What Was Hyatt Thinking With Their Diamond Status Match Offer?

When it comes to airline & hotel loyalty programs, the internet can be a powerful marketing tool. However, there are a couple of concepts they can’t seem to grasp:

  • When a deal is too good to be true, it will spread like wildfire. Expect interest from thousands of people and not dozens of people, thanks to blogs, forums, Reddit, etc.
  • People can easily “compare notes” on offers. Whether it’s a targeted offer or just a limited time offer, expect a lot of disappointment and head-banging from those who don’t take advantage of an offer in time.

Which brings me to Hyatt’s Diamond status match offer via Twitter, which they published this past Thursday night/Friday morning. The Tweet itself was innocuous enough:

https://twitter.com/HyattConcierge/status/667431140815450112/

Naturally plenty of people were intrigued, especially as it has been months since Hyatt offered any sort of a status challenge. Even then they made you stay 12 nights with them in 60 days and then they’d give you Diamond status.

So once people direct messaged Hyatt and found out the offer, it spread very quickly. Hyatt was seemingly giving anyone with status in another program and at least one qualifying stay Diamond status through February 2017, with no strings attached.

Mike shared his experience matching SPG Gold to Hyatt Diamond, and he even received the four Diamond Suite Upgrade Awards within hours of his account being updated.

Hyatt Diamond Twitter Confirmation

I find this whole offer on the part of Hyatt puzzling, even in light of the recent Marriott/Starwood announcement. Let me clarify, I’m all for people taking advantage of this, so in no way am I saying this from the perspective of “how dare Hyatt give away Diamond when I earned it.” That’s ridiculous, because we’ve all benefitted from these programs at one point or another.

In this instance I just don’t get how this makes business sense from Hyatt’s perspective.

For months Hyatt hasn’t even been willing to offer a status challenge to a top tier at a competing chain with proof of several stays, and now they’ll give anyone with at least one stay Diamond upfront with “no strings attached.” And they’ll even give them four Diamond Suite Upgrades, each of which can be used to confirm an upgrade of up to seven nights.

Grand-Hyatt-Hong-Kong-1

Of course many took advantage of this offer, and within a day or two they seem to have made it significantly more restrictive. But now you have people saying “that’s not fair, others got Diamond but I didn’t.”

Bottom line

All of this is simply to say that it amazes me how often promotions like this happen. Hyatt Gold Passport is a great program and run by some brilliant people. Did they not expect thousands of people were going to want to match? Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer a well thought out program to get people to Diamond, maybe by outright matching SPG Platinum members and giving others challenges?

Kudos to all of you who got in on the offer, and enjoy the Diamond perks! Hyatt Diamond is pretty awesome.

Can anyone rationalize this situation better than I can?

Comments

  1. What’s interesting about this is that the population of travelers you noted who responded to this offer now have an expectation of Diamond with guaranteed suite upgrades. If only those who were able to respond in the first few hours are actually awarded the status, other SPG Platinums like me who haven’t yet heard back will go one of two ways:

    If Hyatt follows through and extends the same offer to us, we’ll likely be advocates and shift our business from SPG to Hyatt.

    If Hyatt does not offer the status match or refines it to exclude the guaranteed suite upgrades, we will likely be detractors and avoid moving any business.

    I agree that Hyatt’s in a tough spot, but if they are playing the long game they will do the right thing and show that they want to earn our loyalty.

  2. It makes great business sense. They are attempting to attract folks to Hyatt and that is what they did. Giving out Diamond status is a win for Hyatt it costs little in the grand scheme of things.

  3. I didnt get in on this at all but hyatt should of just offered lower level status with challenge to top tier . somebody getting fired

  4. They seem to have changed strategy a little.. I responded on friday and received a message this morning in which they offer to match my Hilton Gold status to Hyatt Platinum.

  5. Thank you for putting this in writing. Bad execution on Hyatt’s part. They have created a false sense of expectation wherein people who didn’t get diamond are grumpy and folks that did would be grumpy if unable to use the suite upgrades. And those that really earned their diamond, rightfully don’t see the fun in this exercise.

    Do you think SPG/Marriott may come up with some carrot so they dont bleed loyalty even before the merger takes off?

    Side Note: Emailed Hyatt with my SPG Gold credentials 2 days ago and haven’t heard back yet. Status Quo at my end 🙂

  6. I think they think that a bunch of Starwood & Marriott Platinum folks who may choose Hyatt as a second option would have less reason to do so now. I suspect very few of these fresh diamonds will stay loyal and give more than a handful of nights however. Hopefully Marriott and Starwood respond with a decent promo over the next few months.

  7. Their timing of this for me probably had the intended effect. It’s the end of the year, airlines are announcing their latest round of “enhancements, the Marriott/Starwood deal is announced and the air is rife with the collective jitters of the traveling public.

    I went for it and got a good result. I then booked two stays with Hyatt for December that could have gone with a different provider (DFW and DXB).

  8. Ben you mention that they tightened up but you didn’t elaborate at all by what you meant. I sent in my credentials two days ago and I’m still waiting to hear back, so could you elaborate by what you mean in terms of them tightening up?

  9. Giving top tier for mid tier status that is achievable via credit card and one stay is ridiculous.

    Having said that, SPG gold here (via amex platinum), was matched to Hyatt platinum and not diamond.

  10. Lucky, Hyatt is all out to capture all SPG Plats and thereafter, showing the statistics of the crossover, woo equally concerned Starwood Properties to join Hyatt Brand. We may see former Starwood Properties at Hyatt. MR is never going to generate the same kind of loyalty SPG properties enjoyed over the past few years.

    Add cities where there are already lots of both SPG and MR properties and little or no Hyatt, u can see why it make sense for these properties to reflag to Hyatt.

  11. I called the Hyatt Diamond line to talk to the overwhelmed reps a few days ago and they advised that they originally intended to respond to the SPG Platinum’s dissatisfaction with the Starwood/Marriott merger.
    Their twitter folks meant to only status match SPG Platinums to Diamond status. SPG Golds are only getting Hyatt Platinum.

    They were receiving status matching request from all other hotel chains (Hilton, IHG, etc..) that was not intended of this Tweet.

    @John- I agree that this promo went out of control. Hyatt never promised status matching to SPG Platinum to Hyatt Diamond. Expectations were made from blogs like Mike about the status match. I think someone at Hyatt got overzealous about status matching. Congratulations to those who jumped on this promotion right away.
    Hyatt will prove to SPG Loyalists that they have the best program out there after Marriott is done tweaking the loyalty program. Hyatt usually does the right thing, and doesn’t mean they status match all SPG Golds (10 stays) to Hyatt Diamond (25 nights).
    I am sure that current Hyatt Diamonds are expression their dissatisfaction with this very generous promo.

  12. I think all the promotion request has broken their Website because their app and their website has been down for a while this morning

  13. Truly a shock – but one I’m happy about. Got the email asking me to send my documentation. Did the best I could and waiting for the response. The fact that their entire website is down is testimony to how unprepared they were for this onslaught. There are those on FT who think that Hyatt’s next step will be to try to entice some of the nicer SPG properties to jump ship over the Hyatt. Could be interesting. All I know is that my reason for being loyal to SPG for 12+ years is all about suite upgrades and I find it hard to believe they will live through the Marriott marriage so we’ll see how this plays out.

  14. In this “game,” businesses need to stay consistent. Ben, I totally agree with your article. The one thing I’m not seeing is bloggers approaching the “higher ups” at Hyatt at getting the word out that long-term diamonds are generally NOT happy. Let’s stop pumping credit cards for a while and get some PR going. Hyatt needs to step up to the plate and make amends with long-term diamonds (those who have maintained diamond for over 1 diamond term.)

    It simply doesn’t make sense to let the flood gates open, then close them up. Now you have many long-term diamonds upset and you have people who tried to get a status match and couldn’t (and those people are upset too, because they know others, just hours earlier, got the status match.)

    Ridiculous!

  15. Maybe the folks at Hyatt figured, from the beginning, they’d get a ton of publicity (which they did) by only dong a limited number of matches to Diamond. Whether or not that was the case, the consolation prize of Platinum is about as desirable as the entire Marriott Rewards program. Hyatt lost legitimate business with their shortsightedness because people like me who earned mid-tier status not through credit cards but the old fashioned way will continue to ignore Hyatt. Sure, instant Diamond would have been great, but balance that with the limited number of Hyatt properties to choose from, consistently high rates when compared to similar hotels in the same locations, and negligible corporate discounts and those suite upgrades don’t seem so useful anymore.

  16. “What Was Hyatt Thinking With Their Diamond Status Match Offer?” — That’s exactly it. They gave very little thought to this Diamond status match offer. Someone in the boardroom decided that the Marriott acquisition of Starwood provided a great opportunity to attract SPG loyalists, so they simply dusted off and rolled out the old boneheaded Diamond Challenge that they’d pulled precisely because they belatedly figured out boneheaded. After shooting from the hip without asking thinking, they are now scrambling to limit the damage…

    @Lucky sez: “All of this is simply to say that it amazes me how often promotions like this happen. Hyatt Gold Passport is a great program and run by some brilliant people.”

    That statement is intrinsically contradictory. If it amazes how often [botched] promotions like these happen, then it is a clear non sequitur to conclude that “Gold Passport is a great program and run by some brilliant people”. I would instead submit to you that it is Hyatt, the hospitality company, that is a great company and run by some brilliant people… 😉

  17. Just as a datapoint, I heard back from Hyatt Concierge after 2 days (understandable; they must have been swamped). But they offered me Hyatt Plat against Marriott Plat – which doesn’t even come close. I’ll ask them to reconsider otherwise, let it go. Not worth it.

  18. Not a twitter user, but there are instances of people/dept who run the feeds posting things beyond what they’re meant to be doing either in error or exuberance in response to events. First-line employees fulfill as they think that’s what they’re meant to be doing due to department disconnect at these large companies. Also, displayed in these consolidations, Hyatt will get blowback, but loyalty members are ‘sticky’ customers and major events have to occur for them to move. What are Hyatt elite’s alternatives? Maybe they’ll throw some targeted sweeteners and still net out ahead after new member increases.

  19. I tweeted immediately but didn’t get a response until yesterday. They asked me to email my credentials, even though I’d sent them through Twitter. What’s a serious bummer is that I’m one stay (booked but it’s not for another few weeks) from HH diamond, but for now, I’m just a lowly gold. If they ever bother to get back to me, I assume I’ll get plat, but I really tweeted them right away after this went live. Bad planning!

  20. Smart marketing! After the match, I’ll definitely be favoring Hyatt over any other brand for the coming year! I just wish there were more Hyatt properties!

  21. Lucky,

    I fail to see how Hyatt is run by brilliant people. They have a track record of bad conception and terrible implementation. The terms are frequently unclear.

    How is a SPG Gold (Free or 10 stays/25 nights) or HHonors(Free or 20 stays/40 nights), both of which were matched to Diamond (25/50), better than Marriott Platinum (75!) which was matched to Hyatt Platinum (5/15)!!

    Even me, who has no experience of loyalty programs would actually make an open match/challenge offer whereby I would let the applications stream in for 2 weeks before processing any and *then* begin parsing them from top to bottom. The people who pay most, travel in urban centers and seem to not have their travel decisions made by someone else get picked first. The ‘holes’ in Hyatt’s cities of low occupancy get filled by people with travel heavy in those cities. Target SPG members especially.

    And fix the program in the first place, one of the biggest issues is Hyatt doesn’t have any real middle tier. Hyatt Platinum is worthless. There are no “benefits” that you cannot get as a base member. You only get a paltry increase in earning rate.

    Hyatt Platinum is literally worthless. Also a lot of SPG Platinums are going to be sorely disappointed with Hyatt’s program. SPG is a well fleshed out behemoth that is very powerful within Starwood. You have the Hot escapes program, Moments, fantastic customer service, customer grievance recourse channels, the best IT system of any program and crucially, unlimited suite upgrades as a requirement of the program (subject to availability of course)

    Hyatt has none of that. Once you are spoilt by the suite/sweet upgrades by SPG, getting put in a club room by Hyatt loses its charm. Not to mention the tiny footprint, expensive rates and lackluster decor (after staying 100 times, the plain and sterile looking Hyatts fail to make your jaw drop anymore). It’s nice and that’s about it.

    SPG hotels (especially the Ws, Regis, Lux Collection) consistently wow you. And I dare say I’ve been wowed by some non US newly built Meridiens, Grand Sheratons and Westins too (you’ve been to the one in AUH, it’s like a Park Hyatt). Check out the Grand Sheraton in Dubai next, it’s modern contemporary and yet sophisticated and rich looking without being sterile or plain like a Regency or Park Hyatt.

    I don’t know, being a top tier member across programs (SPG, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and Accor) I sort of always felt SPG>Hyatt~Hilton>Marriott>Accor. Hyatt has the (much) better confirmed benefits than Hilton but Hilton’s footprint is literally 10 times Hyatt’s and so if even 10% of their properties are worth going to and 50% of Hyatt’s are worth going to, that means Hilton has twice as many nice properties as Hyatt. That and Hyatt doesn’t cross the suite barrier as a function of their program (if you are booked close to or at the highest non-suite level, they don’t upgrade you further). While Hilton usually only does one level upgrades, they do cross the suite barrier (so if you book the highest non-suite, you have a very good chance at a suite, an SPG level chance). A comparable Hilton is also usually cheaper.

    Hyatt has a missing tier problem, and their top tier is not competitive for on property benefits with a chain that’s twice as big (SPG) and their earning and spend per free night rates are merely the same as rest of the industry. I simply don’t find it to have that many sweet spots as other programs and just be a jack of all trades (everyone else has differentiators: SPG suite upgrades, Marriott rollovers and events, Hilton Gold with breakfast etc)

  22. The bottom line is that not everyone in the loyalty industry has caught up to how widespread travel hacking has become, and how influential travel blogs are. They assumed a limited Twitter courtship would be manageable, and they didn’t expect hordes of SPG elites to find out.

    Now they’ve offered me Platinum and, instead of being delighted, I’m bummed. Dumb dumbs.

  23. Crazy offer, I tweeted and emailed very early in and heard last night I’d been upgraded to Diamond. Sent in proof of stays and status with IHG (Plat through chase cc – which I know will frustrate many bit thought you’d want as a data point).

  24. Just one more thing to add,

    There is a fairly large difference between Hilton Gold and Platinum, something that’s been glossed over frequently. Hilton’s differentiated layers are a strength since it allows them to gift a meaningful status to a lot of people and yet protect their true elites from competition.

    Gold gets you assured breakfast and some sort of late checkout, none of which are benefits where you compete with their Diamonds in any meaningful way.

    Diamond gets you priority in your upgrades and late check outs and allows the hotel to consider suite upgrades (Which aren’t on the table even for Gold’s), basically a hotel will upgrade a Diamond before a Gold.

    This tiered strategy is well thought out. Hyatt doesn’t have this. In fact Marriott Gold and Platinum have very little difference, you can ask the FoMs, they’ll tell you both are eligible for the same upgrades, so a Gold walking in before a Plat can steal a Plat’s upgrade. There are no rooms on offer for Plats that aren’t on the table for Golds.

    In that way Marriott and Hyatt’s programs are not as well thought through. Hilton actually has a strategy in place to minimize the army of Gold damage. SPG mid tier also brings meaningful benefits (50% boost in earning that fixes the abysmal earning at base level and a 4 pm checkout not available to base level members and upgrade potential that doesn’t compete with Platinums at all). Compare to this Hyatt boosts your earning at a laughable level for Platinum and gives the 2 PM late check out to anyone who asks (not competitive with SPG)

    Hyatt has work to do, it’s problems aren’t getting more members. It literally needs more hotels, better hotels (I don’t mean the hotels are bad but it’s missing boutiques, independents etc) and a better program that pulls away from Hilton more decisively.

    Right now its a throw up between Hilton and Hyatt for no.2 spot in terms of benefits for many things. They trade blows. You don’t want to trade blows with someone 10 times bigger than you, or 2wice as big as you for that matter (SPG)

  25. As someone who already had Hyatt Platinum — and doesn’t think it’s worth much — I sent my Hilton Gold info in on Friday but haven’t heard anything. I value Hilton Gold for the free breakfasts, particularly when traveling with family. I think Hyatt really dropped the ball on this — the disappointment factor for all those who didn’t get a status match is going to lose them business. If they added free breakfast to platinum, I wouldn’t be so annoyed, but as it is, it looks like Hyatt will now be able to claim a lot more mid-tier elites when negotiating for new hotels but most people who handed over their info will get little or nothing for it. Did Hyatt make a mistake or was this the intended result?

  26. I figured I would be the ideal candidate for them to offer the match. Hilton Diamond, Marriott Silver but after confirming email that they received it, still nothing… with all the data points fluctuating all over who is getting matched, I am losing faith in Hyatt being consistent. At least own up to the mistake and make whole all the people who requested it early. Hilton Golds by Credit cards are getting matched but I’m hung out to dry? I would surely have switched most if not all travel plans to Hyatt next year to keep my diamond status. Hyatt should step up and do the right thing.

  27. Great point. Kimpton Karma has the same challenge but is a much smaller program. Inner Circle is the only status level with meaningful benefits.

  28. As a current diamond member, I am extremely disappointed. I will be emailing Marriott and SPG to suggest that they take advantage of this dissatisfaction by us Hyatt diamond members and offer us status match. I will be encouraging others to do the same. You SPG plat’s, watch out, what goes around comes around.

  29. @Andy — SPG is not as rewarding as you make it out to be because it has the highest priced top-tier awards, by an order of magnitude, in the business. It is why starpoints’ claim to fame is their transferability to miles of many different airlines for booking award tickets than for booking award stays…

    As for Hyatt vs. HHonors, it is not even close, for the reasons you stated but erroneously put the two programs at about the same level or Hyatt slight ahead. Your own “analysis” disputes the validity of that conclusion…

  30. Ben,
    While you always state things extremely well for the most part I believe miss some
    key focal points with some potential ramifications here for Diamond members and hotels
    Matching folks to Diamond from low tiers is rarely good in the big picture unless qualified and likely to perform
    It is good for folks that do travel and have powerful brand experiences with Hyatt and its program where Hyatt can certainly stand to benefit.
    Historically when I was with another well known larger program we granted select Premium American Express card holders to top tier status the lions share did not demonstrate the repeat purchase behavior long term

    Most of these folks will burn up their suite upgrades where they want and disappear into the wood work in the short haul in the coming calendar year
    However in popular locations this is going to make it harder to some degree for the top tier membership base for the next year as Hotels and Hyatt have restricted the use of confirmable and even standard award rooms before they started tossing out top tier status to folks who were mid tier in other programs.

    From an operating side of running hotels when your breakfast gets limited to 15 dollars per person as a Diamond due to an overload of elites to reduce risk exposure to excessive costs at the property level
    We have seen some examples of this even if not a 15 dollar limit
    Quote
    “That’s ridiculous, because we’ve all benefitted from these programs at one point or another”
    With all due respect
    This is where Gary really Trumps you in his understanding of the business/financial part of the equation vs your fantastic passion and talent otherwise for writing
    Otherwise I see you as one of the better bloggers.I enjoy reading much of what you share

    Prior to this bungled elite status match I tried to confirm a suite (75 nights this year with Hyatt) and was told not available in the shoulder/off season. With Gold passport calling the hotel they were able to do it however I had to agree to a handicapped suite. I doubt with the new crop of Diamonds who deserve or don’t deserve this match this upgrade might have even happened.

    Running a solid program means making responsible choices. Current management has really done so for the most part
    Hyatt in this instance made a mistake early on and closed the loophole as they should.
    Those that got in with SPG Gold have something to celebrate about
    But I’m not so sure its a good thing in the short term
    We shall all see
    Have a Happy Holiday season and keep those posts coming!

  31. You’re so niave Ben. This is why you don’t have a real job and have to blog for a living. By status matching all the SPG gold customers and giving them free upgrades, you’ve almost guaranteed that you’ve taken customers away from SPG/Marriott. Hyatt then show these new customers how they’re better and try and steal these customers away. I’ve never used Hyatt before but I will just to use my free upgrade and give it a go. It’s not that expensive for them to give an upgrade away when there is a free room available so it actually makes plenty business sense

  32. @Sam – “You’re so niave Ben. This is why you don’t have a real job and have to blog for a living.” WOW!! WTF is a real job in your eyes? For all practical purposes Ben/Lucky is doing exactly what he loves to do; something many folks can’t truthfully say.

  33. @DCS

    SPG on property benefits, specifically the upgrade is untouchable. Starpoints are indeed super valuable as airline miles, there you go. Glad to see you finally understand their value. They are also super valuable for anything upto a Cat 4 and roughly twice as good than Hilton for premium rooms at these properties when the base rooms are all gone. An SPG Cat 4 is often on par with the best Hilton in town. Certainly the case in more than a dozen places I have been to.

    Hyatt vs Hilton, Hyatt has assured upgrade to best non-suite available and assured 4 pm checkout unless its a resort. Assured. 4 pm.

    Assured as in NOT at discretion and NOT according to availability like Hilton
    4 PM as in 2 hours later than when a Hilton Diamond statistically gets thrown out.

    Properties of both chains can exceed what the program states. Properties of virtually no chain consistently exceed what their respective programs state.

    End of story. Deal with it.
    I am never going to agree with you.
    No one else is either.

    Lucky will eventually be intrigued by my claim that Diamond and Gold are substantially different because what I say makes sense whereas everyone ignores groans and ignores your rant coz you invent facts and claim your queries haven’t been answered even when they have.

    BTW 0 C = 32 F, we get it, you say 0 C = 0 F coz for you 1 starpoint = 1 Hilton point when a starpoint is 2.4c and a HHonors point is 0.5c.

    You do HHonors a disservice by evangelizing it since it gives the impression only delusional people can come to the conclusion that HHonors is worth anything.

    The only misconception in the blogosphere is that HHonors Diamond and Gold are virtually the same. The points values, spend per free night and rest of the stuff the blogosphere has about right. They also have the lack of confirmed benefits about right.

  34. A couple comments/questions:

    1.) Lucky, did you tell us about the deal as soon as you knew? I tweeted credentials within minutes of your post on Thurs night, and I was too late. Only Plat. Not blaming you, but should I also be checking another blog for more “immediate” news when mistakes/deals come out? I don’t like TPG but on a great deal earlier he posted it the night before, which gave his readers a 12 hour head start. Not bashing, just wondering if I should add a blog/alert for ‘breaking’ news.

    2.) Humans have a strong feeling of fairness, and this just came across from almost every angle as not “fair.” People who didn’t get diamond because they didn’t tweet fast enough. People who paid lots of money for Diamond and saw it given away. Just in general, you want to buy into a fair a just system, and Hyatt from the outside seems too arbitrary.

  35. @Sam sez: “It’s not that expensive for them to give an upgrade away when there is a free room available so it actually makes plenty business sense.”

    That’s mindbogglingly silly. It is not expensive to give upgrades away if and only if there are free rooms available to give away. With just some 500-ish properties, many of which, like Hyatt Place, do not do suite upgrades, how do you suppose Hyatt will be able to give away free suite upgrades if they swell the ranks of their Diamonds beyond their limited capacity with boneheaded status matches like the one that they just scaled back? Inquiring minds wanna know…

  36. @Daniel – I messaged @HyattConcierge very soon after TPG’s post (the first one, not the followup posts that came later) and was still only offered Platinum. I’m not sure Hyatt inadvertently screwed up but rather shut the gates very quickly to anyone but SPG Platinums as soon as Hyatt got the publicity it wanted. I suppose some bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

  37. @Andy — You have a losing hand because there is no way you can possibly do the math correctly and reach a conclusion other than SPG awards, especially at their top-tier “aspirational” properties, are by far the highest priced in the hotel loyalty business. If you are going to compare the cost of awards across hotel loyalty programs, the best metric to use is to determine how much one needs to spend in a given program to earn a free night because such a metric includes both the costs in real money of earning enough points to afford an award and the costs of the awards themselves in points, which cannot be compared directly among the program because loyalty points are not created equal.

    Without exception, everyone who has done the math in which they have compared the “spend per free night” across hotel loyalty programs has reached the same conclusion: Starwood awards are by far the most expensive in the business. I do not have the time nor the desire to re-elaborate on this because I have done it ad nauseam in this space and in other travel blog comments section. What I will do, once for all, is to just provide you with synopses from those, including me, who have looked this rigorously and then provide you with the links [in the next post to avoid this one being held up in “moderation” for containing hyperlinks] for you to assess the rigor of the assumptions, methodology and math to make sure for yourself.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Exhibit #1: “How Much Does It Cost to Earn a Free Hotel Award Night?” [see: Link #1 in next post]

    First, the assumption/methodology:
    ___________________________
    “[The Revenue per Award Night] measure is incredibly important when valuing any award program, but especially a hotel loyalty program. A mile is not a mile, and a point is not a point, if different programs award more or less of them for the same size transaction. As a result, one can’t easily compare the award charts of two different programs and say that one is “more expensive” than another. Perhaps the program that requires twice as many points for a free night also hands out four times as many to begin with.”

    Then the Conclusion:
    _________________
    “…[we] can see what I’ve shown before, that Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott all have award charts that are similarly priced. The fact that Hilton may sometimes charge up to 95,000 points for an award night is compensated for [by] the fact that it can offer 15 points per dollar, while Hyatt offers only 5 points per dollar. Starwood, however, has some incredibly high-priced awards among its top tiers….”
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    Exhibit #2: “Marriott Rewards Found to Offer Best Reward Payback Among Leading Global Hotel Loyalty Programs” [see Link #2 in next post]

    First, the assumption/methodology:
    ___________________________
    “All points are not created equal
    Dividing the room price (including local taxes) by the number of points per query provides a simple valuation of the point currency used by individual programs (see below table). Think of it as the room night value that can be purchased with a reward point. However, points are naturally unequal in value because of differing rates of accrual. For example, Hilton HHonors usual accrual rate is 15 HHonors Points per dollar spent at a hotel, while Sheraton SPG provides 2 Starpoints per dollar spent a hotel. Knowing the value of reward points is helpful for members who wish to assess the value of their account balances.
    However, point values don’t allow consumers to compare hotel reward benefits across different loyalty programs. For this purpose, IdeaWorksCompany offers “reward payback” as a simple benchmark to measure how these programs deliver their primary benefit to everyday travelers. Think of this as the reward value returned for hotel expenditures.”

    Then the Conclusion:
    ________________
    “Reward Payback for Hotel Loyalty Programs
    Reward value returned for every dollar spent on hotel rates (in %)

    Marriott Rewards: 9.4%
    Hilton HHonors: 8.9%
    IHG: 8.6%
    SPG: 6.1%

    [Note: SPG’s low return on the dollar compared to the rest]
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Exhibit #3: My own modeling [see Link #3 in next post; you’ll love my glossy charts!]

    First, the assumption/methodology:
    ____________________________
    Same as that used in the preceding two exhibits.

    Then the Conclusion:
    ________________
    The chart above compares the “spend per free night” for the major hotel loyalty programs, with and without the bonus points earned from the co-branded credit cards. The benchmark in the chart is the number of points required to afford one night at each program’s highest redemption rate for a standard room.

    To be able to afford a single night at a very top SPG property, not taking into the CC bonus points, a top SPG elite would need to spend almost as much as it requires to qualify for HHonors Diamond on spend ($12K)! Hyatt GP, HHonors and Marriott Rewards are virtually identical sans CC bonus points (blue bars); but HHonors edges the other two programs when the CC bonus points (red bars) are included. By far the best (least expensive) program in terms of “spend per free night” is Club Carlson, followed by IHG, and then (in that order but very close) by HHonors, Hyatt GP and Marriott Rewards, and lastly, all by themselves, SPG.
    SPG, for standing out alone as the most expensive frequent-guest program, you’ve earned “congratulations!”…or somethin’.”

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Exhibit #4: @ Gary Leff did similar modeling and found essentially what all three modelers above found, except that being a Starwood loyalist, he chose to understate the obvious conclusion from his own modeling: SPG awards are the highest priced in the business. Search his site as his presented the material a number of times.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    @Lucky may have done his own modeling but I have not seen it. However, unless he is a lot smarter than those who have done it, he must have reached or will reach the same conclusion.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Q.E.D.

    Anyone who is tempted to argue the purportedly high “value” the SPG and starpoints needs to come to this comment — which is a “keeper” — to get the unblemished truth and facts: SPG is the most expensive and, hence, least rewarding hotel loyalty program in the business. Unless you believe in “Reverse Darwinism” or “Survival of the Weakest” or in the “Lazarus Act”, you should probably stop touting a company/program [SPG] that’s gone belly up and will be no more because it was structurally weak.

    G’day!

  38. Ben,

    Maybe a follow up post regarding how and why the Marriott CEO is shooting blanks when he says devaluing a program and reducing benefits isn’t the way to go.

    Here is why he cannot make such a claim:

    A hotel chain’s customers aren’t the guests. Just follow the money. Everyone realises Google’s customers aren’t its users but the advertisers yet people don’t realise the same about the chains. Marriott’s (and Hyatt’s/Starwood’s) customers are the owners. The owners pay the hotels (their management fees). The bulk of the money we pay for our rooms goes first to the owner not the chain (and then a portion is given out to the managing chain). They take a cut when we make a reservation through their portal, that’s what they mean by participating in the distribution and marketing partnership. They then get an annual management fees and other incentives. We are customers of the owner and the owner has hired the chain as it’s employees to interface with us. Like any owner, he can fire and switch employees.

    When you understand that, everything that is wrong with the industry (from a guest perspective) starts to make sense.

    Marriott cannot suddenly start offering breakfast at resorts and Courtyards because that’s not what those properties agreed to or signed up for. Marriott can’t pull a bait and switch (on the owners) or else they’ll all reflag.
    What do I care as a Courtyard owner that Marriott acquired Starwood, you just added more competition for me within the system (The worst kind of competition is the one from within) and now you want me to feed the elites too on top of that?
    As a hotel owner I compete more directly with hotels of the same chain/brand in the same area than another competing chain because we are in direct competition for the same pool of elites loyal to our chain. Two Sheratons nearby are going to be sworn rivals, A Sheraton and a Regis have room to co-exist. A Sheraton and Hyatt Regency can be cordial. A Sheraton and a Park Hyatt can even be friends (Different chain *and* positioning)

    This is also why hotel brands keep proliferating. What is the difference between a Le Meridien, Royal Meridien (a fancy Meridien), a Sheraton, Grand Sheraton (Fancy Sheration) and a Westin (isn’t this supposed to be the fancy Sheraton/Meridien). It is because as a chain, I sell these brands to my customers (owners). If there are 12 Sheratons in my city, the last thing I as an owner want to do is open another Sheraton, so I might approach Marriott or Hilton or Hyatt. Offering a Meridien means I might consider Starwood despite the 12 Sheratons.

    This is also why old past-their-prime hotels rarely get reflagged within the same chain (downgraded). Reflags almost always switch chains. A chain will never kick an owner out, it is always the other way around. Managing a hotel, no matter how bad, still brings in money for the chain. If a chain asked an owner to downgrade the brand to reflect the condition, the owner would just switch chains and reflag. You can’t pull bait and switch on owners and you cannot change the contracts drawn up when you first agreed to manage the hotel. Even when this contract expires, if it is not to the owners liking, he can always dump you.

    The power is with the owners, not the chain. So the CEOs of all hotel chains/loyalty programs are at the mercy of the owners of their constituent properties. This is why the CEO of a chain stating an “intention” means nothing. The owners are not going to follow the piper down the cliff.

  39. @Chancer, thanks for the insight. I don’t know how the timing was on OMAAT vs. TPG for this particular deal, but it does make me feel better in a schaudenfreud way that others who acted quickly also did not get diamond 😉 A little comforting.

  40. I got matched to Diamond through 2017. My only hotel status is IHG Platinum, which I have because I hold the IHG credit card.

    I’m shocked quite frankly. They were handing diamond status out like candy.

  41. @DCS – Do yourself a favor and either shorten your replies or start your own travel blog (which no one will read if it contains the same long-winded writng.) You have some valid points, but hiding them in a reply that’s longer than even Lucky’s post and refers to several “exhibits” just guarantees only one or two people will pay attention to what you’re saying. Seriously, no one wants to read anything that says “Exhibit #1” unless it’s a legal document and they have no choice because they’re being sued.

  42. The first notice I picked up on the offer was at around 10PM EST (2200) on 19 November via a TPG writer (Richard, not Brian). The earliest notice I see on OMAAT is date lined 20 November with the first comment coming in at 12:51AM.

  43. @chancer — Point well taken. However, I wanted to drive the point in that post once for all, with “exhibits” so that it won’t be an endless I-said/you-said polemic. To prevail, a “challenger” would have to discredit a number of highly consistent exhibits…

  44. Except I never claimed SPG top tier awards make any sense. In fact I stated the exact opposite (That they are overpriced) more than once.

    You rely purely on strawmen. You even now post evidence from Gary who is one of your prime targets that shows Gary too illustrated to his readers how SPG awards at the top end are overpriced. So Gary isn’t really the shill you make him out to be. Laying bare your hypocrisy.

    All of your “claims” are really facts well known and acknowledged by most. Definitely the value in SPG isn’t at the high end, so lets take a more detailed look at the very (well known) analyses you posted (of others you criticize). Looks like they show SPG mid range is a real winner. They show SPG weekend low end redemptions are very competitive too.

    Now realise that when you say high end, doesn’t mean the same thing across programs, neither does low end. An SPG low end is an Aloft or Four points, which if you are in Dubai SZR for instance, has a lounge with free alcohol. Free breakfast, free airport transfers and is located in downtown. It has suites.

    Your shifting of goal posts is fooling no one. An SPG low end property is frequently a 4 star which is a mid-high Hilton or Marriott on par with a Garden Inn, Courtyard or DoubleTree. An SPG cat 4 Le Meridien can be on par with the best Hilton option in town. The highest end where SPG is not at all competitive is for less than a handful of all-villa/suite properties because you pay double penalty of redeeming for high tier and suite. As soon as you consider “basic” highest tier base rooms, SPG comes out only a third more expensive than 2-3 times more expensive (this is no defence of them, its just the result of a closer examination).

    People have stopped replying to you not because they saw the error of their ways but because they became convinced of your less than well meaning intentions. At first you seem like you’re just not smart enough to have truly understood the facts, then it dawns that you are intentionally doing this.

    No matter how many times your concerns are directly addressed, you will claim they haven’t been. No matter how many times I myself stress SPG high end redemptions are a weak point you will always come back to shift the goalposts by making it seem people defend SPG redemptions across the board. All your rebuttals are rebuttals to strawmen arguments. Which figures because a strawman is all you can win against.

    You’ve been dissected down to the bone several times by people on this very forum and what’s left of the carcass of your arguments doesn’t intrigue anyone anymore.

  45. @Andy — The relative costs of awards scale up and down the award charts. Hilton still offers the best value at the low end. Follow the links when and if they are released from “moderation”.

    Until you review the evidence provided , you do not have much to stand on…

  46. I responded to this same day it came out. Just got a response back today offering plat status in exchange for my marriott gold status. Being that I already have the hyatt credit card with plat status and that I find marriott gold much more valuable I found this disappointing. I also have spg & hilton gold status. The end result I will not be shifting my stay patterns based on this promo where if they had given me diamond I would have shifted all stays to hyatt.

  47. Hyatt wasn’t thinking. Now they have a bunch of disappointed customers that felt like their time was wasted.
    Extremely poor communication by a “service” oriented company.

  48. The evidence you have provided is neither new nor unique. It has been reviewed several times over by people on the various forums and blogs. The exact quotes already leave a trail to their source articles without the links.

    Let me state this in terms a 2nd grader can understand, so you might have a chance at understanding them if you really try.

    1) No one claims SPG redemptions are best across the board.
    2) No one claims SPG redemptions are best especially at the high end
    3) No one claims SPG redemptions are even competitive or near the industry average at the highest end
    4) You have been pretending for years now that people claim this, yet year after year no one does.
    5) So not only do you lack comprehension of terms like ‘hotel’s discretion’, ‘availability’ and ‘confirmed’ and not only can you not do basic conversions, but you also sir, are a flat out liar each time you misrepresent everything everyone says and take pot shots at the bloggers.

    So now what have people orders of magnitudes wiser than you uncovered by more thorough analysis?

    That SPG has certain sweet spots which they use to appeal to a focused group and make them the no brainer in some situations. If they attempted to appeal to everyone like Hyatt in terms of earning and burning they would lose to Hilton and Marriott because if you match them in spend per free night, they’ll kill you with their footprint at which you can spend and then redeem free night.

    So SPG has the best on property benefits that you cannot comprehend. Their miles are 1:1 transferable to most airlines which gives them high value both for the value relative to miles and the flexibility.

    No SPG base earning is pretty pathetic, no secret. SPG is all about the elites. What is obvious from the Math is while Hilton’s top elite earn 33% more than their base members and Hyatt’s earn 30% more than base members. SPG’s top elites earn 100% more than their base members! Something that not a lot of analyses don’t account for. So SPG isn’t a good program for casual travelers because you wouldn’t get the great on property benefits and you’d be stuck with the worst spend per free night, its however a fantastic program for elites and super elites because the boost in earning is incredible and changes everything by a factor of two.

    Then add in the credit card.
    Then add in the fact that SPG spend per free night fluctuates more wildly than other chains across the various redemption categories.
    Then factor in the fact that SPG is skewed towards high end, so it’s Cat 1 is NOT a Hilton Cat 1 and its Cat 4 or 5 is often the best hotel of a larger chain in the same city at the same price. So there is a conversion factor here which would go above your head since you’ve demonstrated an inability to convert anything.

    So just by being SPG elite, all the analyses gets modified by a factor of greater than 1.5 in favour of SPG. T

    But here is where the bombshell really drops and no one comes close to SPG:

    You want to redeem when rates are high (convention season or some event in the city or a holiday) for an SPG mid level (Cat 4) which is in downtown and on par with others high end (Except Hyatt) and since its crunch time, all the base rooms availability is terrible. You’re now looking at premium club rooms etc.

    Hilton straightaway doubles the redemption costs including for elites
    SPG elites are already getting it at twice better value than base members for everything in their system but for premium rooms the premiums are usually paltry low double digit % (10-15), again for everyone in their system. The deal became nearly 4 times as sweet. And SPG never was 4 times worse at their mid level.

    But let’s not talk about that, let’s never educate the newbies in this crucial fact. Let’s sweep this under the rug because it lays bare the lack of value in Hilton redemptions when you ‘need’ them most (as opposed to ‘want’ them most at resorts) and also lays bare your selective cherry picking.

    Need an example?

    Let’s take Sydney.
    Sheraton and Hilton are both very close to each other, both in downtown.
    This week is a very full week in Australia. Sheraton rates sometimes cross 1000, Hilton’s 600ish (they’re both comparable grade of hotel)

    Let’s look at redemptions though:
    Sheraton is a Cat 5, going for 12000 for base rooms, but base rooms are rarely available this week, ok let’s move to premium rooms. You pay 1000-2000 points extra max and get premium Hyde Park view rooms etc.

    Total cost 14000 + 1000 DCS penalty for no good reason = 15000 points which is 15000*0.024 = 360 USD

    Hilton points redemptions? 190K from today to 27th for King Hilton Deluxe room! Though when I click through it switches to 200-208K (hmm). Calculating that in USD, 200*0.005 = 1000 USD!

    One chain did have a 3 times premium over the other. Just roles reversed. This might surprise a lot of blog readers but evaluate it in your own cities for non-base rooms and its consistently the same result.
    All bloggers have covered this phenomenon (Lucky has too)

    Hyatt too is very good with premium room rewards, Hilton is the stark outlier. So let’s all move on…

  49. How come none of the bloggers, that has some type of offline relationship and knowledgeable, reached out to Jeff Zidell through Twitter? He has been silent on this issue.

  50. DCS you are a champion of your own mind…keep telling yourself SPG is at the bottom, we’ll all keep laughing at you.

    Not surprised that you’re in academia by the way…clearly you’re lacking a connection to the business world & how things really work.

  51. FYI, I sent an email on Thursday evening asking what documentation I needed to get the Diamond tier match, a reply came today saying that I will get the match by emailing them a comparable competitor tier with a stay with Hilton VIP or Diamond VIP, Marriott Gold or Platinum, Priority Club Platinum, or Starwood Platinum. I emailed a screenshot of my tier and stay early Friday morning but have not heard back yet. So maybe Hyatt is honoring the late Thursday/early Friday requests but just getting back to us now?

  52. @Andy — Anyone who cannot tell the difference between standard awards, which are in each program’s published award charts, and premium awards, which can be be anything, is hopelessly clueless. Must we continue with this charade until you’re beaten to a pulp? I said my piece already. The evidence is clear if you bother with it or even understand it…

    @UA-NYC — If you knew anything about academia, you’d also know that what is known about “the business world & how things really work” originates there… really 😉

  53. I think the Diamond challenged changed I was offer PLT and I’m PLT with SPG, they might have hit the limit.. I wrote back and told them that it wasn’t good enough and that a friend was Gold with SPG and was offered Diamond, and here I am PLT 150 and only being offered PLT…

  54. How come they didn’t learn with the Chase Hyatt Card Diamond offer fiasco? They had to pull that after a couple days when people went crazy on it. … and that was targeted!

  55. “How come they didn’t learn with the Chase Hyatt Card Diamond offer fiasco?” That’s just more evidence against the claim that “Hyatt Gold Passport is a great program and run by some brilliant people. ” There simply is no evidence to support that claim, as these types of programmatic mishaps, along with all the surrounding confusion and lack of clarity, happen almost every time HGP tries something different or new or whatever…

  56. I’m SPG Gold, Hilton Gold, IHG Platinum & requested a “challenge” from Hyaty, not a match. What did they offer me? Hyatt Platinum, no challenge to Diamond. So guess what? I’m not interested. I would have definitely switched over all my stays to Hyatt if I got a challenge. Now I’m not going to bother. Hyatt would have been MUCH smarter if they had offered challenges, not outright matches as they did.

  57. i can understand hyatt granting diamond to spg platinums.
    however, notion of giving away diamond to elite tiers that can be obtained by having a co branded credit card is absolutely mind boggling. ihg platinum/spire, hilton gold and spg gold can be obtained this way.
    this is a slap in the face to real diamonds.
    on many occasions this year, i paid $20 to 30 extra to stay with hyatt, not to mention all those extra driving miles i put on.

    i am really pissed by this fiasco. i hope spg targets hyatt diamonds in the same manner. then, i will be jumping the ship.

  58. Well, saw this just now and thought I would give it a go. Good timing as I had decided not to make an effort to keep my SPG status next year (really unhappy about losing my favourite program but not going to worry about something I can’t change).

    Quick DM to Hyatt got me a Diamond match in 3 minutes, so I guess it is still active provided you are an SPG Plat.

  59. @DCS

    The evidence *is* clear. I did not make it out to be anything it is not. Who exactly is confused about the charts here? I stated what I’m evaluating pretty clearly. Only those with a comprehension issue (you) can misconstrue it. I stated a narrow well defined case where SPG beats the pants off of Hilton, proved it with facts and figures and as usual since you are entirely full of it and never have anything ‘real’ to back yourself up you come in and shift the goal posts and create strawmen. I’m gonna call out your BS as usual. Who can’t tell the difference between standard and premium awards?

    I can, I stated clearly up there what I was looking at
    Bloggers can, Lucky has done several pieces on it
    Other can, they are not delusional about SPG and Hilton
    Leaves you, always its just you…

    No Premium awards cannot be “anything”, that is typical Hilton BS. Starwood and Hyatt define what a premium award is ahead of time and do not exceed that range. They have defined ranges for premium awards as well as for suites.

    You couldn’t argue with the numbers there so you bring this totally left field assertion about someone not being able to tell the difference between award types. Still wondering who this is? Since I stated clearly what award types I was looking at. I don’t once remember saying SPG standard awards are going to beat Hilton’s at high end yet you always want to compare them across the board precisely because that is the scenario where Hilton prevails…..which everyone knows…..for years.

    You’re delusional if you think you’re beating anyone at anything. You look more and more like a person who is special every time you speak.

    Everything you say is either entirely wrong and has been pointed out to you several times and the only things you say that are right are not proving anyone wrong since everybody already knew them.

  60. @DCS

    I re-read your reply and realised I gave you too much credit. You are pretty much saying I’ve confused standard and premium award types.

    So you literally read a post about the difference between Premium and Standard award types and how the value equation is different between the two and came away with the conclusion that the writer who is drawing attention to the difference, does not infact even realise there is a difference.

    Wow. Just let that sink in for a little bit.

    This is consistent with you lack of comprehension with just about anything really. Will add this to your hall of fame along with your other great achievements like no understanding of what 4 PM is, what ‘availability’, ‘confirmed’ and ‘discretion’ mean in a hotel’s context and of course inability to do conversions.

    Still willing to trade any Hyatt/SPG point you might have for HHonors points any day in any amount 1:1.
    Still willing to trade Yen, Rupiah, Rupee and any currency weaker than another (but which people have more of) with a stronger one 1:1 with you as well (since you like to take earning side into equation and then pretend they’re equal value at the same amount despite having initially earned different amounts of them to ensure they’re the same value to begin with!)

  61. @ steven k – The real slap in the face was to those who earned mid-tier status through stays, and may not be far from top tier status as well, but got lumped in with everyone who has gold through co-branded credit cards and are also relegated to useless Hyatt platinum. Really, even after Hyatt backtracked on their Twitter offer, their so-called “real” diamonds are still upset? It’s status at a chain hotel, not membership at the Bel-Air country club. If, as you say, you’re paying higher rates and going out of your way just to stay at a Hyatt, what’s so great about the Gold Passport program? You just confirmed what people who aren’t Hyatt enthusiasts already know, that the chain’s inflated rates and lack of properties makes being loyal to Hyatt, suite upgrades or not, very difficult.

  62. chancer, you are right when you said “You just confirmed what people who aren’t Hyatt enthusiasts already know, that the chain’s inflated rates and lack of properties makes being loyal to Hyatt, suite upgrades or not, very difficult.”

    that’s why this betrayal is even more painful.

  63. @Andy — Wow, you are truly something else! I feel like I stirred up a hornet’s nest… You are going on and on and on about something that’s largely irrelevant now that SPG has gone belly up. Got OCD, man? SPG will be no more and if you have more gray matter than your posts have suggested so far, you would be getting rid of starpoints as fast as you can and not offering to trade them!…

    “Still willing to trade any Hyatt/SPG point you might have for HHonors points any day in any amount 1:1”

    You have gone on and on about that trade believing that starpoints are so “valuable”, it would be stupid for anyone to agree to it, thus showing how smart you are. What it achieves is the opposite because you still do not grasp the notion that loyalty points are not created equal and a 1:1 HH:SPG trade is ridiculously stupid. More to the point is that I have not bothered stocking up on starpoints because I and others did the math and there is a very long post up-thread that provides the results: starpoints are simply not as “valuable” as travel bloggers have clearly made you believe. Those same bloggers you have been listening to would also have you believe that Hyatt GP is the “best loyalty program in the business”. However, this very thread raises serious doubt about that claim, showing HGP a work-in-progress that’s not be ready for prime time.

    SPG is gone. Get used to it.

  64. @ DCS “how do you suppose Hyatt will be able to give away free suite upgrades if they swell the ranks of their Diamonds beyond their limited capacity”

    Well if they don’t have capacity then they don’t give the upgrade. It doesn’t take a genius to work that out. I still steals business from SPG/Marriot. And if Hyatt don’t have capacity for all the upgrades they’ve given out, then it just means that some of these upgrades people have been given will just go to waste. It still gets customers looking at Hyatt hotels more anyway.

  65. Ben,

    I am a bit late to this and haven’t read through all the comments yet. So someone may have already responded the way I am. But I think this was good business for Hyatt – as long as they can keep their existing members happy. Here’s why.

    I travel for business enough to get SPG Gold. I haven’t stayed at a Hyatt hotel since 2006. But I showed Hyatt my recent stay list for Starwood and asked for Diamond. They gave it to me, including 4 suite nights for 2015 and 4 for 2016. So what I am going to do clearly is stay at a lot of Hyatts this year and next year. That’s incremental revenue that they are getting that they would not have. And this is exactly why they have done this match.

    I’m not sure if I’m unique in having no Hyatt stays since 2006 and a lot of Starwood stays. But the bottom line is that people like me are now going to use Hyatt hotels where previously we would not have. And if I like the experiences I have there, I will continue to use them into the future.

    Hyatt has won new business.

    I understand some Hyatt loyalists are miffed because they had to earn their status the hard way by staying many nights in a hotel. But so did the people getting Diamond matches – just at a different chain. If we don’t meet the grade in 2016, we will fall off the list. But we may still add incremental revenue to Hyatt’s bottom line afterwards, even still.

    Marriott and Starwood need to consummate this deal quickly and they need to make sure there are no program devaluations or people like me will switch permanently.

  66. Clearly Hyatt had good intentions going into this and very obvious it has backfired dramatically at them.
    I got also SPG gold to Hyatt platinum.
    And honestly I think I am not the only one to feel, “meh, doesn’t make me wanna go out and stay with them, platinum don’t give enough leverage for my loyalty”
    I have another stay in Hong Kong coming up, and was seriously considering changing to Hyatt has they offered the diamond match. But platinum gives nothing, so don’t want the trouble of switching. 2050 HKD for Hyatt regency vs 1840 HKD for sheraton twin towers Hong Kong.
    And get higher rate of starpoints from the campaigns from SPG, I think I’ll look forward to the SPG/Marriott merger, even though Marriott’s program is incredibly a “meh”.
    Might as well get the status match to “platinum” than nothing. And I bet Hilton or IHG might roll out the same thing as well. Let’s stay keen

  67. @DCS

    Good. You’ve descended from obfuscation and obtuse arguments to outright misrepresentation and lying. Thankfully the internet has an archive of your prior statements.

    All of us know points of various hotels are a different value, as usual you bring nothing to the table. However you are the one who is on record as saying Hilton points are worth 0.5c only in the Hilton system but they’re 2.4c as starpoints. Groan. Passable argument give your zealotry that you might be comparing 5 or 6 Hilton points vs 1 (Earning side accounted for, since you get so many more hilton points)

    But when people freaked out over their SPG points being converted 1:1 to Marriott points and you again chimed in with your lack of conversion wisdom, that’s when you truly lost the plot. Your lack of understanding was always going to come into play when earning side was not a factor, when people are comparing same numeric values of different units. Like a 50,000 Marriott points bonus vs 50,000 SPG bonus. It came into play spectacularly then and I decided I could take no more of your mindless drivel.

    “What it achieves is the opposite because you still do not grasp the notion that loyalty points are not created equal and a 1:1 HH:SPG trade is ridiculously stupid”

    Literally. Everyone. Grasps. That. Except. You. When. You. Conveniently. Choose. Not. To.

    Hence the offer is made to you, you are the only one repeatedly demonstrating the stupidity required to accept it.

    “Got OCD, man? ”

    Shoe on the other foot?
    You’ve been at it for several years. I started yesterday (literally)

    “because I and others did the math”

    Oh dear. Let me make it clear to you in case it wasn’t already crystal. No one is hitching their wagon with you. Everyone thinks you’re an idiot. Any posts that seemingly agree with you (like Lucky’s yday) are ironic/sarcastic. You clearly might suffer from social and interaction disorders so perhaps this was no obvious to you. The only time your conclusions have matched someone else’s is when they arrived at them first and you nevertheless portrayed them as saying the opposite of what they actually were. Like how literally every blogger has covered SPG’s expensive redemptions for high end and bad spend per free night number (same conclusion as you) yet till today you parrot the falsehood that there is a blogger conspiracy.

    The deeper conclusion of SPG’s redemption suite spots, you will keep ignoring because that’s a fight you cannot win.

    I’m going to post as SCD now that I see there are other Andys on here and I don’t want to load your limited mental faculties any further

  68. For the uninitiated, DCS has had this argument several times with other posters before, I’m going to leave this gem of a quote from him here:

    “Remember: @ 0.4 cent each, HHonors points are worth 0.4 * 6 = 2.4 cents in terms of starpoints.”

    Juxtapose with what he said in his last post above here.

  69. andy, i agree with you that spg is a better overall loyalty program than hhonors. but putting aside dcs’s delusion on hilton suite upgrades, he does make a valid point; that is hhonors offers better spend to award ratio.

  70. Stevenk,

    Steve, the reason I decided to finally take him on is because I could identify all his techniques as deceptive from my time debating. Classic misdirection and I’m afraid he’s got you too.

    I agree, Hilton has better spend to award ratio. However, this represents no change in my position because he’s hoodwinked you into thinking that it’s his point. That has been the blogger consensus all along. He changed/challenged nothing. Every blogger has posted about it. Everyone knows SPG has terrible spend per free night ratio. Every chart suggests it. There is no blogger conspiracy.

    However his delusions like suite upgrades and late check outs also cause him to consider any SPG redemption as worse value in all cases. I merely agreed that the vanilla earning rate and vanilla redemption rate creates a chart which is very unfavourable to SPG. Once you dissect the details, you see SPG has a number of sweet spots.

    SPG elites earn 2 times the base rate, other elites have modifiers closer to 30%. That changes things. SPG premium room awards (when base room awards are no longer available because of high occupancy, which would lead to elevated rates, which would need you to redeem in the first place) are roughly 1-2000 points premium over base rooms. So a cat 5 is like 14000 and a Cat 4 11000

    Hilton’s change? 200% base room price! Woah. This changes things again. So take the factor of 2 from the earning side for SPG elites and compare to Hilton’s negative factor of 2 for redemption side for premium rooms and you’ve found yourself an SPG sweet spot. SPG is all about elites (a strength and a weakness of the program) but in tonnes of cases this has saved my bacon when it came time to redeem. DCS isn’t top tier across the programs he speaks about. I am, for over half a decade. I routinely bank on SPG redemptions during convention time because they are better value. Similarly SPG cat 1 and 2 weekend redemptions also offer superior value (since they’re usually 4 stars and more comparable to Hilton mid range). When bloggers compare low end, they select a chain’s low end. For SPG, that’s often a 4 star Aloft or 4P in a city, for Hilton that could be a 2 star Hampton. Not comparable. Compare it to a 4 star Doubletree or Garden Inn and the value starts disappearing fast.

    So in a way, the conspiracy is against SPG! Similarly the high end which is ridiculously priced for SPG redemptions is in fact not that bad. It is still the worst in the industry but not as much as the casual analysis makes it seem coz those are only all villa/all suite properties. The highest category (7) has a redemption cost of 30,000-35,000. Which is like 25%-36% in terms of cash value (multiplying by 1.8c for Hyatt and 2.4c for SPG) more than Hyatt which is famous for being exactly industry average. So still worse, but not 200-300% worse as indicated by charts since that “high end” applies to half a dozen outlier properties (Al Maha, W Maldives etc) where you pay an admittedly stupid double penalty of them being Cat7s and of redeeming for suites.

    Hyatt doesn’t do this. Hyatt allows suite redemptions at points corresponding to ADR which already accounts for the room type (no double penalty).

  71. Stevenk,

    Steve, the reason I decided to finally take him on is because I could identify all his techniques as deceptive from my time debating. Classic misdirection and I’m afraid he’s got you too.

    I agree, Hilton has better spend to award ratio. However, this represents no change in my position because he’s hoodwinked you into thinking that it’s his point. That has been the blogger consensus all along. He changed/challenged nothing. Every blogger has posted about it. Everyone knows SPG has terrible spend per free night ratio. Every chart suggests it. There is no blogger conspiracy.

    However his delusions like suite upgrades and late check outs also cause him to consider any SPG redemption as worse value in all cases. I merely agreed that the vanilla earning rate and vanilla redemption rate creates a chart which is very unfavourable to SPG. Once you dissect the details, you see SPG has a number of sweet spots.

    SPG elites earn 2 times the base rate, other elites have modifiers closer to 30%. That changes things. SPG premium room awards (when base room awards are no longer available because of high occupancy, which would lead to elevated rates, which would need you to redeem in the first place) are roughly 1-2000 points premium over base rooms. So a cat 5 is like 14000 and a Cat 4 11000

    Hilton’s change? 200% base room price! Woah. This changes things again. So take the factor of 2 from the earning side for SPG elites and compare to Hilton’s negative factor of 2 for redemption side for premium rooms and you’ve found yourself an SPG sweet spot. SPG is all about elites (a strength and a weakness of the program) but in tonnes of cases this has saved my bacon when it came time to redeem. DCS isn’t top tier across the programs he speaks about. I am, for over half a decade. I routinely bank on SPG redemptions during convention time because they are better value. Similarly SPG cat 1 and 2 weekend redemptions also offer superior value (since they’re usually 4 stars and more comparable to Hilton mid range). When bloggers compare low end, they select a chain’s low end. For SPG, that’s often a 4 star Aloft or 4P in a city, for Hilton that could be a 2 star Hampton. Not comparable. Compare it to a 4 star Doubletree or Garden Inn and the value starts disappearing fast.

    So in a way, the conspiracy is against SPG! Similarly the high end which is ridiculously priced for SPG redemptions is in fact not that bad. It is still the worst in the industry but not as much as the casual analysis makes it seem coz those are only all villa/all suite properties. The highest category (7) has a redemption cost of 30,000-35,000. Which is like 25%-36% in terms of cash value (multiplying by 1.8c for Hyatt and 2.4c for SPG) more than Hyatt which is famous for being exactly industry average. So still worse, but not 200-300% worse as indicated by charts since that “high end” applies to half a dozen outlier properties (Al Maha, W Maldives etc) where you pay an admittedly stupid double penalty of them being Cat7s and of redeeming for suites.

    Hyatt doesn’t do this. Hyatt allows suite redemptions at points corresponding to ADR which already accounts for the room type (no double penalty).

    In conclusion, follow his words and posts closely. I have been, for 3 years. He has never made a valid point that wasn’t already made by others before him.

    I actually hold top tier status in SPG, Hyatt and Hilton and value different things about them as best in different areas (I’ve spoken in favour of HHonors over the other 2 in this very thread before DCS chimed in)

  72. Stevenk,

    Looks like comments have been suspended for this thread so not sure if this will be posted. I’ve crunched the numbers for you in the other thread you asked me this. It is largely true but does not cover all scenarios, there are places and cases where SPG is better. Happy to crunch the numbers again in a different thread maybe.

  73. And just like that, comments are up again!

    This was my comment:

    “Stevenk,

    Steve, the reason I decided to finally take him on is because I could identify all his techniques as deceptive from my time debating. Classic misdirection and I’m afraid he’s got you too.

    I agree, Hilton has better spend to award ratio. However, this represents no change in my position because he’s hoodwinked you into thinking that it’s his point. That has been the blogger consensus all along. He changed/challenged nothing. Every blogger has posted about it. Everyone knows SPG has terrible spend per free night ratio. Every chart suggests it. There is no blogger conspiracy.

    However his delusions like suite upgrades and late check outs also cause him to consider any SPG redemption as worse value in all cases. I merely agreed that the vanilla earning rate and vanilla redemption rate creates a chart which is very unfavourable to SPG. Once you dissect the details, you see SPG has a number of sweet spots.

    SPG elites earn 2 times the base rate, other elites have modifiers closer to 30%. That changes things. SPG premium room awards (when base room awards are no longer available because of high occupancy, which would lead to elevated rates, which would need you to redeem in the first place) are roughly 1-2000 points premium over base rooms. So a cat 5 is like 14000 and a Cat 4 11000

    Hilton’s change? 200% base room price! Woah. This changes things again. So take the factor of 2 from the earning side for SPG elites and compare to Hilton’s negative factor of 2 for redemption side for premium rooms and you’ve found yourself an SPG sweet spot. SPG is all about elites (a strength and a weakness of the program) but in tonnes of cases this has saved my bacon when it came time to redeem. DCS isn’t top tier across the programs he speaks about. I am, for over half a decade. I routinely bank on SPG redemptions during convention time because they are better value. Similarly SPG cat 1 and 2 weekend redemptions also offer superior value (since they’re usually 4 stars and more comparable to Hilton mid range). When bloggers compare low end, they select a chain’s low end. For SPG, that’s often a 4 star Aloft or 4P in a city, for Hilton that could be a 2 star Hampton. Not comparable. Compare it to a 4 star Doubletree or Garden Inn and the value starts disappearing fast.

    So in a way, the conspiracy is against SPG! Similarly the high end which is ridiculously priced for SPG redemptions is in fact not that bad. It is still the worst in the industry but not as much as the casual analysis makes it seem coz those are only all villa/all suite properties. The highest category (7) has a redemption cost of 30,000-35,000. Which is like 25%-36% in terms of cash value (multiplying by 1.8c for Hyatt and 2.4c for SPG) more than Hyatt which is famous for being exactly industry average. So still worse, but not 200-300% worse as indicated by charts since that “high end” applies to half a dozen outlier properties (Al Maha, W Maldives etc) where you pay an admittedly stupid double penalty of them being Cat7s and of redeeming for suites.

    Hyatt doesn’t do this. Hyatt allows suite redemptions at points corresponding to ADR which already accounts for the room type (no double penalty).

    For your specific situation, I crunched the numbers in the other thread and so long as you’re ok with a valuation of a Hilton point at 0.4c and SPG as 2.4c, the earned value for SPG Gold vs HHonors Gold was equal (before modifying for CC earning since most of the world doesn’t have a Hilton CC, infact SPG is increasingly releasing theirs before Hilton in several parts).

    To conclude, DCS never had a point. This point was the same point made by the very bloggers he’s always attacked. He was making a different point, that SPG redemptions are so outrageous and lacking in value that they’re not worth anything. This is not the case. In many cases, they’re the best value.

  74. Hyatt could make this up a little to their real diamonds by giving a year end bonus based on nights earned. It would be good if they could announce it ahead of time (asap) and drive some more nights.

  75. My comments with links to where hotel loyalty programs were compared by three independent modelers and reached the same conclusions have been released from moderation. Anyone who is interested in comparing @Andy’s long-winded gibberish here and elsewhere with the real math, including charts and tables, can find the links at:

    DCS — November 22, 2015 at 2:22 pm
    DCS — November 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm
    DCS — November 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    The law of averages says that if one looks hard enough, one would find a property or two where SPG offers decent value. So, the hyperventilating above about such instances that, in fact, prove the general rule is pointless. Moreover, to latch onto the fact that Hilton properties do sometimes charge exorbitant rates (200%) for their “premium” rooms is just silly because every program has those: they are called lack of availability. Recently, there were a number of posts deploring the fact that Hyatt was playing tricks with awards by showing no standard awards available although there was availability at the same properties if one wanted to book revenue stays. Rather than showing standard awards as unavailable some Hilton properties simply make them too expensive to book with points by designating all standard rooms in a property as “premium”. However, there are very few places where that happens and with some 4300 properties, availability of standard awards at Hilton is really not much of an issue, except for times of “extraordinary demand”. However, even then, if one is a HH Diamond “Diamond Force” can usually still “force” the availability of standard award or revenue rooms…

    Lastly, @Andy, you seem to be totally oblivious to this but, once more, SPG just went belly up. A great program that’s about to go out of existence becomes a moot point, so stop hyperventilating and move on!

  76. I have a quick question. Is the spat between @Andy & @DCS the most boring thing anyone has ever written online, or the second-most boring thing anyone has ever written online? Because I feel like there was something else, once, maybe, but can’t put my finger on it.

  77. http://www.travelcodex.com/2014/03/much-cost-earn-free-night/

    Your link. Familiar and not obscure. Everyone has seen it. The author is very smart. So obviously in the very first comment you manage to disagree with him. In the second comment (his) he has to set the record straight. He correctly recognizes your doubly loaded statements. Stunning example of you being proven right *slow clap*

    And no the two analyses can’t be compared because they are analyzing different things. Lucky/Ben was sort of unique in analyzing premium room categories but of course you dismiss anything that doesn’t match your worldview.

    “Andy’s long-winded gibberish here and elsewhere ”

    There is exactly one person more long winded here. You

    Re: All chains pricing premium rooms at crazy rates. Nope. Just more DCS BS.

    When one Hyatt property did it, people condemned them, it wasn’t justified by the program and the VP of the program actually commented himself on it. Hilton’s double pricing is endorsed by program, well within the rules. You understand the difference between what’s allowed in program and what is a violation? No of course not.

    @Josh

    Had to endure this guy for 3 years then snapped. Curious if you’ve been around for a while and have an opinion either way on this HHonors is the holy grail debate? I agree in that this is just mindless drivel. But left unchecked, it will continue another 3 years. I’m not sure which is the greater evil.

  78. @josh +1

    I imagine it’s #1, but I don’t actually know since I have a policy of scrolling past 8-paragraph comments.

  79. Yeah! Just received my match to Hyatt Diamond from IHG Spire Royal Ambassador this morning. Will definitely be renewing, so Hyatt made a good investment in me.

  80. I was Hyatt Diamond last year, Plat this year and asked them to match my Hilton Diamond. When I was loyal to Hyatt I think I was high revenue for them as I almost always stay at Park Hyatts in London and Moscow and Andaz in AMS. Anyway, they declined me saying they are **only matching to Plat status** which I already have.

    I don’t even understand the reply, but I don’t care, I would have probably switched back to them if I had Diamond but I never felt valued as a customer anyway.I do have a ton of points and it would be nice to get free breakfast when redeeming them, but my spouse is SPG lifetime plat so I don’t care that much.

  81. @SCD — Feel better now?

    At least we agree that there is one smart blogger who does “get it” and won’t compare “raw” loyalty points across programs, and conclude that because starpoints are worth 2.4 cents and HHonors are worth 0.5 cent, starpoints are worth more. Practically every other blogger has or continues to spread that canard. The math, however, is trivial. That so many keep getting it wrong then hyperventilate when called on it is quite telling on a whole bunch of levels.

    G’day!

  82. I got the message:

    Hello! I am sorry for the delay. We are only offering Diamond status to SPG Platinum members. SPG Gold, Hilton, Marriott, and IHG (any level) would match to Platinum membership status. Please email a screenshot of your activity page with a competitor (with 1 eligible stay this year) to goldpassport@hyatt.com. We have a lot of requests and expect a 48 hour response time for requests. We will be happy to match your status accordingly. Thanks for choosing Hyatt, welcome back! ^BP

    Looks like at this time they are only matching if you have SPG Platinum – no other chains. So not matching Marriott Platinum, so I also just sent them Club Carlson Concierge (also a 75 night level). Hyatt is 25 night level for most has people switch hotels every night.

    I was going to switch over to Hyatt this summer, then the match went away. I had gotten the Hyatt CC as well. Now with this turn down, I might just give up on Hyatt and cancel my CC after I use my two free nights. I wanted to get top tier on another US based chain, but now that SPG is becoming part of Marriott, I get those extra destinations and hotels. I would have gone Hyatt and still could, but without a match – I will leave Hyatt.

  83. @DCS

    Uh we don’t agree on anything. How delusional are you, you’re literally lying about the exact link pasted right up there? There was no point value analysis or comparison in there at all, it was about reward spend comparison. Seriously do you never worry about how stupid you end up looking?

    Is there any length you will not goto to prove yourself light. In the past days so far you’ve lied, misrepresented, obfuscated, why don’t you just start your own survey of 1 and grant all accolades for late check out and suite upgrades to Hilton?

  84. @SCD — My handle backwards, I see…Definitely a sign of a backward thinker.

    Let’s list the insults: “delusional”, “literally lying”, “stupid”, “lied, misrepresented, obfuscated.”

    “Lying” is for dimwits like you. Anyone who has been on this forum since I began posting knows that I tell it straight. So, mind your manners. If you did not understand what was at the links that I’d provided, which I am now sure you did not, then that’s simply exposing your limited intellect. “Stupid” is hardly what anyone with any intelligence would call a medical physicist conducting complex neuroscience and cutting-edge neuroimaging research in a whole host of neurological and neurospsychiatric disorders — of which you seem to be showing clear signs with this outburst. I believe the word in “unhinged”.

    Present your case, whatever it may be, coherently and I will expose you for what you are. Otherwise go throw your puerile insults elsewhere. In short, get lost.

  85. Did you not notice me using only those insults that you have used aimed at other prior?
    Was I too subtle for you
    So basically it was a reflection of yourself, don’t like it much huh?
    Should I quote them here for your benefit?

    You’ve been labeling the whole world and their horse delusional and you pointed at another person’s authenticity simply because their experience did not match yours.

    “So, mind your manners”

    Ironic. Do you know what that word means?

    “Anyone who has been on this forum since I began posting knows that I tell it straight”

    Are. you. kidding. me. right. now

    “Present your case, whatever it may be, coherently and I will expose you for what you are. Otherwise go throw your puerile insults elsewhere. In short, get lost.”

    You can’t handle it. I am here because this blog resonates with me. It doesn’t with you, neither do the bulk of its readership. Question is, why are you here?

    Let’s take the simplest most basic disagreement at hand and focus solely on that and lets not get distracted.
    How in the world do you claim Hilton’s late check out benefit is in any shape, way or form better (or even the same as Hyatt and SPG). Statistical evidence disagrees with you, the written rule disagrees with you, yet somehow others are delusional and not you? And if you claim that its the same, somehow that is telling it straight?

  86. I received a response via twitter today from a request from Friday. The response was that they are only matching SPG Platinum to Hyatt Diamond (all other chains match to Hyatt Platinum only, regardless of status) and specifically mentioned that there was a lot of mis-information due to blogs. Oh well.

  87. I am Spire Ambassador, Marriott Platinum and Hilton Diamond. I sent them requested spire ambassador and requested a match to Diamond, and they said that they were only matching to Platinum (which is pretty much a worthless match, as I’m sure you will all agree to here.)

    Maybe it’s only SPG platinum. It seems like they do whatever they are in the mood to do, and quite arrogantly at that,

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