August 23, 2013
Almost two years ago I published a post titled “Hacking Hyatt.” At the time, Hyatt was running a lucrative points-earning promotion. I proposed combining that promotion with the Hyatt credit card signup offer and a Hyatt Diamond trial offer in order to fast track to Diamond status and earn oodles of points for a total cost of 1.59 cents per point. While I know many readers took up the challenge, I passed on it. I didn’t have any planned Hyatt stays in the near future and I wasn’t ready at the time to sign up for any more Chase credit cards.
Now, Hyatt is back with a somewhat decent promotion (details here):
- 5 nights = 5,000 bonus points
- 10 nights = 10,000 bonus points (total of 15,000)
- 15 nights = 15,000 bonus points (total of 30,000)
- 20 nights = 20,000 bonus points (total of 50,000)
As far as I know, Hyatt’s Diamond trial offer hasn’t changed in the past two years. Here are the details reported to me at the time:
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.
Should I go for it?
There are a few reasons that a Hyatt Diamond trial appeals to me at this time:
- I have one Hyatt stay already planned, and one likely stay, for a total of 6 nights.
- My recent post about Kauai (see “Eating your way to Kauai. Which card is best?“) has made me eager to get back to Poipu (the town where the Grand Hyatt Kauai is located).
- If necessary, this would be a reasonably good time to sign up for a Chase Hyatt credit card.
On the other hand, there are some significant disadvantages to the plan this time around:
- Two years ago, there was a cheap, nearby Hyatt where I could have booked rooms for no purpose other than earning points and status. That hotel, unfortunately, is no longer a Hyatt. The remaining Hyatt hotels in Southeast Michigan are much more expensive.
- There is no increased bonus this time for paying with a Hyatt credit card.
- The previous Hyatt promotion could be maximized by staying 16 nights. This time, the promo requires 20 nights for the full point payout. If I did this at all, I would probably stop at 15 nights instead.
Let’s say I try to complete 15 nights during the promotion period. That would mean “mattress running” 9 nights (since I can justify 6 nights through regular travel). And, let’s say I can find a nearby Hyatt with a $100 nightly rate. How expensive would this be, and how many points would I earn?
Ignoring state and local taxes:
- 9 nights x $100 = $900
- Diamond Challenge bonus points = 6,000
- Hyatt promo points earned = 30,000
- Base points earned + 30% for Diamond Elites = 9 X $100 X 5 X 1.3 = 5,850
- Welcome point bonus (assuming I do three 3-night stays): 500 x 3 = 1500
- If I plan each stay at hotels with Club lounges, but stay when the Club lounge is closed, I would earn an additional 2,500 points per stay: 3 x 2,500 = 7,500
Mattress run totals:
- Total cost: $900
- Total points earned: Up to 50,850
- Cost per point: 1.77 cents
Based on the above numbers, it seems possible for me to earn Diamond status and over 50,000 Hyatt points for a total cost of about $900. Maybe I would do a bit better by finding cheap hotels in other areas, or a bit worse if I couldn’t find hotels with closed Club lounges. Regardless, let’s use $900 cost and 50,000 points earned as the input to this analysis.
I estimate the Fair Trading Price of Hyatt points to be about 1 cent each. So, we can say that the 50K points earned are worth about $500 (yes, you can get much more value than that when using points, but I wouldn’t personally pay more than that for the points). In that case, in the scenario I described above, I would be paying $400 for Diamond status ($900 – $500 worth of points). Is it worth it?
Diamond status offers these benefits:
- 30% bonus on base points earned.
- Room upgrades.
- Four confirmed Suite upgrades per year on paid stays.
- Welcome bonus with each stay (points or food & beverage).
- Club lounge access.
- Free breakfast at properties without a lounge or when lounge is closed.
Of these perks, I most value Suite upgrades, lounge access, and free breakfast. But… I can easily get the first two of these benefits by using points. I have quite a large stash of Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to Hyatt at any time. And, Hyatt makes it very easy to book Club floor rooms and Suites with points. Even with paid stays, Hyatt allows for upgrades using points. So, for my occasional Hyatt stays, I can get most of the benefits of elite status simply by burning extra points. It is true that I wouldn’t get free breakfast when a lounge is unavailable, but I strongly doubt I would use that benefit enough to make up for the $400 cost of the above proposed mattress runs.
So, given the analysis above, my current thinking is to once again forgo the Diamond trial.
I’m interested in hearing from those of you who have experienced Hyatt Diamond status. Is it really as good as some blog authors say? Would you pay $400 for it? Did I miss any great opportunities here (like a Hyatt that can be booked for $25 per night)? Please comment below.