Comparing Methods for Manufacturing Hyatt Status
With World of Hyatt announcing award nights now count towards status I started to wonder what would be the best way to manufacture elite status with them now. I am going to focus on Explorist status since 60 nights is still pretty crazy for most. 30 stays is much more manageable and the status comes with a few decent perks.
Explorist Status Perks
The Explorist status comes with the following perks of note:
- A free night certificate good for any category 1-4 hotel when you reach 30 nights.
- 4 Lounge access certificates good for up to 7 nights per stay. Works with award stays.
- 20% more points on paid stays
- Upgrade to the best room, excluding suites
The gem of the bunch is the lounge access. If you use that for a family of four on a couple of week long stays the savings can really add up. Especially if it is in a place with expensive food like Hawaii or Nassau.
Options to get Status
I am going to assume, for the sake of this exercise, that there are no paid/planned stays for the next year and this will all be done via increased spending. This is an exercise to see what the best route is going forward. Everyone would need to adjust these findings to match their personal situation.
The way I see it there are two ways to manufacture Explorist status with Hyatt. You could spend $50,000 on the Hyatt credit card or book 30 nights in a category 1 hotel at 5,000 points per night. I am assuming you would transfer the points needed, for the award stays, from Ultimate Rewards. These points would be earned with a Ink Plus/Cash card while earning 5 points per dollar.
Status via the Hyatt Credit Card
One way to increase your spending and generate a lot of points is to purchase Visa gift cards. You can use these to pay bills or to liquidate in other ways. Where you decide to source your Visa gift cards will greatly affect the numbers. I am going to assume you get some from the grocery store at $5.95 a piece, some from Simon Mall for $3.95 a piece, and some online at no out of pocket cost. I will call it an average of $4 per card. Then I would add a cost of 35 cents per card for liquidation fees (money order fees). That would be a total out of pocket cost of $4.35 per card. You would need 99 Visa gift cards ( at $504 a piece) to hit the mark plus another $100 in regular spend.
This would equate to an out of pocket cost of $430.65 (99 cards x $4.35 per card). With this spend you would also have 50,000 Hyatt points in your account worth around $900.
Status via 30 Award Stays
To get 30 category 1 award stays done you would need 150,000 Hyatt or Ultimate Reward points. This is $30,000 in spend on your Ink Plus/Cash card at an office store. I am going to assume you source 75% of that spend from Staples’ website buying $300 VGC for $308.95 ($22,500). The other 25% ($7500) will be achieved with one the office stores’ frequent VGC sales when you can get them at zero or negative cost.
It would take 73 VGCs at $308.95 to hit the $22,500 mark. Each card would have a liquidation cost of 23 cents if you split tender 3 times for each money order. So each card comes with a cost of $9.18. The money order fees on the $7500 in free spend would cost $6.65 (38 $200 cards with a liquidation cost of 17.5 cents a piece) That would put the total cost at $676.79. These figures can be adjusted if you are able to cover more of the spend with the no cost gift card offers.
These options came in pretty close to each other. The Hyatt credit card method would cost $246.14 less out of pocket. It would also come with $900 in Hyatt points. That is a difference of $1146.14 in value.
But for that $1146.14 you would get 30 nights in a category one hotel. The question is if that is useful or not for you.
If you travel often and have category one hotels available to you then that may work. Or let’s say you were in between houses or doing a remodel on your house and needed to spend an extended time in a hotel. Those may be two scenarios where this would make sense.
I purposefully did not debate whether or not this was worth it. That is a personal decision and entirely based on how much you value status and those lounge certificates.
If you maxed out the lounge certificates (4 trips of 7 days) then I could see it being valuable enough to strive for. But that all comes down to what your travel plans are over the next year or two.
I did this more as a fun exercise to see which way would come out on top. It comes down to whether or not you be able to use the 30 nights in a category 1 hotel. That is assuming you could find enough category 1 hotels for 30 nights. Or, would you rather have a little stockpile of points and the status for less out of pocket cost.
Let me know which route you find more enticing in the comments!