Booking hotel stays from two accounts — reader mistake story
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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Eric, who missed an opportunity to extend his Hyatt elite status:
My wife and I were planning to book hotels for our honeymoon using points. Neither of us are business travelers, but we did have a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points we had earned from her Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and my Chase Sapphire Reserve — our wedding venue coded as a restaurant, so that was a big win for us!. We scored some great deals by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for our hotels in Taipei, Singapore and Bali; our mistake was that we each booked those hotel stays separately through our own World of Hyatt accounts.
I'm historically a Marriott loyalist, but I had reached Hyatt Discoverist status before the end of 2019. Because my wife booked some of our nights in 2020 with her account, we missed out on my Discoverist perks for those nights. Furthermore, if we had booked all of our stays through my account, I would have already requalified for Discoverist status through 2021! By the time we realized our mistake, the free cancellation window had closed, and talking to the hotel front desks didn't get us anywhere. In the future, we'll look into Ultimate Rewards household transfers or other points combination strategies to keep this from happening again!
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Eric's story illustrates how making award travel a multi-player game may alter your approach to planning a trip. Even though they were paying with points, Eric and his wife had an opportunity to quickly leverage their honeymoon stays into another year of Discoverist status, because Hyatt (along with other major hotel loyalty programs) counts award nights toward elite status. However, they squandered that opportunity by booking through their individual accounts, since neither of them accrued enough stays on that trip to cross the qualification threshold. They can still qualify, but they'll need to log more stay activity by the end of the year.
As Eric suggests, the superior approach would have been to book all stays through a single account. To do that, they could have exchanged Ultimate Rewards points and then transferred to one of their World of Hyatt accounts (ideally Eric's account to take advantage of the status he earned in 2019). They also could have combined points already in their World of Hyatt accounts — that process is more cumbersome, but easy enough with advance planning. Either way, their honeymoon stays would have been rewarded with an extra year of Discoverist status between them.
When I'm planning to spend time with one hotel chain (either during one longer trip or multiple trips), one of my first considerations is how I can augment my stays with a cobranded hotel card. Many of them offer status outright, along with opportunities to earn elite credits through spending. High-level benefits like upgrades and free breakfast can outweigh a card's annual fee on a single stay, and you can get long-term value even from low-level benefits like late check-out and bonus points, both of which come with the Discoverist status granted by the World of Hyatt Credit Card. If you'll have enough stays to earn status organically (like Eric did in 2019), then I think getting a card that gives you that status automatically beforehand is a good investment.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Eric a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I'd like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to email@example.com, and put "Reader Mistake Story" in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.
Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can't respond to each story individually, but we'll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!