Chasing Diamond

35

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…

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