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The world’s most populous city (by metropolitan area), Tokyo is chock-full of fascinating sights and experiences, unique neighborhoods and the world’s highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Come 2020, the Japanese capital will also have the honor of hosting the Summer Olympics. No doubt the city will extend the extraordinary level of organization for which Japan is famous to the athletes and luminaries who will be descending upon its streets.
If you’re thinking of attending the 2020 Olympics, now is the time to start planning your trip, since hotels will begin opening up reservations soon. Here are some ideas to help you decide which hotels to book using points.
The 32nd Summer Olympic Games will include 339 competitions in 33 sports and will take place from July 24–Aug. 9, 2020.
According to the official Tokyo 2020 site, there will be 35 venues sprinkled throughout the city and its metro area, plus additional events (mostly soccer and baseball) in Sapporo, Yokohama, Miyagi and other cities. The Olympic Village will be situated between Tokyo Bay and the city’s historic district along the Harumi waterfront with views of the Rainbow Bridge.
The new Japan National Stadium is being built on the same spot in Shinjuku as the one constructed for the 1964 Olympics. Other events in the city center will take place nearby at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and Yoyogi National Stadium.
Around 2.5 miles northeast, and adjacent to the Imperial Palace Garden, judo and karate competitions will take place at the Nippon Budokan. South of there by about two miles, the Tokyo International Forum will be the venue for weightlifting.
Several of the other sporting sites will be located in the Tokyo Bay zone, to the east of the city center, and on the other side of the Olympic Village. The waterfront area of Ariake will host the popular gymnastics and volleyball competitions. Swimming and diving will take place at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in Tatsumi, about three miles east of the Olympic Village.
You will likely need to plan your outings and explore your hotel options based on the events you want to attend. Given Tokyo’s advanced system of public transport, however, you likely won’t have any problem getting from place to place.
Here are some great choices, ranging from budget standbys to over-the-top luxe lodgings, where your points will come in handy for summer stays in Tokyo. Note that points rates are current at time of publication, but since the Tokyo Olympics are more than a year away, these are subject to change, and paid rates during the Games are not yet published.
Hilton Honors members have a few interesting options in Tokyo, but choose carefully. Hilton’s most luxurious property in the city is the Conrad Tokyo, which has award rates of 95,000 points per night. It’s near Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, so its location is pretty much ideal for both sightseeing and Olympic events. The Hilton Tokyo is on the border of Shibuya and Shinjuku, so it is also quite convenient for both Olympics attendance and general sightseeing, and has rooms for a more reasonable 60,000 points per night.
The Hilton Tokyo Odaiba is close to where many of the aquatic events will take place and can be booked for 60,000 points per night, as can the Hilton Tokyo Bay, though it is farther out and better for folks planning a trip around a visit to Tokyo Disneyland.
Earning Hilton points: There are many different ways to boost your Hilton Honors account in anticipation of visiting Tokyo next year. One of the best is to open a new credit card like the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, which is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership. It’ll also give you automatic Hilton Diamond status along with an up to $250 annual Hilton resort credit (though from the above list, only the Hilton Tokyo Bay is eligible for this perk). While it does carry a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees), you can easily extract much more value out of it during the year.
World of Hyatt
Tokyo has some of TPG’s favorite Hyatt properties, including the perennially popular Park Hyatt Tokyo, the chic Andaz Tokyo and the marvelous Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo. Plus, thanks to Hyatt’s developing partnership with Small Luxury Hotels, there are even more options.
Hyatt has three hotels located in the Ginza district, which will be a great, central location no matter which events you want to see. The Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo has rooms that start at around $300 or 25,000 points, while the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills usually goes for around $500 per night or 30,000 points.
Part of SLH, the historic Tokyo Station Hotel is connected to the train station and the subway and easily reached from either Tokyo Haneda (HND) or Tokyo Narita (NRT). Rooms there cost around $400 or 25,000 points.
Farther west, the Grand Hyatt Tokyo is another upscale option, at $400 or 25,000 points. However, if you’re going for true luxury, consider the sophisticated Park Hyatt Tokyo, where room rates regularly hit $800-$900, though awards are available for 30,000 points. The nearby Hyatt Regency Tokyo is a relative bargain at close to $270 or 12,000 points.
Scheduled to open sometime this summer, the Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay will be the first of that brand in Japan. It will be located to the east of many of the Olympics venues, but just 2.5 miles from Tokyo Disney.
Earning Hyatt points: The World of Hyatt program offers a number of ways to earn points, including transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards which will allow you to convert points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve into Hyatt points. You could also open The World of Hyatt Credit Card, which is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 points. You’ll earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening plus an additional 25,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first six months of account opening. The card provides automatic Discoverist status and a free night certificate each year on your account anniversary, valid at Category 1-4 properties, which would only apply to the Hyatt Regency above.
IHG Rewards Club
Although the chain has nearly 5,700 hotels worldwide, IHG can only boast three properties in Tokyo. On the upside, they’re all InterContinental properties and all cost 55,000 points per night or around $200-$300, depending on the date.
The ANA InterContinental Tokyo is a sleek choice in tony Roppongi, while the InterContinental Tokyo Bay is just across the water from the Olympic Village. The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is south of the city center, so it might not be practical for travelers coming specifically for Olympic events.
Earning IHG points: If your IHG account is shy of the above award rates, you can do a number of things to boost your balance. One of the quickest is to open the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 125,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. You’ll also enjoy automatic Platinum status and will earn a free night certificate each year when you renew your card. Sadly, the certificate is now restricted to properties at 40,000 points per night or less, so none of the above hotels are eligible for this perk.
Thanks to its merger with Starwood, Marriott has 11 properties in and around Tokyo, which should suit travelers on any budget. While issues persist with the integration, one would hope that these will finally be ironed out by the time the games arrive. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, you’ll only need 35,000 points per night to stay at the Courtyard Tokyo Station, the Courtyard Tokyo Ginza Hotel — both of which are quite central — or the MOXY Tokyo Kinshicho, though this last hotel isn’t too close to any of the sports venues.
Note that any of these would be available using the free night certificate you’d earn each year from mid-tier cobranded cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card.
On the luxury side, both The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel, and the Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo will be right in the center of the action of the heritage district between the National Stadium and the Imperial Palace. Both hotels require 85,000 Marriott points per night.
Finally, remember that Marriott’s Points Advance option allows you to book award stays when you’re short on points, so even if you don’t have enough points to cover your entire stay at the time of booking, this would be a great way to snag award space at any of the above properties for the Olympics as soon as the reservation window opens (generally ~50 weeks in advance).
Earning Marriott points: Like the other chains, Marriott provides an array of ways to earn points in the program. Once of the fastest is by opening a cobranded card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases in your first three months from your account opening. The card also includes a number of perks, like 15 elite credits every year and a free night certificate valid at properties up to 35,000 points per night.
Of course, there are many other hotel programs beyond the four highlighted above, so if you’re into a “non-traditional” program, here are a few additional options.
Leading Hotels of the World
Leading Hotels of the World revamped its Leaders Club late last year. Members can now earn and redeem points based on room rates at the collection’s 400+ luxury hotels across the world.
In Tokyo, there will be three participating properties: the Palace Hotel Tokyo ($600-$800 per night), the iconic Imperial Hotel Tokyo ($300-$500 per night) and the forthcoming Okura Tokyo in Toranomon where you can put your points and privileges to use by the time the Olympics roll around.
Le Club Accorhotels
While we don’t often cover Le Club AccorHotels, you might want to consider it because the program fields two convenient hotels near the Olympic venues. Le Club AccorHotels points convert at a rate of 2,000 points to 40 Euros ($45) that you can redeem toward paid stays, which can help you stay on a budget. That said, the program announced an overhaul that should take place by the end of 2019, so this information might change.
The Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku is just about two miles from the National Stadium, and rates start at under $100 per night.
Rates at the higher-end and more central Mercure Tokyo Ginza start at around $180 per night. It is smack dab between the venues in the heritage district and those in the Tokyo Bay district, with especially easy access to the events at the Tokyo International Forum and the Imperial Palace Gardens.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will bring the world together to cheer on athletes as they meet and compete. Though the festivities are likely to be well attended, that doesn’t mean you can’t put your hotel points to use for a visit during the games. As hotel nights become bookable, however, be sure to reserve as soon as possible since rooms are likely to sell out fast.
Featured photo via Getty Images.
For rates and fees on the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel