Our first three nights of our trip we were fortunate enough to “ease into” the travelers’ life by staying at the very luxurious Grand Hyatt Santiago. It was one of the best hotel experiences we’ve ever had, mostly because they treated us like royalty. We do have Hyatt Diamond status thanks to a challenge I completed last year. These types of challenges come and go, but essentially all I had to do was stay 12 nights within a 60 day period (made possible thanks to my work travel) to be upgraded to Hyatt’s top-tier of elite status.
Because of our Diamond status, we received full access to the club lounge on the 16th floor. When we pulled up they sent us directly upstairs to check us in and brought us coffee and sparkling water. We received a room on the club floor right around the corner from the lounge, which was quite convenient. The lounge offered free breakfast from 7-10 a.m. daily, coffee and snacks throughout the day, then an evening reception from 5-8 p.m. with champagne, wine and liquor cocktails, in addition to a pretty hearty spread of food from the four different restaurants in the hotel. There was usually a small hot food option, bread, meats, cheeses, sushi and plenty of fruit and vegetables with dips. It was plenty of food for us to turn it in to dinner. Having two free meals a day essentially saved us a ton of money, and helped us to only spend about $100 total in Santiago.
We actually stayed in two different rooms during our stay. One of the benefits of Diamond status is four free suite upgrade certificates per year, but the downside is they can’t be used on points stays alone. They are allowed on points + cash rates, but if we were to book our whole stay on points + cash it would have cost us $160 + 12,000 points. We would really prefer not to spend any cash when we have the points to burn, but did want to try the possibility of booking one night in a suite in hopes that we may be able to stay in the suite the whole time. Unfortunately the hotel was fully booked, so that wasn’t possible. In the end we actually liked our non-suite room a little better thanks to the views from the 16th floor versus the 2nd and the more “open concept feel.” Changing rooms was not a huge deal as they moved our bags down for us while we were out.
Our total cost for the hotel for three nights was 20,000 points + $55. The breakdown was two reward nights @ 8,000 points each and one points + cash night for 4,000 points + $55, which was covered by our Barclaycard Arrival points, bringing the total out of pocket cost to $0. We earned our Hyatt points mostly through actual stays during business travel, but they can also be transferred from Ultimate Rewards.
The only downside to this hotel was it was not very close to the center of the city, where most of the tourist attractions are found. It is in a very nice neighborhood with lots of newer office buildings and lofts, but it took about 20 minutes on the subway to get anywhere. The subway station was about one mile away from the hotel, so it took another 15-20 minutes to walk to the subway station every time as well, making it harder to come and go and involved a little bit more planning.