My Path Towards Re-Qualifying for Hyatt Diamond
I’m going to let you in on a secret that they don’t always tell you when you first get into the miles & points hobby. Elite status is fun. Don’t get me wrong, it is far from essential, but getting room upgrades, lounge access and other perks at hotels and upgrades, etc. with airlines makes a difference. Of course, in most cases meaningful elite status isn’t handed out, but needs to be earned and thus paid for.
While many of you “earned” your Hyatt Diamond status through their briefly generous match, I had to re-qualify the hard way. I earned my Hyatt Diamond status in 2014 through a Diamond Status Challenge where I completed 12 nights within 60 days. Completing those nights was fairly easy, since I had a ton of travel planned and thus wasn’t going out of my way to get the nights.
Loving the Status
I grew to love Hyatt’s Diamond status so much, that the goal became to re-qualify for 2016 with 25 stays in 2015. I started by looking at the one shortcut to Hyatt elite status, their co-branded credit card. If you spend $20K on their credit card in a year you get 2 stay credits and 5 nights. If you spend another $20K on the card ($40K total) you get an additional 3 stay credits and 5 nights.
For much of the year I decided I would wait to spend on the Hyatt credit card to see if I needed the stays. Then as it became apparent that I would, I decided I wanted to allocate that spend elsewhere since it would be “cheaper” to just rack up Mlife stays instead of paying to MS. I believe that was a painful mistake. The time and effort involved was too much and I probably could have MSed for free anyway. Live and learn.
How I Re-Qualified
Since I didn’t have any help from the credit card, I re-qualified for Hyatt Diamond status by completing the minimum number of stays.
Here are some of my key 2015 stats for re-qualifying:
- Total stays: 25 (just made it)
- Total nights: 27
I actually stayed more than 27 nights in Hyatt hotels, but those were just the qualifying stays. We had some award and non-qualifying stays at nicer more expensive properties such as the Andaz Maui, Hyatt Regency Maui, Grand Hyatt Kauai and the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.
Here are my 25 qualifying stays broken down by brand:
- Hyatt Place: 10
- Mlife: 10
- Hyatt or Hyatt Regency: 3
- Grand or Park Hyatt: 2
As you can see, I have a lot of Mlife stays, although a couple were staycations or hotel reviews earlier in the year. Of the 10 listed Mlife stays, 6 were “mattress runs” with an average cost of $60 per night including the resort fee. (During those nights I received a total of $200 in resort credits.) I also stayed at the Hyatt Place by the airport a couple of times before early morning flights, but they did allow me to park my car there for free so it was sort of a wash.
All of my Hyatt stays were done with Points + Cash to minimize my costs. To pay the cash portion I used Hyatt gift cards almost exclusively. These gift cards were purchased at 20%-30% off face value. Most of the cards I used during the year were purchased at 25% off. So I stacked the deck in my favor as much as possible, but I did still pay real money to re-qualify.
I don’t plan to breakdown the actual cost in dollars because it is irrelevant to calculate anything more than the mattress runs. Of course there might have been opportunity costs to stay at Hyatt as opposed to other chains. I also spent time and energy completing so many one night stays. All of these things are considerations and things that go into my thought calculations going forward, but I can’t give you a number. I can’t say “this is EXACTLY how much it cost.”
Was It Worth It?
What I can do is talk about the worth to me. Hyatt Diamond status doesn’t give you much at Hyatt Place properties or Mlife, so as you can see the benefits I received from my status in 2015 were limited. I had a total of 17 nights in full service Hyatt hotels (including award stays) which was much less than originally planned. So was it worth it? Yes it was. I actually qualified for my 2015 status in 2014 with the challenge, so I got more than enough value out of my 18 months of status from that venture.
With the 2015 question answered, the question then becomes was it worth it to re-qualify for 2016? While I really can’t say for sure, I do believe it will be worth it. I already have a lot more travel plans this year compared to last and I should be staying in a number of higher end Hyatt properties in Europe and Asia. We also have other trips planned to Orlando and Mexico, so we should get some nice use of the status.
Will I Try to Re-Qualify Again?
I actually do think I will try to re-qualify again since I have more travel plans and shouldn’t really have to do many mattress runs. The one thing I will do is use the Hyatt credit card for $40K in spend. Whether or not it is cheaper to mattress run at Mlife hotels, the time and effort involved is too much. Now that I am reselling quite a lot, I should be able to hit the $40K spending and get myself 20% of the way to re-qualifying.
I’m not going to lie. Re-qualifying for Hyatt Diamond status was tough and somewhat tedious in 2015 due to us having a new baby and me not traveling as much during the year. We did still enjoy the status at several high-end hotels, so I have no regrets. While I was sort of upset to see others get Diamond status handed to them for 2016, such is life. I really do love Hyatt and look forward to more upgrades and other goodies when I stay at their properties.