Probably my favorite hotel elite status is Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond. While I have top-tier status with a few hotel chains, I find Hyatt Gold Passport does a phenomenal job managing expectations. It’s a fairly generous program to begin with, and on top of that I find they under-promise and over-deliver.
As a reminder, some of the Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond benefits include:
- Club lounge access, and for hotels without a club lounge, full breakfast in the restaurant
- Best room available, excluding suites
- Free internet
- Guaranteed 4PM late check-out (subject to availability at resorts)
- 30% Gold Passport points bonus
- Four confirmed Diamond suite upgrades annually, which can be used to confirm a suite at the time of booking for up to seven consecutive nights
Diamond status requires 25 stays or 50 nights annually, though Hyatt also offers those with status at a competing chain a Diamond challenge. Up until 2010 Hyatt would actually outright match status, though since then they’ve been offering various types of Diamond status challenges.
So I figured I would cover the basics of Hyatt’s current Diamond trial offering.
Who can request a Hyatt Diamond trial
Elite members with the following programs can request a Hyatt Diamond trial:
- Hilton Honors: Gold & Diamond
- Marriott: Gold & Platinum
- Starwood: Platinum
- Priority Club: Platinum
In practice it doesn’t seem to matter whether you earned the status through a credit card or through actual stays, as long as you have valid status with one of the above programs. You also need to prove that you’ve made at least one stay with the program you’re status matching from.
How to request a Hyatt Diamond challenge
There are two ways to request a Gold Passport Diamond trial:
- Email Gold Passport at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call Gold Passport customer service at 800.304.9288
Regardless, you’ll want to reference offer code DMD14 and provide your account activity from one of the above chains.
It’s worth noting that as of now Diamond trials with the below terms are available through April 30, 2014. We don’t know what will happen after that. Hyatt could continue offering the same trial, or may offer a new kind of trial — it’s anyone’s guess, but that’s the date till which they’ve published the current challenge rules.
Requirements for completing a Hyatt Diamond trial
It’s worth noting that when doing a Diamond challenge you get the status upfront, and you have 60 days to complete the challenge.
To complete the challenge you need to stay 12 eligible nights at any Hyatt worldwide within 60 days. “Eligible nights” include published rates, corporate rates, AAA rates, senior rates, and even Points + Cash bookings.
If you successfully complete the challenge then the status will be valid through February 2015.
The other awesome thing about the challenge is that Hyatt gives you 1,000 bonus points per night for your first six eligible nights, so you earn 6,000 bonus points if you complete the challenge.
The last thing worth noting is that while you have exactly 60 days to complete the challenge, the trial status is valid through the end of that month. In other words, if you begin a challenge on April 15 you would have until around June 15 to complete the challenge, though even if you don’t complete it the status would be valid through June 30.
Diamond suite upgrades with the challenge
What I consider ridiculously generous is that not only does Hyatt give you the Diamond status upfront, but they give you four confirmed suite upgrades as well, which will be valid until February of next year.
Each of these suite upgrades can be used to confirm an upgrade to a suite at the time of booking for up to a seven (consecutive) night stay. As long as the hotel’s “base” suite is available you can redeem a suite upgrade for it. You can even redeem the suite upgrades after your Diamond trial expires, should you not be able to complete it.
Why Hyatt Diamond status has become more valuable for leisure travelers
Back in November Hyatt announced some pretty major changes to their Gold Passport program, which kicked in January 7, 2014. The changes began with an award chart devaluation, and the following week they announced some positive changes like Points + Cash awards and special elite rates.
While the devaluation sounded bad, I think the changes on the whole have actually been a net positive. As a Diamond member that earns status through “personal” spend, what has always frustrated me a bit is that award stays didn’t count towards status. However, Hyatt has thrown us a bone, because Points + Cash bookings are now eligible for:
- Diamond suite upgrades
- Points accrual
- Elite stay/night credit
Given what a spectacular value Points + Cash bookings are, going forward a vast majority of my award redemptions will be for Points + Cash bookings. That’s almost exclusively what I used when booking Park Hyatts for my dad’s upcoming “big” birthday.
It’s tough to beat 12,500 Gold Passport points plus $150USD per night for stays at properties like the Park Hyatt Maldives, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, etc.
So this makes it considerably easier to requalify for Diamond status as a leisure traveler, and it gets even better since Hyatt is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning you can supplement your points balance with Ultimate Rewards points when you’re first starting out. You can’t beat the earnings rates of:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers double points on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees, and a 7% annual points dividend (plus a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months)
- The Ink Plus® Business Card and Ink Bold® Business Card, which offer 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services (plus a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months)
To be honest now I’m having a hard time choosing whether to transfer Ultimate Rewards points for Korean Air SkyPass or Hyatt Gold Passport.
For more information
The single most comprehensive source for Hyatt’s Diamond tier-matching program is the FlyerTalk thread on the topic.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone approved through some of the above links. Thanks for your support!)