Hyatt Diamond vs. Starwood Platinum Benefits

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While I got involved with airline status long before I got involved with hotel status, I’ve found hotel status to be more and more valuable over the past few years as they’ve added more benefits.

Heck, until a few years ago free breakfast and guaranteed late check-out weren’t even common elite benefits. But nowadays if the hotel “game” is played right it’s extremely valuable, in my opinion.

As I get ready to move into hotels full time next month, I’ve been reflecting on which program is really most valuable. My two favorite top tier hotel status levels are Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum.

Let me first (very) briefly share my thoughts on Hilton and Marriott and why they’re not my preferred programs, as I am asked about both programs frequently:

Hilton HHonors Gold/Diamond

If you’re not a super frequent hotel guest, Hilton is a program that’s tough to beat. If you have either their Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card or the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Card, you get the following elite benefits:

  • Hilton HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card
  • Hilton HHonors Diamond status for any year in which you spend $40,000 on the card

Gold status gets you free internet and breakfast, which I find to be the two most valuable hotel elite amenities. Hilton also has amazing coverage across the globe, and has properties just about anywhere you could want to go.

Why don’t I love them more? They’re not good with suite upgrades, they don’t offer guaranteed late check-out as an elite benefit, and their redemption rates are pretty horrible.

Don’t get me wrong, I have Diamond status through the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, but only stay at Hiltons when there’s not a better Hyatt or Starwood option.

Marriott Rewards Platinum

Marriott has the highest elite qualification tiers of any major program, as they require 75 nights for Platinum status. And for that you don’t even get suite upgrades, guaranteed late check-out, or breakfast at resorts as published elite benefits.

In fairness, if you have the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card you get 15 nights towards status annually, and you get an additional night toward status for each $3,000 you spend on the card.

With that out of the way, lets talk about the two programs I do love — Hyatt and Starwood.

To start, lets recap the benefits the programs list for top tier status on their websites:

Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond:

  • Achieve rewards even faster with a 30% point bonus when choosing points
  • Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites
  • Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres2. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge
  • Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights
  • Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay5
  • Receive a nightly room refresh
  • Receive the confirmed bed type at check-in
  • Stay connected with complimentary in-room Internet access
  • Expedite check-in at a dedicated area for elite members
  • Ensure a room is always available with our 48-hour guarantee
  • Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request
  • Book reservations through an exclusive Diamond line

Suite at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum:

  • Three Starpoints per eligible US dollar spent, a 50% bonus over the Preferred level.
  • Upgrades to best available room at check-in, including Standard Suites.
  • Your choice of a welcome gift with each stay. Choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast (New Option!) or local amenities.
  • Club- and Executive-level privileges where available.
  • Complimentary in-room Internet access.
  • 4 p.m. late checkout, so you can sleep in, relax by the pool or see more of the local area you’re visiting.
  • Access to Hotel’s Health Club / Gym where available.
  • Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3 p.m., 72+ hours prior to arrival.
  • Our signature Platinum Concierge service at 888-625-4991 – always one call away to help you arrange just about anything regarding your visit. It’s service tailored to your needs.

So what are my actual thoughts on the two status levels?

Starwood Platinum vs. Hyatt Diamond: Ease Of Qualification

Both Starwood Platinum and Hyatt Diamond require 25 stays or 50 nights per calendar to achieve. Both of their co-branded credit cards offer “shortcuts” to status, though:

Qualification MethodStarwood PlatinumHyatt Diamond
Co-Branded Credit CardTwo stays and five nights towards elite status just for having the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express

(if you have both cards, that means you start each year with four stays and 10 nights towards status)
Two stays and five nights towards Diamond status when you spend $20,000 on the Chase Hyatt Visa Card in a calendar year

Receive an additional three stays and five nights towards Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the Chase Hyatt Visa Card in a calendar year

(if you spend $40,000 per year, that means you receive four stays and 10 nights towards status each year)
Eligible StaysAll Starwood stays count towards status, including free night and Cash & Points bookingsPoints + Cash bookings count towards status, while outright free night stays don’t

Bottom line:

While Hyatt offers a more lucrative challenge, Starwood Platinum is easier to maintain between the elite stay and night credits through the credit card, and the fact that all nights count towards status.

Starwood Platinum vs. Hyatt Diamond: Earning Points Through Stays

Starwood PlatinumHyatt Diamond
Points per $1As a Platinum member you earn 3.0 Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood propertiesAs a Diamond member you earn 6.5 Gold Passport points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties
Value of PointsI value Starwood points at ~2.2 cents each, so that’s a return of 6.6%I value Hyatt points at roughly 1.5 cents each, so that’s a “return” of ~9.75%
PromotionsTypically offers less lucrative promotions than Hyatt, and often has excluded hotels (the current SPG promotion offers a maximum of 700 bonus Starpoints per night)Fairly consistently offers decently lucrative promotions, typically offering an average of 2,500 bonus Hyatt points per night, if maxed out

Bottom line:

You’ll earn more points for Hyatt stays than Starwood stays, both in terms of the earnings rates on base spend and in terms of promotions.

Starwood Platinum vs. Hyatt Diamond: Earning Points Through Credit Card Spend

Starwood PlatinumHyatt Diamond
Co-Branded Credit CardsStarwood offers the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American ExpressHyatt offers the Chase Hyatt Visa Card, but also participates in the Ultimate Rewards Program
Other Credit CardsOnly reasonable way to earn Starpoints on credit card spend is through the co-branded cardsYou can earn Hyatt points through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold® Business Card and Ink Plus® Business Card, etc.
Points per $1 SpentBoth offer 2 points/$1spent at SPG properties, and 1 point/$1 spent on everything else.The Hyatt Visa offers 3 points/$1 spent at all Hyatt properties, 2 points/ $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies, and 1 point/$1 spent on everything else.

The Ultimate Rewards cards not only offer bigger sign-up bonuses, but also offer 2-5 points per dollar in several spending categories

Bottom line:

Hyatt points are not only much easier to come by through hotel stays, but also through everyday spend.

Starwood Platinum vs. Hyatt Diamond: Upgrades

Starwood PlatinumHyatt Diamond
Upgrade InstrumentsIf you earn 50 elite qualifying nights in a year you receive 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm an upgrade for one night up to five days before arrival (Suite Night Awards can also be applied on awards)For earning Diamond status you receive four Confirmed Suite Upgrade Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite on a revenue or Points + Cash reservation at the time of booking for up to seven consecutive nights
Complimentary UpgradesIf not using a Suite Night Award, you receive the best available room, up to a standard suite.If not using a confirmed suite upgrade, you receive the best available non-suite

Suite at W Guangzhou

Bottom line:

In theory I think Hyatt has the slight edge here, though it all depends on the individual.

As a Diamond member you can receive up to 28 “confirmed” nights in a suite if you’re maxing out the Suite Night Awards, while with Starwood you can confirm at most 10 nights.

That being said, with Starwood you can upgrade award reservations as well, and if you frequently make short stays you may come out ahead (since you can apply the Suite Night Awards to ten individual reservations, in theory).

When not using a confirmed suite upgrade, Starwood is theoretically better, as you are officially eligible for suite upgrades. That being said, execution of that can be a bit hit or miss, as not all hotels will proactively provide suite upgrades.

Starwood Platinum vs. Hyatt Diamond: Breakfast

Starwood PlatinumHyatt Diamond
Lounge AccessPlatinum members receive club lounge accessDiamond members receive club lounge access
Restaurant BreakfastIn place of the 500 Starpoint welcome amenity, Platinum members have the option of choosing a continental breakfast in the restaurantIn the event that the hotel doesn't have a club lounge, members receive full American breakfast in the restaurant

If the hotel has a club lounge and it's closed, members receive full American breakfast in the restaurant and 2,500 Gold Passport points

Bottom line:

Hyatt offers the most generous breakfast benefit of any hotel chain, and wins hands down.

With Starwood you get continental breakfast as the best “published” benefit, and have to give up 500 Starpoints to receive it (assuming the hotel doesn’t have a club lounge), while with Hyatt you get a hot breakfast and your welcome amenity.

So which is better: Hyatt Diamond or Starwood Platinum?

As a frequent hotel guest that’s not a huge fan of Hilton or Marriott, I really love having status with both Hyatt and Starwood.

Combined Hyatt and Starwood have substantially fewer properties than the three “major” chains (Hilton, IHG, and Marriott). So it really helps to have status with both programs, since one likely wouldn’t cover all the places I’d need to go (then again, that’s what backup Hilton status is for).

Hyatt and Starwood both aren’t perfect, and both win in some categories. I do find that Hyatt does a phenomenal job of managing expectations, and do generally find that I get somewhat better recognition at hotels as a Hyatt Diamond than as a Starwood Platinum member.

That being said, as a leisure traveler it’s awesome that Starwood Platinum is fairly easy to achieve, between the potential to earn 10 elite qualifying nights towards status just for having two credit cards, and earning stay credits for award redemptions.

What’s your favorite hotel chain and why?

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  1. I’ve been SPG Gold for a few years, and am in the middle of a Platinum challenge right now – will make it due to a bunch of work trips. Am curious to see how different Plat is from Gold, in practice.

  2. Though I am a member of many of the hotel loyalty programs and do about 100 – 110 nights each year, I find that I can only realistically strive for elite status in 2-3 over the course of a year without loosing my sanity about which place is best to stay tonight so I can optimize my status goals. So, in order of priority, I’ve chosen obtain/maintain Diamond at Hyatt, Platinum at IHG, and Gold at Hilton.

    For many of the same reasons as you Lucky, I really like the Hyatt program, so obtaining/maintaining the Diamond status is my first hotel goal each year.

    But as you note Lucky, Hyatt doesn’t have a real big location footprint compared to other chains, so that’s where IHG comes in. It has really broad and deep domestic and international coverage. Though I get Platinum via the Chase IHG Rewards branded credit card (which, BTW, I think is a great deal at $49/year with an annual free night voucher), I also will do enough nights/points over the course of a year to earn Platinum “conventionally”. IHG has very good “code” promos over the course of a year which can really multiply your points earnings, and their flash sales and points breaks are great deals for redeeming.

    Finally, also like you Lucky, I get Hilton Gold status via the Citi credit card. I stay at Hilton when purpose/site convenient, and just bank the points. My wife and I participate in the Hilton time share program and so the HHonors Points we bank mesh nicely there.

  3. Perfect timing on this post. In the middle of the Hyatt Diamond challenge. Get SPG Gold from Amex Platinum and IHG Platinum Ambassador from the Visa and 20,000 point Ambassador purchase. I also have Marriott/Ritz Silver (apparently), from some of the big “fetish” events that tend to be held at Marriott hotels right now (read: Folsom Street Fair, Dore Alley both in San Francisco, IML in Chicago).

    IHG has a ton of hotels, but their mid-level category is seriously lacking. A Crowne Plaza is often times not nearly as nice as a Hyatt or Westin.

    I’m glad you’re on the Hyatt boat. I’ve found that Hyatt does a good job of recognizing elite members, and it’s hard to beat a Park Hyatt.

    Side note: I have noticed that when I have to stay at Marriott hotels, they’re really good with comp upgrades and elite recognition, even for their lowest level. Not really a fan of the hotels, but it is what it is.

  4. Love Hyatt and have been trying hard to achieve Diamond by staying at Hyatt hotels during my business trips. However, I find it very difficult since there are not many Hyatt hotels out there. My business trips are all over and most of the times I cannot find a Hyatt property in the area. Also, I find it difficult to justify staying at a Hyatt or Starwood property when you travel outside the US. Other than the top hotels like Park Hyatt, St Regis and W there are many local chains or other luxury chains like Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, TAJ or top European chains that are hard to beat when you see the outdated Sheratons and Hyatt Regencies in the same location.

  5. In my opinion, SPG Platinum is by far better than Hyatt. My issue with Hyatt is the lack of hotels in areas I travel to, their lacking customer service, and inability to upgrade on points reservations (switched from Hyatt Diamond to SPG Platinum few years ago). Not to mention the transfer partners of SPG are a huge bonus.

  6. I’m a huge Marriott fan, primarily because of the quality of the service and consistent excellence in hotels. I’ve always had a good experience at Marriott tier, and have an expectation for some level of comfort at their lower tiers.

    I am six stays away from completing a spg platinum challenge, with a bunch of travel coming up and I decided not to complete it. I can’t stomach another night in a dingy Sheraton or the on and off service level from folks at spg properties. I want to love aloft, but I need fresh air. I’ve stayed in some beautiful Westins and some which are uninspiring dumps (Silicon Valley for example)

    iHG just doesn’t have enough in their elite program to interest me, and the weird separation of elites is annoying. Also, I really do not like the hard product. I hardly ever get a good nights sleep at an IHG, but keep their credit card because sometimes they are the only option in a town full of motel 6s.

    If I had a lot moreover coming this year I would consider Hyatt, I’ve heard some great things about them from your site and others.

    I’m a marriott girl all the way though, never had better service from the front desk to servers in the Restuarant they are top notch.

  7. I want to point out that in my experience with Hyatts, even if you do not use 1 of the 4 suite upgrade certificates (or can’t on full pt bookings), the hotel uses its discretion in upgrading me to a suite anyway. At the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, they even upgraded me 2 levels past the base suite. Truly stellar!

  8. Benefits are only as good if you can actually get to the status level they are offered.

    For those that aren’t getting status through CC spend but are getting it through nights/stays price becomes an issue. Especially if you are using a corporate booking agent and have policies to comply with (like concur). It will take a lot of convincing to get a manager to approve a 200/night Hyatt hotel vs a 150/night Hilton Garden Inn in the same city in my experience.

    With that being said, while the benefits at Hyatt and Starwood at awesome, obtaining them can be pricier than at the other two (or unobtainable if you aren’t staying in locations where they have their reasonably priced brands).

  9. i like both of these programs but will likely focus in making Platinum in SPG and keep Hyatt preferred as a back up. Main reason is distribution of hotels globally. SPG has the edge there. i could not make diamond with my travel destinations. Requalified Gold in SPG in January this year based on hotel availability (8dofferemt locations plus card 2 nights).

  10. You alluded to it at the end, but what really makes Hyatt (especially) and SPG so darn unattractive is the lack of a good footprint. They just don’t have hotels where I end up going, or because there’s only one or two the rates are ridiculous.

    I’ve switched to Marriott (from IHG) this year because Marriott’s Gold mid-tier elite status is fantastic. I know what I’m going to get when I enter the hotel, no playing all these ridiculous games that SPG hotels pull with upgrade roulette. Apart from the benefit of suite upgrades, I’d say Marriott Gold is = SPG platinum, and it’s not difficult to attain, especially as Marriott let’s you buy back status with points (and the meeting rewards bonus’).

  11. I think SPG Platinum status is great for outside the US. Within the US it seems they do everything to provide the most pathetic excuse for a breakfast, never seem to have a club lounge and upgrades are hard to come by. Internationally properties have more respect for the status.

  12. Lucky,

    I am a Diamond with Hilton and have a few upgraded status with others due to the 1K from United and Chase President Club card. My question is this: When I travel (spend about 100 nights a year), many of the trips can be 3-4 night trips. I like to use Hilton since the Homewood, Embassy and Hampton Suites have the suites with the extra space which is a nice added feature for me. Do any of the other chains offer as many suite hotel options as Hilton? I know I don’t get anything but breakfast, internet and late check out in the suite options but that works for me. Any recommendations?

  13. I agree that Hyatt and SPG are the two best programs, and there are certain geographical areas where one simply isn’t present or isn’t competitive. Elite treatment is definitely best in Asia.

    SPG properties definitely don’t proactively offer space available suites as they should. I also don’t like the leeway that SPG gives hotels to be chintzy on breakfast. If there is a buffet available in the restaurant, they should just allow SPG Platinums to have the buffet. Certain properties are incredibly chintzy giving just a minimal grab-and-go breakfast or minimal set items, and charge exhorbitant upgrades for the full buffet.

    Hyatt has always been more generous with breakfast. But in some cities they are much higher priced than SPG properties, sometimes without justification, and some of Hyatt’s North American properties are pretty dated. Hyatt’s footprint is smaller than SPGs, and sometimes you do need Hilton when neither SPG nor Hyatt are there geographically (so HH Gold is worth keeping by credit card spend for those occasions.)

    Nonetheless I intend to requalify for both Hyatt Diamond and SPG Platinum, and then pick the best suited property in each destination.

  14. Don’t forget the 35% discount on a point stay with SPG Plat re qualification. That’s potentially worth up to 35,000 SPG points per year if you use it on a 5 night stay at a Cat 6…

  15. @ Ray — Nope, you’re absolutely right, Hilton offers the most all-suite properties. Hyatt has Hyatt Place and Marriott has Residence Inn, but for the most part you won’t find as many all-suite properties with the other chains.

  16. What about ease of use of points? We focus pretty exclusively on SPG (Plat), with Marriott (Gold cuz of UA Plat) as a back up as Marriott. SPG points are so easy to use (true no blackouts), although not so easy to earn. Marriott points are easier to earn, but really hard to use (blackouts for pretty much anytime you want to use them) and the high end properties need an unreasonable amount of points. So, how easy are Hyatt points to use? And if redeeming for top properties, which is more valuable, SPG or Hyatt?

  17. I can be on site, Sunday to Thursday for anywhere from 6 to 30 months at a time. The reason I stay at Hyatt is their sales people call me back. On numerous occasions, I’ve called the Hilton, Marriott, Starwood property in a given city and often Hyatt is the only one who will call back or the only one who will offer a deal.

  18. +1 for all the Marriott and IHG fans. Hyatt and SPG are fantastic if you get to choose where you travel all the time. But I regularly travel where there are no Hyatt or SPG properties. And Marriott is so consistent. Plus, we own a Marriott time share, so get stay credit even for using our timeshare. And, I get a whole lot more for Marriott gold than I do SPG Gold or Hyatt Platinum…

  19. For leisure travelers, Hyatt & SPG hands down. Hyatt treats Diamonds much better than SPG with Platinums. I’ve yet been disappointed as Hyatt Diamond for the last 4 years.

  20. From a US perspective I can see the sense in your summary, however with no access to easy credit card status in Europe it changes the equation somewhat. Also the coverage for Hyatt in particular, but also Starwood, is really poor in Europe. Sure in major capital cities they’ll have a property, but Hilton by comparison will have multiple properties – London being a prime example. Hilton are also very good at offering discounted rates, which is pretty important when having to pay for one’s own travels mainly in cash given the reduced credit card earning opportunities. It’s a great shame their redemption chart has been decimated, but given I pay for a lot of stays they tend to still offer the best value for money balancing cost with elite recognition. IHG are easier to earn points with but their elite recognition is really poor.

  21. Late response to this thread but I am surprised that someone who spends so much time writing exclusively about loyalty programs can be so misinformed.

    I am referring specifically to the following claims you made about Hilton:
    “Why don’t I love them [Hilton Honors] more? They’re not good with suite upgrades, they don’t offer guaranteed late check-out as an elite benefit, and their redemption rates are pretty horrible.”

    Let me unwrap the above, one item at a time:
    (a) They’re not good with suite upgrades: This is simply wrong. I am a Hilton Diamond and, unlike Gold Passport Diamond suite upgrades, Hilton HHonors Diamond suite upgrades are unlimited and good even on reward stays, depending on availability (same requirement as at GP), but availability is excellent at HHonors (100% so far for this Diamond)

    (b) they don’t offer guaranteed late check-out as an elite benefit: Wrong again. Late check out has always been a HHonors benefit, not only for elites but also for ‘blue members’, i.e. those without status. The only requirement. which is universal in the industry, is that a timely request for late check out be made.

    (c) their redemption rates are pretty horrible: It is a trifecta because this claim is also wrong. HHonors purportedly “horrible” redemption rates are a myth. A simple back of the envelope calculation would show that in terms of spend per free night Hilton HHonors offers about the same as Hyatt GP, while your second favorite program, SPG, offers by far the worst value in the industry. If one include point earnings from co-branded credit cards, HHonors offer better value in spend per free than Hyatt GP. The math is really quite simply.

    Lastly, you also got this backwards: “If you’re not a super frequent hotel guest, Hilton is a program that’s tough to beat”. Hilton is the program for frequent guests precisely because it offers one of the spends per free night, in addition to everything else that you got wrong.

  22. @ DCS — Your third point is a matter of perspective, but you’re factually wrong on the first two points. Suite upgrades are unlimited… at the hotel’s discretion, and not based on availability. And those are two very different things.

    Hilton offers late check-out based on availability, and not on a guaranteed basis.

    I’d suggest reading the terms again…

  23. @Lucky. Yours are simply semantics arguments that do not contradict anything that I said as well as EXPERIENCED first-hand as a HHonors Diamond.

    Suite upgrades are unlimited, whether that depends on availability or is at a property’s discretion, is a distinction without a difference. Under the Hinton system the property has full discretion on a wide range of items, which include deciding when there is availability or which room is a suite. BUT space-AVAILABILITY is in the T&C. Here’s the language: “Upgrades for Diamond HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or SUITES, as identified by each property…. All upgrades are granted on a SPACE-AVAILABLE basis for the entire stay, as determined at the time of check-in.”

    The property decides on what they call a suite, and upgrades are dependent on the availability of such suites, just like in any other program, except that without limit at HHonors. The advantage of having suite upgrades be at the discretion of a property rather than enshrined in the T&C, like at Hyatt, is that each upgrade is on a case-by-case basis and managers cannot hide behind some rule. It is good because it makes sense for a manager to reap goodwill by giving upgrades to top customers when available since it costs the property nothing. Suite upgrades, which are also available ON REWARDS stays at HHonors (cannot beat that!) are not usually automatic (by design I am sure). One must request at check-in. However, I am batting better 95% since 2012 (and 100% in 2014) on my requests for upgrades — that is high availability!

    Regarding late check-out – From the T&C: “Late Check-Out: Must be requested and is subject to availability.” I am a Marriott Gold, SPG Gold and Hyatt GP Platinum, and in all those programs late check-out MUST BE requested, and it makes sense: Rooms need to be serviced for possible occupancy by the next guest, so the hotel needs to know ahead of time when the current guest, VIP or not, would be checking out. Any HHonors member, but especially a Diamond, who requests a late check-out will be accommodated if they request it, say, 24-48h ahead of time. I have never been denied a late check-out request so I do not even consider this at the top of my desired perks because I take it for granted that anyone would get it if they make a reasonable request.

    And the third point is NOT a matter of perspective. The math, which is rather trivial, will show that only Club Carlson and IHG offer better value in terms of Spend Per Free night than HHonors. Compare the Spend per Free for a HHonors Diamond, a Hyatt GP Diamond and a SPG Pure Platinum and you will see that the purported “horrible” redemption rates at Hilton are a myth perpetuated by bloggers. In terms of “raw” points the HHonors rates are very high but then again so is the number of points that one earns/stay!!! This is why one must look at a quantity that can be compared across the programs and that is Spend Per Free Night. If you do the math, you will see that all the purported “devaluation” of HHonors points did was to bring their program’s rates to par with those of their competitors. HHonors rates got too cheap in relation to the points that members could earn from co-branded credit cards and promos; devaluation simply maintained the value of the HHonors point and made it competitive. But in terms of Spend Per Free Night HHonors remains the better value compared to Hyatt, Marriott and SPG, in that order…

  24. @ DCS — As a Hilton Diamond I HAVE been denied late check-out. Several times. While it’s a GUARANTEED benefit with Hyatt and Starwood.

  25. @lucky: Hmmm, that is unfortunate because it is one of those perks that are generally easily granted to top customers to generate goodwill. However, the possibility exists that the denial was legit, as it would be at Hyatt, in spite of the “guarantee”, if a Diamond did not make a timely request. This would likely be the case at popular hotels or resorts during high season. You should name the properties so that we would know…

    I have never been denied a late check-out so it is really a wash, is it not…

  26. @DCS
    If you are really having high level of experiences on those hotel chains why don’t you start write up few trip reports of yours like what Lucky does for all of us and I’d be highly appreciated. It’d be interesting to see how you can come up….

  27. @siv

    I do post quite a bit about my travels, in a much larger forum.

    For example, here’s a good one I’d reported on my losing my passport in Hong Kong on a Sunday, just two hours before I was to board my flight back to the US:

    …and here is a report documenting my 100% HHonors Diamond suite upgrade success rate in 2014:

    …or the details of how I planned my Big-Time mile/point redemption in 2014 to criss cross the Asian continent, very very affordably:

    They do not have the glamour or the “lifestyle of the rich or famous” feel of Lucky’s posts, but they make up for it by being fully reality-based…. y’know, like what a guy next door would do and write about 😉

  28. I am a Platinum member of SPG and Diamond on Hyatt. Like you’ve mentioned, having status on both programs is better because one chain won’t cover all the places you intend to go. I think it’s hard to compare like for like as it does depend on the hotel that you’re staying in and both programs are pretty competitive in terms of offerings. I’d recommend having both status. Though I do have to highlight that for Hyatt, it has always been harder to receive a suite upgrade (always been told it’s because their suites are fully booked out – which I doubt is the case), unlike SPG which I have been given most of the time when I requested for it at the front desk upon arrival (Sheraton Hangzhou, W San Francisco, Westin Cancun, Sheraton Old San Juan) which is very much unlike the level of service received from the front desk at Park Hyatt Vendome, Park Hyatt Milan and Grand Hyatt New York (maybe because they get diamond members all the time). That would be my biggest irk when it comes to Hyatt’s Diamond membership when comparing it to SPG.

  29. Although late to the party, some like myself may just come across this thread. I”m Hilton Diamond and Starwood Platinum and have been for several years. I just have to chime in with my two cents as I see one big difference between Hilton and SPG. When I travel for business, I prefer SPG as the 4:00 PM late check-out is wonderful for business. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a Hilton and the “best we can do is 12:30 or 1:00”. the 4:00 PM guaranteed check-out is one of the best perks out there. The only thing better is with 50 stays I get the 24 hour room with SPG. I check-in later in the evening, say 8:00 PM, I have my room until 8:00 PM the next day so I can fly in the evening before a meeting, get a good night sleep, go to my meetings, go back to the room, shower and freshen up before getting on a flight home.

    I have to give the overall quality of the properties an edge to Hilton so that is where I stay when on vacation or working in nicer areas. Right now I’m at the Hilton overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean.

    As they said, it’s nice having elite status with two chains and I have at one time or the other had top tier elite with them all but Marriott (never made 75 stays with them). I prefer SPG with Hyatt or Hilton in a close second.
    BTW, as I often travel by myself, I don’t care about suite upgrades, just give me a nice room with a view.

  30. I AGREE Starwood late check out at 4:00 is the best. I had no idea they had a 24 hour room.

    I am top status with both. I don’t think the Hyatt people are as friendly or as accommodating as they use to be.. Most of the time I do not feel like an elite member when using Hyatt. It is so corporate now, it feel like the people are robots most of the time, or just don’t care. I even get that feeling when I ring in to the Gold Passport line as well. Just not that nice any more

    Starwood all the way around is the best for sure. They treat me like a queen and respect the fact my company spends a lot of money each month with them. They remember my name and really do try to make my stay the best. I cringe every time I have to stay at the Hyatt, it is like a box of chocolates.

  31. @London — Except that Starwood was so good they went belly up and out and SPG will soon be no more. As for Hyatt GP, the program now barely registers a pulse, on its to being disfigured into something appropriately acronymed ‘WOH!’ 😉

    Ah, the good ol’ days…


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