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I’ve been having a love and hate relationship with hotel loyalty programs. I constantly think that Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, and Marriott properties cost way too many points in general for a free night at a prime location such as Hawaii, New York, London, Paris, etc. However, I do love some of the sweet spots such as Club Carlson’s buy one get one free on award stays. I’ve shifted my strategy to using Barclaycard Arrival points for hotels and AirBnB recently, but I’ve decided that I’m going for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge. The main reason is because my employer is paying for it via my work travel, but it might be worth it for some if you value the perks highly and the price is right.
I wrote that you can possibly enroll in the Hyatt Diamond challenge again. Also, now is a great time to sign up for the Hyatt Diamond challenge and complete it because it will last until February 2016 once you complete 12 nights in 60 days.
To see if the Hyatt Diamond Challenge is right for you to complete, ask yourself how much do you value free breakfast, better service, room upgrades, and suite upgrade certificates. I value free breakfast at a lower end Hyatt at about $10 and about $25 at a higher end property. I also value the occasional room upgrade at about $30 for each stay because sometimes you will get a free suite upgrade. A suite upgrade, I would value at about $50 because you can apply that upgrade on a paid stay to your whole stay. I don’t really value internet because it should be free. I value Hyatt Diamond perks very conservatively, although I do think Hyatt Diamond status is great.
I would say on average, for a 1 night stay for 2 people, I would say you would get about $75 of perks that I might actually pay for. Of course this varies if you stay at high end or low end Hyatt hotels. With Hyatt Diamond status, I might be able to stay about 20 nights a year at Hyatt in combination with work travel. If I complete it now I would have about 20 months. That equates to about 35 nights of Hyatt Diamond status. If I value the perks at about $75 per night, I would earn about $2,625 of perks for complete the Hyatt Diamond Challenge. I’m not paying out of pocket to complete the Hyatt Diamond Challenge, but if I were then I could either do cash and points or cheap rates to stay 12 nights in 60 days. At an average of $125 per night, it would cost $1,500 to complete. If I do actually stay 35 nights in 20~ months (from now until February 2016) then I could get about $2,625 in perks that outweigh the $1,500 I paid to complete. Also, you’ll earn a good chunk of Hyatt points for completing the challenge.
However, there are a lot of other factors to consider. Do you actually plan to stay many nights at Hyatt hotels each year? To enjoy the Hyatt Diamond perks, you actually have to spend either money or Hyatt points. I’m not a huge fan of transferring Chase UR to Hyatt points, but I still do it sometimes. To really enjoy the Diamond perks, you’ll have to spend lots of Hyatt points to stay at top tier properties such as Hyatt Vendome Paris and Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Overall, if you are actually paying out of pocket to complete the Hyatt Diamond challenge, consider the costs and how often you will stay at Hyatt hotels. It can end up costing more than you think. The top-tier Hyatt now cost 30,000 per night, which I think is way too much. I’ve done the challenge before and I think it paid off well because I ended up paying about 1.5 cents per Hyatt point with the various promotions and cheap rates I received. Also, I was able to use the status for my honeymoon to Kauai and Europe. Now, I’m going for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge again but I’m not paying for it. It seems like a no brainer to pick Hyatt as my hotel choice. If you can combine work travel with leisure travel, I would say go for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge because you can have it until February 2016 and enjoy the perks.