Intel from Last Night’s Chase and World of Hyatt Culinary Event at the Park Hyatt New York

On Thursday evening I attended a Hyatt event for Chase co-brand cardmembers at the Park Hyatt New York. It was a food event featuring dishes from chefs at 3 Hyatts around the world — the Park Hyatt Vendome Paris, Park Hyatt Vienna, and Hyatt Regency Hangzhou.

Tickets were $100 and included not just food from the chefs and a variety of passed hors d’oeuvre, a premium open bar with specialty cocktails, but also 10,000 Hyatt points — so that was a great deal. As a result it was $100 well spent, a no brainer really (the Hyatt points are worth $140 or so on their own).

I had the chance to speak with Hyatt Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Debra Goetz as well as members of the Hyatt and Chase co-brand card products team. Debbie mostly listened, though when talking about what changes might come next as they learned about what they got right and wrong in World of Hyatt it’s clear that there won’t be imminent changes because of the need to give notice to program members of significant change and she emphasized that’s part of what Hyatt has always demonstrated and would continue to stand by.

Debbie Goetz Welcomes Guests to the Hyatt Chase Chef Event

Debbie described the collaboration with Chase on the event as the first of many, so there should be further opportunities like this one.

It’s clear as I mentioned a couple of months ago that now that Chase has re-upped its Hyatt deal and they have a fairly long runway to the relationship they’re starting to figure out how to improve the card product.

They realize other Chase cards are stronger earning points — even earning more Hyatt points because under the deal Hyatt remains a transfer partner — along with offering the ability to transfer to other programs as well. They’re very interested in experiences. It’s not imminent that we’ll likely see changes, the process to figure out what’s next for the card will proceed over the next several months.

I spent the night at the Park Hyatt New York where the event was held. Cash and points was available. That’s still pricey — normal cash and points for a category 7 hotel is $300 plus 15,000 points. I don’t worry about the points so much since I have a seven figure Chase balance and can transfer to Hyatt as-needed.

However standard cash and points wasn’t what was available here. Instead it was 15,000 points and $400 but for a suite instead of a standard room (and of course I’d 10% of my points rebated from the current Hyatt co-brand card promo).

Not everyone has had as good luck, but I’ve always been upgraded here and this time booking a suite I was upgraded to a West Side Suite on the 14th floor which had windows wrapping around half of the room so on two sides in the living room.

There was a large window in the bedroom as well.

It was remarkable how much light the room gets, as there was a large window in the full bath as well.

Shades and blinds are electronically controlled which is nice. There are plenty of outlets in the room. Lighting is gorgeous, controlled by well-labeled switches in several places around the suite.

There was also a separate half bath near the entryway along with a closet there and also a large dressing room. This would be a phenomenal New York apartment.

The hotel was as good as when I reviewed it before and in some ways better (more polished) although in other ways showing a little bit of wear (not even worth mentioning except that the property can go for as much as $1000 a night so the little things count).

Ultimately given the choice this is my favorite hotel I’ve stayed in in New York, and possibly my favorite city hotel in the U.S. in absolute terms. I still love the Andaz 5th Avenue for all-around value, large rooms and good amenities at the price point. But with money or points not an object this hotel is hard to beat and especially as a top tier Hyatt elite where upgrades can happen and where they offer breakfast in the restaurant or a $45 per person room service credit.

Service is also lovely. When I arrived I was carrying a small rollaboard so they figured I was checking in and I was asked my name in front of the hotel. About 20 feet inside a woman met me, welcomed me by name, and walked me upstairs and to the front desk where they were prepared for my arrival. There was no need to identify myself, they had everything ready and another staff member escorted me up to my room.

Incidentally when I came back downstairs 90 minutes later for the start of the evening event they greeted me by name at the front desk.

Entering the event I didn’t order a drink from the bar because they were passing out specialty cocktails and anything with whiskey or bourbon and candied bacon is a show stopper for me, though they could have taken it a step further and smoked the glass.

I loved the setup of each hotel’s chef station, with video screens behind each chef with imagery from nearby their hotels. Here’s the chef from the Park Hyatt Vendome Paris.

And the Park Hyatt Vienna.

Hyatt Regency Hangzhou.

Here’s the chef from Paris Francois Rouquette preparing “Duck Pot au Feu, Foie Gras Royale”

The event was great. Talking with the chefs was fun, and the food and drink was good. I’d rate it as “something great to do in New York” (which is saying something given all the competing options) and a great value since the points that came with the ticket to the event are worth more than the event cost.

However it wasn’t a life event, and experiential reward the way that other chains are now offering on a scale that’s worth traveling for. It was three hotel chef stations with two dishes each, and a unique opportunity to interact with the chefs, but it was a relatively small room and really just six dishes to try plus the hotel’s passed items like crab cakes and tuna tartare.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Chase Hyatt card is in dire need of improvement, and IMHO the first thing they need to improve is the annual FN.
    Having a cat 4 cap on the FN is a joke – make it at least 5.
    This one simple change IMHO will attract a lot more customers.

  2. Did you get the impression that they will do more smaller scale experiential stuff like this. Is this culinary event hitting other cities? The AFAR event in Tokyo sounds amazing but is out of reach for 99.9% of WOH members. Would like to see more stuff with WOH. The Hyatt RSVP program was great, but hosted a really insignificant number of events. Like you said, compared to the experiential programs at Marriott/SPG/Hilton and even IHG, Hyatt really lags behind in events especially as World of Hyatt is mean to be more than just a hotel program and more of a lifestyle brand….

  3. I do wonder why the hotel chains have co-branded cards that mostly sit in the sock drawer. I guess it’s not that lucrative to them if you actually use the card? The dumbest has to be the Hilton Surpass card, which I can’t even use at overseas Hiltons because of the foreign transaction fee. The Hyatt card is extremely marginal after you’ve collected the sign up bonus.

  4. Nice write-up, Gary, and certainly sounds like a fun and tasty experience. But my own impressions of the Park Hyatt New York are less favorable, whether you’re spending money or points, compared to the other Park Hyatts I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at (e.g., Tokyo, Paris, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai). True, my upgrade was simply to a better room rather than a suite, but I find the hotel hallways kind of dim and its furnishings rather austere – just a very basic chair, for instance, in a room large enough for a couch or at least a comfy lounge chair and ottoman. The room was also rather cave-like, with just one smallish window that itself was partly obscured by the drapes. And coming and going from the hotel was a less welcoming experience than you had (though granted, you were there for a special event), with the ground level entrance simply un-staffed about half the time, which could be a bit of a hassle for folks bringing in lots of luggage or even unsure of how to get up to the lobby. Speaking of which, the lobby is really just the one large living-room sized room you depict when you start to discuss the suites. Finally, those really large windows you had (and that I had in the bathroom) don’t mean much in terms of views in a hotel that only goes up to 25 floors in the middle of NYC mid-town towers.

    Now, having said all this, I agree the staff is excellent, the rooms large and the location convenient. For folks who have points to burn or who want to take advantage of Diamond status, it’s fine. And I realize you were reviewing more your experience than the hotel itself. Still, for your readers considering a stay there: If it’s a question of where to use one’s Hyatt points or status, there are far better options in the Hyatt system. And for simply spending one’s money, there are far better options in NYC.

  5. @Steve – I was pretty clearly not comparing to ‘Tokyo, Paris, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai’ just to US city hotels. Of *course* I’m unlikely to enjoy a US city hotel more than top city hotels in Asia Pacific..! 😉

  6. @JDN – it was a targeted email invite to Hyatt credit card holders but definitely a public event. I did see Zach Honig there who edits The Points Guy website, he’s a Hyatt Visa cardholder and a New Yorker.

  7. I’m still waiting for any sort of post/analysis (not just from you Gary, could be anyone) on the financial fallout from the WOH changes.

    Given the insanely high % of negative feedback (with a number of long term loyal customers driven away), shouldn’t have there been some ramifications reported by now?

  8. Seems like a fun event. Missed out!
    So the intel is there won’t be any changes to WOH soon huh?

  9. No doubt you get consistently upgraded here due to the blog. They’re not stupid about how to score free marketing.

    I had a very sub-par experience at this property. I can think of at least half a dozen hotels in NYC alone that provide a better experience.

  10. This is the same suite cash plus points rate I got in June and we combined it with two free night certs for three nights in a suite. I loved the bidet and that they had an iPhone charging cord in the desk. Slept super well there and I’d say it’s about equal to the park hyatts ive been at in Paris, Vienna, Sydney and better than the one in Melbourne.

    I agree they really need to step that card up. The explorist status gets you almost nothing and they’ve offered cat 4 nights for almost a decade while raising room categories. Bump up the annual fee to $100, increase the free to car 5, and give free club level or free breakfast.

  11. Did you meet Christopher the doorman? He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the lodging industry – they should have him fun the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central

  12. @UA-NYC I asked about metrics, was told “it’s still early” but they claim bookings from top tier elites are up [this surprised me, I remain skeptical]

  13. Gary:
    Was this event open to anyone who paid $100 or invitation only? How would I find future events like this, I am both a chase hyatt and chase many other card holder 🙂

  14. Nice review, and thanks for the photos as I’d wondered what the rooms looked like at that Hyatt.

    “…anything with whiskey or bourbon and candied bacon is a show stopper for me, though they could have taken it a step further and smoked the glass…” lol this sounds like Daniel Vaughn the “BBQ snob”

  15. Well if they’re aware of some issues with the new WOH and assuming they care, a (real) WOH promo might be a nice touch…. Surely someone at Hyatt remembers what they are… they just need to go back a year or so

  16. Gary, since you know this property well, as a Globalist and using the free night certificate, what are the chances of being upgraded to a suite and what should I do to increase those chances?

  17. I stayed there early on when it was a Diamond and there were truly significant shortfalls. Wrote to the GM, got an almost instant reply and an offer to refund all of my points and cash. Told them that I appreciated it, didn’t want a refund but that we were coming back for 4 nights 4 months later and I was sure they would make it up to me, And they wrote back saying we too would be upgraded to a West Side Suite. Well, it was an exceptional stay and we also had one dinner at the restaurant and it was truly magnificent. Yup – lots of choices in NYC. No longer a Diamond but Platinum at Starwood and will probably do our stays at the St Regis but this is a great hotel. If I wasn’t kosher, I also would have gone to the event! But future stays might also be at the Andaz for the value but to me, the Park Hyatt is world class.

  18. And I forgot t mention, I knew and told them that when I returned, I would no longer be Diamond but that they could make it up to me by giving me a few free breakfast. No problem – free breakfasts for the entire stay., Rarely have I ever felt so “heard”.

  19. @LeoM – i think it really does depend on occupancy more than anything else, not secret handshakes, but you could reach out to a manager at the property if you have a reason to ask for help making it a special stay

  20. @Tom bear in mind World of Hyatt is what they WANTED at the top levels of the company, it’s cost cuts for hotels and a new narrative, and they don’t believe it’s a failure though another program head recently described it to me as ‘a cautionary tale’.

  21. I would have loved to have flown my wife in for this. We are both cardholders, I am globalist. But no email for us.

    Would be interesting to know what criteria were used…I’m guessing identified VIPs.

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