Has Hyatt Discontinued The Diamond Challenge?

There’s a bit of panic in our corner of the interwebs this morning, after Kyle at Upgrd reported that the Hyatt Diamond Challenge is “dead.”

The Hyatt Diamond Challenge was extremely generous

I’ve written extensively in the past about the Hyatt Diamond Challenge — it’s hands down the most lucrative hotel status challenge out there. Historically, in order to qualify for a Hyatt Diamond Challenge you just needed to be an elite member with Hilton, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott, or Starwood, and be able to prove that you’ve made one stay with them. So if you had hotel elite status through a credit card and made one stay, you were eligible.

To complete a Diamond Challenge you had to stay 12 nights within 60 days. But what made this so generous was that:

  • Hyatt gave you Diamond status upfront
  • Hyatt gave you 1,000 bonus points per night for the first six nights you stayed
  • Hyatt gave you four confirmed suite upgrades, each of which could be used to confirm a suite upgrade in advance for up to a week each — those were valid until February of the following year, even if you didn’t complete the Diamond Challenge

I don’t think anyone will disagree that was extremely generous… perhaps too generous?

Park-Hyatt-Chicago-46
Complimentary breakfast as a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member

Has Hyatt discontinued the Diamond Challenge?

Is the Diamond Challenge gone forever? I think people are making way too many assumptions here.

Historically, Hyatt has always had an expiration date on Diamond Challenges. Why? Because Gold Passport agents have to input a promo code when signing members up for the challenge, and those had expiration dates. They were typically valid for about six months:

The most recent Diamond Challenge was valid through Friday, and it’s now early on a Monday morning. I wouldn’t panic.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the Diamond Challenge were brought back in a similar form in the next couple of days.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if they changed the terms a bit. I don’t think anyone will disagree that the Diamond Challenge was too generous. Prove you’ve stayed one night with a competitor, and we’ll give you our top tier status for 60 days, and up to 28 nights in a suite even if you don’t stay a single night during your challenge?

Park-Hyatt-Suite
Upgrade using Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade at Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island

Bottom line

Like any good business, I expect Gold Passport has been crunching the numbers on these challenges. Are people doing the challenges actually completing the challenge, and are those completing the challenge actually requalifying for Diamond and staying beyond that period?

We should know one way or another very soon.

Have you done a Hyatt Diamond Challenge, and if so, did you actually end up switching a substantial amount of business to Hyatt, or did you do it mostly to receive elite perks for a few stays? Do you think the Diamond Challenge was too generous?

Comments

  1. Currently on the challenge and yes, have moved business to Hyatt for same reason. Also fit change in travel pattern perfectly.

  2. I initially did the challenge for the confirmed upgrades (I had upcoming vacation plans to stay at a couple Hyatt properties in Europe — Nice, France & the Andaz in Amsterdam — where suites were going for over $1,000USD/night). That being said, I was so impressed with both the Hyatt hard product as well as their Diamond perks of free WIFI and lounge access that I’ve decided to switch all my business to Hyatt wherever possible (which admittedly can be hard for some travelers since they don’t have a ton of properties — though it works fine for my travel patterns).

    Bottom line, this challenge saved me literally thousands of dollars, but Hyatt has created a new loyal customer and advocate as well. I think the challenge benefited both of us pretty nicely.

  3. Diamond challenges gets hyatt rooms booked directly with hyatt instead of 3rd parties. Since becoming diamond and qualify again this year I always look at hyatt hotels first.

  4. Josh said it very well – got many benefits. Made Diamond again the following year (this year) but will not requalify for next year. As Josh said, not that many properties except for the ones I want to stay at on vacation.

    I think a reasonable question, however, is what, exactly, this costs Hyatt? You’re paying for the hotel room in either cash or points and cash in order to get the Suite Upgrade. Does Hyatt fork over money to the hotels for these upgrades or are the hotels just happy to rent more rooms and heck, how many people actually pay for suites?

    That said, I’ve been Platinum with Starwood for almost ten years and love it, but Hyatt has the best program, hands down. They have never, ever let me down.

  5. But… but… it’s so much better to talk about the sky falling :-P. I’m just annoyed that I literally wrote a post yesterday about how to do status matches / challenges at each of the major chains and now it’s out of date šŸ™‚

  6. Perhaps off-topic, I have recently completed the challenge, and have used 1 of the 4 DSU. I know that the other 3 will expire next February. Will I be receiving another set of DSU after that date…? Thanks!

  7. Hopefully they change it to only grant status after you complete the challenge. Kind of filters out the people who tend to fraudulently take advantage of these things.

  8. @ Kai — Yes, if your status is good through Feb 2016 then you’ll get another four upgrades in Fen 2015.

  9. @ Steven S — Not at all disagreeing with anything you say, but I think the one thing to understand is what a great relationship Gold Passport has with the individual hotels, and that’s probably why our stays are so good. Hyatt is incredibly consistent, as you’ll see with the fact that all hotels participate in all global promotions.

    Gold Passport has convinced hotels to accept suite upgrades to book any entry level suite at the time of booking. With Starwood it’s five days in advance. Ultimately that’s a policy that’s done out of goodwill between Gold Passport and the hotels. At some point, if there are too many Diamond members using them, individual hotels might not be happy as they’re losing potential revenue, and that could hurt the relationship between Gold Passport and the hotels.

    Again, not disagreeing, but just sharing the other side of the “what does this really cost Hyatt?” question.

  10. Yes, I did a HDC a couple years ago and became addicted to Diamond status. I wasn’t able to requalify last year. But, I have ~25 more hotel nights this year and will be happy to be a Diamond again next year. I’m a 10 year SPG Platinum but the confirmed DSUs at booking are a game changer, especially as a family. SPG’s SNA program is ok in theory, but I rarely get the “benefit” when I need it most. And you only get 10 nights.

  11. @ DCS — All they’re doing is confirming that the offer isn’t available right now… which we all know.

  12. @ DCS — And the answer seems explicit as well. The offer has ended (obviously, since it ended on October 31), and there’s not an offer at this time. That’s all.

  13. I’m sorry to say it, and I know it’ll upset many, but I hope the challenge is gone for good.

    It was exceptionally generous, and I can understand why so many people have taken advantage of it. I can also see it being of benefit to Hyatt in bringing in new members to the program.

    That said, without a formal published tier above Diamond, I for one find it frustrating that my 100+ nights per year with the chain see me accorded exactly the same benefits as the guy on the challenge showing up for his first stay. For me that’s compounded by the fact a savvy challenger could spend 100% of their nights in a Suite that year, whereas for me it would be capped at a maximum of 28%!

  14. I took advantage of the Challenge and am really hoping to requalify next year. I’ve got about 18-20 actual stays next year, and may mattress run to keep my status. Really wish they had more properties, because I am really loving Hyatt! A few places I am going next year (Rio, Athens, etc) just don’t have properties, sadly.

  15. I do hope that it is either gone or modified. It was far too generous and open to abuse. When people are enrolling in the challenge for one/two stays with absolutely no intention of completing the challenge, that’s an issue in my opinion.

  16. I have spent over $10,000 dollars at Hyatt over the last few years because of the Diamond Status (Driven by the Diamond Status). It would be a shame if it disappeared.

  17. I did the Diamond Challenge in 2013, and have already requal’ed for 2015. Easy to do, as I am Lifetime Plat in Marriott, so don’t have to chase that anymore. It’s great having two top tier chains to choose from.

  18. Just completed a challenge. Intend to give all my hotel biz to Hyatt, although it consists of very low-yield stays- points, cash*points and negotiated rates.

  19. course, none of this means that they can’t offer custom challenges to actual high-yield customers. It would be a lot easier to throw out the trash if the program were unpublished.

  20. did it in 2012. still diamond. moved all my stays from hilton to hyatt. it was rather generous, but i guess that’s what made it stick.

  21. Did the Diamond challenge in January in combination with the winter promo. Used my IHG Platinum status for the challenge. Prior to the doing the challenge I probably did 1-3 nights at Hyatt properties over the course of a year and mostly did IHG and Hilton with a Marriot thrown in every now and then. My total annual hotel usage annually runs between 120-140 nights. Thanks to the challenge I became more acquainted with Hyatt and have come to love Diamond status (have it through close of 2/16). So far this year through yesterday, my Hyatt business has been 37 stays for 43 nights with another 7 nights already booked through close of the year. If not for my Diamond status with Hyatt, those nights would have likely been spread equally between Hilton and IHG. So yes, in my case, the challenge got Hyatt business from me and, assuming they treat me right they will keep that business (they didn’t offer me the current 20 nights for 50K promo until I wrote them, complained, and threatened to move my business – so we will see how things go).

  22. @Polk – There is another blogger who says that he personally called Hyatt, who confirmed the demise of the Diamond Challenge in its current and popular form:

    http://theforwardcabin.boardingarea.com/2014/11/03/breaking-news-hyatt-diamond-challenge-dead/ :

    “I made a call to Hyatt this morning, and unfortunately, the worst fear was confirmed. The Hyatt Diamond Challenge is dead as of October 31. Kyle, from the Trip Sherpa, originally reported this fact, but I wanted to find out for myself whether this was really the case.”

  23. Thanks to Lucky, I easily completed the challenge and have been enjoying breakfast in bed along with all the other benefits (Hyatt is so freakin awesome). I have decided to leave Hilton for good and focus solely on Hyatt. My travel patterns have changed in the last year and I no longer need a Hampton Inn in every little town on the map so it works out well for me.

  24. My new job started early this summer and involves a lot of travel. The first thing I did was look into rewards programs. I got Hilton Gold through a credit card and immediately parlayed that for the Hyatt challenge. Like another poster, I quickly became addicted to Diamond. šŸ™‚

    I also just last week completed the Hilton diamond challenge. After sampling both brands, my favorite hotel is a Hilton in Houston (because of the awesome staff there) but in general I prefer Hyatt’s brands of hotels, at least at the low to medium end.

    In my case the Hyatt challenge is going to work out for Hyatt – I expect I’ll be staying with them whenever possible (except when in Houston). Hilton’s much less generous challenge worked out for them as well – as it cost them nothing and I’ve found at least one Hilton I like.

    As for the (possible) ending of the challenge in its recent form? Now that I’m in they can close the doors. šŸ™‚ Sorry guys, but I agree with others that it was way too generous. Hyatt has a good thing going with their HGP diamond program. I don’t want to see it devalued by spreading it so thin it becomes a money-sink for them. I’m selfishly glad I got in, but they should not continue it as is.

    Now, as for it ending completely – there’s no way. All hotels, even the ones that claim they don’t do challenges or matches, do them and will continue to do so. They must have a way of wooing high stay customers away from their competitors. The challenge may be dead for now and, when it comes back, it may or may not be as generous, but short of the coming of the Apocalypse, it WILL be back.

  25. @Dave – Not only WAS the Hyatt Diamond Challenge ridiculously generous, it made no business sense at all. That is why the plug had to be pulled on it and it has been, and we should stop with the caveats and come out as say it: The Hyatt Diamond Challenge is dead. It will come back but in a form similar to the challenge that you just took to make Hilton Diamond.

    Hyatt used to have another perk that was also too good to be true and last: they used to charge for room/suite upgrades in points PER STAY rather than PER NIGHT, and the number of points required for the upgrades was ridiculously low. They wised up and pulled the plug on that perk as well and are now offering room/suite upgrades that are closer to industry standard.

    Gold Passport as a loyalty program is lacking because it is clearly still trying to find its way. If you want a mature program, go with Hilton Honors (unlimited suite upgrades for Diamonds + “Diamond Force”) or Marriott Rewards, in that order…

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