First reported by the trip sherpa, Hyatt has ended their famous Diamond Challenge as of October 31st. I wrote several months ago that changes were coming to the challenge, but I did not expect them to end it. No word as of right now whether they will launch a new trial (which I think is likely but probably with more stringent requirements and no suite upgrades) or if it is done for good.
I have e-mailed for some further information and will update if/when I receive something more concrete about future plans.
The Hyatt Diamond Challenge
The Hyatt Diamond Challenge was the easiest way to achieve top tier status with a hotel chain that actually gave some very good benefits. It was quite easy to attain, especially after the launch of the Points + Cash rates. It was just too good and though it lasted for quite a while, the benefits it offered were probably just too good to sustain it with the amount of people who were applying for it. Here were some of the perks for example – 1,000 points for each of the first 6 nights, 4 suite upgrades, full Diamond status during the challenge (which includes complimentary breakfast) – all for staying 12 nights over a 60 day period.
Achieving Hyatt Diamond Status Going Forward
So, it looks like (at least for a while) that everyone that wants Hyatt Diamond status will have to do it the old fashioned way – by staying in Hyatt hotels a lot! The good news is that there are still some ways to make it somewhat economic if you have hotel stays ahead.
To earn Hyatt Diamond status, you must stay 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year. A one night stay still counts as a stay so if you do 25 separate nights, you would earn the Hyatt Diamond status. Points + Cash rates count for eligible stays.
For the Hyatt Diamond Challenge, stays at MLife properties in Las Vegas did not count for night credit. However, they do count for credit for achieving Hyatt Diamond the old fashioned way. There are some very inexpensive hotels in Las Vegas depending on when you go (although the annoying resort fee is pretty rough) so it is completely possible to get nights in the $20-$30 range per night (plus the resort fee). If you were to do all 25 stays (single nights) at those hotels, you would be able to achieve Diamond status for around $1,300.
Points + Cash Stays
In January, Hyatt introduced the Points + Cash option for stays. It allows you to use a fixed mixture of points and cash (as the name says!) and there are some good values to be had using that option. The cheapest way to approach it (in points and cash) is going to be at category 1 and 2 hotels. The rates for those sit at 2,500 points and $50 (for category 1) and 4,000 points and $55 (for category 2) for each night.
If you were to do all of your 25 single night stays at category 1 hotels using Points + Cash, you could expect it to cost you 62,500 points and $1,250. If you did that at category 2 hotels, it would cost you 100,000 points and $1,375. Those are not small amounts in the least!
Start Spending On The Hyatt Card
The Hyatt Chase card (this link gives you 2 free nights and a $50 statement credit – not an affiliate link) is easily one of the best hotel cards around. It gives mid-tier status (Platinum) and 2 free nights at any Hyatt after meeting your spend. Plus, it will give you a free night at a category 1-4 each year upon renewal (which has a $75 fee).
Another benefit of the card that many people may miss is that you can earn night and stay credit by spending on it. For the first $20,000 on the card, you will earn 2 stays and 5 nights. You will earn an additional 3 stays and 5 nights if you spend another $20,000 – making for a total of $40,000 spend in a year.
That is certainly a lot of spend, but if Hyatt status is important to you, that will give you 5 stays (towards the 25) and 10 nights (towards the 50) plus 40,000 Hyatt points by spending (if in non-bonus categories).
Do You Need Diamond?
Of course, if you have to do all of those stays just to meet Hyatt Diamond status, chances are you probably are not really using the benefits enough to merit having it in the first place. If you have Hyatt stays coming up for vacation or your work travel puts you at Hyatts, you may find yourself in need of just a few extra nights to hit the Diamond level.
Another option is if you are staying at a Hyatt for a week for business – if your employer does not mind, you could hop around to different Hyatts in the city each night to turn a 1 stay/5 night trip into a 5 stay/5 night trip. Just don’t unpack. 🙂
The great thing about the Hyatt Chase card is that it comes with Hyatt Platinum automatically. While you will not get the suite upgrades or free breakfasts with Platinum, you will get upgrades to nicer rooms (and even some suites, as has been my experience), a separate check-in line, bonus points for spending at Hyatts, the My Elite Rate (20% off), and free internet. And you get all of that without even staying at a Hyatt once beforehand! I held Platinum for several years and really enjoyed it for my stays at Hyatt hotels and received many perks, including multiple suite upgrades at the Hyatt Andaz 5th Avenue on award stays!
If you need more Hyatt points, you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio from your Ultimate Rewards account. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Plus earn Ultimate Reward points that can be transferred over (I do receive a commission for these links).