Friday, November 14, 2014

The Hyatt Diamond Challenge: Retrospective

My Hyatt Diamond Challenge

I recently completed Hyatt's recently deceased Hyatt Diamond Challenge, a generous program allowing individuals to attain top-level Diamond status in Hyatt's loyalty program. The Diamond Challenge gave individuals Diamond status up front during the 60-day challenge period. To retain Diamond status for the year, one would have to stay 12 nights in Hyatt properties during the challenge period.

Hyatt discontinued the program at the end of October 2014. The program was far more generous than the comparable programs offered by Hyatt's competitor hotel chains. It's unclear whether Hyatt will offer the program in a different form in the future, but for now, it's muerto.

Meadowlark Suite at the Hyatt Regency Wichita

I’m not a management consultant who gets to travel every week. But I understand why my consultant friends are so enamored with Hyatt; Diamond status is awesome. Room upgrades; complimentary breakfast; accelerated points accumulation – a person could get used to this.

So what have I learned from the Diamond Challenge?
The Hyatt chain is excellent. Each of my 12 stays ranged from good to impeccable; there were no duds. The rooms were always clean and well maintained; most of the rooms felt shiny and new. When I book a room at an unfamiliar hotel, it’s a bit of a gamble – who knows if the sheets are clean / there’s too much street noise / the beds are uncomfortable. But there is at least a base level of consistency in Hyatt properties. It’s never going to be a disaster, and it could be pretty darn good.

When Diamond members check in, they have the option of choosing a food-and-beverage amenity or a 1,000-point bonus (worth somewhere between $15 and $17). In each of my stays, I chose the point bonus. Some properties will give you a snack (chocolates, fruits, or something like that) even if you forgo the food-and-beverage amenity in favor of points, although that only happened once for me (at the Hyatt Place Oklahoma City Airport).

Just an apple and a bottle of water, but still thoughtful.

I understand why the Diamond Challenge went away, but hopeful that it will return in a modified form (although I’m not holding my breath). Working toward completing a Diamond Status Challenge is an exciting adventure. It gave my road trip from Chicago to the Bay Area some purpose, and it helped cement my brand loyalty to Hyatt.

Diamond Suite Upgrades require a bit of homework (which I didn’t do). Registering for the Hyatt Diamond Challenge entitles members to four Diamond Suite Upgrades; completing the challenge gets you four more. But there’s a wide variety of suites out there, and ensuring that an upgrade is “worthwhile” requires one to do a bit of searching online to see what you’ll get.

I used 3 of the 4 upgrades during my Diamond Status Challenge. The Hyatt Escala Lodge in Park City's upgrade was well worth it; I got a giant suite with an enormous bathroom and full kitchen. The upgrade at the Grand Hyatt Denver was OK – the suite was large, but nothing special. And the upgrade at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort was a poor value; the suite there was not much better than a standard room.

One-bedroom suite at the Hyatt Escala Lodge

Diamond status also gives you occasional suite upgrades without using a Diamond Suite Upgrade. That happened twice for me: at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile in Chicago and the Hyatt Regency Wichita, I got beautiful one-bedroom suites that rivaled the suites at the Grand Hyatt Denver and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort. This is a great bonus and will help ensure that I try to maintain Diamond status beyond the terms of the challenge.

Executive Suite at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile

Hyatt staff in each property were well-trained on Diamond benefits; in all 12 of my stays, the front desk thanked me for being a Diamond member and explained the amenities at the hotel. 

So thanks, Hyatt, for instituting the Diamond Status Challenge. It was a lot of fun, and you’ve got yourself a loyal customer.

1 comment:

  1. Hyatts are very nice. I had particularly great experiences in South Korea and Tokyo.