I'm still plodding towards requalifying for Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status after successfully matching to the status late last year. I've been intentionally booking towards Hyatt whenever it makes sense financially and logistically. That's included the Park Hyatt in Vienna, the Grand Hyatts in Berlin and New York, the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, a whole slew of Hyatt Regencies, and one Hyatt House.
That's given me a chance to see how benefits are implemented in practice at a range of properties. Here's my list of Hyatt Diamond benefits, ranked based on their value to me in practice:
- Late check out. Diamond members get a guaranteed 4 pm check out time (except at Hyatt Resorts and Casinos and Residence Club properties). I have used this on virtually every one of my Hyatt stays this year. I love being able to leave my belongings in my room instead of having to deal with left luggage offices, and be able to relax in the room while waiting for a afternoon train or flight. And the benefit really is guaranteed: usually check in agents even offer it proactively.
- Welcome amenity. I often write theoretically about the 1,000-point Diamond welcome amenity offsetting the points cost of a Points + Cash stay, but in fact I almost never choose the points amenity. That's because when checking into a property after a long day of travel I'd much rather have a bottle of wine and a cheese and nut platter (or whatever looks good) brought up to the room while I get settled in.
- Lounge access. Access to the lounge, and the ability to grab water bottles and coffee or tea throughout the day, is a good way to save money and stay hydrated if you're not sure about the local water. Properties that offer hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the evening are also great places to make evening plans.
- Breakfast. I've had some phenomenal breakfasts as a Hyatt Diamond, but this benefit has to go below lounge access simply because I'm more likely to sleep through breakfast than I am to sleep through an evening cocktail hour. Your circadian rhythm may vary.
- Suite upgrade awards. While this is often mentioned as a key benefit of Diamond status, you can ask anyone with Diamond status how much value they really get out of it, and the answer is usually: "not much." I've redeemed two of my suite upgrade awards, at the Park Hyatt Vienna and Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf. And they were both great suites that made the trips feel a little more special! But the obstacles to getting value from suite upgrade awards are significant. First, your awards expire at the end of the February after your qualifying year (so 2016 upgrade awards expire February 28, 2017), and can't be used for reservations beyond that date. Second, an eligible suite has to be available at the time you make the request — you can't waitlist for a suite upgrade. That means longer stays, where the upgrade would be most valuable, are also the hardest stays on which to redeem upgrades!
- Point bonus. Diamonds get a 30% bonus on base points earned on paid and Points + Cash stays. This is essentially a rounding error, worth perhaps $1 per night on a Points + Cash stay (I earned 89 bonus points on a recent Points + Cash stay with a $55 cash component).
- United lounge passes. You get two United lounge passes for qualifying as a Hyatt Diamond. That's fine, but it's not a recurring privilege of membership or anything. It's just two United lounge passes.
- 48-hour guarantee. Since Hyatt offers generous guaranteed award availability when there are standard rooms available, their 48-hour guarantee is just a way to overpay for rooms when a property is completely sold out. Hopefully you'll never use this benefit!
- Premium Wi-Fi. It's hotel Wi-Fi. It's not going to be great, whether it's "premium" or not.
- Best Room Upon Arrival. I know that hotel staff have a mental inventory of which rooms are "good" and "bad," but this is a joke benefit.
Looking at this list, it's immediately clear that all the value of requalifying for Diamond status comes from items 1-4, which clarifies the question: will I get enough value from late check out, welcome amenities, lounge access, and free breakfast in 2017 to justify chasing the remaining stays required to requalify?
I'm not sure! But I'm thinking about it.