Chasing Diamond Success!

In February, I signed up for the Hyatt Diamond Trial.  The Diamond Trial is a way to get temporary top-tier Diamond status.  During the trial, if you complete 12 paid nights (including Points+Cash nights) in 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.  You can read my previous posts on this subject here:

Diamond Trial Success!

The last time I mentioned my Diamond Trial, I had completed 7 nights and had 5 more to go.  Since then, three of the final five nights were spent at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, near Orlando.  And, the final two nights were with the Hyatt Place Detroit/Livonia.  After completing all 12 nights, I emailed goldpassport@hyatt.com for confirmation that I had successfully completed the challenge.  The response came later that same day:

Thank you for contacting Hyatt Gold Passport; I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

I am delighted to inform you that you have successfully completed the Diamond Trial promotion 2014, and I would also like to assure you that you tier status is reflecting with Diamond and the renewal dates changed to Saturday, 28 February 2015.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any other assistance with your Hyatt Gold Passport account.

Fantastic!  In July, my family of three will spend 5 nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris and 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Zurich.  Its great to know that we’ve secured Diamond status (including free breakfasts) for those stays!

Diamond Value

When I started the Diamond Trial, I wasn’t 100% sure that it would be worth the effort.  I could have, instead, waited to start the trial before my family trip to Europe so as to secure status just during that time.  However, I knew I had a number of upcoming trips where Hyatt hotels were good options, so I decided to go for it.  I’m really glad I did.  I won’t try to quantify the exact value I’ve received so far, but I will give some highlights from each stay…

 

Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile

Two night stay in suite (thanks to suite upgrade award).  Nightly rate: $134 (AAA rate)

The suite living room was huge.  The photo below is borrowed from Hyatt’s website so it is not exactly the same suite, but very close.  It’s probably not obvious from the photo, but that’s a very large sofa in the corner. 

This hotel doesn’t have a lounge, so we were given coupons for free buffet breakfasts instead.   Breakfast turned out to be very good (And, View from the Wing agrees).  Overall, while this hotel was very nice, I wasn’t wowed by the experience.  I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels in Chicago and found this to be a solid, but unremarkable option.  Some of my favorites (that I’ve tried so far) include: the Conrad Chicago (where Hilton Gold status resulted in a free suite upgrade and an excellent free breakfast); Radisson Blu; and the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel, which has amazing window seats in each room.  Also worth mentioning is the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers for its beautiful two story executive club lounge (which we were fortunate to be given access to thanks to SPG Gold status).

Diamond status value received on this stay: Medium. Since the stay was only for two nights, the suite was appreciated but not really necessary.  Breakfast was very good.

 

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

5 night stay in suite (thanks to suite upgrade award).  Nightly rate: 3 nights at $189 + 2 nights at $159 (State Govt Rates)

Thanks to my wife working for a public state University, we generally qualify for state government hotel rates (you do not have to be travelling on business to qualify for these rates).  In this case, I discovered after the fact that the rate was supposed to be limited to California state employees only.  If I had known, I would have booked the slightly more expensive “My Elite Rate” instead.  The resort was beautiful, and exactly what we needed at the time to escape the worst Midwest winter ever.  The suite had two full bathrooms and was very nicely appointed.  The resort grounds were beautiful.  Resort staff were extremely nice and helpful.  The club lounge employees, in particular, were terrific. The lounge offered breakfast each morning, light snacks during the day (cookies, nuts, yogurt, etc.), hors d’oeuvres each evening, and desserts each night.  More often than not, the hors d’oeuvres were our dinner.  For a five night stay, the value of having both a very comfortable suite and a club lounge available for meals and snacks was huge.  The $25 daily resort fee was discounted slightly to $20 thanks to my Diamond status.

2014-02-20 17.03.12

 

2014-02-19 10.27.24

2014-02-19 10.17.31

2014-02-19 17.34.23 HDR

 

Diamond status value received on this stay: High. Both the suite upgrade and the lounge access went a long way toward making this vacation a great one.

 

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

3 night stay in 2 suites (thanks to suite upgrade awards).  Nightly rate: $179 (State Govt Rates)

On this trip, we travelled with another family so there were seven of us altogether.  I booked two rooms and applied suite upgrades to each.  We were all given club lounge access.  The club lounge offered a full breakfast each morning, light snacks during the day, hors d’oeuvres each evening, and desserts each night.  The lounge was fantastic.  It had a nice sized outdoor seating area with great views.  And, the food was surprisingly good.  When the alternative is to try to round up everyone to go to restaurants, the ability for individuals in our large group to pop in and out of the lounge for food, as needed, was fantastic.  The suites were made up of two adjoining hotel rooms in which one room was a living area rather than a bedroom.  The nice thing about this arrangement was that each suite had two full bathrooms in addition to a large living space.  The resort grounds were beautiful with many activities that were included in the $20 per room resort fee (The normal rate is $25, but Diamond members receive a $5 discount).

Snack time (I guess I didn’t take any pictures during meal times):

2014-03-02 11.55.32

View from the club:

2014-03-02 17.36.16

 

Diamond status value received on this stay: Very high.  Having extra space and two bathrooms in each suite was great.  And, I can’t say enough about the convenience (and savings) of the club lounge, especially when travelling with seven people.

 

Hyatt Place Detroit/Livonia

2 night stay.  Nightly rate: $50 + 2500 points (Points+Cash rate for category 1 hotels)

Originally, I had expected to finish up my Diamond Trial at a Hyatt Place in Austin, but when that trip was abandoned I decided to go with a quick mattress run instead.  A mattress run is where a person checks into a hotel for the sole purpose of earning points and/or elite stay credits.  Room rates were lower than usual due to hotel construction ($79 for the “My Elite” rate), but I decided to go with the $50 + 2500 point Points+Cash rate instead.  It was a tough call since I didn’t get great value from my points, but I wanted to try out Points+Cash so I went with it.  I checked in and paid the entire two night rate up front with my gift card.  I then went to the room and watched a March Madness game before leaving. 

Diamond status value received on this stay: None

 

Bottom line

Going into the Diamond Trial, I thought I was doing it mostly in preparation for upcoming international travel.  It turned out, though, that we benefited greatly from the perks during the trial and definitely had better vacations as a result.  Hyatt has really won me over!  I guess that’s why they offer the Diamond Trial after all.  The ability to secure a suite upgrade at the time of booking is a fantastic benefit.  And, when staying at resorts where food is otherwise crazily expensive, club lounge access is extremely valuable.

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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Pingbacks

  1. […] My favorite status challenge is Hyatt’s Diamond Trial.  With the Diamond Trial, you get automatic top tier Diamond status for a limited time.  You then have 60 days to complete 12 paid nights in order to secure Diamond status for the rest of the year and potentially all of the following year (depending upon when you started the challenge).  For details about the challenge and my fantastic recent experience with it, please see: Chasing Diamond Success! […]

Comments

  1. Are you planning to make enough stays this year to keep Diamond for next year or would you do the trial again next year?

  2. @ Julian: I don’t think he can do trial next year. As far as I know Hyatt trial is a once in a life time opportunity.

  3. Romsdeals reported that he was able to sign up for the trial a second time (shhhh). I don’t think I’ll have anywhere near enough stays or nights to earn diamond for next year so most likely I’ll sign up my wife next time. She travels more than I do anyway, so may have a better shot at earning diamond the old fashioned way

  4. What made you choose the magnificent mile in Chicago? Cost? Have you stayed at the Park Hyatt Chicago before. Looking at using free night certificates in Chicago.

  5. I just spoke to Hyatt customer service. They stated that this years Diamond Trial sign ups will end on April 30th. So you would have until June 30th to complete your 12 nights. That would give you Diamond until 2/28/15. So really there is no way to extend it past that point or into 2016.

  6. @Neal- the current diamond trial ends April 30. However, Hyatt confirmed (at their sponsored happy hour in Chicago) that there will be another trial starting when this one ends

  7. What suite did you get upgraded to at Grand Cypress? When I was there last year, I was upgraded to VIP suite, but I believe that was better than the standard upgrade.

    • It was called an Executive Suite on the reservation. I think it was the standard upgrade: basically just two connected regular rooms, but the 2nd room had a sofa instead of a bed

  8. I also used the Hyatt Place in Livonia for a mattress run to secure Diamond status. At least I showed up the next morning with the kids for the breakfast before hitting Costco.

  9. Ha funny story about the mattress run. It’s great that you just can’t leave a hotel without getting SOMETHING out of it, in this case, a ‘private NCAA screening’. great post!

  10. I did the math and after booking a 6 night stay at Paris Vendome I decided to do a 10 night mattress run on a very cheap unnamed property……but I actually plan on spending a night or two………I figured I was buying points at 2.4 cents and then getting “free” Diamond for a year so we’ll see……..I am looking at Carmel and Hawaii to use the suite upgrades so in the end I think Hyatt will win as I cut up my Hilton Diamond card into little bitty pieces……….I never liked their brand anyway……….

  11. I’m curious/jealous (and I may have missed this in introductory posts when I started reading your blog months back): how do you have time and money to travel to all of these places? I realize you get great rates, of course, but I’m unclear about it. Do you maintain this blog full-time or have another traveling job that makes it necessary?

    • Yes, this blog is my full time job and I do pretty well with it. Plus, my wife has a great job and we have savings from the 16+ years I worked in corporate America (I don’t miss it for a second)

    • It applies to all occupants of the room. My wife and I stayed at the Vendome three nights in 2012. I was diamond at the time and it covered the 39 euro per person breakfast!!!

  12. Hi Greg, just got back from Paris. Getting free breakfast everyday when you stay there in July will save you tons of money, especially for 3 people. Paris was insanely expensive. We were spending $50 everyday for breakfast for 2 people. Crazy!

  13. @Greg – The PH Chicago is a much nicer hotel than the Mag Mile property, even though they are located close to each other. Definitely worth checking it out. Breakfast at Nomi was quite good.

    • Milepoint Premium (not currently available to new subscribers) lets people buy Hyatt gift cards for 10% off. And, if you buy with an Amex business card you get 5% off that from their OPEN savings program. the two discounts stack to 14.5% off.

  14. Your last picture from the stay at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is beautiful. Such a warm light. I’m a big admirer of sunset shots, and the HDR worked out very nicely! Thanks for the excellent trip reports.

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