How I Maximized Value While Paying for My Stay at The Peninsula

So it’s been a minute since we talked about my stay at Hong Kong’s most prestigious hotel: The Peninsula.  Let’s catch you up.

  • The stay began with one of the coolest experiences ever: an airport transfer in a Rolls Royce Phantom.  Pictures are here and video is here.
  • One of the more high-society things available in Hong Kong: afternoon tea in The Peninsula Lobby.  Review of that is here.

Ok, caught up?  Good, let’s talk about The Peninsula itself.  Is it really worth all the hype money?

How did I book my stay?

I used money.  Not at some blogger rate; I paid regular price for my stay.  How much was it?  After taxes, $673 USD (not including the Rolls Royce transfer), the most expensive night at a hotel I’ve ever paid for (some hotels, like the Park Hyatt New York, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, or Phuket’s Amanpuri resort are $1000+ for a night but I either booked those with points or paid cash during the low season at a hefty discount).

How did I justify spending that much on a hotel?  Well, I wanted to do a review for the blog and I couldn’t find reviews of the property by points and miles bloggers so I figured mine could be really well-done and cover some unfamiliar territory for my readers.

I made the booking through American Express’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which I have access to by having an Amex Platinum card.  The FHR program is a fairly large selection of higher-end hotels and offers a variety of benefits, which I’ll discuss below.  All of those benefits are usually included at no additional cost over booking online elsewhere so it’s a pretty fantastic benefit.

How did I make the most of my experience?

At the end of the day the expense wasn’t really that justifiable but here was my strategy for maximizing the money I spent with FHR benefits:

  • FHR offers early check-in as a benefit (when available).  My flight arrived at 10am so I figured by doing the Rolls Royce transfer they’d make sure a room was ready for me, as reviews that I’d read of the transfer included a manager from The Peninsula taking people to their room to check in
  • FHR also offers late check-out as a benefit (when available).  I wasn’t flying out the next day (I booked a room on points at the Conrad Hong Kong) so my plan was to check out at 4pm.  That would give me almost 30 hours as a guest at the Peninsula for a one-night stay, which I thought was maximizing my value well
  • My room would most likely be upgraded at no extra cost
  • Breakfast at nice hotels like this one are usually pretty great but also pricey.  FHR benefits include free breakfast (which doesn’t count against the $100 food and beverage credit offered as a unique amenity at The Peninsula) so that was not only a free meal but also something I could add to my review without paying more money
  • Afternoon tea was on my list of things to do for my review.  As I mentioned in my review, the cost of the tea (plus a glass or two of champagne) came in right around $100, which was a perfect use of the food and beverage credit

Here’s the thing…

I know it’s  a lot of money for a dude like me to spend for one night at a hotel.  But I want to use it to illustrate a point.  Miles and points are wonderful because they allow us to book premium experiences, like a night at the Park Hyatt New York, for (mostly) free.

Sometimes, though, you can’t use your points to stay at certain hotels.  At that point your focus should change to getting the most value out of your money that you can.  Fortunately a lot of the credit cards people use to earn miles and points provide wonderful benefits when you do have to spend your own money, services like American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.  The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, has access to something called The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (imagine a more creative title), which provides similar benefits to cardholders.

Up next?  The actual review of my stay at The Peninsula.  Stay tuned to see how it would live up to such lofty expectations.

2 Comments

  1. What a refreshing change of pace from the typical stories about scoring a suite at a “chain” hotel. Most of the other posts just gloat over the Grand Hyatt which while nice is overrated—especially when their pool is shared by the Marriott next door.

    The Peninsula and the Mandarin remain the best choices in Hong Kong. Next time you want to splurge, arrange for the helicopter entrance instead of the Rolls.

    Reply
  2. “Miles and points are wonderful because they allow us to book premium experiences,…”
    I agree. I use it to cover my premium flying costs and then use my own money to cover anything that I can’t get miles and points to cover. Just spent 6 free nights in Tokyo using points and then paid for 8 fabulous nights in Bali at a huge discount. All flights covered by CC miles.

    Reply

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