This will be the last post I write about whether or not I’m chasing Hyatt status. Maybe.
Because, well, it’s complicated.
And that’s the problem. Status decisions should be pretty straightforward. You find a brand that works with your travel/shopping patterns and they reward you for a specific level of loyalty. So why is it so difficult with Hyatt?
Diamond is as Diamond does
Joe hit one reason on the head recently- diamond benefits are wildly inconsistent. I’d add that service can be wildly inconsistent within the same hotel. Life may be a box of chocolates, but never knowing what you’re gonna get is not a feature I desire in a loyalty program.
I had made the decision, partly by default, to stop chasing Hyatt Diamond in June. I wondered if the Hyatt Cannes Martinez suite upgrade might tip the scale but have to admit the view at the Holiday Inn was actually better.
Yes, hacking adds another level, but Hyatt status adds still another level of complication
Just when I was comfortable with letting Diamond go Hyatt completely changed the program. I already needed an additional 12 stays in the next six weeks- or 25 in Jan & Feb 2017- to grandfather in my benefits before needing 60 (!) nights a year moving forward. Staying even 25 times at a chain with such a small footprint is a stretch at times. 60 is pretty much a middle finger to people who spend a month, but not two, a year at Hyatt.
At least it’s not just me
I took great comfort in the slow motion train wreck of a Reddit AMA Hyatt SVP Jeff Zidell endured regarding the new program. Clearly I’m not the only formerly loyal diamond who will be taking my business elsewhere.
I take less comfort in the number of friends who are paying for other’s stays in order to make their 2016 Diamond status. I take the least comfort in those I see who actually booked 25 stays in Jan and Feb 2017.
I wouldn’t tell anyone they’re wrong- who am I kidding, of course I would- but in this case I won’t. I’ll just ask you to re-examine your math without the diamond goggles. Remember that you can use award nights for suites and club rooms just as easily as you can for rooms- in many cases more so as you don’t have to rely on points+cash availability.
Think about how many times you really want that suite or club room (as opposed to the nice to have times) and look at how much it would cost you book it directly on points. Now look at how much you’re spending on mattress running. How do they compare?
And more importantly- how does either compare to other lodging options? Are you only visiting that destination at all because Hyatt is there?
Putting my math where my mouth is
This is easier as I’ve just booked the outlines of Camp Mom 2017 in Chile. Suites are especially important on the legs with Deal Dad as you can imagine. Two Hyatts come into play on this itinerary- the category 3 Grand Hyatt Santiago and the cat 2 Park Hyatt Mendoza. I expect we will spend 3 nights in Santiago and maybe a week in Mendoza. I keep it simple and value points at a penny.
3 nights in Santiago points and cash= $135 (6,000/$75) and suite upgrade x 3= $405
3 nights suite award= $200 (20K points) x 3= $600
(We could also go with a cat 2 Hyatt Place at 8K a night, or $240, if we wanted to go on a budget.)
7 nights in a suite points + cash=$95 ($55+4,000) and suite upgrade)=$665
7 nights suite award= $130 x 7=910
I’ll be honest: I’d still spend 13K points a night for a suite at the Hyatt. But here’s the thing: it’s only costing me $245 confirming the suite with no status whatsoever than booking it points and cash with diamond status and praying a DSU opens up.
What about the rest of the year?
I’ve taken a good look at my stays over the last two years- and noticed a trend I should have spotted long ago. 75% of my Hyatt stays are at Hyatt Place or Hyatt House where status counts exactly squat. The ones that weren’t? Besides our Camp Mom Asia stays and Cannes most were at the Hyatt Chesapeake where you can usually find club rates for 3,000 points + daily rate. So let’s say we have five nights at the Chesapeake- that’s $150.
This means- and I’m being generous- I can find about $500 of benefits I’d realistically derive from diamond status in 2017. Is that worth 13 mattress runs? Heck, no. Is it worth an additional 12 to guess what I might derive from 2018? Hell, no.
It’s time to let Hyatt status go. Really. I mean it this time.
How’s your Hyatt math adding up? Is your relationship as complicated as mine? Please share in the comments.
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