Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade Strategy 2016
Back when our son was smaller, it was easy to travel. I had no issue taking him out of school for a week here or there since I always felt the experience of traveling was beneficial to him. As many of you know he even skipped second grade as we traveled around the world in 2007-2008 and as recently as 2013 he missed the second half of 7th grade for a backpacking trip through Europe.
During our longer trips I did officially homeschool him of course and during the shorter absences he took all of his work with him. It worked well, but simply isn’t possible anymore. He is now in the 10th grade and missing even a day can be tough, let alone a week. This means that our travels need to correspond with the school calendar. This is not my favorite restriction, but one that I have learned to deal with.
At the end of February I had four Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrades expiring. For some reason, I didn’t even use one of them in 2015. Most of my travels during the year were solo and often my Hyatt stays were only one night so I thought using a DSU was a waste. On the last day of February I managed to get three of the Diamond Suite Upgrades locked in for 2016 family stays. Let’s take a look at where and why.
My wife and I stayed at this property for the first time last year on a last minute trip for July 4th weekend. It is a beautiful property in a superb location. While the pools do get very crowded, the beach is right across the street. This is a perfect place for a quick family getaway and is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house which is nice.
When: Last weekend of Summer
Cost: 10,000 points + $125 per night plus tax & resort fee.
Actual Suite Cash Cost: $498 per night + tax and resort fee ($591.45 total per night)
Suite description: (So-cal Suite) Enjoy lavish amenities in our SoCal Suites, these suites feature approximately 900 square feet of living and sleeping space, with two bathrooms, one has a shower and no bathtub and the other has a jet tub without a shower. A. A separate bedroom in these Huntington Beach, California accommodations offers a King-size Grand BedTM fitted with luxurious linens and down comforter over a pillow top mattress, 42” flat screen TVs, an iHome stereo with iPod® docking station and spacious work area with high-speed Internet access.
Value: I am on the fence about the overall value of this redemption. While a 900 square foot suite is nice, for 10,000 more points per night I could simply get a normal room and save about $160 once you factor in taxes and the resort fee. Luckily I can cancel this, but sometimes it is nice to splurge.
After seeing Greg the Frequent Miler’s report on this hotel I was sold. Without being able to take our son out of school, the calendar looked tight. Thankfully I did manage to squeeze it in. I have driven the coast in this area before and remember the scenery as being stunning. I can’t wait to have a couple of days to explore.
When: Thanksgiving weekend
Cost: 12,500 points + $150 per night plus tax & resort fee.
Actual Suite Cash Cost: $819 per night + tax and resort fee ($929.60 total per night)
Suite description: (Ocean View Townhouse) Breathtaking views of Carmel’s rugged Big Sur coastline and Point Lobos State Park are a highlight to these stunning two-level suite-style accommodations with elegant décor. You’ll love having a fully equipped kitchen, stainless steel appliances and separate dining area and living area, which contains a deluxe sofa bed. Hyatt Highlands Carmel provides all the high-tech amenities that the modern traveler needs, including an iHome stereo with iPod docking station, flat screen TV with satellite channels and high-speed DS3 wireless internet service. Relax and enjoy the crackling sounds of the wood-burning fireplace or soak in the Jacuzzi tub of these upscale, residential-style spa suites in Carmel, California.
Value: This is a great value redemption considering regular rooms in this hotel are going for about $600 per night including taxes. While we could just book a normal room on points, based on my understanding, the townhouse suite is significantly nicer. I am really excited about this stay and I think Thanksgiving weekend will be a fun time to get away.
I really love San Diego and have stayed in various areas of the years, but have found Downtown is a real delight. The Manchester Grand Hyatt also looks like a fantastic property and I have yet to get a chance to try it out. The property has a phenomenal location and San Diego is another place we can easily drive to.
When: New Year’s Weekend
Cost: $143 plus tax
Actual Suite Cash Cost: $285 per night + tax ($321.26 total per night)
Suite description: (Signature Suite) The perfect San Diego accommodation for small meetings, our San Diego Signature Suite features a 780-square-foot parlor with a dining/conference table for eight people, large seating area, kitchenette, wet bar, workstation, pullout sofa bed, free wired and Wi-Fi high-speed Internet access and marble bath. Connecting 340-square-foot bedrooms include one king-sized or two double-sized Hyatt Grand Beds® fitted with premium linens and a down duvet, and full baths. Enjoy the deluxe amenities of these luxury San Diego hotel accommodations, such as windows that open to allow in the fresh air, spacious work area, iHome stereo with iPod® docking station, 46″ flat screen TV, pampering June Jacobs bath products, plush robes and a coffeemaker.
Value: It is obvious that New Year’s isn’t the busiest time in Downtown San Diego given this very low rate. The fact that I can have an 800 square foot suite for $143 per night without having to spend points is attractive.
Cashing in Points: While I most likely won’t do this, it is very possible and probably still a good value to cash in points for my cash portion if I want to. For example, in San Diego I could cash in 16,000 Ultimate Rewards points for $160 in cash to cover my cost. That is still better than redeeming points (which wouldn’t get me a suite) or paying cash + points (which is more expensive).
Elite benefits: It is also important to point out that we will receive lounge access in Huntington Beach and San Diego and breakfast in Carmel. Each stay will also include a welcome amenity and all other Diamond benefits including late checkout if available. This does add to the overall value, although we get these things in normal rooms on award stays too.
I am looking forward to staying in each of these properties this year. By booking hotels that are close enough to home, we can have these quick getaways and enjoy some fantastic hotels in great locations. I am particularly looking forward to Carmel, but Huntington Beach at the end of Summer and San Diego for New Year’s are looking good as well.
With Hyatt changing their rules for 2016 to make new Diamond Suite Upgrades expire at the end of February (previously they only needed to be applied to a booking by then), I still have four more upgrades I can apply for larger international trips if possible. Overall, 2016 is going to be a suite year!
Are you a Hyatt Diamond? Where did you book using your Diamond Suite Upgrades? Let me know in the comments!