Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reaching Hyatt Diamond Status on the Cheap

Last year, I qualified for Hyatt Diamond Status by staying at their hotels a total of 29 times.  Their requirements for Diamond Membership are 25 separate stays or 50 total nights.  During my stays, I accumulated approximately 40-50K Hyatt points.  This year, Hyatt has introduced two promotions: a "Stay More Play More" promotion, wherin by staying 20 nights you can earn 50,000 bonus points, as well as a "20% Off Point Redemptions" promotion.  The latter of which requires being a Hyatt Credit Cardholder.

Between these two promotions, I have considered trying to requalify for Diamond Status for 2016.  To recap, Diamond Membership includes: 30% Point Bonus on qualifying stays, 4 Free Suite Upgrades Annually, 2 United Club Passes Annually, access to the Regency Club or Grand Club (or free breakfast vouchers at properties where no club exists) as well as a welcome amenity for each stay: either 500 bonus points at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties, 1000 bonus points for all other Hyatt properties, or your choice of a food and beverage amenity that varies at every property.
It also includes premium internet access and a best available room guarantee (excluding suites).

It's up to you to decide what Diamond status is worth, but last year I stayed for 7 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and made up a good portion of what I spent while on the path to becoming a Diamond member through a free upgrade to a Garden Suite, along with free club access that normally runs as high as $125 per night.  I even spent a night in the Presidential Suite for a significant discount via an exclusive Diamond Member offer through the E-Standby Upgrades.

This year, I estimate it will cost me $1250 to retain my Diamond status through 2016, and it will also net me nearly 25,000 points: enough for a free night at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, among other resort properties.

Here is my strategy:
Book Category 1 rooms using points+cash 25 times. The points+cash rate for a Category 1 Hyatt Property is $50+2500 points, and I have two Category 1 properties within close driving distance from me.  The total cost becomes $1250 and 62500 Points.  However, with my 20% off redemption rates promotion, the total points required reduces to 50,000.  Now, add on the stay more play more bonus of 50,000 points, and you've now reduced the cost to just the cash amount.  Because I am already a diamond member, and will be using my Hyatt Credit Card, each dollar I spend will net me 9.5 points... for $1250, that comes to 11,875 points.  Add on 500 bonus points per stay for my welcome amenity, and that's an additional 12500 points.  That comes to a grand total of 24,375 points.

$1250 may be steep to pay if all you're after is retaining status, but if you know how to use your benefits wisely, it can easily pay for itself.

Even if you're not a Credit Card holder or a current Diamond member, you would still come out with an even amount of points, the only other caveat is that if you don't already have 62,500 points in your account, you would need to purchase those points in order to use them with the Points+Cash rate.  Bear in mind, Points + Cash is a specialty rate that must be booked over the phone, and availability is not guaranteed.  I do not recommend this plan if you do not have any category 1 hotels nearby, or if you are unable to complete at least 20 of your nights by the end of the "Stay more, play more" promotion on April 30th, 2015.

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