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Last year my husband and I decided to take a “divide and conquer” approach to hotel elite status, and I earned Hyatt Diamond status while he focused on top tier Starwood Platinum status. That way when we vacation together we can leverage each others status levels to get perks in both programs. The year before that he had both Hyatt Diamond and Starwood Platinum status that he had earned via a challenge. He simply didn’t have enough trips away from home to re-earn top status in both programs (which is a good thing as he is gone quite enough), so we went for SPG over Hyatt for him to avoid duplicating status within the family. On paper, it sounded pretty perfect given our traveling situation. The reality was a little different.
Losing Hyatt Diamond:
When his Hyatt status officially dropped from Diamond to mid-tier Platinum in February of this year he wasn’t thrilled. He missed the club access, the breakfasts, the confirmed (and surprise) suite upgrades, and I missed the extra points he used to earn as a Diamond. He travels for work more weeks than not, so not having access to hotel perks he had previously enjoyed was a tad annoying for him, to say the least. Work travel is draining enough without making it less comfortable than it could be.
So, he did what any reasonable person would do and simply decided to earn it back one stay at a time. There is also a Hyatt Diamond Challenge where you are given Hyatt status and to keep it you need 12 eligible nights in a 60 day period, but he didn’t have 12 nights in a 60 day period planned, so it was easier to just earn it back the old fashioned way.
Earning it back one stay at a time:
One work trip at a time he ticked off the needed Hyatt stays until hitting the magic number of 25 stays in a calendar year this week. It almost seems like you should get some balloons or something when you hit that magic 25 stays number, but we’ll settle for just knowing it is done. If you have gotten on the travel elite status hamster wheel then you know that feeling of relief when you have hit the number needed to secure status for another year. In addition to him simply missing the perks of Hyatt Diamond, this also made sense as I may not re-qualify for Hyatt Diamond this year thanks to generally traveling a little less, not having all my stays grouped at a Hyatt, and staying on points a little more. Though it does help that cash and points stays count toward status with Hyatt!
Now that he has just about requalified for Diamond he will get the four confirmed suite upgrades, the food/beverage or 1,000 point amenity each stay (500 at Hyatt House and Hyatt Place), access to the “Diamond phone line”, and a 30% points bonus on earned base points instead of the 15% he has been getting as a Platinum. The huge value for us with Diamond status is the lounge access, breakfasts, and suite upgrades as they have tangible value and help make our vacations (and his work trips) more comfortable. Getting elite status is a way to make his required work trips work a little harder for our traveling family!
Don’t know how sweet Diamond is until you lose it:
I can sit here and tell you how we enjoyed the perks of hotel elite status, but like most things in life, it is when you no longer get the perks that you realize how much you enjoyed them in the first place! We now know for certain how much we enjoy having Hyatt Diamond status specifically, and I would bet that my husband won’t lose it again in any near future unless his work travel patterns change dramatically. Many other hotel elite status levels wouldn’t be missed quite as much as Hyatt Diamond since the perks many other programs provide aren’t as comprehensive or consistent.
Now the biggest question remaining is whether he will requalify for SPG Platinum by the end of the year or not. With only 4 stays completed, he is very much off the pace of 25 stays within the calendar year for SPG, but we’ll see what happens between now and the end of the year. With SPG both cash + points and pure points award nights count toward status, so that helps get to 25 a bit faster. Receiving two stay credits with both the personal and business versions of the Starwood Amex also helps get to 25 stays.
The first eight months of this year reaffirmed how valuable Hyatt Diamond status is for us, how long it can take to get to 25 stays, how
spoiled accustomed to hotel perks you can quickly get, and how our “divide and conquer” approach has some real flaws in it given how often my husband travels without us for work.
How is your hotel elite quest going this year? Is your strategy playing out the way you hoped?