Plan a Careful Budget, Then Get Ready to Splurge


Hotel splurging is not limited to cash. The longtime journalist Dan Frommer, 36, founder of the travel rewards newsletter Points Party, will go out of his way on a work trip to earn enough Hyatt points for a later luxury stay on vacation. On a work trip to San Francisco last year, he stayed in a Hyatt to get the points, even though it was in Emeryville, on the other side of the Bay and required an extensive bus ride each morning.

The reward? “I’m overlooking this skyline of Tokyo,” he said, talking by phone from the 48th floor of the Andaz hotel there, where the entry-level rooms range from 40,000 to 123,000 yen per night, according to the hotel (roughly $360 to $1,100 depending on the time of year). The points price is steep, too — it cost him 25,000 a night — but worth it, he said.

“When you are on the other side of the world, when your sleep schedule is messed up, it’s really nice to come back to a large, well-designed, well-appointed room with a beautiful view,” Mr. Frommer said. His strategy is to splurge for three nights. One night goes by too quickly; two is adequate, giving you one whole day to “spread your stuff out,” Mr. Frommer said. But three feels like a real indulgence and enough time to enjoy all the hotel has to offer.

If he’s spending money, as opposed to points, Mr. Frommer, founder of a new online publication called The New Consumer, is willing to pay for the possibility of a “life-altering meal,” he said. He had just eaten at Inua, the new Tokyo restaurant from Noma-trained Thomas Frebel, with friends (his share of the tab: $333.41) and was still processing the dish made from nasturtium leaf and enoki mushroom. And he was more than happy to eat hard-boiled eggs and salmon onigiri rice balls from the corner store some days as a trade off.

“Splurging on food is totally an acceptable and worthwhile and delightful way to spend too much money,” he said.


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