Platinum / Spire Elite Status at ANA Crowne Plazas in Japan

Old Jul 6, 19, 1:07 am
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Platinum / Spire Elite Status at ANA Crowne Plazas in Japan

I have a question for the experts. Weíre Platinum level members (soon to be Spire). Weíve stayed at CPís in Japan a few times and been upgraded to a club room and club access each time weíve booked a room thatís one level below a club room. This time, we arrived in Osaka and were told CP never upgrades from a standard room to club. We explained we had been given such an upgrade at Fukuoka, at Kobe and, indeed in Osaka last year, but two desk clerks adamantly said no.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 4:25 am
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As you should know, IHG Rewards Club has no formal policy entitling any elites to Club access. Some hotels are generous. Others aren't. Some can be generous sometimes but not always.

FWIW it doesn't matter whether you book the standard room or "one level below Club". You are confusing the Ambassador policy with Rewards Club policy.

The best advice is to expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised if an upgrade occurs.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 4:45 am
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The upgrade policy (one category) is related to the room only and doesn't have to include any attaches extras such as club access.

For example I regularly receive upgrade to a club suite at IC Seoul but that never includes the actual club access unless I pay extra for it.

In your case they would possibly give you a Club Room but no Club Access which in terms of upgrade is likely worthless.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 10:47 am
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As a Spire Iíve been never upgraded to Club access in Kobe. In Osaka and Fukuoka Iíve been told this year that they changed there policy somewhen last year and donít include Club access with upgrades any more.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:49 am
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaSteve View Post
I have a question for the experts. We’re Platinum level members (soon to be Spire). We’ve stayed at CP’s in Japan a few times and been upgraded to a club room and club access each time we’ve booked a room that’s one level below a club room.
Were the stays where you got free club lounge access many years back when IHG rewards was still called "priority club" and platinum status actually still meaned something ?

I've never heard of this type of generous upgrade in Japan with IHG.
In general Japanese hotels are notriously stingy with good upgrades and even more stingy with free club access, unless the hotel points rules strictly say you are guaranteed a certain benefit.

Last edited by est-gratuite; Jul 7, 19 at 5:56 am
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by est-gratuite View Post
Were the stays where you got free club lounge access many years back when IHG rewards was still called "priority club" and platinum status actually still meaned something ?

I've never heard of this type of generous upgrade in Japan with IHG.
In general Japanese hotels are notriously stingy with good upgrades and even more stingy with free club access, unless the hotel points rules strictly say you are guaranteed a certain benefit.
I have received upgrades to club (or at least free breakfast) in most ANA CPs in Japan in my 2015, 2016, and 2017 trips, even on points stays. I have not been to Japan since 2018, but I have also heard that recently that have stopped being generous.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 1:57 pm
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In the last years (last stay end of October last year) I always got upgraded as a Spire member (RA) to club room including club and free spa/pool access at CP Fukuoka.
Any news, whether policy has changed?
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Old Sep 4, 19, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by cazane View Post
In the last years (last stay end of October last year) I always got upgraded as a Spire member (RA) to club room including club and free spa/pool access at CP Fukuoka.
Any news, whether policy has changed?
Last stay end of March. No upgrade to club.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by cazane View Post

In the last years (last stay end of October last year) I always got upgraded as a Spire member (RA) to club room including club and free spa/pool access at CP Fukuoka.
Any news, whether policy has changed?
Just checked in to CP Fukuoka tonight. Got upgraded to a club room with club access as Spire (RA). The room was upgraded on the reservation about 2 days ahead of time. I'm staying here again at the end of next week so guess I'll see how consistent this kind of upgrade is.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 5:15 am
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Originally Posted by VaBeachGirl View Post
Just checked in to CP Fukuoka tonight. Got upgraded to a club room with club access as Spire (RA). The room was upgraded on the reservation about 2 days ahead of time. I'm staying here again at the end of next week so guess I'll see how consistent this kind of upgrade is.
Definitely not consistent! My train from Hakata to Sasebo was cancelled tonight because of the typhoon so I made a last minute rewards night stay. When I checked in, I double checked about club access and was initially told no. Then the front desk agent changed her mind and gave me access out of the goodness of her heart.
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Old Oct 29, 19, 7:05 am
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Originally Posted by VaBeachGirl View Post
Definitely not consistent! My train from Hakata to Sasebo was cancelled tonight because of the typhoon so I made a last minute rewards night stay. When I checked in, I double checked about club access and was initially told no. Then the front desk agent changed her mind and gave me access out of the goodness of her heart.
Stayed at ANA CP Fukuoka a few day ago on points (reward nights) as a Spire (RA) and got access to Club. Room was booked a few weeks ago.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 6:25 pm
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FWIW I was upgraded from a standard room to a club suite at the CP ANA Fukuoka in 2016 when I was merely Platinum. I don't think they see too many elites there because they were almost falling over to help me. As a 3rd year law student on my $49 annual fee credit card it was a bit much.
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Old Dec 22, 19, 2:16 pm
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I spent some 80 nights in Japan this year, mostly in off-the-beaten-path locations, and wanted to provide an update about Spire treatment in Japanese CPs. I was unsure of where to post this; the main Spire discussion thread seems to be mostly handwringing about how terrible Spire is -- relative to Hyatt/Marriott. Obviously, IF you have status with those programs and they have a property where you're going, at a decent price --and this is a big if in small town Japan-- stay there. You will not be getting restaurant breakfast at Japanese CPs unless you pay for it, and you'll rarely get club access. However, I always booked the cheapest room, and I always got a meaningful upgrade, often several categories. Maybe it takes some staying in Japanese towns with no Western chains to appreciate how much of a difference an upgrade from a 130sqft room to a 280sqft room makes. I've spent a number of nights in Solarias and Mantens and Forzas and Richmonds, and even the occasional Comfort hotel (these are literally the best options in places like Aomori or Akita or Kagoshima), and although you'll often find decent rooms with modern features (if you do your research on TA), they will stick you in the 130sqft room you booked, unless you shell out extra for a slightly larger one, and they will not at all be flexible on early check-in or late check-out. So for me, the benefits at off-the-beaten-path Japanese CPs are quite stellar, considering the alternatives -- always an upgrade, Spire drink coupon(s), early check-in when needed, late check-out proactively offered.

What's important to know is that almost all Japanese CPs are 25-40 years old, and many have only seen very mild remodeling (or none at all). For years, the polite description used to be "old, but spotlessly clean," but a few of these hotels have turned to "well past their prime," with "yuck, I'm not sitting on that" furniture. (This problem is by no means constrained to CPs; there are a number of Hyatt and Marriott properties that similarly need a major overhaul). OTOH, some CPs have been remodeled, but Japanese hotels rarely seem to renovate all rooms at a time, so here are often some new floors and some ancient ones (making it somewhat difficult to decide where to stay based on reviews written by people who may have been lucky to get a much better room). CPs are generally well located, either near train stations or in the heart of the city (near shopping arcades or government offices).

In addition to being the only game in smaller towns, Japanese CPs are also very competitively priced. Almost all my stays were under 10k yen, in some cases 5-6k yen (even during cherry blossom and fall colors seasons). Factor in 10-15% cashback, and insane points earning with the current stacking Accelerate/2x/4x promos, and the deals can be hard to pass up. In some cases, points redemption rates are appealing, especially for Saturday nights (which are often outrageously pricey due to staycations).

I guess Iíll start with CPs that are somewhat on the tourist trail, with other chain options around:

- Sapporo: Got a small room on a high floor, maybe 200sqft. They have better rooms, but it was a Saturday night and they were completely sold out. Location a bit out of the way, would probably choose HI (which is often much cheaper and, despite also having tiny rooms, is very generous with Spire drink coupons -- I got 4 for some reason, and the bar has an excellent drinks menu).
- Nagoya: Located near a major train station, but a little far from JR Nagoya and shopping areas. Cheapest room to 280sqft-ish room on high floor upgrade. The Marriott is very good here, but often 2-3 times as expensive.
- Hiroshima: The Sheraton is much more conveniently located and has better rooms and lounge, but usually runs 2-3 as much as CP. I ended up cancelling two stays at the Sheraton because the rate (even after approved BRG) was 15k yen, and the CP was available for 6800 yen including breakfast and 5000 bonus points. Four single-night stays here this year, and my usual upgrade was a 250sqft-ish high floor room (nice view), but once they were sold out and I was given a smaller room on a low floor, but they threw in club access (the front desk has a laminated sheet offering a choice of club access or free minibar to Spires/Plats who donít get a proper upgrade). Club is nice by Japanese standards, decent evening happy hour with alcohol and some nibbles.
- Kanazawa: Directly next to the JR station, the usual larger room upgrade, but old, and unappealing view. Would choose the HI here, where I was upgraded to a Japanese Western suite. Better located, great view, and the Spire drink coupons worked for a couple glasses of Yamazaki 12. There's a Hyatt Centric about to open (and I believe Hyatt Place later), which will likely be preferable if you have Hyatt status.
- Kobe: Right next to Shin-Kobe station, very convenient for a stopover or for exploring the region via Shinkansen. Subway gets you to central Kobe. Old hotel, upgrades to larger, high-floor rooms. Thereís a club and some people reported getting access, but that never happened for me. For exploring Kobe, Iíd probably stay at a local chain (Okura is in a great area and rates can be similar to CP, and youíll end up in a similarly sized/aged room). Give the Sheraton a miss at all cost.
- Fukuoka: Only stayed here once, because there is a pretty decent Grand Hyatt in town. Good location, upgraded to a modern room. Others have reported club access, but it wasnít granted to me.
- Nagasaki: Was closed for remodel a couple years ago. Rooms are fairly new, but sadly windows are tiny and the location at the bottom of a hill means limited views (a shame in a city that has some spectacular views). Close to Glover Garden and the harbor, but not ideally located for central Nagasaki Ė too far for a pleasant walk, too short to justify taking the tram. Front desk was standoffish and didnít want to offer the Spire drink coupon choice.
- I can't say anything about the CPs/HI in Osaka/Kyoto, because these cities have some amazing hotels I prefer (including IC Osaka, one of the best ICs in the system). Havenít stayed at CP Narita and CTS in a few years, and never been to Niigata.

The following CPs are perhaps a little bit off-the-beaten-path, with little discussion on FT, so Iíll add a little background about the cites and potential reasons why one might visit:

- Kumamoto: I spent a few Saturday nights here, because 20,000 points is a great deal when cash rates are upward of 20k yen++. For a while, the hotel had all room categories bookable as award; this happens occasionally, and some hotels then try to downgrade the booking to base rooms. That wasnít an issue here, so thumbs up for letting me stay in a suite they could have sold to the wedding crowd for 50k yen or more. Fairly modern rooms. Kumamoto is an interesting city with a good vibe, and itís a natural stopover point when using the North/South Kyushu railpasses. Downside of the CP is the location; itís not really near the JR station, and quite far from downtown. Itís all walkable on a pleasant day, and there are trams, but thereís nothing nearby.
- Okayama: Used to be on Pointbreaks frequently, but recently, rates have inched up a lot. Location is right next to JR Okayama station, so ideal for a stopover or exploring the region via railpasses (there are some regional ones that are fantastic value). Hotel is a new build, and has modern rooms. I had a couple stays here with upgrades to the top floor, which comes with a happy hour (one hour of drinks and some nibbles at the bar on the top floor). The happy hour apparently is only applicable if youíre upgraded to that specific floor, and not granted for Spires staying on other floors.
- Toyama: Quite a few Japanese cities are eyesores (temples and parks aside), but Toyama is outstandingly unappealing. Lots of bubble era concrete, even the main park is ugly. I stayed here for a couple nights when Kanazawa rates were nuts, and itís not a bad choice for exploring the region via the outrageously cheap Hokuriku Area Pass. The CP is located next to the castle and a shopping area (department store, covered arcades), about a 15-minute walk from the JR station (tram also available). Was upgraded to a large but ancient corner room with castle view. Staff very friendly, received two Spire drink chits in addition to points.
- Yonago: Speaking of unappealing cities, Yonago deserves honorable mention. There isnít much to see, a sad beach/onsen (far from the CP anyway), and a lot of economic devastation (lots of abandoned shops). The CP is dirt cheap, and I got my usual decent sized room upgrade. About a 10-minute walk to the JR station. The Sanin coast has lots of interesting (and relatively uncrowded) sights like Matsue, Hagi, the Izumo shrine, and again, thereís a ludicrously cheap regional railpass (Sanin Okayama Area Pass, 5k yen-ish for 4 days). Even though itís one of the most modern CP rooms I had in Japan, I donít think Iíd pick Yonago as a base again; would probably stay at a non-chain hotel in Matsue or Tottori instead (once again, this is a big tradeoff, youíd pay more for a much smaller room, but youíd be in a much more exciting city than Yonago).
- Matsuyama: This is perhaps my least favorite CP in Japan. Itís located near shopping and the castle, but itís an extremely unappealing building. Some rooms apparently have been remodeled (some good reviews on TA), but mine wasnít, although it did have a brand-new bathroom, so further remodel is likely going to happen at some point. The building seems to have been constructed to minimize the intrusion of daylight, so even though there could be a great view of the castle and park, for some reason they chose a tiny window. Really depressing room, although once again a multi-category upgrade from the lowest category I booked.
- Ube: I canít imagine they get a lot of Westerners. Getting there takes some effort: from the Shinkansen stop at Shin-Yamaguchi, you have to take a local train for about an hour. And when you get there, Ube really is a sight: a rusty steel/fishing town thatís been ravaged by aging and depopulation. The townís department store has closed, and 80+% of stores in the covered shopping arcades have thrown in the towel. What remains is mostly 70+ year-olds, selling stock that became obsolete in the 1980s. CP Ube is a perfect fit for this kind of town. It was built at a time when Ube was a lot more prosperous, but hasnít seen much of an update since the 1980s. But I was in for a surprise: they upgraded me to the Imperial Suite. It was of course ancient, but huge, perhaps 1200sqft, with a large dining/living room (with an abundance of chandeliers), a kitchen/bar, bedroom, dressing room, large bathroom complete with a bidet from the days before Toto toilets were a thing, oh, and best of all, a rotary phone mounted next to the bidet. Iím assuming a number of Ubeís grandmothers spent their wedding nights here, back in better times.
- Kushiro: is perhaps just as downtrodden as Ube and Yonago, and the CP is really old. I can't imagine many FTers have been to this one, but strangely, this hotel has its own thread here.

Overall, Iíd say CPs in Japan are an excellent deal if you go in with the right expectations. Most will be old, but you can book the cheapest room and get an upgrade to a decent sized one, and youíll get early check-in and late check-out without problems (none of this is the case at similarly priced non-chain hotels). The Spire drink chits usually buy decent cocktails, and in some cases even expensive whiskey, usually in an upscale top floor bar setting. You will also earn a lot of points on very cheap room rates Ė with these current stacking promos, I basically earned a free night at CP Nagoya or Kumamoto (>20k yen on Saturday nights) for every two $100 stays.
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Old Dec 22, 19, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Havenít stayed at CP Narita and CTS in a few years, and never been to Niigata.
Stayed twice this past Oct (2019) and another time in 2016. They upgraded us to a corner room that is almost twice as big as the regular room I booked. The hotel has no lounge, but the they always give a dinner buffet discount that is worth quite a bit (I think 1000JPY off per person or something like that). The rate I booked came with breakfast.
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Old Dec 22, 19, 5:26 pm
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Thanks to JPDX for a great and thoughtful post.
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