Hacking Hyatt

Buy Hyatt points for 1.59 cents each and get top tier Diamond status in return!

Hyatt’s Q1 Promo and Diamond Challenge

You’ve probably already heard about the upcoming Hyatt promotion in which you can earn up to 55,000 bonus points for staying 16 nights at Hyatt properties between Feb 1 and April 30 2012.  In order to get the full number of points, you need to have the Chase Visa credit card.  I won’t go into the full details, but you can read more about it here and here.  On its own, I don’t find this promo that exciting because I don’t expect to be able to stay at a Hyatt for that many nights.  However, when combined with a Diamond Challenge, it suddenly becomes interesting!

I’ve been eyeing Hyatt’s Diamond status ever since I learned about its incredible benefits: four confirmed suite upgrades per year, free breakfast or club lounge access, late checkouts, and more.  I even contacted Hyatt to see about getting a Diamond Challenge in order to fast track to Diamond.  I received the following response:

Regarding your inquiry, currently a Diamond Trial Offer is available. You will receive trial Diamond membership for 60 days with proof of top tier status with one of our competitors program.  However, you must complete 12 nights in 60 days to maintain Diamond tier through February of 2013.  You will also receive 1000 bonus points on your first six eligible nights within 60 days, up to a maximum of 6000 bonus points.

I haven’t acted on this information yet, though, because I haven’t seen a time in the near future in which I could meet the terms of the challenge.  I don’t want to take the challenge if I can’t meet it!  I could, of course, “mattress run” by booking Hyatt rooms for no reason other than to meet this challenge, but that seems like much too big of an expense in exchange for status that I may or may not make much use of.

Analysis

The latest promotion makes me wonder if a mattress run makes sense after all.  What if I sign up for the Diamond challenge (to get instant Diamond status), then sign up for the Hyatt Visa credit card, and then use the credit card to pay for 16 nights at a local Hyatt?  Is it worth it?   I found a (somewhat) local Hyatt that I can get for $65 per night ($71 after taxes).  What if I book this hotel for 16 nights?  Let’s run the numbers:

  • Cost = 16 X $71 = $1,136
  • Hyatt Promo points earned = 55,000
  • Diamond Challenge bonus points = 6,000
  • Base points earned + 30% for Diamond Elites = 16 X $65 X 5 X 1.3 = 6,760
  • Credit card points (3X) = 16 X $71 X 3 = 3,408
  • Welcome point bonus = 500 (If I made 16 separate bookings I would get 500 X 16 = 8000 points, but I’m not going to do that)
  • Total Points earned = 71,668
  • Cost per point = $1,136 / 71,668 = 1.59 cents

Compared to the Fair Trading Price of 1.31 cents, paying 1.59 cents per point is a bit high, but it’s not outrageous since Hyatt points can be easily redeemed for much more than that.  Top tier Hyatt hotel rooms can be reserved for only 22,000 points per night so a room that would normally cost, say $600, would give your points a value of 2.7 cents each. 

Other benefits to this scheme come from the credit card itself.  Diamond members who sign up for the card receive two free nights in a suite at any Hyatt hotel!  So, when all is said and done, if I did this, I would end up with enough points for three nights at any Hyatt in the world and two nights in suites and four confirmed suite upgrades for paid stays and free breakfasts, etc.

I don’t know if I’ll really do this, but it is very tempting!  The main argument against it is that I’ve been applying for a lot of Chase credit cards lately and I was planning to take a break for a while.  Plus, I don’t yet have the new Ink Bold or the Freedom, both of which are extremely useful for gift card churning.  Hmmm. 

How about you: are you thinking of doing this?  Or, do you have a better scheme?  Let me know!

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I think it is better to wait for a Q2 promotion for Starwood and do a Platinum challenge if you have a hotel that is cheap enough in your area. I would value free nights at a resort or any hotel more valuable than the Hyatt points.

  2. I have been thinking about do this. I have Hyatt Diamond now and it is a very valuable set of benefits but I will lose end of Feb. We are planning a trip to Park Hyatt Maldives this year so the value of the points is very high (and I consider this “real” value in that we would actually pay the going rate, unlike say international F where without the points we would never pay for it – we actually stay at the PH Maldives when it was owned by Alila Villas paying $750 a night)

    The only thing I would add is might be worth speaking with the hotel manager to see if you could get some extra points for declining having your room made up. It is not like you are going to stay there anyway. Maybe you could squeeze another 50 or 100 points a night this way

  3. Also are you sure you can get the rate that low for a 16 day consecutive slot? Looking in my area I can get rates around $70 a night at weekends but more like $120 during the week. So I would more likely do 5 x 3 night stays with one extra on top rather than 1 x 16 night. That would add another 2k in amenity bonuses. For sure 16 x 1 nighters too much of a PIA

  4. Is there a link that you can sign up the Diamond Trial Offer, or you have to call Hyatt? And you get the four suite upgrade certs during the trial period?

    • AY: Simply email Hyatt at goldpassport@hyatt.com and they’ll tell you what info you need to provide. I don’t know for sure if you’ll get four suite upgrade certs during the trial period, but based on a Flyertalk thread I saw, that does appear to be the case.

      Brent: I’ll certainly look into that option too. Given my current Chase credit card situation, I don’t think I’m going to go for this Hyatt offer.

      Phil: Great idea about trying to get credit for no maid service! Yes, I specifically looked at a 16 day booking and found that the rate was consistent throughout. If your Hyatt is close enough to you to go several weekends, then your plan is excellent. In my case, its a long enough drive that I wouldn’t want to do it more than once. Of course, if I was really doing this I would also look at upcoming trips I have and see if I can stay at Hyatt properties so that I can reduce the extra cost of this scheme.

  5. I’m disappointed in you Frequent Miler! 😉 You forgot about a huge additional benefit: If you use your Amex Business Open card you get a 3% discount off your entire bill at all Hyatts!

    • Scott: Good point! But I don’t think you would get all of the bonus points for the promo if you don’t use the Marriott branded Visa. I could be wrong about that. Maybe you would get those points just for having the card?

  6. I’ve been thinking about this, too. The diamond trial is a one-time thing so it would really be a bummer to do the trial and then get denied for the Chase Hyatt. I am in a similar situation. I got a chase card not too long ago. While the odds are with me, I am not 100% certain I would get approved because it’s so recent.

    Do you know what constitutes “proof of top tier status with one of our competitors”? I thought I read on FT that not only do you have to have status but they also want to see evidence of 10 stays at the competing program.

  7. Use your Costco discount and get 10% off. I wonder if this stacks with the 3% Amex OPEN discount?

    The big flaw here is that you need to have top-tier status in another program already. If you don’t, then you can’t do the Diamond Challenge. I agree with Brent than a SPG run may make more sense. I would rather have status with Hyatt, but the SPG Plat challenge doesn’t require pre-existing top-tier status with a competitor. Once you have SPG in the bag, then go back and apply for a Hyatt challenge.

    • Scottrick: I didn’t say so in the post, but I was already using a code that got me a better rate than the COSTCO code. I think that as long as you buy through Hyatt’s web site, you can stack the Amex 3% with any other discounts. Regarding already needing top tier status, that’s true, but they allow all any of these:
      Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
      Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
      Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
      Priority Club Platinum

      bluto: I’m not sure about that. The email from Hyatt did say to send a statement of account activity with a competitor, but it didn’t say how much activity was necessary to do this. If it does require 10 real stays, then that would be a problem!

  8. After reading your post this Q1 promo appears to be tempting. However, I still don’t think in the near future I will be staying at Hyatt a lot. I am lucky that Hyatt Regency Tokyo is having a Super Saver rate that a King/ Queen room is below 200 USD a night so I decided to book two nights for my stay in March this year. It will probably be my only stay in Hyatt before April 2012.

    If I become their Diamond member, I will have to stay Hyatt all the time. Somehow staying in Hyatt is not that tempting to me (US Travel) because holiday in express provides free internet and breakfast which I have no reason to turn it down. The chances for me choosing HI-express is much higher……

  9. I was definitely thinking about mattress running for this, but also on the fence about whether or not to get a hyatt card, becuase of recent chase applications. It’s still a good deal i think. for me, I can get stays for around $60-$75, so if I got 16 nights, you get enough points to redeem for 2 nights at a hyatt at least. but hmm, maybe i’ll have to consider applying for the hyatt card now…

  10. I just took the plunge and decided to do this. One mistake is that I applied for the chase card first before getting my diamond status. Applied Fri night for the Chase card and is pending. I received confirmation for the Diamond challenge Sat. the following day. I’ll call the reconsideration line Mon. to get my card approved but not sure if I will get the suite certs or just the 2 standard award nights. Depends on Chase if the application is approved after I received status or on the day I completed the application. In my area I have to book Fri and Sat to get the room rates at 70-80, so that will mean 6 runs. The rates change starting on Sunday-Thurs, with the exception of a weekday here and there.

  11. Another hack out there now is the Instant HHonors Gold status is open again!

    Check out my post from Jan. 27th for more details. 3rd post down on my homepage.

    Thought you might appreciate knowing about it as you are always looking for hacks to quick status or bonus miles.

    • frequentflyercollector: Good question. I don’t know. The promo hasn’t really been released publicly yet. Once it is, the terms and conditions should be made more clear. One note: If you plan to do the Diamond challenge, make sure to get the credit card after becoming Diamond (during the challenge). This will get you two nights in a suite for signing up for the credit card instead of two nights in a regular room!

  12. I think it would be wise to wait and start the Diamond challenge on or after March 1, 2012. Then would Diamond status would be valid until February 2014?

  13. Do you know something about the thing, when i will book a hotel and somebody else will check in and out for me… Does this work ?

  14. Just a thought, if you are not going to stay in the room anyway, why don’t you give it out like for a half (or a third) of a price for someone who would do the mattress run for you.

    For example, I am just traveling around, staying at hotels maybe 300 days in a year, and might be able to do that, providing I am in the area, or planning to be there 🙂

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