Official: Hyatt Not Renewing Diamond Challenge For Now

Yesterday I wrote about how the Hyatt Diamond Challenge had been discontinued.

There’s no denying that Hyatt had the most generous hotel status challenge out there:

  • 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

Hyatt-Olive-8-Seattle-12
Suite at Hyatt Olive 8 Seattle

Anyway, the fact that the challenge expired wasn’t unusual in and of itself. The Diamond Challenge does always have an expiration date, and in this case it was October 31, 2014. However, in the past they’ve typically extended the Diamond Challenge promotion shortly after it expired.

I reached out to Hyatt’s corporate communications department about this (as did everyone else in the world, I think), and here’s their response:

We appreciate the overwhelming enthusiasm for Hyatt Diamond elite status. The Diamond trial promotion that began on May 1, 2014 has run its course and has been discontinued as of October 31. We very much appreciate all of our members who were able to take advantage of this promotion and have continued to stay with Hyatt throughout the year. We are currently evaluating the best path forward with these types of promotions. As always, we welcome your feedback.

It does appear that for now the Diamond Challenge is actually discontinued, without immediate plans for a similar offering.

I certainly don’t blame Hyatt. It was undeniably too generous, and my guess is that the numbers weren’t working out in their favor. Or perhaps they were, but they reached a “critical mass” of Diamond members, to the point that they’d have a hard time delivering on benefits while further increasing the elite pool.

What could Hyatt do to make the Diamond Challenge more sustainable?

  • Previously Hyatt offered the challenge to anyone that had status with a competing hotel chain, as long as they could prove one stay. They could instead offer it only to top tier elites of other hotel chains with a proven stay history.
  • Hyatt could just give you Diamond status upon completing the challenge, which would avoid people that sign up for the challenge just for the four suite upgrades or to get benefits for a stay or two.
  • In theory Hyatt could offer the suite upgrades only upon completing the challenge or actually qualifying for Diamond status the “hard” way. My understanding, however, is that the reason they offered the suite upgrades upfront wasn’t intentional, but rather due to technological limitations. They basically couldn’t upgrade an account to Diamond status without automatically depositing the four confirmed suite upgrades.

Hyatt-Suite-Upgrades

How do you feel about Hyatt discontinuing the Diamond Challenge, whether you’re an existing Diamond or someone that was hoping to do a challenge? What do you think Hyatt could change to make it more sustainable?

Comments

  1. I had a friend who was hoping to do the challenge in December and she just wishes Hyatt had communicated earlier that after October 31st they won’t have any similar offering.

  2. Maybe it would’ve lasted a little longer if your colleagues hadn’t explicitly given instructions on how to complete the challenge for the lowest amount possible. Or advocated doing and failing the challenge just for the free upgrades

  3. Hyatt could avoid both the issue of “gamers” and over population of elite ranks if it simply limited the match to top tier elites at other chains. No reason not to award status during the challenge, or deny the DSUs.

  4. My husband completed the Hyatt Diamond challenge last year after having top tier status with Hilton. We were too dumb to figure out that he automatically received 4 DSU’s so those went to waste.

    He has maintained Diamond status with Hyatt and really likes the brand.

    My question is was Hyatt really offering a Diamond challenge to let’s say those only holding Hilton Silver status? If yes, I’m not suprised they killed it off, as I’m sure there was plenty of abuse.

  5. I agree that this was too generous, but that didn’t stop us from taking advantage. I think the best way to control this would be to make people prove that they got status in another program through stays and not through credit cards. I imagine most of the “abuse” come from credit card people (like me!) who only have a handful of paid stays every year.

    My partner took advantage of this (with no intention to actually complete the challenge) and with two Hyatt credit cards we got four free nights in an upgraded room at the PH Tokyo with free breakfast, free spa access, free happy hour and all sorts of other benefits. We have Lucky to thank for that great trip (90k USAir award in business class on ANA too)!!!! Now we just have to figure out where to use our suite upgrades before February…

    Hit the deals hard while they are there, especially if you can only do it once. If things seem overly generous, treat them as if they can be taken away at any time. I always think things like avios shorthaul redemptions and Club Carlson last night free are so good, that it is only a matter of time before they get taken away.

  6. “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 would not call that generous; I would call it bone-headed and that is why the Hyatt Diamond Challenge is no more.

    Please step back and put things in context. Hyatt is a for-profit company. What business sense does it make to give top elite status and the associated costly perks, like 4 DSUs, to someone who has not spent a single penny at any of their hotels, and may simply enjoy the perks and say screw the “Challenge”? It makes no business sense whatsoever, it is nonsense, and that it is why GP is a joke as a loyalty program. They have no clue about what they are doing. What folks and bloggers are gushing about has nothing to do with Gold Passport. Rather, those who get hooked are hooked by Hyatt the company with the tastefully done hotels as well as service that is second to none. In short, everyone is conflating Hyatt the company with Gold Passport, the loyalty program. The latter is a joke; it is the former that hooks, you, people 😉

  7. @DCS

    “What business sense does it make to give top elite status and the associated costly perks, like 4 DSUs, to someone who has not spent a single penny at any of their hotels . . .”

    What business sense does it make?

    You must not be familiar with the concept in marketing called poaching customers.

    Sure, perhaps HGP shouldn’t award the challenge to anyone with a credit card and a heartbeat, but you’re suggesting throwing out the baby with the bathwater. HGP doesn’t need to jettison the whole concept of matching. It simply needs to limit the match/challenge to those with top-tier status at competitor hotels–evidence indicating the customer spends money at his or her respective chain.

    And those customers of your competitors are going to be more likely wooed away from other chains if given status *during* the challenge, as opposed having nothing for 12 nights and being awarded only after it’s complete.

  8. I was just about to do a Diamond Challenge, been planning it for months, figuring they would extend the promotion as they did in the past. I have 8 Hyatt nights in the tropics coming up @ XMAS and was going to switch them from points to cash+points, then add 4 paid nights somewhere else TBD just to meet the challenge goals.

    I was going to take my business to Hyatt for the next 12 months, but oh well; I have status from Hilton, Starwood & IHG I can use instead. No free breakfasts for me this XMAS, but that will be good for my wasteline.

    BTW, just stayed at Hyatt Vendome in Paris. Very awesome stay.

  9. I have one question..
    I am currently a diamond member and will have it till Feb, 2015.
    If I do 25QS/50QN during the first 2 months of 2015, will I be diamond till Feb, 2016 or Feb 2017?

  10. @AJK – You made this statement “You must not be familiar with the concept in marketing called poaching customers” and then immediately went on to suggest that HGP should have conducted their “poaching” pretty much as all the other chains have been doing (“It simply needs to limit the match/challenge to those with top-tier status at competitor hotels–evidence indicating the customer spends money at his or her respective chain”). HGP has pulled their ridiculous Diamond Challenge that was a blatant affront to Diamonds who got there the hard way, precisely because they belatedly realized that it made no business sense. They got poached and taken to the cleaners by opportunists who never intended to complete challenge once they got the goodies. Some poaching that was!

    In short, I fail to see why you feel that you are qualified to teach me about “poaching”‘

  11. It was called a challenge not a status match. I think they should keep the low participation bar or lower it further, but award status at the end of successful, and do the same with the suite upgrades.

    In other words, let me get the status if I put in the work, but don’t just hand out the upgrades to folks who will end up with only one stay.

  12. Also @AJK this is precisely why the Challenge had to be pulled: “And those customers of your competitors are going to be more likely wooed away from other chains if given status *during* the challenge, as opposed having nothing for 12 nights and being awarded only after it’s complete.”

    Only the folks at HGP and you would dream of giving the winner’s trophy to a runner before the marathon had even started. Why would the runner do the grueling marathon if s/he’s already gotten the trophy? See, it is a joke…just like HGP as a loyalty program. 😉

  13. Very happy I managed to complete the challenge a few weeks prior to its expiration.

    I think eventually they should bring it back but only after adjusting it to be more in line with what other hotel companies are doing. Like others have said above, perhaps they can do matches/challenges based on tiers with competitors, e.g. SPG Gold->Hyatt Plat (6 nights, no DSUs), SPG Plat->Hyatt Diamond (12 nights, 4 DSUs), etc.

    Additionally, Hyatt should do a better job to incentivize members who had completed the challenge to stay with them during the rest of a year.

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