Is Hyatt Diamond Status Really Worth It?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that among the many hotel chains I frequent, I tend to prefer Hyatt, where I have Diamond Status. I’ve been asked quite a bit lately on if Hyatt Diamond is really worth it, given Hyatt’s limited hotel footprint.

As of December 31, 2014, Hyatt only had 587 properties open worldwide, with obviously several more added into the system since then. Compared to Starwood, Hilton and IHG, Hyatt is clearly lagging on where they have their properties, which, in many cases is frustrating, especially from my standpoint.

I recently went to London, where Hyatt has only two hotels – the Hyatt Regency Churchill and the Andaz Liverpool Street. For a city as large as London, and how much it’s frequented both by connecting and on-site business travelers, two hotels, by most accounts would seem as pathetic, which, in many cases, I’d agree.

This is an Opera King room.

This is an Opera King room.

So, it begs the question on if Hyatt Diamond really is worth it, and I’d wholeheartedly argue yes. Let’s take a look at the benefits as I critique each based upon my own usage and experience.

First off, it’s important to note that if you want some sort of status with Hyatt, but can’t seem to get the stays/nights, just get the Hyatt Visa. You’ll earn Platinum status just for holding the card. But, now onto Diamond…

Achieve rewards even faster with a 30% point bonus when choosing points

When you choose to earn points on your hotel stays, vs. airline miles or car rental points, you’ll earn a 30% bonus, which for Hyatt is fairly substantial given the amount of points they tend to “hand out.” Hyatt is generous in awarding points in promotions, for customer service issues, and for their per-stay Diamond amenity. While this 30% is just on the base rate of the room, I find spending Hyatt points to be very easy, thus keeping this benefit worthwhile for me.

Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites

This one is hit or miss to be honest, probably best explained by my recent stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney where I didn’t receive an Opera View Deluxe room upon check-in, even though one was still showing for sale on Hyatt’s website. I have, however, been at plenty of properties where I was upgraded to a suite, even though this benefit specifically excludes that. So, I think it varies depending on which hotel you’re at, but overall, I find that I can make use of this, even if it sometimes requires a bit of prompting on my end.

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Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge

One of the best benefits of Diamond is access to the clubs – and their are some damn nice clubs out there. The Hyatt Regency Santa Clara has a great one, as well as the Park Hyatt Melbourne, one of the only Park Hyatt’s in the system to have a lounge offering. One of the great thing about the clubs is that it saves on meal expenses – I can eat breakfast in the morning, last all day, and then enjoy appetizers in the evening, pretty much making for a full day just on what’s on offer at the hotel.

Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights

Suite upgrades are extraordinarily valuable, in my opinion, since not only are they confirmed at time of booking, but also available on Points + Cash rates. I tend to use my suite upgrades, which most often book into the most basic “junior” suite (but sometimes are upgraded further from the hotel), on stays of 3 nights or more to make them worthwhile, since these can be used on stays of up to 7 nights. You’re supposed to only receive the most basic suite with the upgrade, but I find the majority of hotels take care of their members and try to put them in a better suite, if available. There are a few hotels that you can’t use this benefit at, though those hotels appear to not have a basic type suite.

Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay

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I’m usually a points person when it comes to the amenity, but if the hotel has a good local amenity, I’ll go for it. If the hotel is in a foreign city, or in a real vibrant domestic city, I’ll ask what the amenity is upon check-in, and then go from there. Welcome amenities can consist of a bottle of wine, some snacks, cheese plate, vegetables, fruit or other local treats.

Receive a nightly room refresh

This one is hit or miss, to be honest, though I find tremendous consistency among Park Hyatt branded properties. When the room refresh does happen, I find that the trash is implied, the bed is turned down and the shades are drawn, mot often.

Starting February 14, stay connected with complimentary premium Internet access where available

Good benefit, but it’s hit or miss on whether the premium internet is actually “premium” or not. For hotels where the premium internet doesn’t appear free on the login screen, just charge it to the room and they’ll take it off at check-out.

Expedited check-in at a dedicated area for elite members

This one is rarely enforced or provided, in my experience. You may find a sign indicating Diamond or Platinum check-in, but a majority of the time, regular guests are being accepted as well. There are a few properties that do a good job with this, however.

Ensure a room is always available with our 48-hour guarantee

This has to be the most basic room type, but when it’s there, you’ll find it available…and also extraordinarily pricey. Take out a second mortgage before you decide to use this option. I’ve only used this once, to be honest.

Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request

There’s been a few times I’ve been denied this option, with extraordinary demand, but most times, it’s proactively offered, and accepted. I really like having this late checkout since it is perfect for evening flights – I can store my bags and continue to use the bathroom, without being “homeless” for the day.

Book reservations through an exclusive Diamond line

A good benefit, but I find Hyatt reservations to answer their phones fairly quickly, in most circumstances anyways.

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Enjoy two complimentary one-time-use United ClubSM passes11 annually (starting March 1, 2015)

Not really helpful to me since I don’t fly United, or am ever in a position to use the United Club over my AAdmiral’s Club access, so I will gift these passes to a friend for give away.

Guest of Honor

A new benefit not listed under Hyatt’s Diamond benefits website is the Guest of Honor program, where if you use points on someone else’s hotel room (out of your account), they’ll receive all the traditional Diamond benefits as if you were staying in the room. Pretty cool, if you ask me. The problem is getting me to give away my points on someone else… 😉

Final Word

Even with Hyatt’s small foot print, they generally put on a good product and have well located properties, which is important to me.

The Gold Passport service is top notch, and I find many properties going above and beyond to provide good service to Diamonds – even extending beyond the published benefits.

It’s worth it to me, but your experience and desires may vary.

If you have Hyatt Diamond, do you find it worth it?

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Comments

  1. Adam says

    I think the issue here isn’t the generosity of the benefits. It’s a very competitive elite tier. The issue is that in many cities travelers have to go out of their way to stay at Hyatt. I’m traveling to Kansas City next month, for example. It has only Hyatt Places in suburban business parks, and no hotels downtown or by the city’s primary attractions. There isn’t even a property to fully utilize Diamond recognition or benefits. Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton all have many full and limited service properties in key business/visitor areas of the city.

    So I’m left with the conundrum of whether to dedicate my loyalty to a great elite program that I may not be able to utilize in the bulk of my travels? Hyatt HAS to outperform on elite benefits to make up for its limited footprint. If you travel primarily to Hyatt-rich places, it seems like a no-brainer. If you don’t, though, or can’t be sure of your future travels, it’s a difficult commitment to make as your sole hotel company of choice.

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