After spending a couple of days in San Diego and staying at the Andaz downtown, it was on to L.A.
I had one more suite upgrade to use, so I burned it at the Andaz West Hollywood. I paid for the first night with cash money and then used 15,000 Gold Passport points for the second night. The Andaz West Hollywood is a sweet spot because it’s a category 4 Hyatt hotel. Talk about great value. And it’s easy to come up with 15,000 Gold Passport points, since Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chases’s Ultimate Rewards program.
After what seemed like hours on Sunset Blvd., we arrived at the Andaz in West Hollywood. To say that we were exhausted after enduring L.A. traffic is an understatement. Jordan immediately hit up the lounge area for some R&R while I checked us in.
In standard Andaz fashion, we were greeted promptly and received a warm welcome. While checking us in, the Andaz host even combined my two separate reservations so I didn’t have to switch rooms after one night. Two nights in a suite!
The lobby has plenty of comfortable seating options to choose from. Always a biggie for me.
A large portion of my life is spent waiting on Jordan (I kid), so I don’t mind making her wait while I snap a few pics of the lobby. I’m pretty sure she is making fun of me in this one.
Then there’s this “Snoopy on acid” piece of art. I love the modern boutique feel of the Andaz properties, but some of the Andaz W Hollywood pieces were just a little too artsy fartsy for me.
Aaaand… this is my goofy walk-thru video.
The suite was large with lots of space to rest, work, or dine. Whatever your heart desires. I especially liked the large windows with views of Sunset Blvd. I’m also a sucker for an L shaped couch.
Another piece of doggy art.
This was my favorite area of the suite. I enjoyed a pre-breakfast coffee here while answering emails and getting a nice dose of vitamin D. The seat was comfy, even though it didn’t look very sanitary in this picture. Must be the god-awful green.
There were more windows with views in the bedroom, and of course a flat screen.
There were two bathrooms in this suite. Balling, since sometimes a guy needs his b-room privacy.
There was a hand-written note and a stack of apples when we arrived in the room. I always love the little gestures you receive by being a Diamond/Platinum member.
One of the perks of staying at Andaz properties is the freebies. The water and sodas and snacks below were complimentary. I’m always hungry when I arrive at a hotel, or when coming back to the hotel after exploring a city. The snacks are usually healthier options, too.
Since I have Diamond status with Hyatt, Jordan and I received free breakfast. I’m normally a pancake kinda guy, but the spread at Andaz W Hollywood was a good change-up.
You could load your plate with breads, cheeses, meats, fruits, granola, muffins, sausage and potatoes, and then they brought you eggs just the way you like ‘em.
We never made it to the gym, but it had enough cardio and weight options to please anybody. Unless you’re a meathead, I suppose.
Although the Andaz in W. Hollywood wasn’t our favorite Andaz hotel, we still enjoyed it. The suite was practically an apartment with more than enough room, and the staff was friendly and gave us good recommendations on local eateries.
If you rent a car, there’s no public parking, so you have to pay $32 a day for valet. Always a downside.
I can’t say we loved staying on Sunset Blvd., either. It’s a traffic zoo there, but I guess I feel that way about most of L.A. It took us over 2 hours to get from Santa Monica Pier back to our hotel, which was 9 miles away. We thought the worst was over, but it continued later and made us late to the Lakers game! Which is the main reason we were in L.A. I’m a huge basketball fan and I needed (ok, really wanted) to see Kobe live before his glory days are over.
I definitely recommend this Hyatt hotel if you’re using points (or $$), as I do all of the Hyatt’s I’ve stayed at so far. At only 15,000 for a standard room, it’s a steal. And if you don’t have any Hyatt Gold Passport points, you can transfer Ultimate rewards points from your Ink Bold® ,Ink Plus®, or Chase Sapphire Preferred® cards.
I wouldn’t use the two free night certificates earned from the Hyatt Visa, though. Save those for a more inspirational property that’s in a higher category.
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral for the Ink Bold, Plus, and Sapphire Preferred.)
— Noob MasterRead More
As I shared recently, Jordan and I took a long weekend trip to San Diego last month. San Diego is one of my favorite cities to visit. I love the laid back vibe, how easily accessible the beach is, the perfect weather, how close to downtown the airport is…I could go on.
While in San Diego, Jordan and I stayed at the Andaz downtown, in the Gaslamp district. We stayed Monday and Tuesday nights and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t recommend staying on the weekend since there’s a night club on the top floor of the hotel (unless you’re a party animal).
I had a couple expiring Diamond suite uprades to use, so I paid for the first night and used my suite upgrade. Then I made a booking the following night for 18,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points, since it’s a category 5 Hyatt. I transferred over some Ultimate Rewards points to top off my Hyatt balance to complete the booking. You must have an Ink Bold®, Ink Plus®, or Chase Sapphire Preferred card to transfer Ultimate Rewards points out to travel partners.
We arrived a little before 2pm, so I knew there was a risk that our room wouldn’t be ready. Well, I was right. We ended up having to wait 10 minutes (*gasp*) for our room to be prepared. The good news is, I didn’t even have to ask for our two reservations to be combined so we could spend two nights in a suite. They already took care of that. Score.
The Andaz employees were very accommodating and apologized for our wait numerous times. I found the staff exceptionally willing to help out during our stay. We received multiple restaurant tips that were all spot on.
We were given the standard Andaz Loft suite. Although it wasn’t the most spacious suite, it was more than enough for us. I was very pleased, as I always am with Andaz properties.
I just love the modern design and layout of the rooms. Jordan does as well, which is more important.
I loved this leather piece of furniture, even though it looked more comfortable than it actually was. There’s just something about tan leather that calls out to me.
Not the best Andaz shower I’ve seen, but it did the job.
The complimentary goodies. Gotta love the free snacks Andaz provides.
I always enjoy making a mid-day Keurig coffee after walking around a city for a few hours. If we didn’t have breakfast at the restaurant, it would’ve been a nice way to start the day, too.
This caught me off guard, but I guess the clubbers on the weekend appreciate this option. Jordan and I had a good laugh over it.
I loved the roof top patio and it’s view of the city!
We loved starting our day with breakfast here each morning.
I’m a pancake guy, and these Ricotta pancakes stacked up really nicely against some of the other Andaz selections I have had. I also enjoyed the waffle with candied orange and sweet cream butter. Can’t beat that.
The pool would’ve been a great spot if the weather had been a tad bit warmer.
The San Diego Andaz was a great location in the Gaslamp district downtown. It was 5-7 minutes from the airport, the world famous San Diego zoo, and a quick walk to several great eating options.
We decided to eat at Brian Malarkey’s Searsucker the first night, recommended by the Andaz staff. We absolutely loved it! It’s American cuisine with a little twist. The setting is casual and not pretentious, even though it’s moderately priced. I highly recommend checking them out to see if it’s your style. I just found out that Austin is getting their own!
Another restaurant we really enjoyed was Neighborhood, only a couple blocks away from the Andaz. This burger joint was a no thrills place which seemed very popular with the locals downtown. It prides itself on not having any hostesses, ketchup, Red Bull, Budweiser, or Grey Goose. The burgers were great, and they had a wide array of local brews. That’s all a man needs.
Jordan and I killed it in San Diego. It was one of those trips where everything went well. We didn’t fight (not that we do), none of the restaurants were a bust, and we got to catch up with some family. That’s always a perk!
We both enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Andaz. Our favorite part was the breakfast on the roof top. It was delicious and the view was awesome. If the weather had been warmer, we would have loved the pool, too.
I wouldn’t stay here during the weekend, though, as I’m told things could get a little cray cray and it’s hard to fall asleep before 2am because of all the noise. The parking situation is a con, too. It was valet only and that cost $35 a day! The hotel ended up comping us one day of valet service since they were late getting our car, so it only ended up costing us $35 for two days (still not fun to pay, I know). I suppose you could find public parking behind the hotel or along the streets. Kinda messy.
Overall, we had a great two days at the San Diego Andaz, and besides the parking fiasco, it’s a place I highly recommend and would stay at again.
— Noob MasterRead More
If you’ve lost touch with reality, then you may not know that Hilton recently devalued their award chart drastically. Award chart inflation is a normal part of life, and a big reason why there’s the “earn and burn” mantra, but this was a massive kick to the groin.
Here are a few ways the Hilton HHonors devaluation changed my life.
Made me pull the trigger on a Conrad Maldives booking
Remember that you have until March 28th to book any Hilton properties under the current rates. I had been stockpiling Hilton HHonors points because it was so easy with the multitude of rewards cards and through buying Vanilla Reloads at CVS. The plan was to burn them using an Axon award sometime next year, but I had no specific date in mind.
Anyway, time is critical, so I booked an Axon award trip to the Conrad Maldives for 145,000 Hilton HHonors points. Awesome sauce. If I waited to book this award until after March 28th, it would cost 95,000 points a night or 380,000 total! Talk about an increase. Hilton hasn’t announce what the prices for Axon or Glon awards will be if they stick around after March 28th, but I imagine they will take a big hit too.
Since I have Gold status from holding the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card - I will receive the benefits below (based off confirmation email):
- One bottle of wine upon arrival
- Chocolate & Fruit amenities upon arrival
- Daily Happy Hour at Vilu restaurant
Sadly, the Conrad Maldives doesn’t extend Diamond or Gold members breakfast or room upgrades anymore. I’ll see what politely asking does.
I had to cancel my trip to Ireland/London
Since I have no idea what the future holds, I went ahead and canceled our Dublin/London trip that was scheduled in a couple months. It’s sad, but I didn’t want to book Maldives in the future and then not end up being able to go. Plus, we already had the days blocked off on our calendars and getting to Dublin and London is easy, so we can do that trip at a later date.
Cemented my loyalty to Hyatt (if there was any question)
I never should’ve wavered on my loyalty to Hyatt. I’ve had some incredible stays at Hyatt as of late, but I get restless. My Diamond status ran out last month and the plan was to hit Hilton Diamond through spending $40,000 on my Citi Hilton Reserve, but it’s not worth it now (for me). I will be focusing all my efforts on earning Diamond status with Hyatt now, and they have more than enough to win my loyalty.
I value Diamond status with Hyatt because of the suite upgrades, free internet, late checkout, amenities, and the club access/breakfast. The standard requirement to achieve Diamond status with Hyatt is 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year. I won’t be doing that. Instead, I inquired about a Diamond trial. I emailed Hyatt at email@example.com with a copy of my Priority Club Platinum Ambassador status. Hyatt agreed to let me have a Diamond trial which means I have 60 days to complete 12 nights.
Some people try for the Hyatt Diamond trial offer just so they can get the four suite upgrades (mine already posted), or so they can get two suite certificates from the Hyatt Visa, instead of just two free nights. Plus, if you don’t plan on meeting the trial, you will still have Diamond benefits for 60 days since Hyatt gives you Diamond status during the trial (ahem… unlike Starwood).
With the upcoming trips I have planned, I’m actually going to complete my trial. Thanks Hilton devaluation, for getting my head back on straight. Hyatt is the hotel program for me, especially because it’s a transfer partner of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards. You just have to hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Bold®, or Ink Plus® card. I have 6 of those cards in my household.
Changed my credit card spending plans
My number one goal in spending was to hit $40,000 on my Citi Hilton Reserve card so I could achieve Diamond status with Hilton. I was excited about the challenge and I couldn’t wait to see what Hilton had to offer. Now I’ll just have to be happy with Gold status from the Reserve card, which honestly is quite good. You get free breakfast, internet, and a possible upgrade to the executive floor with lounge access.
Now all my trips to CVS and Valero to buy Vanilla Reloads for Bluebird are to earn Ultimate Rewards points or meet minimum spends. All my quarterly tax payments, charitable giving, and Amazon Payments will go back to normal, too – meeting minimum spends or Ultimate Rewards points. Getting my priorities back in line.
I was bummed to cancel our London trip, but thanks to Hilton gutting their program, I’m now going to Maldives. That’s something I kept putting off, so thank you Hilton for making me get off my a@# and make the trip happen. I’m pretty pumped about going!
It just feels right for me to be focusing on Hyatt again. I kinda felt like I was cheating going after Hilton Diamond status anyway.
Well, this is how the Hilton devaluation affected me. Please comment below if the changes to Hilton’s award chart dropped a grenade in your life.
— Noob MasterRead More