Early last week, Marriott announced its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. And, even though Marriott says that they will preserve the best of both loyalty programs, I’m not too optimistic. Mergers like these usually lead to what is best (or thought to be best) for stockholders, not for customers. I’ve covered a couple angles of the deal already:
- Hey Marriott: Here’s how to keep SPG loyalists loyal
- Convert SPG points to miles? How to play the Marriott merger
Surprisingly, one awesome benefit of the merger surfaced late last week. Hyatt decided to proactively swoop up disillusioned customers of other chains by offering Diamond status to anyone with mid to top tier status with Marriott, SPG, Hilton, or IHG. They started the firestorm last Thursday with a single tweet:
Soon, they were slammed left and right with DMs (Twitter Direct Messages), and they started redirecting people to email. The procedure for getting matched to Diamond status then became this:
Email email@example.com with a screen shot showing at least 1 stay within the last 12 months as well as your status with the competitor.
People who submitted their qualifications right away reported receiving Hyatt Diamond status through February 2017. Those who submitted later, had to wait longer for replies (and, at the time of writing this, many are still waiting, including my wife). Also, as found in the comments of this Miles to Memories post, it appears that Hyatt stopped matching mid-tier elites (and even some top tier elites!) to Hyatt Diamond and started offering Platinum status instead. For those who are not familiar: Hyatt Platinum status is almost worthless whereas their next level, Diamond, is about as good as status gets.
At this point, It’s unclear how long the status match will be offered, and its unclear exactly which levels of status with competing chains are required. If you want to try to get matched, it can’t hurt to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a screen shot of your elite status with another chain (ideally top tier) and at least 1 stay in the past 12 months.
Why Hyatt Diamond status is great
Here is a list of my favorite Hyatt Diamond benefits, with a brief comment about each:
Club lounge / full breakfast
Hyatt says: “Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge.”
My take: The lounge / breakfast benefit is my personal favorite. Free breakfast at high end hotels can be incredibly valuable. At the Park Hyatt Vendome, for example, Diamond guests are allowed free breakfast in the restaurant or free room service breakfast up to 50 Euro per person. Since there were three of us in our suite, we ordered 150 Euro worth of breakfast each day. Shown below, is part of one morning’s breakfast:
Regency Club and Grand Club access can be wonderful too. Not all clubs are perfect, but there are some really nice ones. And, often the evening hors d’oeuvres are substantial enough to double as dinner. Recently, for example, I spent a night at the Grand Hyatt New York. The outdoor patio was beautiful:
And the evening spread was really good:
The only thing I didn’t like was how incredibly crowded the lounge became at breakfast time. And, unfortunately, with status matches being given out easily, that problem may just get worse.
Hyatt says: Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights.
My take: This is a great benefit for those who highly value suites. If you can get a good paid rate for a stay, or if the points + cash rate is available, then you can book the cheapest room available and use this benefit to upgrade to a one-bedroom suite (subject to suite availability, of course). A single upgrade can be used to upgrade up to 7 consecutive nights. I see this as a terrific option when traveling with family members since it gives you much more room to spread out. When deciding whether to use these upgrades, though, compare against the price in points to book the suite directly. In some cases, the latter approach offers better value. For example, we used points to book a suite at the Andaz Maui since Points + Cash rates were not available, and individual room rates were close to $1,000 per night at the time we visited:
Note that some properties do not allow suite upgrades: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort , Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Park Hyatt Sydney, Andaz Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Kyoto, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, Hyatt Regency Tulsa, Hyatt Regency Wichita, Hyatt Paris Madeleine, Hyatt Herald Square, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, Hyatt Manila City of Dreams, Hyatt Santa Barbara, Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels Hyatt Residence Club properties or M life resorts.
Hyatt says: Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay. Welcome amenity consists of the following: at Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt properties in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean; a choice of 1,000 bonus points or Food and Beverage option; at Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt properties outside of U.S., Canada and Caribbean; a choice of 1,000 bonus points or a Food and Beverage amenity will be provided; at Andaz hotels worldwide; a choice of 1,000 bonus points or a locally inspired amenity; at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva hotels worldwide 1,000 bonus points will be awarded; at Hyatt Place a choice of 500 bonus points or a complimentary beverage; at Hyatt House properties a choice of 500 bonus points or $5 credit in the Guest Market; at Hyatt Residence Club Resorts 500 bonus points will be awarded.
My take: Whether choosing points or a food and drink amenity, it’s always nice to get a welcome gift! My wife and I often opt for a bottle of wine and cheese and crackers, or similar, if we know that we’ll have a chance to enjoy it.
4pm late check out
Hyatt says: Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request. Subject to availability at Hyatt resorts and casinos. Not available at Hyatt Residence Club resorts.
My take: I love this benefit. A 4 p.m. check-out makes it easier to enjoy the last day of vacation when you have a late flight. It’s late enough to spend time at the beach, pool, or whatever, and still shower in your room before packing up to leave.
United Club passes
Hyatt says: Enjoy two complimentary one-time-use United Club passes annually
My take: Nice little extra perk. Just remember to bring those passes along when flying United!
Why some are unhappy with the status match offer
Most people with Hyatt Diamond status have that status because they completed the required 25 stays or 50 nights within a calendar year. Those who did so must be extremely frustrated to see many people being given status outright without doing anything other than sending an email. But, does the swelling of Diamond ranks decrease the value to existing elites? Let’s look at each top Diamond benefit:
- Club lounge / full breakfast: Potential big negative impact to lounge crowdedness. I doubt that there will be any measurable impact to the free restaurant breakfast benefit in those hotels without a club lounge.
- Suite upgrade: Potential negative impact on suite availability for popular hotels during high season
- Welcome gift: No impact
- 4pm late checkout: No impact
- United Club passes: No impact
The good news is that most Diamond benefits should be just as good as before despite there being many newly minted Diamond elites. That said, club lounges may be more crowded than before and, in some cases, suite upgrades may be tougher to get.
[…] Then, a very lucky thing happened. In November of last year, Hyatt briefly offered a Diamond status match to anyone with mid or top tier status in a competing chain. I didn’t think I would qualify since I had Hyatt Diamond status at the time, so my wife […]
[…] As a lead up to around-the-world 2016, I pulled up some old pictures of my Park Hyatt Sydney stay from around-the-world 2013–just as stunning as I remember. Previously, I used my two free Chase credit card award nights (at any Hyatt property)–and again, 24 months later I have successfully obtained two more free nights at any Hyatt property. And better yet, I got an even better deal with two free nights, a $50 statement credit, 5,000 Hyatt points and Diamond status! […]
Finally got the “Plat only” message. I sent in the DM on Friday night. I’m already Plat so they also pointed out that they were not going to match my Plat for 2016 based on competitor status and that I would have to re-earn it the hard way.
Bit of a middle finger, really.
Dumb part is that early next year SPG will be Marriott so I will then have the equivalent of SPG Diamond which is their criteria for the status match.
Finally got upgraded to Diamond this morning!
I contacted them at about 10pm EST on Thursday and received a reply about 2 hours later asking me to send in proof of stay/status. Sent the screen shots in early Friday morning. Never heard anything back the rest of the day so I tweeted them Friday night and received a reply that I’d be upgraded “accordingly”. Two days went by and I still hadn’t heard anything and I tweeted them again last night saying I was told I would be upgraded to Diamond and I still hadn’t (a bit of a fib, they never told me specifically I’d get Diamond). Got a reply this morning I’ve been upgraded.
Two things I think may have made the difference, even days after the terms changed, are the fact I contacted them Thursday evening and sent my proof in before noon CST on Friday, plus the fact that I have 200k points in my account transferred from Chase that I’m going to be using for stays next year.
Forgot to mention my statuses. Gold with SPG, Hilton, Club Carlson and Diamond with Best Western (status matched from my Club Carlson gold). Sent in proofs of stays at Starwood and Club Carlson.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones thanks to my 9 month old having me up at 4 a.m. EST Friday morning. I sent the email showing IHG stay and IHG Platinum Elite status right away. I received my email confirming Hyatt Diamond Tier status at 6:30 pm Sunday.
Hilton diamond, they would only match to Hyatt platinum
Edit: Got an email later matching my Hilton diamond to Hyatt diamond 🙂
SPG Gold, Hilton Gold. Got email notification this afternoon, matched to Hyatt Diamond.
Requested status match early Friday morning via Twitter IM as well as email. Received Twitter response asking for further documents, which were already sent in the IM.
Just got this email response:
Thank you for your interest in Hyatt Gold Passport. We have received your recently submitted request for membership and review of your tier status, and will get back to you within the next 14 business days.
Got the same response. Sent my DM on Thur night and sent screenshot and email friday morning. I am already a Diamond but will not be able to renew status and it will expire in Feb 2016. Definitely don’t have a problem if they don’t end up matching me but figured it wouldn’t hurt to try….
Great attitude. The people acting butthurt because they only get Platinum need to chill the fcuk out.
Not just suite upgrade. Room upgrade will be impacted too.
“Hyatt Diamond status: the first devaluation of the Marriott SPG merger”
Fixed your title for you.
I was one of the fortunate ones to match to Hyatt Diamond. I’m aware of all the benefits except the United passes… how do I get those? Will they just arrive in the mail soon or do I have to request them?
They’ll mail them automatically
It was an unexpectedly generous- if not stupid – offer and if I were an existing Hyatt Diamond or working towards it I’d be pissed. Instead, I heard about the offer, applied almost immediately Friday morning for SO and self, and got no response yet so I am sure (with Hilton Gold) we will be offered Plat status at best. While it is better than a poke in the eye, I agree it is pretty much worthless and NOT an equivalent status to Hilton Gold and not going to win them any business from me. Not saying I was entitled to the status in the first place but if their goal was to win new customers, they handled this poorly.
Another data point, they are only doing PLT match, no more Diamond.
I too was only given Hyatt Platinum. I’m SPG Gold and Marriott Platinum.
My wife was recently given a Diamond match from Hilton Gold, so it seems to be somewhat flexible.
1) If the room is booked out of a diamond account, but the account holder is not there, do the occupying guests get the free breakfast?
2) If the room is booked out of a non-diamond member’s account, but the guest is diamond, do all occupants get benefits?
3) Is there a limit on number of guests from a room who would get the breakfast?
I also have these same questions. Are the free Diamond breakfast benefits also active during the Hyatt Credit Card free night stays? And for all in the party or the room? We need two rooms for our family of four in a room in Paris.
Yes, the benefits are active even for free stays from the credit card. When you book a second room, most hotels will extend the benefits to both rooms.
1) Hyatt has an option to book “Guest of Honor” reservations for others so that they’ll get full Diamond benefits during their stay. This only works for points reservations though. If you book a paid stay or points + cash stay, you would have to book it in the Diamond account holder’s name, add the other person to the reservation, and request that the other person be allowed to check-in. It should work, but might not work everywhere.
2) I don’t think so. You need to have the Diamond account on the reservation
3) The terms say “maximum 4 people”.
It seems like come mid-March 2016 the ranks of the Hyatt Diamond elite status could have been swelling just by the natural attrition that the merger is going to cause.
While I’m sure the current Hyatt Diamond members would have found a ‘Diamond Challenge’ more palatable than outright giving away a ‘Diamond Match’; the fact is there was less than 7 weeks left until the end of the year when the merger was announced. And not just any 7 weeks, these weeks include lots of coordination with other family members. It seems like any ‘challenge’ program would probably have needed to have an extremely low threshold, like 3 stays or 7-10 nights. And then some people with extremely valuable status in other programs still might not have been able to change many plans.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hyatt offer some kind of a match program at the beginning of the year, but I think this was a smart move on Hyatt’s part to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak. The people they matched this past week now have the opportunity to start changing up their 2016 hotel stays.
Again, 4 months from now, I think the number of Hyatt Diamond elite members would have begun to sharply increase. If the people Hyatt gave the match to in the past week don’t stay enough to maintain the status going forward, there will only be a small impact in how crowded those clubs are. At the end of the day, Hyatt clubs will be more crowded in 2016; it was going to happen anyways.
They told me the offer is only for Platinum status not Diamond, I’m a SPG Gold / HHonors Diamond.
Thanks for that data point. It appears that they’ve become increasingly particular about which chains and status levels they’ll match to Diamond. Does anyone have experience getting matched to Diamond after Friday?
I DMed Hyatt Concierge on Friday and got reply on Sunday.
“We are only offering Diamond status to SPG Platinum members. SPG Gold, Hilton, Marriott, and IHG (any level) would match to Platimum membership status.”
Is the 1 stay in months for a stay at Hyatt or a stay at the program you are submitting for the status match?
I emailed a request for a status match on Friday, and got a response today. They are “not making any status matches at this time.”
@Max- Now you have me worried! I DM’d them late Thursday night and received a reply on Friday morning that they will status match to Diamond (I’m SPG Plat) and to email GP and I’ll get a reply in 48 hours. Emailed GP right away and still haven’t heard back. Followed up with another DM today saying that I haven’t heard from GP (other than their auto reply that they received my email).