One Year of Diamond Status

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I first gained Diamond Status with Hyatt Gold Passport in November 2015, through a status match they briefly offered after the Starwood-Marriott merger was announced. Though I only had Gold status with Starwood, Hyatt generously matched me to Diamond, arguably the best elite hotel status out there. I have made full use of my status over the last year.

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status has many benefits, including:

  • 4 Confirmed Suite Upgrade Certificates
  • Free Breakfasts
  • Late Check Out
  • Room Upgrades, Increased Points Earning, and More

Free breakfasts are fantastic, saving you a ton of money, and I plan to make full use of the perk when we visit the Park Hyatt Maldives next week. Late check out is nice, and in one year I have earned thousands of additional points on my stays – enough for at least a few free nights – thanks to being Diamond.

The best benefit, without question, is the confirmed suite upgrade certificates. While most hotel elite statuses allow you to upgrade your room upon check-in, based on availability, and often not to suites, Hyatt allows you to confirm your upgrade to a suite four times per year to suites on stays of up to a 7 nights.

That’s huge, letting you turn a cheap room rate into a stay in a suite that goes for $1,000+ per night. All for free.

Nearing the end of my first year of Diamond status, it’s time to look back at my experience, the benefits, and what I’ve learned.

I’ve travelled a lot this year. A ton. But that’s ensured that I’ll re-qualify for another year of status! Here are all the properties where I’ve stayed in 2016:

  • Grand Hyatt San Francisco
  • Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans
  • Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport
  • Hyatt Regency LAX
  • Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
  • Hyatt Place Dallas North by the Galleria
  • Grand Hyatt Washington
  • Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
  • The Driskill
  • Hyatt Centric Park City
  • Hyatt Regency Dallas
  • Hyatt Paris Madeleine
  • Andaz Amsterdam Prisengracht
  • Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch
  • Andaz West Hollywood
  • Park Hyatt New York*
  • Park Hyatt Dubai*
  • Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa*

As you can see, I’ve stayed at a pretty broad range of Hyatt properties and brands, in low-end and high-end properties, and everything in between. I’ve visited resorts, business hotels and historic properties.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Properties Vary, Widely

Every Hyatt hotel is different. Dramatically different. While there is some consistency across brands (eg. Hyatt, Regency, Park Hyatt, Andaz, etc.), every hotel is its own beast.

The Hyatt Place North by the Galleria was one of the sketchiest, grossest hotels I’ve ever slept in. We bolted the door, and double-checked the lock, and I slept closer to the door that night (I know, I’m just that good of a husband).

That said, by and large I’ve been very pleased with my Hyatt experiences.

Prior to the Diamond status, I had previously focussed my loyalty on Starwood properties (in that sense, the status match was a brilliant marketing ploy; Hyatt effectively stole me from Starwood). I’ve come to enjoy Hyatt properties better than what I experienced in SPG.

The Hyatt Regency Denver was an incredibly comfortable, clean and modern hotel. I used an upgrade certificate on this stay, and our suite had a nice living room, bar, and second bathroom. Best part was that the room cost me only $108 a night! How do you beat that?

The Andaz Amsterdam was, without question, my favorite property (so far!), and I’ve fallen in love with the Andaz brand. Andaz seems to take the best of the W brand and improve upon it, while getting rid of some of the pretension and uncomfortable hipster-chic vibe. Andaz properties are incredibly unique, the staff is unbelievably helpful, and the hotels give you a boutique vibe at a large (points-earning) chain. If you visit Andaz Amsterdam, be sure to try the apple pie!

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Breakfasts and Lounge Access

By the end of the year, I will have logged 53 nights at Hyatt hotels. Each of those nights means needing to eat breakfast in the morning. While, certainly I could imagine ways to do breakfast on the cheap if I needed to, there’s significant value to be had in the ability to have my morning coffee (or, in Danielle’s case, nonfat wet cappuccino with sugar free vanilla) comped, at minimum, or a full breakfast buffet available when I need it.

At our upcoming stay in the Maldives, there are no options other than eating breakfast on-property. On that trip alone, we will save $480 on breakfasts, thanks to the Diamond perk.

Doing the math, I estimate that this benefit has saved me a minimum of $1,895 over the course of this year.

But there’s more! Hotels that have a club lounge mean I get afternoon snacks and pre-dinner drinks, evening desserts, and more. Would I buy these while traveling if they weren’t offered for free? Probably not. But I would spend money elsewhere, so there’s significant value here too.

Points + Cash Stays Have Incredible Value

Many of the nights I’ve spent at Hyatt properties this year were done on Points + Cash reservations. Hyatt let’s you split the cost of a stay between cash and points, often at incredible value.

For example, the Hyatt Paris Madeleine goes for about €400 a night (~$426). When we stayed there this summer, we did so on a Points + Cash reservation of $125 and 12,500 points per night. The 12,500 points lowered the nightly rate by almost $300 – a value of 2.4 cents per point (and even more when you factor in taxes)!

You may ask why I wouldn’t just fork up the additional points for an entirely points-based award stay. Good question. First, I didn’t have enough points. The award night would cost 25,000 points, which means that, effectively, I saved 12,500 points for $125. Plus unlike award stays, Points + Cash reservations earn credit toward elite status, can utilize suite upgrade certificates, and earn points.

On one Points + Cash stay at a low end property, I paid 3,000 points for the stay and earned almost 3,000 points for the stay – a wash!

I end this year a very happy, and very devoted Hyatt customer. Hyatt’s global footprint is much smaller than most of the other chains, but I find their hotels comfortable, and their reward program extremely valuable. My Diamond status with Hyatt has proven extremely rewarding. All of these hotel stays were going to happen, whether I had status or not, but the benefits I enjoyed because I am Diamond allowed me to enjoy the stays in greater comfort, saving me thousands of dollars on things I otherwise might need to spend money on, and allowing me to earn an astounding 160,800 Hyatt points this year, easily worth many thousands of dollars toward future stays.

Hyatt is making significant changes to the Hyatt Gold Passport rewards program in the year ahead, rebranding the program as World of Hyatt, and making some substantive edits to perks. I’ve already re-qualified, so in 2017 my Diamond status will become Globalist.

I’m looking forward to making the most out of my status for another year!