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If you’re wondering whether it’s worth meeting the requirements for a specific hotel program status, it helps to know what sort of value you can expect as an elite member. Below, TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen continues the hotel portion of his series on elite statuses by examining how much value you can get with the different levels of the Hyatt Gold Passport program.
Here at TPG we’re constantly asked questions like, “Is it worth it for me to earn ____ status with ____ airline/hotel chain?” There’s no simple answer to this question, as it depends on your travel patterns and how you value the different perks offered by each program at each elite level. Earlier this week, I kicked off an update of last year’s series that quantified the value of elite status at the various hotel chains by looking at the Hilton HHonors program. Today, I’ll continue the series with my preferred program: Hyatt Gold Passport.
Before we get to the analysis, a couple of disclaimers. First, it’s important to note that these mathematical analyses represent just one way of calculating the value you’d get out of a given elite status level. You probably have your own way of calculating how much value you can get from these programs; if you travel exclusively for work and rarely spend time in your room, you may not care about upgrades, and if you aren’t a big breakfast eater, the free breakfast benefit probably won’t matter much either. Just like with any analysis, feel free to adjust the numbers to make it more relevant to your own personal situation.
Second, these numbers are all based on the benefits you’d enjoy after achieving the given status level and continuing to qualify each year thereafter. If you’re starting from scratch or if you suddenly have a drop-off in your travel, the calculations become significantly more complicated.
This brings me to the third and final critical part of this analysis: the underlying assumptions I’m making. To really hit a value for benefits, I have to assume a certain amount of traveling and a certain amount of spending with the given hotel chain. For the sake of the hotel portion of the series, I’m making the following assumptions:
- You complete 20% more stays than the minimum required for a given status level.
- You spend an average of $400 per stay on qualifying charges.
- You spend 60% of your stays at full-service properties (like Andaz and Grand Hyatt) and 40% at discount properties (like Hyatt Place and Hyatt House).
As always, be sure to adjust these numbers based on your given travel patterns. Those who regularly travel to larger cities may wind up paying close to $400 per night, while those who typically travel outside of major metropolitan areas will probably stay in more discount properties.
Three final bits of information: For the sake of this analysis, I’m valuing any bonus points earned based on TPG’s most recent valuations, which peg Hyatt points at 1.8 cents apiece. In addition, I’m rounding all of the individual benefit valuations to the nearest $5 to make the math a bit simpler. Finally, I’m not including benefits offered to all guests, like the complimentary internet perk that was added as of February 2015.
So, all that being said, where do the two levels of the Hyatt Gold Passport program land? Here’s my analysis:
Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum ($200)
The lowest level in Hyatt’s program is Platinum status, which is typically earned after five stays or 15 nights. It’s also included as a benefit on the Hyatt Credit Card. For this analysis, I’ll base my numbers on completing six stays (four at full service, two at discount properties) and spending $400 on each one (so a total spend of $2,400).
- 15% point bonus ($30): Platinum members will earn a 15% bonus on paid stays, and since regular members earn 5 points per dollar, this equates to an additional 0.75 points per dollar. With $2,400 in spending, you’d take home an extra 1,800 points, worth $32.40.
- Upgrades to preferred rooms ($100): You’ll also be eligible for upgrades to preferred rooms at check-in as a Hyatt Platinum member at full-service properties. This could include rooms on higher floors or larger rooms (based on availability). These typically aren’t to the level of upgrades that top-tier elites receive, so I’ll peg these at $25 per stay.
- Complimentary premium internet access ($25): When Hyatt announced that all guests (regardless of booking method) would enjoy free internet, it also added free premium internet access for elite members. The speeds generally aren’t incredibly impressive, so I’ll keep this at a conservative $25.
- 72-hour guarantee ($20): Platinum members are guaranteed availability by booking at least 72 hours before a stay, though the outrageous price of these last-minute rooms definitely makes this a less-than-lucrative benefit. Still, it can be nice if you absolutely need a room.
- 2pm late check-out ($25): As a Platinum member, you can also stay in your room until 2pm with a late check-out request, and I (personally) have found that Hyatt properties are great about proactively offering this benefit at check-in. This will naturally depend on how frequently you use it, so I’ll go with a conservative $25 valuation.
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond ($3,085)
The top level in Hyatt’s program is Diamond status, which is typically earned after 25 stays or 50 nights. While you can’t spend your way to this status, you can earn additional credits toward Diamond status with the Hyatt Credit Card. You’ll get 2 stay credits and 5 night credits by spending $20,000 in a calendar year, plus another 3 stay credits and 5 night credits by spending $40,000 in a calendar year. For this analysis, I’ll base my numbers on completing 30 stays (18 at full service, 12 at discount properties) and spending $400 on each of them (so a total spend of $12,000).
- 30% point bonus ($325): Diamond members earn a higher bonus on base points, taking home 30% more points than a non-status member. $12,000 earns you 60,000 base points, so the bonus gets you an additional 18,000 points, worth $324.
- Room upgrades ($900): As a Diamond member, you’ll enjoy upgrades to the best available room upon arrival. Though the policy officially excludes suites, I have scored several complimentary suite upgrades at properties like the Andaz Wall Street. Note that these are only applicable at full-service properties, so I’ll use the same $50 per stay valuation I used for Hilton HHonors.
- Suite upgrades ($800): In addition to the complimentary upgrades offered to Diamond members, Hyatt also awards its top-tier elites four Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates every year. Each one of these can be used to confirm a suite at the time of booking (or anytime in advance) on paid rates as well as Cash + Points stays of up to seven nights, and since you can transfer points instantly from Ultimate Rewards (earned with cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred), it’s very easy to get the points you need for a subsidized stay. You can even use them in conjunction with the 4th Night Free benefit on the Citi Prestige Card. They are awarded on March 1, though sadly they are now only valid for one year. While you may not be able to get a full 28 nights in suites, it’s still a fantastic value, so I’ll peg these at $200 apiece.
- Complimentary lounge access/breakfast ($450): Another perk you’ll enjoy as a Diamond member at full-service properties is access to the club lounge or complimentary breakfast at those properties without a club lounge. Many hotels will allow you to get breakfast via room service; a couple of examples I’ve experienced include the Andaz Amsterdam and Park Hyatt Zurich. Because of this added perk, I’ll bump the value to $25 per stay.
- Welcome amenity ($430): Diamond members also receive a welcome amenity at check-in, generally a choice between bonus points and a food and/or beverage item. I’ll assume that you take the points (this is The Points Guy, after all), which’ll give you an additional 1,000 points for every full-service stay and an additional 500 points for every discount property stay. That works out to a total of 24,000 additional bonus points, worth $432.
- Complimentary premium internet ($50): Same benefit, more frequent utilization
- 48-hour room guarantee ($25): This perk is slightly more valuable than the similar 72-hour guarantee offered to Platinum members, but it’s still not something to write home about.
- 4pm late check-out ($75): Diamond members can stay in their rooms even longer with a 4pm late check-out request. As I mentioned above, I’ve found that most properties are great at proactively asking about this at check-in, though I rarely get a chance to use it.
- Two complimentary United Club passes ($30): This benefit was just added back in 2015 and offers Diamond members two single-use passes for the United Club. These are regularly $59, though I see many on Ebay for around $15, so I’ll use that as the true value.
Is It Worth It?
Given these values, is it worth it for you to push for status with Hyatt Gold Passport? As with any analysis, there isn’t an easy answer to that question, as it entirely depends on your travel patterns. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help make this decision:
1. How much will you be traveling in the future? If you go out of your way to earn a given elite status level, it would be a shame to not utilize the benefits as much as you’d like.
2. What’s the incremental value of one level over another? If you’re close to qualifying for the next level, consider the additional (or enhanced) benefits you’d get. There’s no sense in taking a mattress run to earn status when the additional perks you’d get don’t matter to you.
3. Would you sacrifice price or convenience for elite status? One of the hardest things to quantify in this hobby is whether or not it’s worth booking with your preferred hotel chain if it isn’t the most convenient or cheapest. If you’re attending a conference in a hotel that isn’t your favorite brand, only you can decide whether you should look elsewhere.
While the answers to these questions won’t give you an absolute answer, they can help bring out the key considerations to be made as you’re deciding whether you want to push for the next status level (or whether you want to earn status at all).
Hyatt Gold Passport has been my go-to hotel loyalty program during the past few years. I love the brands (especially Park Hyatt and Andaz) and have been treated very well. It’s also hard to overestimate the value of a room-service breakfast when traveling with a mobile one-year-old like my daughter! That being said, the limited footprint of Hyatt may not make it a practical option for some readers, and everyone has their own way of placing a value on these benefits. Regardless, I hope this analysis has given you some idea of how to calculate which hotel program (and corresponding elite status tier) would be best for you and your travel patterns.
For more information about Hyatt Gold Passport, be sure to check out the following posts:
- Hyatt Makes its Diamond and Platinum Status Match Official
- Hyatt Points + Cash Awards Now Available Online
- How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt Gold Passport
- The Award Traveler’s Guide to Hyatt Gold Passport
- 9 Low-Level Hyatt Properties that Make for Awesome Awards
- 10 Hyatt Properties that Make for Awesome Award Redemptions
How do you value Hyatt elite status?