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Last week, Hyatt made waves in the points and miles world by announcing radical changes to its loyalty program beginning on March 1, 2017. In a nutshell, Hyatt Gold Passport is being replaced by a program called World of Hyatt, and the new top-tier status level will be known as Globalist. We did a detailed comparison of Hyatt Diamond to the new Globalist status shortly after these changes were announced, but today I want to focus on this new top-tier status with a slightly different angle: Is it worth mattress-running to (re)qualify for Diamond status and thus earn Globalist status in March 2017?
Before getting into the details, a quick overview of what exactly a “mattress run” is. In essence, a mattress run is the hotel version of a mileage run, where you booking a room at a hotel for the sole purpose of earning status or additional bonus points. I have done this three times in my many years of travel in the following situations:
- May 2015: Club Carlson removed the bonus night benefit on the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa but offered cardholders 30,000 bonus points for their next stay, so I booked a cheap stay at a hotel near Disney World while visiting Orlando for work.
- Fall 2015: Hyatt’s summer promotion offered me 20,000 points after 10 nights, and I was one night short with just a few weeks to go. I booked a one-night stay in Orlando (again when traveling for work) for roughly $100.
- End of 2015: I was one stay shy of requalifying for Hyatt Diamond status but found an inexpensive rate in West Palm Beach around my wife’s birthday, so we took an impromptu night away to lock in my perks for another year.
In each case, there was a clear reason for the stay. The first two involved bonus points that far outweighed the cost of the mattress run, and in the third, I was able to squeeze in an additional year of benefits (which have already more than covered the final mattress run). If you’re going to wind up just a few stays or nights short of Diamond status, you may have decided that it isn’t worth it. However, the World of Hyatt announcement and details of the new Globalist status level may have changed that calculus.
For starters, it’s important to remember that even though the new program has been announced, it won’t actually take effect until March 1, 2017. A lot of focus in the blogosphere has been on the removal of stays as a qualification criterion moving forward, as currently you can qualify for Hyatt Diamond status with 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights. Globalist, on the other hand, will require 60 nights (an increase of 20%) or 100,000 base points ($20,000 in yearly spending).
However, this change doesn’t apply to this year. If you’re currently sitting at 23 or 24 stays, a couple of cheap, one-night reservations before December 31 will get you to Diamond and thus give you Globalist status come March 1.
In addition, the decision-making process is likely a bit different for those current Diamond members who are close to requalifying vs. current Platinum members who are close to the next level. As we covered in the initial post, a Diamond member who doesn’t make the stay or night requirements in 2016 to extend his/her status will only drop to Explorist. However, a Platinum member who also falls short of the Diamond qualification criteria and doesn’t reach the 30 nights required for Explorist will only earn Discoverist status, a significant drop in perks.
Given this complexity, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all recommendation for whether or not mattress running makes sense, since everyone values perks differently and may not want to spend cash out-of-pocket just for status. However, there are some key differences in perks between the different levels, so let’s take a look at these to try to identify the added value you’d get by pushing for Diamond.
In the new program, Discoverists, Explorists and Globalists will enjoy a 10%, 20% and 30% bonus on paid stays, respectively (though for Discoverists who were Platinum, this is actually 15% for 2017 to match the current Platinum bonus). While this doesn’t seem like much, it can certainly add up. For example, let’s say that you’re planning on spending approximately $10,000 at Hyatt properties in 2017. That would result in the following point earnings:
- Discoverist (15%): 57,500 points (worth $1,035 based on TPG’s most recent valuations)
- Explorist (20%): 60,000 points (worth $1,080)
- Globalist (30%): 65,000 points (worth $1,170)
As you can see, making the leap from Discoverist to Globalist with this level of spending is worth $135, while it’s a $90 jump from Explorist to Globalist. This may not push you toward a mattress run by itself, but it can certainly increase the value of your stays in 2017.
Waived Resort Fees
Another interesting change that goes into effect on March 1, 2017 involves resort fees. These will be waived on award stays for all members, but for Globalists, you now won’t pay them on eligible paid stays as well. Even a single stay of just two or three nights at a property with a hefty resort fee (like the Andaz Maui) could wind up costing you more than you’d pay for a mattress run. If you frequently visit properties that impose these annoying fees, this new perk alone could mean that a mattress run is very worthwhile.
Free Parking on Award Stays
If your 2017 award travels are taking you to Hyatt hotels with expensive parking, this could be another reason to push for Diamond status, since Globalists will enjoy complimentary parking on award stays in the new program (as long as the hotel/resort allows parking to be charged to the room). Parking in some hotels in large cities can easily be $50+ per day, so you could again get a ton of value out of this perk.
Upgrades and Club Access/Breakfast
This final set of perks is a bit more challenging to quantify, as different travelers value these benefits differently. However, there are notable differences among the three levels in question:
- Discoverist: Preferred rooms, no club access, no breakfast
- Explorist: Best available room at check-in (excluding suites and club rooms), four awards for club access, no breakfast
- Globalist: Best available room at check-in (including standard suites), four confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge access, breakfast for registered guests at properties without club lounges
As you can see, Globalist provides a lot of additional value, and it’s important to note that current Diamond members don’t even have upgrades to standard suites as part of their published benefits. If you really enjoy upgraded accommodations and on-property breakfast, it may make sense to book a mattress run or two to lock in Diamond status.
So should you do it?
This is the million-dollar question, but again, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. After all, it isn’t just the money required for the mattress run; it’s also finding the time to complete the run (all indications are that Hyatt requires you to actually check in), and you also need to think about your plans for 2017. There’s no sense in devoting any time to this endeavor if you’re only going to stay at a handful of Hyatt Place hotels next year.
That being said, if you do have a convenient option for the mattress runs required to earn Diamond (and then Globalist) status and you do plan on visiting Hyatt properties frequently in 2017, here’s what I would recommend:
- If you’d otherwise have Discoverist status, go for the mattress run(s) if you can spend less than $500. Discoverist status is better than no status, but the perks are less than stellar. If you can bump yourself up to Diamond for less than $500, that’s a great value proposition.
- If you’d otherwise have Explorist status, go for the mattress run(s) if you can spend less than $250. Explorist status is a big step up from Discoverist thanks to the room upgrades and four awards for club access. However, there are even more perks available at the next level, so if you can mattress-run for less than $250 and reach the qualification threshold for Diamond, go for it.
Again, these are just my personal suggestions, so be sure to crunch the numbers and evaluate your own situation to come to a decision that works for you.
Hyatt’s new loyalty program brings a number of key changes to its customers, but since the new qualification criteria won’t go into effect until next year, you still have just under two months to cement your 2017 status once the World of Hyatt program goes live on March 1. If you’re within striking distance of the 25 stays or 50 nights required for Diamond status, it may be time to consider taking a mattress run (or two or three), especially given the enhanced perks of the program’s new top tier (Globalist). Hopefully this post has given you the nudge you need to unlock those enhanced perks next year!
Featured image courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Danang.
What are your thoughts on mattress-running to earn Hyatt Globalist status for 2017?
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