Hyatt Discontinues Their “Milestones” Recognition Program

For years Hyatt Gold Passport was hands down the most generous hotel loyalty program. That was probably a function of the state the economy was in at the time, combined with Hyatt’s smaller global footprint. It takes effort to be loyal to Hyatt since they don’t have hotels everywhere, while being loyal to Hilton, IHG, or Marriott doesn’t take much effort, by comparison.

However, the hotel industry has recovered very nicely post-recession, so hotels don’t need to offer as many promotions in order to get heads into beds. While we continue to see hotel loyalty programs offer promotions, my general question is why they even bother, since the promotions don’t seem compelling enough to actually get people to change their stay behavior.

For years Hyatt had a very cool “surprise and delight” campaign, where they celebrated the milestones of members. For example, in 2013 I posted about how I got an email from Hyatt congratulating me for having stayed at 50 unique Hyatt properties, and offering me one free night at any Hyatt hotel in the world.

Hyatt-Free-Night-2

Then a bit over a year ago I surpassed 75 unique Hyatt properties, and they emailed me again to offer me another free night at any Hyatt hotel in the world — awesome!

Hyatt-Free-Night-1

It was so nice to get such a surprise, but then again, I guess the challenge is that in the age of the internet, it’s much more difficult to truly “surprise and delight” customers, since people talk about this stuff online. So the program started to become more of an expectation than a true surprise.

Hyatt offered these kinds of milestone rewards for several years, though it seems like Hyatt has discontinued this program @CosmicLLC Tweeted me about this today, and now that I’ve done some research, it does indeed seem like the program has been discontinued, or as they’re calling it, “temporarily suspended.”

This was a fantastic recognition of loyalty while the program existed, though I guess I’m not too surprised to see they pulled it. I’m guessing they had a hard time quantifying their return on investment with this promotion, and with hotels having increasingly high occupancy rates, the cost to Hyatt of fulfilling this promotion was on the rise.

Did you ever receive a Hyatt milestone email?

Comments

  1. Second Delta style “enhancement” of the day… not a good look for Hyatt after increasing the cost of studio units at their Residence Clubs by 108% with zero notice.

  2. This is not good, as I was actually actively monitoring how many properties I had stayed at (44 and counting) and looking forward to the milestones. I guess in their defense it wasn’t a published benefit.

  3. Daggonit! Very disappointed. In fairness, it would have been years before I hit it, but was looking forward to that nonetheless. A good economy is terrible. We need another recession 😉

  4. @Lucky sez: “For years Hyatt Gold Passport was hands down the most generous hotel loyalty program.”

    In the real world: For years Hyatt Gold Passport was hands down the most abused/taken advantage of hotel loyalty program. Its managers were clueless about how to run a loyalty program and gave away benefits in a manner that got them easily abused, making the program look like a work-in-progress, at best; a joke, at worst. Now, HGP is like, well, a shell of its former self, just pretending to be a hotel loyalty program…

    Beware when travel bloggers refer to a loyalty program as “generous” or to a benefit as “lucrative”…it means it is being taken to cleaners.

    @Lucky claims, I bet with a straight face: “While we continue to see hotel loyalty programs offer promotions, my general question is why they even bother, since the promotions don’t seem compelling enough to actually get people to change their stay behavior.”

    That’s the biggest bullshit claim in history, when none other than @Lucky himself has commented multiple times over the last couple of years about how HHonors has “really stepped up their game”, offering a global promo every quarter that no single property opted out of — that’s even after they said they would cut down on the number of such promos — while also offering targeted or brand-specific promos throughout the year [Loyalty Lobby has all the goods]. I used to be a 700K HH points/year member. Now, I am looking to topping 1M HH for the second year in a row, largely thanks to HHonors’ truly “lucrative” promos at a time when bloggers are falsely claiming that “promotions don’t seem compelling enough to actually get people to change their stay behavior.” HHonors promos have altered my behavior. In October, I am attending a conference that will be held at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, with conference attendees getting a rate discounted if they stay at this hotel. However, I chose to pay a bit more to stay a Hilton nearby because with the HH Q4 2x promo, I will earn points at a brisk rate of 42/$, which adds up quickly for a 4-5 stay like this one will be…

    By contrast, HGP’s current global promo is their first since last September [one/year!], and while HHonors and SPG and others have revealed their last global promo of the year, HGP’s yet to unveil theirs. Instead, they just cut yet another perk…

    At least for a while now we have been spared the spectacle of incomprehensibly infatuated travel bloggers constantly abusing superlatives in touting the metaphysical superiority of HGP as a loyalty program, while in reality it always was and remains, generously, a work-in-progress…

    Have you seen a positive post on HGP late?

    G’day!

  5. So bummed as I just passed 100 and was hoping for a free night to use in Zurich next week. I did enjoy visiting a lot of different properties, even if my family whined about having to pack and unpack every single day.

  6. @DCS

    Why don’t you write your own “blog”. Once Obama and his racist policies are out of the WHITE House (you know, the house that Moochelle wakes up every mornin’ built by slaves, but then orders lobster tails for her 200+ friends, travels the world on [taxpayer money held up by slaves], and uses hashtag diplomacy), you’ll get better perks everywhere.

    Really….blame the central banks. It’s all about loaned $ with zero to negative interest rates that eventually has to be paid back, all the same keeping the ObamaCare recipients who receive health-care subsidies and protest in the streets burning cities down out of the free rooms.

    If you think I’m wrong, just attend hotel boardroom meetings. It’s like Jeremy Corbyn trying to outsmart Nigel Farage—it doesn’t work, so Farage makes sure those [who can] get the free rooms, and those who shouldn’t stay way out.

  7. @Melissa

    Dear GOD woman, get back on your meds!

    Trump is the racist, honey.

    Let me right this ship for you by keeping you on target: I like travel, do you like travel, Melissa deary?

  8. On the original topic, I am a bit sad to see this recognition program suspended. I too went out of my way to stay at a “new to me” Hyatt to add to my lifetime total.

    I received 5000 points at 50 unique Hyatts a while back and was working on 100.

    Bring this back Hyatt–it is not too costly and it builds loyalty for your customers.

  9. Hilton Honors High Horse. Holy cow, so when customers get a ton of benefit from a program, it just means that the program is not being managed properly or is just a WIP? Same kind of logic that convinced the airlines to turn LPs revenue-based.

  10. Lucky just post a canned DCS response at the bottom of every article that doesn’t praise Hilton so he can stop reading the blog…

  11. Some people are so emotionally invested in convincing everyone else that they are right about something
    that it makes them angry , bitter , hostile , a social misfit . This is not a way to have a happy life . This is not a way to impress others . This is not demonstrative of greater intelligence .
    Of course this is not without retribution . The greatest punishment is having to be yourself . You do not ‘win’ by being nasty or strident on the internet . Quite the opposite , you lose .
    ” The unexamined life is not worth living .” May I suggest that you examine your life and make appropriate changes . You know who you are !

  12. @Socrates — I must assume that you are referring to travel bloggers as the people who are “…emotionally invested in convincing everyone…” because my presence in the travel blogosphere can rightly be blamed on my “crusade” to debunk bogus claims made by self-anointed gurus of travel. Call it a healthy dose of “reality check” every now and then to keep things real the dark annals of travel blogosphere. Please find my very first posts on this site and you’ll see that goal explicitly stated.

    As to what I stated about HGP, it is not the first I have stated it and the evidence speaks for itself. If you have a beef with it, then clearly postulate a counter-argument and let’s duke it out.

    G’day.

  13. YAY DUKING! “For years Hyatt Gold Passport was hands down the most abused/taken advantage of hotel loyalty program. Its managers were clueless about how to run a loyalty program and gave away benefits in a manner that got them easily abused, making the program look like a work-in-progress, at best; a joke, at worst. Now, HGP is like, well, a shell of its former self, just pretending to be a hotel loyalty program…”

    I’ve only been in the game for 3 years, so I can’t argue against managers giving away benefits in a manner that got them abused. But if it’s to the customers advantage, I don’t think it matters in the least that they didn’t know how to run the program. Your argument is from a management perspective. For example: if you had two nearly-identical hotel chains and Chain 1 said “we’ll give away a free night every time someone spends 1000” and Chain 2 said “we’ll give away a free night every time someone spends 5000”- your argument sounds like it’d be in favor of Chain 2– since Chain 1 is being too generous and would eventually realize the market couldn’t sustain that. WIP- yes. But from a customer perspective it’d much better to get a free night after 1K spend than 5K spend. (of course, I’m just arguing two hypothetical near-identical chains here).

    You can’t argue that a hotel chain is bad/worse than another based on that hotel chain being too beneficial to customers.

    I would argue too that most, if not all loyalty programs are WIPs, including HHonors. Hotel categories, the cost to purchase points, promotions, etc all change over the years. No program is perfect as is and can remain exactly the same.

    As for HGP pretending to be a hotel loyalty program… that is just an ambiguous statement that means nothing. Define loyalty program and tell me how HGP is not a loyalty program.

  14. @Joe sez: Define loyalty program and tell me how HGP is not a loyalty program.”

    What one should want is a stable, mature and rewarding loyalty program, with sensible and realistic benefits that can be awarded uniformly and fairly based on evidence of loyalty by members (e.g., road warriors who earn their status by actually staying at a chain’s properties should be valued and rewarded highly); the benefits should also be SUSTAINABLE. That’s nothing like HGP’s benefits, which have come and gone faster than anyone could keep count. Of late, the purportedly “most generous” program has offered almost no promotions, especially after they made a decidedly boneheaded attempt to lure in disgruntled SPG loyalist after the demise of their program and, predictably, botched it.

    Rather than a “generous” program, HGP has been yanking benefits left and right, with the most memorable examples being their ill-fated status match that gave away their Diamond status along with the store before the recipients had demonstrated their loyalty to the program; and the gutting of the touted DSUs to where they could no longer be used beyond their expiration date. My Elite Rate was introduced, got very popular with members and then it was promptly yanked, and the list, including the “milestones” perk that this post just told us has been yanked, goes on. Some of the benefits (e.g., the original Diamond status match, or DSUs being valid beyond their expiration date) were simply too “generous” to be good for the program because they were UNSUSTAINABLE and/or were offered in a way that made them very easy to abuse. In other words, they were boneheaded benefits because the managers had no clue about what they were doing, so they introduced and yanked benefits so fast the program appeared like a perpetual WIP or, worse,…a joke.

    If you’ve been playing the game for only 3 years, you are a novice…a rookie. It may be too soon for you to become a pontificator 😉

    G’day!

  15. “What one should want…. benefits that can be awarded uniformly and fairly based on evidence of loyalty by members” …. “HGP has been yanking benefits left and right, with the most memorable examples being their ill-fated status match that gave away their Diamond status along with the store before the recipients had demonstrated their loyalty to the program”

    How am I supposed to take you seriously? You’re talking to a guy who in his adult life had never stayed at a Hilton hotel until after I status matched to Hilton Diamond… no stay requirements or nada.

    You are also effectively saying “HGP was bad because they gave away status matches, HGP is still bad because they stopped giving away status matches”. So your point seems to be that HGP is bad, no matter what they do.

    This year has been a decidedly poor year in terms of promotions and benefits being pulled and adjusted, definitely concur with that.

  16. Calm down Joe – he doesn’t want to admit Hilton gave away status matches like a sucker at the Dr’s office. I got it from my IHG CC plat status…0 stays with IHG or Hilton and they gave it to me for 2 years haha. Not that it is really any better then Gold anyway which you can get for $75.

  17. @Joe – I told you that you’re still a rookie and that you may wish to wait until you’ve have a few more years of experience under your belt to become polemical.

    Anyone who has been around long enough knows, HHonors rarely offered status match to their Diamond level. That you just got it happened to coincide with the demise of SPG, as it would have been criminal for HHonors managers not to try to attract some of the disgruntled SPG elites. They needed to be fair so they opened the status match to elites from all hotel loyalty programs. However, whereas HGP had botched their attempt to lure the same pool of elites with their own status match, HHonors did it smoothly, professionally and efficiently. Don’t take my word on this. Just ask @Lucky who also got his HH Diamond status through the same status match offer.

    So, what was it that made the original HGP Diamond CHALLENGE boneheaded [I’d refer to it as STATUS MATCH but it was really a status challenge]? Well, simply because they stupidly offered those taking the challenge the Diamond status and all its benefits (including the 4 DSUs) up front, before they had taken a single step toward meeting the challenge! The result was that folks just got the status and the perks, enjoyed them for a year and then simply walked away without ever bothering to complete the challenge. See what I meant by boneheaded?

    Likewise, Suite upgrades used to be offered by HGP for a ridiculously low number of points [like 6K] for an ENTIRE stay rather than per night, before they realize that it was UNSUSTAINABLE (read: boneheaded) and then changed that benefit to the industry standard of paying for upgrades per night. In a competitive game, you do not play to be the most “generous”. You try to be “imaginatively generous” but at the level where the competition is playing!

    The preceding and my previous post have made clear why the way HGP did things was bad for the PROGRAM, although it was temporarily “lucrative” for members. The result is what HGP has now become: a shell of its former self, just pretending to be a hotel loyalty program. I have never been tempted to do a status match or take the challenge for HGP Diamond when I would have easily qualified because I considered the program to be a joke, and unless they revamp it, it will become a punch line for a joke about a loyalty program that was once touted as “the best in the business”, which crashed precisely because what made it the “best” was so boneheaded it caused its demise…

    Those who have played this game with a “full deck” for years can appreciate my take on this.

    G’day…

  18. @Mark: Agreed.

    @DCS: Just a little more pontification, please!?!?? I’m sorry, but I can’t help myself…. Hyatt gave away 4 DSU’s to people up front as part of a status match/challenge combo (match because you had to have status elsewhere)… and you are calling that boneheaded. Meanwhile…without any challenge at all, Hilton has given me UNLIMITED FREE SUITE UPGRADES for a whole year!!!!

    You are calling things that are too good for the members bad for the program, I get that much. But we aren’t managers of the program, we are consumers of it. And while you’re insistent that it’s a joke and a shell of it’s former self, I’m still lapping up the benefits.

  19. @DCS said “I have never been tempted to do a status match or take the challenge for HGP Diamond when I would have easily qualified because I considered the program to be a joke, and unless they revamp it, it will become a punch line for a joke about a loyalty program that was once touted as “the best in the business”, which crashed precisely because what made it the “best” was so boneheaded it caused its demise”

    Who cares that you think the program will ultimately fail? It is not your responsibility. I have playing the game a long time. I have had all of the top statuses over the years. Hyatt Diamond has been the most rewarding for my family without question. It is not my responsibility to make sure that Hyatt is making money when I am using points and staying in a 1,800 sq foot suite in the jungle of costa rica and getting a daily credit of $180 for breakfast. If it isn’t sustainable, I would expect that they will make cuts. That is how every company in the world works. If they cut back on benefits, I adjust. I can either continue staying at Hyatt with less benefits or I can stay elsewhere. It is up to me to decide that. It is remarkably shortsighted that you would not do a status challenge or match when you could reap a lot of benefits for doing so. You don’t place any value on having a meal paid for every morning? or having a larger room? or being able to find a clean/safe hotel for 5k points? There are lots of category 1 hotels around the US – unlike Hilton. I did a status match many years ago with Hyatt. The wonderful benefits that I received convinced me that I wanted to move some of my business to Hyatt in order to maintain status. Their status match worked on me. I love their treatment of diamonds. I may not make diamond this year and it will make me a little sad to not have it next march. Yes, Hyatt has changed over the years. They have NEVER done what Hilton did a few years ago with their massive point increases for aspirational awards. If they do, so be it. I will always analyze each situation to see what works best for me.

  20. @Joe — HHonors is a stable, mature and rewarding loyalty program, with sensible and realistic benefits that are awarded uniformly and fairly based on evidence of loyalty by members and, importantly, are SUSTAINABLE.

    Awarding suite upgrades as certificates has completely different implications than awarding them as complimentary ugrades: the expectations are different. An arsehole with a DSU believes that it entitles him to a “confirmed” or “guaranteed” suite upgrade when there is no such thing. By contrast, the expectation for someone with a complimentary suite upgrade is more realistic: you get it or you don’t, end of story; such upgrades also favor longtime Diamond who have shown their loyalty to specific properties, as well as “creative” Diamonds (like me) who are able to charm their way into a suite without a limit.

    In addition, with lots and lots of properties around the world, Hilton can more easily absorb an influx of top elites than HGP. In fact, I believe that part of the reason HGP is now only a shell of its former self is that the program bit more than it could chew when it did a status match to attract SPG loyalists and botched it so badly it ended up with a huge influx of new Diamonds, many of whom were mistakenly awarded 8 DSUs to spend. Presciently, I had predicted that the botched status match would adversely and profoundly affect the program, as in the comment below when the lights at HGP first “flickered”, signaling trouble ahead:

    ———-
    Hyatt Gold Passport Will Be Unavailable December 15-18, 2015
    December 7, 2015 by lucky

    DCS says December 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

    “[T]his 3-day hiatus may be due to the need for some breathing room to clean up the mess created by the latest status match fiasco by HGP — the most unstable hotel loyalty program that travel bloggers inexplicably keep touting as the “best in the business.”

    As I speculated elsewhere, the HGP program managers may have just realized the insanity of giving away to new Diamond members 4 DSUs that would be good to Feb 2016 and then immediately giving to the same new members, who had yet to prove their loyalty, 4 more DSUs that would be good to Feb 2017. If the current policy of allowing DSUs to be applied to stays beyond their expiration date remains in place, then these new members would essentially have 8 DSUs to use for 2016-2017, which would flood the system with upgrade requests [already may have, contributing to the 3 IT hiatus], thereby negatively affecting the availability of upgrades for HGP Diamonds who earned their status the hard way…

    The recently rumored change about the possibility that HGP is planning to limit the period of validity of DSUs to their expiration date is, therefore, almost certainly true because it may be another preventive measure to limit or undo the potential damage of giving away too many DSUs in relation to the number of available suites (with just 500-ish properties in the entire Hyatt portfolio, many of which have no suites or do not do suite upgrades, there are not that many suites!)

    If the past is any indication, I predict that DSUs — already the most restricted and restrictive elite suite upgrades in the business — will be changed to be valid only up to their expiration date.

    This has definitely not been a good year to be a SPG or HGP loyalist…

  21. @Chris — I am sure the comment I just posted, along with earlier ones above make my points and position quite clear.

    I am done here. Just search the site as I suggested above and make sure look for comments by DCS, which predicted the unraveling of HGPas they began yanking or cutting benefits or have now retreated.

    I love staying at Hyatt properties even without status. I just never cared about their loyalty program, for which I am rooting succeed so that it might make their Diamond status worth having…

    Bye bye!

  22. @Joe — Oops! It looks like the prior post got truncated (is there a word limit to comments?). Anyway, here’s the missing ending to the prior post…

    See how I also correctly predicted the change of policy to DSUs being valid only up to their expiration date?

    How much more proof do you need to realize that you are out of your depth on this?

    I suggest you search this site for the following posts by none other than @Lucky who was still trying to put on a happy face, but it was clear to me that he’d finally seen the light: HGP was not the stellar program that he’d envisioned. Since then, he’s referred to HGP’s “greatness” only in the past tense, as he did at the beginning of this thread. So, check out these other threads to witness the unraveling of HGP as documented by none other than @ Lucky

    — WOW: 10,000+ Requests For Hyatt Diamond Status, November 24, 2015 by lucky
    — What Was Hyatt Thinking With Their Diamond Status Match Offer? November 22, 2015 by luck

    and many more by searching the site for “Hyatt Diamond Status”

    G’day!

  23. @Chris sez: “They have NEVER done what Hilton did a few years ago with their massive point increases for aspirational awards. If they do, so be it. I will always analyze each situation to see what works best for me.”

    Do you know that following that massive devaluations costs of Hilton and Hyatt awards matched perfectly and have moved in lockstep since? Of course not since you brought up the “d” word.

    Well, all Hilton’s metaphysically YUGE “devaluation” of 2013 that everyone used to talk about did was to bring the costs of their awards up to par with those of their competitors. In short, the so-called cataclysmic HHonors “devaluation” was simply an adjustment to HHonors award costs to make them competitive because they got ridiculously cheap. Now, aspirational HGP awards cost exactly the same as HHonors. Please do not contest this because the math is trivial and many sites have shown it to be true…

  24. I think UR makes hyatt more rewarding. Easier to maufacture Hyatt points vs hilton points. Unless you are paying to stay at hiltons, hyatt is easier to earn free nights. 5x with my ink gets me a room for 1k in spend. Best I can do is 6x at a grocery store for hilton which costs $1,500-3,000 get to a similar room as I can get with the 1k for hyatt. That is why I prefer hyatt but I also like Hilton…especially with the free diamond status!

  25. @DCS: everyone’s situation is different. The math doesn’t work for me to stay at high end hilton hotels very often. Please link to the math comparison between hyatt and hilton awards that fits my situation. Do you value hyatt points at about 1.5 cents and hilton at about 0.4 cents? Several bloggers have put those valuations out there. I think those are in the ball park as far as redemptions, but you can certainly debate it. I sign up for credit cards to get most of my points balances. I am a fairly heavy spender, but the sign up bonuses are still a huge part of my overall points balances. I can get 100,000 UR points with a single credit card sign up. Of course, these transfer directly to hyatt at 1:1. I have had a lot of 50,000 UR point cards in the past. To get a credit card that is valued similarly to the 100,000 UR points, you would need a Hilton card that would have a bonus of about 375,000 points. I have never seen anything close to that. When I see a hilton bonus of 50,000 or 75,000, I laugh and think that will be good for two (possibly three) nights at the hampton inn by the airport. If they feel that they don’t need to offer up cards with more points, good for them. I don’t do any MS, so I can’t speak to the ease of generating hilton or hyatt points. The sweet spot that I have found for Hilton is to redeem for low end category 2 and 3 properties that have a high cash rate. I am loyal to Hyatt because they are CURRENTLY taking great care of me and my family. At the point that I feel the balance tipping, I will look elsewhere. I hold no grudge with Hilton. I really enjoy staying at their properties. However, I can’t afford 70,000 – 95,000 points per night for very long. I guess it is just easier for me to acquire the hyatt points necessary for my trips. I just got back from the andaz papagayo (Category 4 -15,000 pts/night). We did 4 nights for 60,000 points. These points were acquired from 1 chase ink sign up bonus. The paid rate at the time we went was $400/night + tax. If I can do that with hilton, please tell me how. I am always looking for new tools to put in my tool belt.

  26. @Joe — I get mentally tired just thinking about playing the miles/points game based on applying for credit cards nonstop and on points earned from every day spend. Not only does require a lot of effort and time, it seems to be getting harder to pull off. Churning and MS are on the way out as credit cards issuers have begun playing hardball with rules like 5/24. And, few “regular people” (as opposed to small business owners, entrepreneurs) can really afford to make the large volume purchases on credit cards that are required earn enough points to sustain playing the game at a high level EVERY year.

    The miles/points game is for people like me who travel extensively for work. To the extent that you can make things work for you with credit card signup bonus points and everyday spend, I take my hat off to you. However, what you do is in completely different league than the one I am in, where I earn enough points to do a Big Time redemption EVERY year, like this one :
    https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/2014-year-end-asian-escapade-or-the-anatomy-of-a-big-time-redemption.109108/

    That’s my annual Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), which my main reason for playing the game.

    Having said that let me address the issue of the relative value of points because there is nothing laughable about earning 75K HH points as a sign up bonus. You wouldn’t sneeze at 25K HGP points, would you? Well, the two earnings are equivalent!

    The following goes into this question that you asked: “Do you value hyatt points at about 1.5 cents and hilton at about 0.4 cents?”

    Those are fair estimates of the average REDEMPTION values of the two currencies. However, one cannot just look at their relative magnitudes and conclude that HGP points are “worth” more than HH points because, while they are both loyalty currencies, they are NOT on the same scale. Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees are both measures of temperature but using DIFFERENT scales or units. One cannot look at 0 degree C and 32 degrees F and conclude that 32 degrees F is the hotter temperature because it is a bigger number. With an appropriate unit or scale conversion, 32F and 0C will be shown to measure exactly the same temperature.

    Similarly, HH points need to be converted to HGP points or vice versa before one can compare them directly, and it is simple to do. On average, I earn about 3 times more HHonors points a pop than I earn HGP points so that in terms of HGP points, each HH point is worth 0.4 x 3 = 1.2 cents, which is not materially different from the estimated value of 1.5 cents per HGP point (some people value each HH point @ 0.5 cent or HGP point at 1.4 cents). I earn on AVERAGE 6 times more HH points a pop than I earn starpoints, which are valued between 2.0 and 2.5 cents each. Therefore, in terms of starpoints each HH point is worth 0.4 x 6 = 2.4 cents, i.e., no material difference between the two currencies when appropriately scaled. You can do similar things between different currencies and end up concluding that when converted to the same unit of measure, all points currencies are worth about the same, which is the way it should be in a competitive industry. Credit card issuers out to know what how much loyalty points that they purchase cost, right? Right. It is no coincidence that for their primary spending category (i.e., hotel stays) the number of points awarded by the HH AMEX (12HH/$) Surpass and SPG AMEX (2 starpoints/$) keep the same ratio: 6:1. AMEX would not pay Starwood 2.4 cents/point or 6 times more money than they would pay Hilton (0.4 cent/point) for a similar commodity. They would be stupid. With an appropriate scale conversion, 0.4 cent/HH point is equivalent to 2.4 cents/starpoint. Really.

    In short, the factor of 3 is useful for comparing costs of HH vs. HGP awards, and a factor 6 for HH vs SPG awards.

    While category 10 (top) HH awards cost 95K/night, which sounds like a lot points. In terms of HGP points, that would like paying 95K/3 = 32K/night. With the uncertainty in estimating the average redemption values of points, 32K points is not materially different from the actually cost of a category 7 (top) HGP award of 30K/night.

    What the great 2013 “devaluation” of HH points did was to simply make HH awards as expensive as HGP were at the time! In fact, right now Marriott, HGP and HH awards cost exactly the same, IHG and Club Carlson awards are cheap any way you look at them, while SPG awards are, by an order of magnitude, the most expensive in the business. I did the math, so that you would not have to:
    https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/exploring-spg-point-values-by-hotel-category.114263/#post-2551672

    We’ve beaten this one to death, so over and out!

  27. Oops. Never post a 4 am! The preceding was responding to Chris G’ comment on August 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm and not to Joe.

    D’day!

  28. Another rule about posting at 4 am: you make a lot of errors! I hope my long thesis above is not too cryptic as a result…

  29. DCS – I am not sure exactly what you are implying here: “However, what you do is in completely different league than the one I am in, where I earn enough points to do a Big Time redemption EVERY year, like this one :”

    Are you saying that I earn more than you from sign up bonuses so I am in some sort of higher league? Do you have any idea how many points I earn on an annual basis and how I use them? It seems like you think you do, since I am not in the same league as you. Do you feel superior to me because you actually pay for your hotel nights to earn your points to do your big vacation each year? I can’t compete with that. I actually don’t want to compete with that. I like getting the best bang for my buck. Currently, it is getting massive sums of points for very little upfront costs. Yes, the game is changing – but not dying. There are still many large opportunities for people with a thirst for knowledge and time. The good thing is that I probably have 2-3 years of amazing travel in the bank (even with points devaluations) without ever earning another point. I have never subscribed to the earn and burn theory. I am always looking for low hanging fruit and like to stock up. It is a fun hobby for the meticulous. I enjoy gaining as much knowledge as I can about all airline and hotel programs and getting the best value I can out of them. I love to help my friends and family travel all over the world and see places and people that they wouldn’t ordinarily want to afford. They could pay for it, but it makes it an easier decision when the cost is 10 cents on the dollar (or less). I would love to compare just our last 5-7 years of award travel.

    Your post about temperature conversion was interesting. It goes without saying that hyatt and hilton are on a different scale. That is why one is worth about 1/4 of the other. That is why I said that I would need a 375,000 hilton card bonus to be the equivalent of a 100,000 UR bonus. I have been around the game for quite some time and don’t recall any hilton bonuses higher than 100,000. And no, I wouldn’t sneeze at 25,000 hyatt points. But, why would I want a 25,000 point card when every card that I get is going to be worth more than 25,000? I have never applied for a credit card that got me less than 40,000 hyatt points. That means that EVERY Hyatt points credit card that I have ever applied for (chase ink bold, ink plus, sapphire, sapphire preferred, sapphire reserve) have all got me MORE than the highest value hilton card. So, we obviously don’t have similar points earning strategies. You can see why I would prefer hyatt. I can see why you would prefer hilton if you are counting on earning points via paid hotel stays and credit card spending bonuses.

    It is always interesting to see that some people have strong opinions about things that matter very little to other people. I would hardly say that HGP is unraveling because DSUs must be used within a year of issue. When I first read about these changes with HGP, I said “Dang.” I went ahead and adjusted my plan for the year to make sure that I used all 4 optimally. That was it. IMO – It was a small negative – not the unraveling of a loyalty program. I guess we will agree to disagree.

    An interesting observation: In my last 10 years of travel at ALL hotel properties – I have come across a lot more loyal hyatt diamonds than loyal hilton diamonds. It seems 9 out of every 10 hyatt diamonds absolutely love the hyatt diamond benefits. I have met a lot of lukewarm hilton diamonds that complain about one thing or another. And yes, some of them are still mad about the 2013 award point adjustment. It all makes sense since Hyatt consistently wins the best elite program at the freddie awards.

    I wish you well and hope that you continue to benefit from hilton. If that strategy works for you, go for it. Like I said, I enjoy staying at hilton properties. Unfortunately, it would be a terrible idea for someone new to the points game to focus on hilton. You simply can’t earn enough points from credit card bonuses compared to the other programs.

    Maybe we will run into each other at a centurion lounge some time and debate this some more. 🙂

  30. Damn good Chris G. . A very reasonable and dignified response , definitely better than I could write . It puzzles and disturbs me that some people have such strong opinions about things…as you said .
    I admire that you could present your case so well and so courteously .

  31. @Chris G — Chill, man! I simply stated things as they are, which your rant in fact only confirmed. It had nothing to do with feeling superior. Unless one does large volume purchases that one charges to a credit card, the miles/points game on credit cards alone will get increasingly less rewarding, as banks clamp down on churning and MS. However, that will have little or no impact whatsoever on people like me who get most of our points through revenue stays or flying. Without applying for hardly any cards (only one in the last 24 months and it was not even for the sign up bonus) I have been able to do Big Time redemptions like the one I linked to in my prior post, year after year, since 2011. That’s playing the game at different level, like it or not. You keep your points in the bank at the mercy of devaluations, I burn mine yearly nearly down to zero and start over. It has nothing to do with my being superior; it’s just the self-evident fact that the miles/points game is a lot easier to play for people who travel extensively as part of their work.

    The rest of your post is of little interest to me in the sense that it really goes with how one earns most of one’s points. I have collected 1M+ HH points/year effortlessly over the past 2 years, so you cannot keep repeating the canard about how it takes a lot more HH points to redeem HH awards, when Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton awards cost exactly the same, by which I am referring to how much one needs to spend in hard currency to afford a free night at their aspirational properties; SPG requires an order of magnitude more spend for a free night, and IHG and CC are dirt cheap.

    If you can keep playing the game based on cards alone, then more power to you. The days of “lucrative” sign up bonuses are numbered and I suspect that you’ll need to adjust and adapt or perish.

    I am really done here.

    Good luck!

  32. @Roger : Thanks! I am glad that it came across the way I intended.

    @DCS – You travel for business and earn 1M HH points annually? Those are worth 4-5k. That is called a loyalty rebate. A million HHonors is pretty small potatoes in this game. Even with your Big Time (is that proper?) redemption, you should know that there are people out there doing that several times a year. I am not at the mercy of traveling for my career, so I travel on awards quite frequently. I wouldn’t have it any other way at this point in my life. Most people here are not hilton lifers. They are getting their points from cc sign ups, ms, and any other creative way/promo they can. Hilton absolutely costs more in redemptions for them.

    I completely agree with you that you will continue to earn a lot of hilton points due to your job/lifestyle, while others (including me) will have to find more creative ways to earn points or at least scale back on the points travel. I have about 300,000 hilton (which isn’t worth much to me, but I think we might use them for a few nights at the hilton waikoloa again) and around 2M other (Chase, amex, citi, SPG, AA, United, singapore, lufthansa, SW, etc) points. Those points are worth at least 3 times more than my hilton (think 6M-7M hilton points). Even with devaluations, I can travel for a bit. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I don’t use my points. I feel like we are traveling constantly, but I guess I am earning them faster than I am burning them. We go to hawaii twice a year. Within the last 8 months, we have been to Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Hawaii, Chicago, LA (2), Baltimore, NYC, Miami, DC, Dallas. I am heading out to scottsdale to play golf next week with my brother-in-law thanks to my citi prestige card. Annual fee is $350 and I am playing about $600 worth of golf. Those are all award redemptions. Half of those were first/biz. We are doing a multiple family gathering at the hyatt ziva cancun in november. I am actually paying cash (Egad!) for part of the trip. I know that there are people out there doing way more than us, but we are content. Like many others here, I have spent a lot of time learning the intricacies of lots of programs in order to be able to maximize value (Singapore first class 30,000 one way from ewr-hnl lie-flat on united, lufthansa first class domestic one way for 17,000, and the blast from the past avios goldmine 4,500). I will choose to adjust and adapt as long as it makes sense.

    As an aside, I always look forward to talking miles/points with people that I meet on our travels. You can typically find them in the lounges at the airport and hotels. There are a lot of smart, passionate, hard working people in this game. I met some really nice people at wrigley field (SPG softball event) earlier this month.

  33. @Kris G — You are still confused about the “value” of points, but you are with a large group on that, including many travel bloggers. You seem to be stuck on the large number Hilton points that are required to redeem awards, while not getting that HH points derive a lot “value” from how truly easy they are to earn in YUGE numbers!

    You may have the equivalent of 6-7 M HH points saved but over what period of time? Hilton points are not the only points that I have. HH points that I earn yearly are exclusively for my award stays Hilton properties, which is my primary program because I think it is stable, mature, well managed and highly rewarding since its benefits do not come and go on a whim and are thus predictable. I also earn loads of United miles, primarily on long-haul international travel [I just made Million Miler this month], which I drain on premium cabin *A award tickets and rebuild yearly; I have about 0.5M UA miles now. I have over 150K Marriott points (mostly from stays + supplementation from UA miles thru RewardsPlus) and 125K HGP points (these I buy when they are sold at a huge discount). I usually drain all of these various points every year and start over. So, imagine if saved them over the same period of time as you…

    Lastly, I have recurrent payments (professional memberships, subscriptions, etc) that I set and forget about and are paid automatically in the background with my AMEX Biz Platinum and earn me AMEX membership reward points, which I let accumulate for a while before I redeem directly or transfer to top off other points currencies, as necessary. Additional points come in through United and Hilton Dining programs but that’s small change. Perhaps the only points I do not have lots of (12K now) by design are starpoints, which are purportedly “the most valuable points currency”, but are too expensive to earn a lot of and thereby defeat, IMHO, the whole purpose of playing the game.

    To do several Big-Time redemptions a year would not only interfere with my work because of the time it would require to accumulate the points and be off while I redeem them, but it’d greatly decrease the “high” or the “bang” that I get from doing it just once a year. So, I’ll let others play the game at that “higher” level because it seems to me like that would be a full time job….

    G’day!

  34. DCS said “You are still confused about the “value” of points, but you are with a large group on that, including many travel bloggers. You seem to be stuck on the large number Hilton points that are required to redeem awards, while not getting that HH points derive a lot “value” from how truly easy they are to earn in YUGE numbers!”

    How am I confused on the value? I am not stuck on the high number of points required for hilton awards. If they had 400,000 point sign up bonuses, I would be right back in the game with hilton. They don’t have those. They don’t have anything even close. I don’t care if the hilton garden inn costs a billion points a night as long as I can easily earn points to cover it. You haven’t responded at all to my credit card sign up bonus examples. That is how a lot of people on this site get the majority of their points. Please compare a 100,000 UR card or even a 50,000 point UR card to a 50,000 75,000 or 100,000 point Hilton card. If you choose to address this (which I doubt you will), please define value without talking about spending at a hilton hotel. Most points/miles blogs focus on the best credit card sign up bonuses – not on how to accumulate the highest number of hilton points for actual hotel spend. The problem with hotel spend is that you actually have to spend real money to get points. If you are a road warrior and your company is paying the bill, be my guest. Go ahead and earn 12X (or higher) at hilton in addition to any promos you can find. I believe you are in the minority judging by your old posts and how other people react to you.

  35. I cannot compare UR and HH points because it is like apples and oranges. HH points I earn are for just one purpose. Your UR points are for all purposes meaning they must cover lodging and flights and you’ll thus need a lot more UR points. Importantly, you keep referring to credit card earnings as if it were an infinitely viable practice when it is obvious that it will or may already have become very difficult to sustain, and the banks are making sure of it.

    There is no doubt that I am in the minority on this or other travel blogs, but the reason I stayed on after my initial posts was that there were so many misconceptions that passed for dogma that I decided to stick around and have fun debunking them. In other words, I am in the minority because I am hostile territory…in the lion’s den 😉

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