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Making sure the Hyatt Diamond deal doesn’t get the best of me

For about six hours, it was possible to match almost any hotel chain status to Hyatt Diamond. Ironically, the PR move was one of the many things that has ended up costing Hyatt some loyal customers (I first remember Dia writing she was done in December and Julian just wrote about it this week). I totally understand Diamond members who earned status via hard work being frustrated about that, but this post isn’t for you.

This post is for all of us who glommed onto Hyatt Diamond the “easy way”. I’ve been realizing that having Diamond status has been subtly and not so subtly affecting the way I plan my travel. That has got to stop, otherwise this win-win situation is going to turn into a win-lose situation, with me as the loser! Here are some of the ways status has been affecting the way I plan my travel, maybe some of you can relate.

None of these effects are bad in and of themselves, but it’s important for me to process them so they don’t end up costing me more money in the long run!

It affects my choice of destination

Hyatt has a fairly small footprint compared to say Hilton or Marriott. What I’ve found whenever I’ve had Diamond status (this is the second time) is I subconsciously limit my destinations when I am sitting on the status. This happens by either a) eliminating a destination due to no Hyatts or b) considering one because there IS a Hyatt (Mallorca anyone? Though in my defense on that one we were supposed to go there before we found out it overlapped with our son’s due date. GOOD JOB, SON!)

Apparently this is what the Isle of Skye looks like. But there aren't any Hyatt properties there!

Apparently this is what the Isle of Skye looks like. But there aren’t any Hyatt properties there!

This is really stupid in this instance because I have Hilton Diamond status as well for the next year. So I shouldn’t be limiting my destinations, but those confirmed suite upgrades sway my subconscious quite a bit. Sure, there’s a good chance I can score a suite at a Hilton, but there is no way for me to know before I get there.

Luckily, my wife won’t stand for going to a place just for a hotel (or just to fly on an A380), so that helps balance things out. This summer we are going to Scotland, land of zero Hyatts, and I’m just going to make do. Which leads me to my second point.

The allure of suite upgrades can cause me to ignore more family convenient options

In Scotland, since no Hyatts exist, I booked us a nice house and a nice apartment to stay in. These places feature kitchens, double baths, lawns – aka things you would never get from a hotel.

Contrast that with our upcoming trip to Aruba. I really, really wanted to redeem a Diamond suite upgrade, so I convinced myself that it would be better to stay at the Hyatt Regency than finding an apartment. This was easy to do.

  • Oh hey, since we’re Diamond we get free breakfast, money saved (and unlike the Devil’s Advocate, breakfast is pretty important to us even though I don’t care for it – must. feed. toddler.)
  • The hotel is on the beach so it’s going to be way more convenient. An apartment further inland might prevent us from going to the beach as much. Plus it has pools!
  • It will be easier to have the resources of a hotel at our fingertips rather than figure everything out ourselves

Now, those are all valid points, and I don’t regret booking the Hyatt Regency Aruba at all. Still, I barely looked at any other options, and when that happens, it’s definitely something for me to internally keep an eye on.

I can sometimes fool myself into spending more money

Here is the biggest kicker for me. It is lovely to enjoy suites if you are paying the cost of a regular room. But it’s very easy for me to convince myself to toss in an extra $50 to stay at a Hyatt and confirm a DSU as opposed to staying at another hotel. Plus I might not just be passing on a cheaper hotel, I might be passing on a cheaper and more conveniently located hotel!

This suite at the Andaz 5th Ave was pretty sweet but did it cost too much?

This suite at the Andaz 5th Ave was pretty sweet but did it cost too much?

Take London, for example. We are spending a few days there before hitting Scotland and I am going to book a refundable room and confirm a DSU. But the refundable rate is 440 quid – over $600! Now, I’m not going to pay that (I’m going to wait to see if cash and points open up but want to “hold” the suite), but I am tempted to. Again, it’s easy to justify – I’m saving a ton of money in Scotland lodging so have extra left over to splurge in London. Very dangerous thinking.

So it’s important for me to set my lodging budget ($350/night for a suite as I said in a previous post) and stick to it. If not, I just have to let it go…probably…okay yes I should let it go. Temptationnnn!

It affects my Ultimate Reward usage  

Before we had kids, this wouldn’t have mattered that much. Spend some UR points to redeem cash and points or free nights at Hyatt and we still had plenty left over. But in 16 short months I will be forced to pay for four tickets. If I need to use Ultimate Rewards for those I’ll need pretty healthy balances.

So I’m using Ultimate Rewards for Hyatt more and more while at the same time Chase is 5/24ing everything and earning UR is getting harder and harder. Is staying in a suite for three nights worth having to pay cash for one of my broodlings to fly to Asia? Tough one. I can earn quite a few UR but the number isn’t unlimited, so I need to weigh all those things on balance.

Final Thoughts

As always in these “Joe thinks aloud” posts, I’m just processing how having Hyatt Diamond status has been affecting my travel planning lately. I don’t think any of these effects are bad in and of themselves; they are just things I am trying to stay aware of. If I know I’m paying extra but my wife and I are okay with it, then fine. I just don’t want to be fooled into bad decisions by the allure of suites and executive lounges. When he said it at the time, I disagreed, but I now know for sure FQF was right: giving out Diamond status was a great move for Hyatt’s bottom line. Hopefully I can keep it a win-win situation, instead of turning into the biggest loser.




Leave a Comment

  • Jamie February 29, 2016, 12:04 pm

    Yeah, I think that giving away Diamond status was a great idea for Hyatt. They could’ve handled it a little better, but overall, good move. Having diamond status a couple of years ago certainly got us into the habit of at least considering a Hyatt everywhere we went. The other smart thing is that they have the quality to keep you hooked once you try them. I really feel like the customer service particularly is a step up from other chains, or at least IHG and Hilton (I don’t stay at the others often enough to comment). So, even though we got Hilton Diamond, I still feel a pull towards staying at Hyatts.

    Reply
  • Solewalker February 29, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Oh god – I had the exact same thing. I am going to a bunch of ballparks this Spring-Summer, and had to force myself to be rational. Hilton Baltimore overlooking Camden Yards for 20k points + $65 vs Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor for 7.5k UR points + 100 USD vs HIX for 20k points. Suddenly the Hyatt Regency doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Particularly when Hilton Baltimore actually overlooks Camden Yards.

    Reply
    • Joe February 29, 2016, 8:24 pm

      I am incredibly jealous of your trip! How many ballparks are you going to hit?

      Reply
      • Solewalker March 1, 2016, 2:51 pm

        Right now, I have trips booked for Chicago (White Sox), Baltimore, Denver, Anaheim, and Phoenix (for Spring Training!), courtesy of the Southwest Companion Pass, so my boyfriend gets to come as well! I’ve been monitoring prices on Southwest like a hawk, and am hoping to squeeze on more trip in.

        Reply
  • atxtravel February 29, 2016, 7:39 pm

    I’m thinking all chain hotel programs are a big ponzi scheme. You end up overpaying for the hotel to supposedly get a “free” hotel sometime later. Pretty much everywhere I’ve gone abroad, the US based chains are always more expensive and you have less flexibility of where to travel.

    Good luck with Scotland btw, it’s not just a chain hotel wasteland, even hotels.com can be useless in some remote locations like Skye. And for gods sake don’t go in August. You’ll pay for accomodations through the nose.

    Reply
    • Joe February 29, 2016, 8:24 pm

      Yep we rented apartments already in Inverness and Skye. Just gotta figure out London and Edinburgh but that should be easy enough

      Reply
      • Pauline March 20, 2016, 9:24 am

        Joe, For London, consider the London Aloft Excel, an SPG hotel. We stayed for 5 nights at the beginning of March for $82 USD a night. It is a business oriented hotel right by a convention center, a little off the beaten path right off the DLR line (Docklands light rail), so prices are higher on Mon. and Tues. and get lower for the rest of the week. Easily accessible to the train–you don’t even have to get on a public street to get to the hotel. (The train station is about 5 stops to the Jubilee line, which is one of the major tube lines in the city.)

        The rooms are large, provide free wifi, and the staff are wonderful. The hotel is only a few years old so everything is modern. The only reason why it might not work for you is if your children are not shower friendly, since Alofts only have large open showers, not baths. (I don’t have children myself, but I remember not being shower friendly until I was about 12.) Taking the train to anywhere in the city is really only 30-40 minutes. I think you would find that the cost savings is well worth not being in the heart of the city; it was for us. If you have Citi Prestige card, perhaps you could book 4th night free on refundable rate and see check for SPG hot escapes to book if rates come down within 6 weeks of your trip.

        Reply
  • A.J. February 29, 2016, 7:45 pm

    Good post. I never knew how good Hyatt Diamond members had it. Now that I am one, I will do whatever I can to retain that status.

    Reply
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