As my regular readers no doubt already know, on November 19, 2015, the official Hyatt Concierge Twitter account sent out a tweet asking, "Looking for a new loyalty program? DM us and let’s talk."
The travel hacking blogosphere subsequently went absolutely nuts. Things then seem to have proceeded in three stages:
- In Stage 1, the first few hours after the tweet was sent out, Hyatt was matching all elites in other hotel loyalty programs to their Diamond status. So a Hilton HHonors Gold elite could be matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status, as long as they could show a stay with HIlton in the last year.
- The door quickly shut on Stage 1, and in Stage 2, only Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elites were being matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status. Elites with programs besides Starwood Preferred Guest could be matched only to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status (the same status that comes with their co-branded credit card).
- Shortly after that, even Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elites were only being matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status. As I understand it, this is the current state of play, and Stage 3 continues to this date. For way, way more datapoints read the FlyerTalk thread on the topic, starting at the end for the most recent datapoints.
My tier match experience
I sent my first e-mail to Hyatt Gold Passport on November 20 with my Hilton HHonors Diamond status information. Since the door had already closed on Stage 1, I was told that only Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elites were being matched to Hyatt Diamond status, and that I could only be matched to Hyatt Platinum status.
Since I wasn't at home, I replied with a screenshot from the SPG app on my iPhone. A few days later, they replied that they couldn't use that to match me to Hyatt Diamond because it didn't have my Starwood account number.
I replied again with a screenshot from the desktop version of the Starwood Preferred Guest website, and again a few days later they replied that they couldn't read the file I sent them.
Finally, I printed the screenshot as a PDF file and they were able to open that. Again, after waiting a few days I finally received a response that I had been matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status, which was immediately reflected online.
The total time my tier match took was 23 days from my initial submission on November 20 to my final tier match confirmation on December 13, 2015.
The key lesson is that it seems people were entitled to treatment based on the "Stage" during which they submitted their original request. In other words, even if they required additional documentation, the earlier you submitted your first request, the more likely it was to be honored.
Life as a Diamond
After being notified that I'd been matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status, I had three priorities:
- Where it makes sense, rebook stays I currently have with other chains at Hyatt properties instead. For example, for our upcoming trip to New York City, I was able to replace a $473.90 Hilton reservation with a $503.12 Hyatt reservation which will earn me 3 elite night credits and an elite stay credit.
- Where possible, apply suite upgrades to my paid Hyatt reservations.
- Match my Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status to Mlife Platinum status.
Suite upgrade rules are confusing
Much digital ink and already been spilled on this topic, so the only point I'll make here is that each Hyatt brand — and even property — refers to their "base-level" suite differently. The Grand Hyatt Berlin has a "Grand Suite King," the Grand Hyatt New York has a "Junior Suite," and the Grand Hyatt San Francisco goes straight to "Executive Suite."
In other words, unless you're familiar with a particular property, you don't have any way to easily check whether the suites for sale online are the suites that are eligible for Diamond suite upgrades.
Mlife Platinum status doesn't seem to be instantly available
As soon as my Diamond tier match was processed I went to this page to request a match to Mlife Platinum status. While the request was processed successfully, my Mlife status wasn't updated!
I asked around on Twitter and my guess is that Hyatt only occasionally updates the database of Gold Passport elites which it makes available to Mlife. Since that process isn't instant, you won't have immediate access to Mlife Platinum benefits.
Since Hyatt Gold Passport is offline until December 19, I haven't been able to try again, but I'm optimistic I'll be matched to Mlife Platinum once the system comes back online.
I've mentioned to multiple folks going through the process of tier matching that this offer, while woefully mishandled and generating a lot of ill-will on the part of people who felt they'd been cheated, is still going to be a business coup for Hyatt.
That's because people like me who are already top-tier elites in multiple programs would never consider earning up to Hyatt Diamond from scratch, but as matched top-tier Hyatt Diamonds will make sure we requalify each year with 25 stays or 50 nights, which have to be either paid or "Points + Cash" reservations.