if you don’t travel often, you can gift it to friends or family, you can take a fun staycation near home, or you can just have a backup at your disposal when you need it like what occurred recently for us.
How Was Grand Hyatt Taipei?
Enough of the talk about Credit Cards! So how was the Grand Hyatt Taipei?
It was incredible! The room was very spacious. I was upgraded since I had one of the status levels from the Hyatt Credit Card. I didn’t get a photo of the room but our room had a large sofa set near the window. The amenities were awesome and had green tea infused soap.
Supposedly the buffet was pretty renowned but would have cost $990 NT (around $33). And since I’m on a diet, I opted not to eat at the buffet.
Location-wise, it was right next to Taipei 101. It was about a 5 minute walk. For tourists, it would have been an even nicer perk to have but for us it was a good place to grab a quick dinner at the food court in the basement.
The highlight of the stay was actually the hotel gym. It featured 3 large rooms for Cardio, Weights, and Yoga/Stretching. The views were nice and the equipment was awesome.
Honestly, the only downside of the hotel was everything would have been expensive to buy outside of the room itself. For example, the buffet was over $30. If you wanted to bring more than 2 people in the gym, it would cost $1500 NT a person (or over $45).
Fridge snacks/food and Room Service were all very expensive as well. But I guess it’s normal for hotels catering to people spending on a Corporate dime.
Would I come back? Heck yeah! But only if it’s free 🙂