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Basic economy, hotel edition: This luxury hotel wants you to pay up to access the pool and gym

Dec. 12, 2020
4 min read
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Prior to the pandemic, "unbundling" was one of the biggest buzz words in the airline industry.

Unbundled fares typically just include a seat and little else, with each optional amenity (seat selection, checked bag, etc.) an additional cost a passenger can choose. Ultra-low-cost-carriers such as Spirit have always unbundled fares but in recent years, major airlines followed suit with basic economy. Even some business class products are now going the way of unbundling.

Now, imagine something similar -- but for hotels. As first reported by Milelion, this Andaz in Singapore seems to be repurposing the unbundling scheme for the hotel world.

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The 'room only' rate

The Andaz Singapore is a luxury, five-star property near Singapore’s famous Marina Bay at the intersection of the city’s Kampong Glam, Little India and Bras Basah Bugis districts.

Amenities include a 25th-story rooftop pool with sweeping views and a state-of-the-art fitness center. During the pandemic to ensure appropriate social distancing, both are open but require reservations (for the pool) and a special access keycard (for the gym).

However, both of those amenities are off-limits if you book the lowest "room only" rate in December through Klook, a popular Hong Kong-based online travel and activities agency.

Andaz Singapore room (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)

Yes, that means you can stay in the room -- but won't have access to the hotel's prominent public spaces including the gym and pool.

Here's the exact verbage from Klook about what's included in this unbundled room:

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Room Only Package: Kindly note that this package is only entitled to a 1-Night Stay in a King Bed / Twin Bed Room with in-room minibar, once per stay and all day refreshments at Sunroom on Level 25. This package does not include Breakfast, Swimming Pool Access and Gym Access

The rate further states that the gym and pool are already fully reserved for the month of December, hence the restrictions. However, as Milelion notes, this isn't the case as bookings for both amenities are still available as of this writing.

This is the first instance I have seen of a room rate at a full service, premium hotel that didn't include specific on-property amenities that you'd typically be eligible for.

Related: 3 ways to do Singapore on points

Does this signal anything about the future of hotel pricing?

With just one example to note, probably not. But this shows the possibility that properties may pilot similar pricing schemes to maximize revenue at a time when travel demand is low.

In this instance, the gym and pool have little added cost to a hotel for an additional guest. But if implemented correctly, hotels can incentivize a potential guest to "upgrade" to a rate that does include those amenities, for example.

After all, that's how basic economy has been marketed by airlines thus far. Carriers don't necessarily want you to be booking basic economy -- what they want is for you to pay more for the privilege of a standard economy ticket.

That's why you see messages that are so clearly skewed to upgrading during the booking process, such as this below:

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Related: The best cities for first-time visitors to Asia

Bottom line

The Andaz Singapore seems to be testing a "room-only" rate through a third-party channel. While we don't know the future of hotel pricing, in the current environment of limited travel, I wouldn't be surprised to see other creative solutions to spur more bookings.

We reached out to Hyatt for comment and will update this story should we get more information.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
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    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees