Monday, November 3, 2014

The end of the Hyatt Diamond Challenge?

The world of points is buzzing with the revelation that Hyatt is ending its Hyatt Diamond Challenge.

The upgrd.com blog reports:
I have been able to confirm with Hyatt that as of 10/31/14 they no longer offer Diamond Status challenges or status matches. That's not to say that they absolutely won't match again in the future or re-introduce a challenge, but in it's current format, the Diamond Challenge is no more.

That's too bad. The generous Hyatt Diamond Challenge was instrumental in getting me to switch my hotel stays to Hyatt properties. As a reminder, the Hyatt Diamond Challenge used to get you:
  • Hyatt Diamond status for 60 days
  • 4 suite upgrade certificates, good for stays for up to 7 nights at almost all Hyatt properties
  • 1,000 bonus Hyatt points for each of the first 6 stays during the challenge period
  • Diamond status through February 2016 if you stay 12 nights within the 60-day challenge period.
(See my previous post about the Challenge).

Hyatt's major competitors offer status challenges, but with less generous terms:

Starwood
The Starwood Guest Program (St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W) offers a status challenge to its Platinum level (the equivalent of Hyatt's Diamond level). You do not get the status up front; to qualify for Platinum, you have to stay 18 nights at Starwood properties over 90 days. Points + cash bookings don't count toward the 18-night threshold.

Hilton
Hilton's HHonors program (Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton) offers a status challenge to its mid-tier Gold level (the equivalent of Hyatt's Platinum level). You do not get the status up front; to qualify for Gold, you have to stay 4 nights at Hilton properties over 90 days.

Marriott
Marriott Rewards (Ritz-Carlton [sort of], Marriott, Renaissance) has, from time to time, offered a targeted challenge to its Platinum level (although some have reported success by emailing Marriott even without a targeted challenge). You do not get the status up front; to qualify for Platinum, you have to stay 9 nights at Marriott properties during the challenge period. Currently, it seems that the challenge is dead.

IHG
InterContinental Hotel Group's Rewards Club (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Candlewood, Staybridge) doesn't offer a status challenge. It has a fast-track program to its mid-tier Gold and top-tier Platinum levels, but those programs still require 10 and 40 nights, respectively.

What's next for Hyatt?
The Hyatt Diamond Challenge was best-in-class among its competitors and probably over-generous. The combination of the Challenge (which gives four suite upgrade certificates) and the Hyatt credit card (which gives 2 nights free at any Hyatt property) allows someone with no intention of switching loyalty to stay in a suite at a top-end property such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo for free. Out of pocket, such a stay would cost over $2,000.

My proposed changes to the Challenge, which would still be far more generous than Hyatt's competitors (thereby inducing switching):
  • Diamond status during the Challenge period
  • 15 nights in 90 days to maintain Diamond status
  • Points + Cash bookings do not count toward the 15 nights
  • No 1,000-point bonus; no suite upgrade certificates until the Challenge criteria are satisfied
Hopefully, Hyatt doesn't do away with the challenge completely. I wouldn't be surprised if its effect, even in its old incarnation, was revenue-positive. It got me to switch.

1 comment:

  1. that's ratchettt. i won't switch my business now, i'll just stick with hhonors, which has worthless points and no aspirational properties, but does give me 2 free bottles of water at check-in. you can't replace those kind of benefits!

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