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Whether you qualified for elite status in 2014 or fell short, the new year presents an opportunity to assess just how much that status means to you, and whether to pursue it again this year. Today, TPG Contributor Nick Ewen evaluates each level of Hyatt Gold Passport elite status to help you decide.
Hotel status can be quite valuable, but that value isn’t always easy to quantify. In posts earlier this month, I analyzed the value of elite status with both Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards, and today, I’ll take a crack at Hyatt, offering my thoughts on just how much Hyatt Platinum and Diamond elite status are worth.
While this analysis is similar to the recent posts analyzing the value of airline elite status, there are some notable differences. For starters, it’s much easier to switch your loyalty from one hotel chain to another, given the global reach of their various brands. The same cannot be said for airlines, as you might be a hub captive or fly regularly to a city that’s only served by one or two carriers.
Another key difference is the level of complexity that many hotel loyalty programs provide. Airline elite status benefits are more consistent; they generally don’t change based on the departure city or arrival city. Hotels are the opposite. You might earn the same number of points when you stay at a Park Hyatt or Hyatt Place, but the on-property benefits (and thus the value you get from each night’s stay) can vary widely.
As a reminder, I’ll be making a number of assumptions as I analyze the value of hotel elite status. For Hyatt, I assumed the following:
- You qualify on stays, but your eligible nights are halfway between the stay/night requirements (this is the same criteria I used for Hilton). I’m sure many of you qualify based on both stays and nights, but I wanted to keep the estimates conservative to account for those who frequently stay in hotels for just one night.
- Your average rate per night is $175. Like Marriott Rewards (and unlike Hilton HHonors), award stays with Hyatt don’t count toward elite status, so this assumption takes that into account.
- Approximately half of your nights are in higher-end (full service) hotels like Park Hyatt and Andaz locations, while the other half are in budget properties like Hyatt Place. Again, this is a conservative estimate.
Your stay and spending patterns may be quite different, so feel free to adjust these numbers up or down. There’s no single right way to conduct this type of analysis; running the numbers for yourself is an important step in determining whether it’s worth going for the next level.
Finally, I rounded valuations to the nearest whole dollar for simplicity. Read on to see what I determined.
Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum ($109)
As the lowest level within the Hyatt Gold Passport program, Platinum status is still relatively valuable. You earn this status with just 5 stays or 15 nights, but it’s also included automatically as a benefit for cardholders of the Chase Hyatt Credit Card. For my valuation, I’m assuming 10 nights split evenly between full-service and discount properties (5 nights and 3 stays each).
- 15% points bonus ($24): As a Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum member, you’ll earn an additional 15% points (on the base rate) for every stay. TPG’s most recent valuations of points and miles pegged Hyatt points at 1.8 cents apiece, so with 10 nights at $175 per night, you’re looking at 1,313 points more than a standard member would earn, giving you a value of $23.63.
- Preferred rooms ($25): Platinum members with Hyatt are also given preferred rooms upon arrival (subject to availability). These may include larger rooms or ones on higher floors, though the policy explicitly excludes club rooms and suites, and doesn’t apply at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Residence club properties. These rooms aren’t nearly as desirable as the upgrades given to Diamond members (see below), but it can still be a nice perk. I’m assuming a 25% success rate at full-service properties (rounded down to one night) and a value of $25 per night.
- Complimentary premium internet ($20): At the end of last year, Hyatt followed Marriott and Starwood’s lead in announcing that all guests will soon receive complimentary internet access at all properties worldwide. This new benefit kicks in next month, and is actually the most generous of the free internet policies, since you can use it regardless of your booking method and whether you’re a member of the Gold Passport program. This benefit was previously only available to elites, so Platinum and Diamond members will now have access to premium internet where available (though the website hasn’t been updated to reflect this change). I’ll use the same conservative estimate I used for this benefit with Marriott: $2 per day.
- 72-hour guarantee ($20): As with other chains, Hyatt offers elite members guaranteed availability, and Platinums can utilize this within 72 hours of arrival. Rooms books using this guarantee are often outrageously expensive, but it’s a nice option if you absolutely need a room.
- 2pm check out ($20): I’ve found that Hyatt is very good about granting late check-out requests, and Platinum members have until 2pm (subject to availability). Assuming the same utilization criteria I used for Marriott (10% utilization across your 6 stays), you would take advantage of this benefit once. I also knocked it down $5 because it only extends check-out until 2pm.
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond ($1,947)
TPG is a long-time fan of Hyatt Diamond status, and he extolled its virtues back in 2011. Diamond status is usually earned after 25 stays or 50 nights, and it does come with a host of impressive benefits. For this analysis, I’ll assume 38 nights across 26 stays, with 19 nights and 13 stays each in full-service and discount properties.
- 30% point bonus ($180): Hyatt Diamond members enjoy a 30% point bonus on the base rate at all properties, and with 38 nights at $175 per night, that’s an additional 9,975 points above what a regular member would earn. Using TPG’s valuation of 1.8 cents apiece, that’s $179.55 in value.
- Room upgrades ($250): As a Diamond member, you’re entitled to the “best room available upon arrival” at full-service properties. This could include club rooms or rooms with a view, and while it explicitly excludes suites, I have nonetheless enjoyed some great suites as a result of this benefit. I’ll use the same conservative estimates that I used for both Hilton and Marriott: $50 per night and a 25% success rate (rounded up to 5 nights).
- Complimentary club access/breakfast ($190): Diamond members also receive automatic access to the Regency or Grand Club, or can enjoy free breakfast at full-service properties without a club (like most Park Hyatt and Andaz locations). This can be an incredibly valuable benefit, and is actually provided for up to 4 registered guests per room. Again, keeping things conservative, I’ll assume the same $10 per night value that I used for both Hilton and Marriott.
- Suite upgrades ($800): In addition to the regular upgrades, Hyatt Diamond members receive four suite upgrade certificates that can be used on paid stays of up to 7 nights. You can confirm this at booking (if available), meaning there’s no need to hope for an upgrade at check-in. I’ve found that these rooms often go for at least $200 per night more than standard rooms, and if you plan it out perfectly, you can use these on 28 nights. However, I rarely spend more than 2 or 3 nights on paid stays, so I never come close to fully maximizing this benefit. I’ll assign a conservative value of $200 to each upgrade certificate.
- Welcome amenity ($351): All Hyatt properties give Diamond members a welcome amenity—either points or a food and beverage option. Assuming you select the bonus points (you’re reading The Points Guy, after all), you would get 1,000 points for each of the 13 stays at full-service properties, and 500 points for each of the 13 stays at discount properties. That’s a total of 19,500 bonus points, or $351 in value.
- Complimentary premium internet ($76): The same premium internet provided for Platinum members is also granted to Diamond members, so with 38 nights at $2 per night, that’s an additional $76 in value.
- 48-hour guarantee ($25): Hyatt Diamond members have a slightly better guaranteed availability policy than Platinum members, though it still isn’t that valuable.
- 4pm late check-out ($75): The published policy for late check-out for Diamond members is also a step above what’s given to Platinum members. I’ve found that almost every Hyatt proactively asks me whether I plan to utilize it when I check in. I’ll assume the same 10% utilization rate (rounded up to 3 stays per year) and value of $25 per use.
As you can see, both Platinum and Diamond status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program hold significant value, and this is all based on the published policies of the program. There are times when certain properties go above and beyond the letter of the law, like when the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome upgraded me and my wife to the Imperial Suite on our fifth anniversary, even though we were only Platinum members:
You may also be surprised that my valuations put Hyatt Diamond behind Marriott Platinum ($1,947 compared to $2,110). Remember, though, that Marriott doesn’t provide a “shortcut” to status through stays, so several of their nightly benefits (breakfast, points bonuses, internet, etc.) have more value than comparable ones with Hyatt simply because you’re using them more frequently. Again, feel free to adjust my calculations to match your own stay and spending patterns.
How much do you value elite status with Hyatt Gold Passport? The Points Guy Assessment: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.