Pic: Mercedes-Benz C180 rental from Hertz Brussels Airport (Jan 2014)
Last weekend, I made a short but luxurious trip to Paris. By combining a number of promotions and loyalty program deals, I managed to keep my expenses surprisingly low. Instead of taking the Thalys train from Brussels to Paris, I rented a Mercedes-Benz C180 at Hertz Brussels Airport. Hertz was running a 33% discount promotion on rentals booked before Jan 26, 2014. The weekend rental was €163 with 900km included. I opted for the rather expensive Super Cover (+€63) which eliminated my liability for the excess in relation to the CDW. Contrary to Hertz Brussels Airport questionable reviews on Yelp, I had pleasant encounters with the Hertz staff at both pick-up and return of my vehicle.
Pic: Rue de la Paix entrance Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (Jan 2014)
For my one-night stay in Paris, I used Hyatt Gold Passport points to book superstar hotel Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme. It was the last opportunity to book this hotel at 22,000 points before Hyatt’s introduction of the Free Night Award Category 7 which requires 30,000 points per night. The best available rate for my stay was €830 ($1127) The 22K points required for my free night at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome were earned during my Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status Match Challenge back in 2011.
Pic: Park Deluxe King room at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (Jan 2014)
I had contacted the hotel in advance to make sure they would have a parking spot available for my car. Upon arrival at the Park Hyatt, the voiturier took care of my Mercedes-Benz. To my surprise, parking was free at the hotel! At check-in around 1.30pm, I was was addressed by name and invited to have a coffee at La Cheminée as it would take another 10 minutes before my room was ready. At the time of booking, I had agreed to upgrade my Park King room to a Park Deluxe King for €80. I was assigned room 141 facing Rue de la Paix as requested. I had hoped for a little terrace, but turned out those were only available on the higher floors.
Pic: Hyatt Gold Passport Welcome Amenity at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (Jan 2014)
Pic: Outdoor Winter Terrace Park Hyat Paris-Vendome (Jan 2014)
The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Winter Terrasse had a mountain chalet serving chic peak Raclette. I didn’t try any of the food offerings at the PH, as I had a cheaper alternatives at hand. Back in 4Q2013, the Shangri-La Golden Circle program was celebrating it’s 3rd anniversary with a game offering 200 points per week. I played the game 6 weeks in a row earning me 1200 points in two accounts (mine and my dad’s). It was immediately clear to me this was a great deal, as 1000 points was sufficient for a free night at a number of Shangri-La hotels in Asia. However, a post at Head for Points highlighted a second possibility to exchange 1000 points for a $100 Food & Beverage voucher. You were even allowed to combine two vouchers per bill, resulting in a $200 discount at almost every Shangri-La restaurant. I exchanged 2 x 1000 points for two $100 F&B vouchers to be used at Shangri-La’s most expensive property… in Paris. The bill of my €196 dinner at Michelin Star Chef Philippe Labbé‘s La Bauhinia restaurant was reduced to €58 thanks to my two Shangri-La Golden Circle Food & Beverage vouchers!
Pic: Sunset at Place Vendôme, Paris, France (Jan 2014)
For transportation in Paris, I used the private driver app Uber. It was my first time using the service and it turned out to be a fantastic experience! Within minutes of submitting my request via the Uber app, I had a private driver with Lexus Infiniti M in front of the Park Hyatt. The car was luxurious, the driver extremely friendly and attentive. The payment was automatically processed by the app, so no need to sign any paperwork at the end of the ride. Same experience on my way back to the Park Hyatt, driver arrived within minutes at the Shangri-La driving a new Mercedes-Benz. Total for the two rides: €7 thanks to the Uber €20 free credit referral which runs until January 20, 2014.
Mercedes-Benz C180 two-day rental: €226
Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome Park Deluxe King: 22K points + €80 (value €830)
Dinner at Shangri-La Paris La Bauhinia: €58 (value €196)
Two Uber limo rides: €7 (value €27)
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