As we get closer to the end of the year, I have seen more articles about re-qualifying for elite status with airlines and hotels. Currently, I am an “Diamond Member” with Hyatt. Since I have utilized my Hyatt Diamond benefits over the last year, am I going to attempt to re-qualify for Diamond Status?
I definitely didn’t earn my status the hard way. Last year, when Hyatt was giving away Diamond status, I was able to match to Diamond with my IHG Platinum status (which I receive for holding their credit card). I have always liked staying at Hyatt Hotels. The staff is always friendly, rooms are always great, and their reward chart is probably one of the best out there.
Not to mention as a Diamond, I would receive 4 suite upgrades and “free” breakfast. I always like to have breakfast included in our hotel stays, if possible, because it is one less meal we have to pay for.
Fast forward to now and I have used all my Suite Upgrades, eaten plenty of “free” breakfast, earned extra points at check in and on cash plus point stays. I was even able to use the Guest of Honor benefit for my mother in law when she was in Orlando. All of these benefits were pretty awesome and we did enjoy them.
But looking back, this status changed the way I would book my hotel stays…
Before my Diamond status, I wasn’t partial to any particular hotels. Once, I received my Diamond status, I began focusing on staying at Hyatt hotels.
Not only did my focus change, my method of redemption changed. In order to use those precious suite upgrades, I had to book with cash and points over all point stays.
To offset the cash portion of the room, I needed to redeem my cash back. If I hadn’t worried about the suite upgrades and booked hotels my usual way, I would have been able to redeem the cash back for other parts of my travel for experiences.
Using those suite upgrades:
These were always very simple to use and I occasionally I would receive an email showing my upgrade went through. After making a reservation at the cash and point rate, I would just send Hyatt a message through Twitter and they would handle the rest.
Some of the rooms we were lucky enough to stay in were amazing, but I would have been just as happy in a standard room. The suite upgrades definitely adjusted how I would book my stays. If I was looking to use my suite upgrades and a Hyatt didn’t have points and cash availability, it would be crossed off my list. Stupid, right?
That free breakfast benefit
I love breakfast, it’s by far my favorite meal. We have had some great breakfast at Hyatt. We did run into a problem while we were staying at the Park Hyatt in Chicago. At check-in we were told the breakfast was complementary, but one day we had seen a breakfast charge. When I inquired, I was told we went over our credit. A breakfast credit, I could have sworn it says complementary on their website.
I think there is a clear difference between receiving a credit and complementary. When I reached out to Hyatt, I was told that, “When a hotel does not have a Regency Club Level, the hotel provides a breakfast voucher up to a certain amount. The amount may vary depending on the hotel you are staying based on the market the hotel is located.”
Hyatt did make it right and take off the charge. But outside of this one occurrence, the breakfast was really good. I think that is something to keep in mind when it comes to their complementary breakfast.
Add in program changes
In March, Hyatt will be rolling out World of Hyatt. For some it will benefit them and for others, it will be harder to earn a higher level of status.
While programs re-evaluate and make changes to benefit them, I make decisions on whats best for me. Although I don’t think the changes are all bad, they definitely make it easier for me to say no thank you.
The change I am happiest about is the dropping of resort fees on award stays. Those resort fees are pretty ridiculous and I’m happy those will be eliminated.
What I’ve learned in 1 year with Elite Status
I am happy to have had Diamond status for this year, it was nice to have. After looking back at times when I could have stayed at an IHG or maybe a non-chain hotel, but HAD to stay at a Hyatt because I was a diamond member, I am disappointed in myself for it.
I have always been one to look out for what is best for me when it comes to travel and not loyalty programs. I would say Hyatt did a great job making me want to stay at their hotels. Now that my time as a Diamond member is coming to an end, I will go back to being that person I was before I had that status.
I think it is pretty silly I allowed myself to alter for a hotel program, no matter how great they are.
The turning point for me was during my stay in San Diego. I had looked up hotels for some reason, and came across the Hyatt we were staying at. I had booked my stay for 30,000 points and $440. When I was going through Priceline, I had noticed I could have had the same hotel for about $600 out of pocket.
I could have saved myself points and money by not booking through Hyatt. Sure, I wouldn’t have received my Diamond benefits, but at the end of the day, I would have saved points or cash.
We had a great year testing out Hyatt’s Diamond status. They definitely know how to take care of their customers, but I have no interest in trying to keep my Diamond status. Hyatt is still one of my favorite hotels, and I will continue to use them, but only when it is the best option.
Allowing status to cloud my judgement is not something I want to happen. I think that is exactly what companies want, and they do a great job making you want to keep that status.