Chasing Diamond

The allure of Hyatt Diamond status has tempted me for years.  Hyatt has a very nice list of standard perks (including suite upgrade certificates, free breakfast, welcome amenities, and more).  And, those who have experienced Diamond status tend to rave about it.  Combine all of that with the fact that Hyatt has a very reasonable award chart, and that Chase’s Ultimate Rewards can be transferred directly to Hyatt, and you have a winning combination. 

Hyatt won’t outright match your status from other chains, but they will allow you to enroll in their Diamond Trial if you have any of the following:

  • Hilton Gold VIP or Hilton Diamond VIP
  • Marriott Gold or Marriott Platinum
  • Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest
  • Priority Club Platinum

Note: The above list was taken from information obtained almost two years ago, so its possible that some of the specifics have changed.

The Diamond Trial works like this: you get temporary Diamond status for 60 days.  During that time, you get all of the usual perks of Diamond status.  And, if you complete 12 paid nights (including Points+Cash nights) during those 60 days, you can keep the status for the rest of the year and through February of the next year.  It gets even better if you wait until June to start your trial because then if you complete the challenge you get to keep the status for the rest of the current year, all of the next year, and through February of the year after that.  Incidentally, you also earn 1,000 bonus points for each of your first 6 eligible nights during the trial.

Deciding to go for it

My family has award reservations for 8 nights in Park Hyatt hotels in July (5 nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris and 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Zurich).  I really want to have Diamond status during those stays.  People have raved about the free breakfasts offered to Diamond elites and I’d certainly like to be in on that!  I had two options:  1) Wait until my trip was about to begin and then start the Diamond Trial; or 2) Start the Diamond Trial earlier, and complete it successfully. 

If I went with the first option (start the trial right before my trip), I most likely would not complete the challenge at all.  I have quite a few award nights planned for that period of time, but no paid nights.  And, it is unlikely that I’d be able to cram many additional trips into that 60 day period.  Of course, that would be OK.  I would get to enjoy Diamond Status when I really need it, and that would be that. However, this option would also entail a little bit of risk: there’s always the possibility that Hyatt would end their Diamond Trial program before I got around to signing up.  I don’t have any reason to think that’s likely, but you simply never know.  After all, Marriott abruptly ended their similar program last year.

With the second option, I would have to successfully complete the Diamond Trial in order to have Diamond status in July.  When I looked at the numbers before (see “Hyatt’s new math“) I decided that, for me, it wasn’t worth it to do a bunch of mattress runs to complete the challenge (mattress runs are where you check into a hotel just for the points or elite stay credits).  Then, things changed…

As winter storms piled up one after another in endless succession, my family and I decided to get the [content censored] out of Michigan.  So, we booked a few trips to less frigid locations.  Combined with travel that we had planned previously, I discovered that we had 11 nights that could be spent at Hyatt hotels.  And, amazingly, there were highly rated properties at reasonable prices in all of our destinations.  Suddenly, the idea of going for the Diamond Trial now made a lot of sense.  We would enjoy Diamond perks right away and, at worst, do a single one-night mattress run to complete the challenge.  And, as simply as that, we decided to go for it.

Points to be earned

During the Diamond Trial, I’ll earn points from my stays.  And, I’ll earn 6,000 bonus points from the Trial itself.  And, I’ll earn bonus points from Hyatt’s Endless Possibilities promotion.  In this promotion, you can choose to earn free nights or points.  I chose points.  The point bonuses are as follows:

  • 5 nights = 5,000 bonus points for 5,000 total bonus points.
  • 10 nights = 10,000 points for 15,000 total bonus points.
  • 15 nights = 15,000 points for 30,000 total bonus points.
  • 20 nights = 20,000 points for 50,000 total bonus points.

So, I’ll earn at least 15,000 bonus points from this promotion.  Once I’ve completed the Diamond Trial, though, I’ll be only 3 nights away from another 15,000 point bonus.  I’ll have until April 30th to complete those 3 additional nights.  15,000 points for 3 additional nights is a terrific bonus.  It might even be worth mattress running for that!  We’ll see.

Money saved

When I realized that I’d be doing the Diamond Trial, I bought a large denomination Hyatt gift card.  Thanks to Milepoint Premium, I was able to buy the gift card for 10% off.  And, thanks to Amex OPEN Savings (a feature of their small business cards), I received a 5% statement credit.  And, when booking my stays, I shopped through TopCashBack to Hyatt to get an additional 4% rebate.  In total, these rebates and discounts stack up to approximately 18.5% off the best rates I could find.  We’ll also save some money thanks to guaranteed free breakfast during our stays.

In case you’re wondering, I did look into Hyatt’s new Points+Cash options, but in my specific situation, the room rates I booked were low enough to make the Points + Cash rate not a good deal.

Next up

I’ll eventually post my thoughts about the value of Hyatt’s Diamond status and whether or not pursuing the Diamond Trial was a good idea.  In the meantime, follow me on Twitter if you’re interested in in keeping up with my Hyatt stays.  First up will be the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile.  No, Chicago isn’t warmer than Ann Arbor, but this trip was planned long ago when we decided that it would be fun to see Alton Brown Live!  Fortunately, a bit later, we’ll warm up at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa in California.  After that, we’ll check out the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Florida.  More to come…

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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    • The status will last for 60 days unless you complete the challenge. If you complete it, the status will last the full year in which the challenge ends and through Feb. So, if you start Dec 2014 and fulfill the challenge, you’ll have status until Feb 2016

  1. When I emailed Hyatt and asked them if I could use gift cards to pay for the rooms during the Diamond trial, they said no. So, make sure you check into that! And please let us know what they say to you.

  2. @Mark M,

    Support people say all kinds of things that are incorrect–you can’t transfer your credit line to another card, that offer isn’t available, etc etc. I highly doubt this to be true. All Hyatt cares about is the stay/nights credit to your account.

    I’ll be going for a challenge myself starting next Month. Also planning to pick up those final 15,000 Hyatt points as well.

    It doesn’t take much to make you a believer in these programs. One stay for a single night in San Francisco around Christmas where we got late checkout without asking (4pm), lounge access with great free food, an upgraded room with a view, a charcuterie plate and whine at checkin, and you suddenly think its all worthwhile.

  3. Hyatt Huntington Beach is usually about half price on Hotwire. Plus $20 Hotwire mail in rebates and cash back for Hotwire. Plus $25 off for using Hotwire’s app… Makes you wonder what you’re REALLY paying for free breakfast…

    • I couldn’t find this exact hotel on Hotwire for the time period I’m staying. The unspecified Huntington area hotel on Hotwire was listed as only a little bit cheaper than the rate I got directly. Combine my rate with the gift card discounts and I think I’m doing ok!

  4. @Stvr If most of your stays are mid to low range hotels, you are most better off staying at those hotels that offer free breakfast included with the room…. i.e. Hyatt Place, holiday inns, etc…

    The upgrades and breakfast perks of Diamond status REALLY shines for the higher end hotels (i.e. Andaz & Park Hyatt), where a usual breakfast for two can EASILY be $100 or more

  5. Assuming you have 2 kids, how do you book award night for Hyatt Vendome when their standard award rooms are only for 2 adults and/or 1 child? We have 2 adults and 2 kids. I guess my question also applies to Hilton award nights in Paris and London as well. Appreciate any advice you have. Thanks!

    • I think your best bet is to contact the hotel directly to ask if they can accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids in their standard rooms. If so, just go ahead and book the award S if there will only be 1 child (or none, if the rom type is set to max of 2 people). Then again contact the hotel with your reservation number and ask them to note that there will be 2 kids in the room. I had to do something similar last summer with a Hyatt in New York.

  6. If I use the Hyatt gift card out of the US do I pay foreign transaction fees? I’m wondering about buying gift card Hyatt versus paying with Hyatt Visa.

  7. Would it have been possible to purchase the gift card through topcashback as well?

    Great post, as always! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Lisa- when I called to book my rooms before devaluation the rep said there were no rooms for 4 so I booked 2 rooms. I think I’m going to try to email the vendome and ask if any of the rooms can accommodate 4. Going at the end of July. It’s really hard to find a room for 4 in London so I’ve been looking at apartments too

  9. Response to my email:

    Dear Mrs. X
    Thank you for your email and for your interest in the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme.
    If you wish to have a room that can accommodate 4 persons, I can suggest our 2 Bedrooms Diplomatic Suite.
    However, if you do not wish to book a Suite, I would recommend to book 2 Park Rooms connected, that can accommodate each a maximum of 2 persons. You can also book a Park Suite connected to a Park Room so you will have more space and feel more like home.
    Using your Hyatt Gold Passport points, you can book a park room for 30’000 points per night, or a Park Suite (3 persons maximum) for 48’000 points per night.
    Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you request further information regarding your upcoming visit to Paris.

    Best Regards
    Alexandre Jues
    Front Office Supervisor
    Park Hyatt Paris – Vendôme

  10. FM-1) Do Points+Cash count as a paid stay? I have 2 suite upgrade certs thanks to my Hyatt cc. I was planning on staying at a cat6 property for one night on 25,000 points plus 2 more nights on awards from the same cc. If I paid for the first night with 12,500 points + $150 could I use the suite upgrade(s)? 2) For the Diamond challenge, my competitor status was a credit card benefit, not the result of many stays. Does Hyatt care?

    • 1) Yes, Points+Cash counts as a paid stay. In general it is more like a paid stay than an award stay. You just use points to reduce the paid rate. Yes, you can use Suite Upgrades on Points+Cash reservations.
      2) In my experience they don’t care. Some have said that they’ll ask for proof of a recent stay, but that was not my experience.

    • No, I haven’t done a Hyatt challenge before, but I’ve written several times in the past about considering it. I don’t think there is a written rule about a limit to how many times you can do the challenge. It is theoretically possible to do one each year since each year the challenge is different (e.g. 2014 Diamond Trial, 2015 Trial, etc.). However, I imagine that Hyatt would be able to see your history and deny the Trial to you. So, for planning purposes, I’m going to assume that I can only do it once.

  11. Have you ran into the issue with Hyatt requesting proof of SIX stays with the competing program within the last 12 months??? Because that’s what I just heard when I got off the phone with an agent.

    My problem is that I do NOT have six stays with Hilton or IHG (where I have valid matching status). Most of my stays have been with SPG and I’m only a gold SPG member, not platinum….

  12. You might want to take your Freedom cards on your Florida trip…….I just returned from South Florida where I bought three $500 beans at 3 different Circle k stations to max out the freedom 5x first quarter bonus…..no luck at any Valero or Sunoco……now I can start using the Staples 5X for gas and Starbucks like always and $1500 of this month’s beans quota gets moved from 1.25x to 5x…….

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