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Yet another post from The Man–
I’m a huge fan of the justified do-over. If you’ve done everything in your power to succeed, but weather, gravity, labor dissent or sheer chaos simply stands in your way, then by all means, take your mulligan, and be proud of your official result. Opposing coaches call time-out to ice kickers at the end of a game to get in their heads, but most kickers know they’re about to be iced, and are comfortable with the temporary reprieve. The rest of us have to seize our second chances when we can, recognize them for the true opportunity that they are, and boldly put forth our best effort, mindfully ignorant of any previous attempt.
And so it is with my points and miles collection. I’ve probably, yet begrudgingly, earned frequent traveler/renter/tenant status many times in my professional career, but it is only now, at the 40% mark of my life (give or take a decade) that I’ve begun to focus on the secondary currency that is points and miles collecting. At the beginning of this year, I was still randomly selecting airlines, hotels, rental car firms, and credit cards in my professional and personal life. My wife would silently watch, bemused, as I’d critically assess the value of this provider over that provider, knowing that my business expenses wouldn’t register unless I put forth a modicum of effort. But then she started blogging, and the rest is herstory.
Today I received a very pleasant email from my friends at Hyatt indicating that I had achieved Diamond status manually, by staying in a Hyatt brand for a minimum of 25 stays in the last calendar year.
Although the majority of the time I had only one night away from home, there was more than one occasion where I actually had to pack up from a decent room, where I’d committed to memory the number outside the door, to vacate. To yet another Hyatt. Donning the garb of the technogypsy, I’d go through the hassle of finding a new wireless access point, memorize a new room number, ingrain within my geo-spatial cognizance the fact that, this time, I turn left out of the elevator as opposed to right, all in order to achieve the ultimate of Hyatt loyalty statii (statuses?), that of the Diamond. Hardest common material to naturally create, worth more than most other materials on the planet, I had now achieved the ultimate in… hotel loyalty.
It happened amidst five trips to Austin in the span of two work weeks, so needless to say I was somewhat too harried to notice when my status changed. Like a birthday, or winning an election, I didn’t really feel that I had become a different person. Rather, I felt the marathon was over and I could peel off my shoes so that my feet could bleed in peace. Yet instantly, when the status of Diamond championed my cause, I was able to proclaim, “I’ll have the free breakfast, thank you!” and, “Please, Sir. May I have another?” when the question of bonus points for my amenity was proffered.
Elite status is nice. Having the hotel recognize the effort and commitment involved is wonderful. Being able to place a call to upgrade my in-laws to a suite (on my reservation) was something I’d never done before, but was happy to do. But with great power comes great responsibility. I feel the metamorphosis overtaking me. I’m now contemplating the effort to achieve similar status on my favorite airline,
Continental United, which would change my frequent method of travel, driving (nicely offset by paid expenses for mileage). Now I’ll drive an hour to the airport for an hour flight and an hour of taxi or rental from the destination to my work/hotel location, replacing my 2 hour and 40 minute drive, all for status. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Mommy Points has stated pretty clearly that, now that I’ve earned my Diamond, I needn’t be away for work for a while, thank you very much. Relieved, I pull out my Hyatt Gold Passport to have it bronzed. Then, even more matter-of-factly, she decries, “That is, of course, until January 1st. Then you have to earn Diamond all over again.” Wait, what? And then I’m clued in to the “Lifetime Status” levels of loyalty programs. Planes named after you, permanent suite upgrades, luxury rentals…
Diamond ain’t nothin’, Baby. Long live Diamond.