Hotel status can be a very beneficial thing to have. There are a lot of perks that go beyond room upgrades that elites can receive. This always helps the travel experience to be more enjoyable. That is what we can get with the Hyatt Diamond Challenge.
I have written before about how helpful mid-tier status can be and how you can get it. With certain hotels, obtaining top-tier status can be earned by credit card spending (spending $40,000 on the Citi Hilton Reserve to obtain Hilton Diamond) or by simply holding a credit card (IHG gives Platinum status for those holding the Chase IHG card). With chains such as SPG, Marriott, and Hyatt, you need to earn the status. Sometimes, that can be done through challenges, which is what I recently did with Hyatt.
Hyatt Diamond Challenge
First, let’s look at what Hyatt Diamond members get as far as benefits (I have bolded the benefits that I find to be very useful).
- Achieve rewards even faster with a 30% point bonus when choosing points
- Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites
- Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres2. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge
- Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights
- Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay
- Receive a nightly room refresh
- Receive the confirmed bed type at check-in
- Stay connected with complimentary in-room Internet access
- Expedite check-in at a dedicated area for elite members
- Ensure a room is always available with our 48-hour guarantee
- Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request
- Book reservations through an exclusive Diamond line
- And, enjoy 20% off the daily rate with My Elite Rate on any standard room in 2014 (subject to availability)
That is a pretty great list of benefits! To me, the best benefits are the 4 suite upgrades (each one is good for stays up to 7 nights) and the breakfast. For some of the other benefits, Hyatt Platinum members already receive them (such as the free internet and expedited check-in) so it is not anything new. If you travel with family or friends, those suite upgrades can be the ticket to getting more spacious quarters and the breakfast is good for up to 4 registered guests.
Another high point is the late check-out. In my last few hotel stays, I have had flights that left in the late evening. Hotels have always been reluctant of even giving me the normal check-out time for the status I had. That meant killing time at the airport (the hotel was too far from the city to go in for a little while). I would have much preferred the hotel! So, I am looking forward to (when available) 4PM late check-out.
Why Go For Diamond?
For anyone that currently holds the Chase Hyatt credit card, you already have Hyatt Platinum status! That is certainly enough to cut through crowds and always ensure that you will receive a little bit better attention when at Hyatts. As for the internet, that can be a savings of $12.95 per day! That is not insignificant!
So, why would someone want to go for Diamond? I can certainly not answer for everyone but can give you my reasons. Over the past year, I have found myself staying at more Hyatts than other hotels and I generally like them a bit more than others. I had thought about trying for the Hyatt Diamond challenge before but I had been kept away since it required a paid stay and almost all of my Hyatt stays have been award stays.
Points & Cash Addition
This changed in January with the release of the Points&Cash option. Not only did this drastically reduce the out-of-pocket cost at some hotels but it also gave an eligible paid rate for the purpose of promotions and challenges. Now, this is within my grasp! Since my family is with me about half of the time at Hyatts, the free breakfast is a huge benefit. I personally do not mind heading out in the morning to grab something to eat for myself when traveling alone (I am not a big breakfast person so a granola bar will usually suffice). However, when traveling with my family, it is always easier to have breakfast at the hotel before heading out. The problem is the cost can be quite high for us to pay, especially for breakfast! Having free breakfast is a huge plus.
Also a benefit that swayed me is the suite upgrades. Again, when traveling as a family, it can be a lot better to have something larger to spread out in than staying in a standard room. While we have done it many times (and will do it many more), it is a big plus to stay in a larger room.
Now, why go for it now? Fortunately, I have a few Hyatt stays already lined up so this would be the best time to take advantage of it. Also, as reported by Ben at One Mile at a Time, on May 1, Hyatt extended the challenge rules through the fall and actually are informing participants (myself included) that our status will be good through February of 2016! That means about 22 months of Hyatt top-tier status as well as receiving another 4 suite upgrades next year! Now, some people have reported only being told it is good through February 2015, but my experience (and others) is that it will be good through February 2016.
How To Get The Hyatt Diamond Challenge?
Getting the challenge (or trial) could not be easier. It can be obtained through one of the following methods:
- Call (800) 304-9288
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I do have one small data point on this. I had actually written to them in January to sign-up for the trial (thanks to the addition of Points & Cash). It took them 5 business days to respond. The reason I did not go through with it at the time was because when they had replied, I had just completed two of the nights I was going to use for the trial. I e-mailed them again earlier this week when I realized my schedule would really allow a good attempt. They got back to me in 12 hours! I was very impressed and assume it may have something to do with the fact that I already had rooms reserved for this week and I told them I had more but wanted to wait until confirmation. It is up to you for which avenue you try.
To actually obtain the challenge, you must have proof of a qualifying status level in a competing program as well as at least one night in stayed in that program within the last year. Note: This one night can actually be any night – even an award night! The eligible status levels are:
- Hilton Honors: Gold or Diamond
- IHG: Platinum
- Marriott: Gold or Platinum
- Starwood: Platinum
If you have the Chase IHG card, you already have IHG Platinum status. The same goes with certain Hilton credit cards (for Gold status). Finally, you can get Marriott Gold status by being a United Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, or Premier 1K. All you need next is one night stay within the chain that you have the status. E-mail a copy (or screenshot) of your account showing your elite level and the qualifying stay. I registered for the challenge using my Hilton Gold account and an award stay.
Completing the Hyatt Diamond Challenge
Once you have been given the trial, you will have 60 days to stay 12 nights at Hyatt hotels on qualifying rates. Qualifying rates basically mean that you can qualify with any published, corporate, senior, My Elite (special rates given to Platinum and Diamond members), AAA, and Points&Cash rates. Award stays do not count for the challenge.
The status itself must be completed with 60 days of receiving it. However, according to Ben and others, that trial status will run through the end of the month at the end of the challenge (providing the start date is on the 15th month or later). So, in my case, if I had received the trial status on May 15, I must complete the 12 nights before July 14, 2014. But, the trial status itself would last through the end of July. That is something to think about if you are enrolling for the challenge but have no intention of completing it.
One of the nice perks of the challenge is that you will receive 1,000 points per night for the first 6 nights. That is an extra 6,000 points that you will receive if you complete the challenge!
Finding The Best Deals For Your Nights
Staying in Hyatt hotels for 12 nights in 60 days can be difficult for some. Unless you live near (or will be near) Hyatt hotels with very low rates, one of the best ways to complete the challenge would be to stay at Category 1 or 2 hotels using Points & Cash. That is because a Category 1 would require 2,500 points and $50 for a night while a Category 2 would require 4,000 and $55 for a night. Obviously, the better deal is the Category 1, especially when you consider that you will be getting 40% of those points back on the first 6 stays (because of the 1,000 bonus stays per night for the first 6 nights).
If you stayed at Category 1 hotels for the whole challenge, you will have to use a net of 24,000 Hyatt points and $600 (plus tax). If you stayed at Category 2 hotels for the whole challenge, you will have to use a net of 42,000 Hyatt points and $660 (plus tax). If you have business or vacation stays coming up, those would be some great hotels to target for your challenge. You will need to call in to book the Points & Cash booking (which are subject to availability). One of the great things about those stays is that you can use your newly acquired suite upgrades on your stays! So, if you stay in one hotel for 7 nights, you can use one suite upgrade certificate (of the four you receive) for the whole stay!
NOT Completing the Challenge
Some people sign-up for this challenge without any intention of completing it. That is because they may have an upcoming vacation that they want the free breakfast for and/or the suite upgrades. That’s right – the suite upgrades are yours to keep if you do not complete the challenge! So, you can use them for future stays after you are no longer Diamond and still have them applied. Not bad!
One thing to note is that the terms do state that the challenge is only available once per lifetime. If you are like me, that makes you think long and hard about when you want it to apply. However, we have no idea if it will still be available for next year so you might as well take advantage of it now!
Have you signed up for the Hyatt Diamond challenge? I think it presents some real value and I am looking forward to having it for almost two years!