How much is Hyatt Diamond worth?

At the end of the day, it’s incredibly important to remind ourselves that even without these first world problems, I and (hopefully you) are incredibly privileged and lucky to experience premium and luxury travel for less. I’ve been crunching the numbers on whether a Hyatt Diamond Challenge is worthwhile, particularly with this Hyatt devaluation which is not to our liking at all, since it basically means that it is go or bust for me to stay at some of the nicer Park Hyatt without paying a 30% increase in points. So I was thinking and thinking about how much elite status is worth.

The site listing all Hyatt Diamond status benefits is here. To maintain this status, you’ll need 25 paid stays and/or 50 paid nights in a calendar year. Award stays do not count. An easier way to get Diamond status is by doing a challenge if you hold a competitor hotel chain’s status such as IHG Rewards Platinum, Starwood Platinum, Hilton Gold + Diamond, and/or Marriott Gold + Platinum.

For this valuation, I’ve listed all the benefits and I’ve tried to put a quantitative monetary value on each benefit. I personally value status differently as you will see later down in the post, but here is what I think people would value Hyatt Diamond Status at. I’ve written a bit for each bullet point on how much I feel in cash the benefit is worth.

  • Achieve rewards even faster with a 30% point bonus when choosing points

Even with the devaluation each point to many people are still worth 1.5 cents, given that this places a valuation on the Park Hyatt Paris at $450, and properties like the Andaz Amsterdam at $300. Fairly reasonable, eh?

Assuming $150 spend per night, and 30 nights, that’s $4500 in spend, with an additional 6,750 points. This could be worth $98.55 to the average North American mattress/mileage running bloggers with some paid work stays (ironically, this might fit a lot of other bloggers at BoardingArea!).

  • Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites

Some bloggers are willing to try the $20 trick in Vegas as well as not in Vegas, so this would mean that that I’d assume that an upgrade from a base category room to the category which is just under a junior suite such as a “deluxe” room would be worth $15 dollars a night. Thus for around 15 nights (assuming stays which aren’t upgraded with a Diamond Suite cert) this could be worth $225.

  • Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres2. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge

Again, assuming half the properties the Diamond Guest stays have Regency/Grand clubs, the benefit from Regency/Grand Clubs would be around $20 for a moderately conservative valuation. This could be worth $300. I’d say free breakfast for 20 nights (where there is no Club Lounge) could be worth anywhere from $8 to $30 for the nicer Park Hyatt breakfasts. So a valuation of $20 per breakfast brings the total value of Club Lounges and Free Breakfast to $700.

  • Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights

Generally I’d say the threshold for redeeming a suite upgrade versus outright paying for the suite could be anywhere between $50 to $150 a night, depending on the property. Assuming each stay is 3.5 days (so for stays where the suite upgrade is applied 1/2 the stays are 3 days, 1/2 are 4) for a total of 14 days upgraded to a suite upon booking, this benefit could be worth $700.

  • Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay

For most full-service properties it’s 1,000 points or a food/beverage/locally inspired amenity, which would be worth then roughly $15. Given 20 stays, this could be worth $300.

  • Receive a nightly room refresh

Value should be negligible.

  • Receive the confirmed bed type at check-in

I should also assume the value should be negligible!

  • Stay connected with complimentary in-room Internet access

This is accessible with Hyatt Platinum status which shouldn’t be hard to obtain (5 stays or Hyatt Credit Card) so valuation is negligible again.

  • Expedite check-in at a dedicated area for elite members
  • Ensure a room is always available with our 48-hour guarantee1
  • Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request
  • Book reservations through an exclusive Diamond line

Again, the last for are hard to quantitatively justify what the monetary value is, but I’m assuming for most stays it shouldn’t be valued that much. For all of the benefits above, perhaps you could put a $200 value on it.

My understanding of mattress run is that the sole purpose of stays is to accumulate elite stay/night credit. So if you’re at 20 stays, and you’re five short, it’d only make sense if the price of the rooms were less than the monetary benefit of the status which I’ve just detailed.

This means the total valuation for being Hyatt Diamond (and whether you should mattress run for Hyatt) is $2225, give or take a few hundred dollars USD! This excludes all the warm fuzzy feelings from being treated generally well by Hyatt and the DYKWIA (for only some people! :P) of being a top-tier member, which of course require a helicopter pad and an room for a giraffe. 😉 As always my calculations are by no means authoritative, and could be completely and totally off given that I’m not a typical Hyatt Diamond member. This also excludes any additional promos which favour elites, closed club lounges, and more leverage to get compensation if something goes wrong. This also excludes benefits on award stays which depending on how many award stays you have relative to your paid stays, would increase the valuation anywhere from 30-100%.

But this isn’t the same for me.

Here’s my valuation, which is much much more conservative. I’ll explain why later on, but let me give you some values first:

  • Achieve rewards even faster with a 30% point bonus when choosing points

I very conservatively value Hyatt points at 1.15 cents, which conservatively places a value of $345 on how much I would be willing to pay for the 30,000 point Park Hyatts of the world, which seems reasonable to me. The only difference is that I’m fairly sure that my spend would be much, much lower. I’m estimating that I’m spending around $3000 to complete the challenge. It seems very high I’m sure, but given that I’d be burning points if I didn’t pay the cash rate and that points are worth something too, I’m sure (or I hope!) that the actual spend from foregoing other brands and points stays will result in a much lower “pure” cost to achieve Diamond status.

I’m almost 100% sure that after completing the challenge I’ll have another 5-10 stays/nights at Hyatts, given my crazy burning of points given all the devaluations this year. At $270 on average per night (since I do a lot of FHR stays), that’s an additional 6,095 points. At 1.15 cents, this is worth around $90 to me.

  • Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites

$50, because on FHR rates and/or with other elite statuses which I can acquire and maintain for free also have some sort of an upgrade. I do understand that top-tier status is always better than mid/top-tier status that’s essentially given away but I don’t value that honestly. Maybe once in a while I’ll get an incredible upgrade, but outside of that, I wouldn’t value this as more than $50.

  • Receive exclusive access to the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge featuring complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy daily complimentary full breakfast in hotels without a club lounge

I’m cheap. So I would value the regency club at fast food (or slightly above that) prices and breakfast prices at starbucks prices for coffee and a pastry, because that’s what I would actually pay. If I did a Diamond challenge that would mean 12 nights with at least another ~8 paid stays during the qualification period. Or maybe I wouldn’t have any more paid stays but I’d have 8 award stays. In any case, in total this benefit for me is worth $160.

  • Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights

I actually don’t value extra space that much. Maybe it’s because I’m young, or I don’t have a lot of stuff and I don’t need a lot of space, but to me each night in a suite if I had to pay for it would be worth around $15 per night, which might be super low, but that’s what I would pay if I was given the option to upgrade at a hotel like the Andaz West Hollywood from a standard room to a suite. At 16 nights, that’s worth $240.

  • Receive a special welcome point bonus or food and beverage amenity during each stay

1,000 points times 10 guaranteed stays (20 nights) at 1.15 cents is worth $115 for me.

  • Receive a nightly room refresh

Negligible. I place no value on this benefit.

  • Receive the confirmed bed type at check-in

Negligible. I sleep as well on any bed as long as it is wider than a first class bed and is a real mattress 🙂

  • Stay connected with complimentary in-room Internet access

Negligible. I can get internet from most other chains and I’m sure many non-chain hotels would offer this for free.

  • Expedite check-in at a dedicated area for elite members

Negligible.

  • Ensure a room is always available with our 48-hour guarantee

Negligible. I would never pay rack rate for a room and I definitely have no need to.

  • Extend your stay until 4:00 p.m. with a late check out request

Negligible. AMEX FHR and Virtuoso rates have this as well as elite status from the other loyalty programs.

  • Book reservations through an exclusive Diamond line

Negligible.

The total from my calculations is that I value Hyatt Diamond status (for one year, whether I requalify or not), at $655. This is the pure value of Hyatt Diamond status for me. So if I already have 9 paid stays planned given my travel with Hyatt, it’s whether the extra mattress nights cost less than $655.

Here’s the chart comparing both valuations.

Comparison Chart

Comparison Chart

My valuation is much lower because of two important points. First of all, I have no work stays at the moment. This means that all my travel is out of pocket, and also thus is dependent on my travel plans. Given the devaluations, I’ve been spending quite a lot of airline miles to lower my balance and stop hoarding. But even with this travel, I’m not sure whether I’m going to spend 25 stays/50 nights at Hyatt, so I’ve just calculated the numbers based on the fact that I will do 12 paid nights during the challenge to qualifying for the entire year, and that I have certain stays already planned/booked so I am guaranteed to have x number of elite stay/night credits, excluding any additional travel that I book.

The most important point, though, is that I don’t see Hyatt is not the only game in town. I have Hilton Gold (thanks to Milepoint Premium), SPG Gold (thanks to AMEX Plat), Accor Plat (which is essentially useless) and PC Gold (which is totally useless). The first valuation, in my opinion, neglects the fact that there are other loyalty programs as well. Of these programs I believe at least one of them offers continental breakfast, most offer free wifi and usually a line about a room upgrade which is generally unenforceable. So this already matches a lot of the benefits that Hyatt has, resulting in the bulk of my valuation coming from full breakfast/club lounge access, and confirmed diamond upgrade certificates.

Furthermore, while the cash difference is significant for suites and breakfasts, these numbers are inflated for me and by no means would I be willing to pay the upgrades for suites at the Park Hyatt Paris, for example. Maybe I’d pay for a $40+ breakfast once (even once I’d be hesitant to do though), so my valuation of breakfast at $8 is fair given that’s what I’d actually spend if I didn’t have this status.

Since I stay many fewer nights than other bloggers (but a lot of mine tend to be very reasonably priced stays stacked with FHR Benefits and promos), the breakfast, upgrade, and late checkout benefits are negligible for me and thus again I don’t put a very high valuation on those. I’m sure Hyatt Diamond status guests are probably treated better than those on Virtuoso/FHR stays (unless you’re high value and you have an awesome TA) but the tradeoff is the lack of reach of Hyatt. So the balance between the benefits of being a free-agent with Fine Hotel and Resort stays versus staying with Hyatt I’d say is pretty fair and neither side in my opinion has a significantly higher value than the other. Certainly this isn’t a strict divide, and there are lots of Hyatt properties which are in Fine Hotels and Resorts. I wrote about Fine Hotel and Resort Rates earlier here.

So this is the end of my analysis. Now I’m sure now some of you are thinking what a spoiled brat I am spending all my parent’s money, ahah. Well I do acknowledge that I do have trouble keeping spending in check (thank god for my parents or I would be so screwed) but I’ve never said that I’m perfect like everyone else (thinks they) are. I do pay for all my travel myself, so I do spend a significant portion of my income on travel! I’m sure at the end of it all it wouldn’t be much higher than my classmates spending $$$ on economy class tickets and budget hotel/hostels but the difference is that I get all this luxury travel. I hope that answers your questions/concerns. Do I deserve it? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s a discussion for another day.

So Why am I talking about myself?

Because whenever you value elite status, you should think about what other options you have. Everyone’s stay patterns, valuations, and willingness to pay are going to differ, but you have to ALWAYS look at the alternatives. Loyalty shouldn’t make you irrational, even though miles and point definitely cloud my judgement. Probably, your numbers would fall somewhere between a “typical” Diamond member valuation, and my valuation.

Whenever I get to it I will write the second part which will be the “cost of the Diamond Challenge.” I’m not sure if writing this post at 1am helped or hindered my judgement. 😛

What do you think? I hope you liked this post! 🙂

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Comments

  1. @Lucky,
    I agree that your analysis makes more sense and your number is more realistic. I only find a major difference (you already mentioned): free breakfast. I valued free breakfast as the second most important factor next to award points or free night.

    Question: Are there good deals for Hyatt points being transferring into airlines or any other travel programs (e.g., Amtrak.com, hotels, etc.)? If so, it will make more sense to attain Hyatt diamond challenges, similiarly as Starwood — I don’t care that much if Starwood further devalues its spg points for its hotel stay, as long as its transferring ratio into airline mileage does not change.

    I would like to ask you ONE MORE question: Airlines form alliance to share code or share award flights. Hotels seldom do that (Hyatt and MGM resorts are the only exception?). I guess the major reason is, on most occasions, hotels are located at the same places to directly compete each other (such as most US places where hilton and marrion are everywhere — at all places I have been so far). Am I right? Or, are there any other reasons?

    Last month, I proposed to marriott management that, since marriott has much less international presence than hilton (e.g., Auckland, New Zealand; Nanjing, China, where it has no marriott but has hilton), it becomes a major concern to me when I bring my family to fly internationally. I recommend Marriott allows platinum members to stay at their competitors’ hotels and use the receipts to reimburse using their accounts’ marriott reward points (deducting the same category’s reward points) for up to 5 free nights a year. Example: I will choose hilton auckland hotel (category 7) that costs 50K – 70K points per night. So, I choose to pay hilton and marriott reimburses my bill but charges me marriott reward points at 50K points per night from my account. The fringe benefit for marriott is, I told marriott I would stay extra 50 nights at marriott in 2014 if they gave me this benefits. That means, instead of 60 nights in 2014 to renew my plat status (my chase marriot card gives me 15 nights credit), I will stay 110 nights at marriott. I told marriott staffs who replied that they passed my proposals to senior management.

    My points is, if marriott collaborate with some hotels with wider outside-us presence, it would makes marriott more attractive.

    Hyatt collaboration with MGM resorts is the major reason that attracts me to consider taking Hyatt Diamond Challenges. If Hyatt could implement more collaboration with international players, it would virtuly reduce its major disadvantage, i.e, 500 hotels worldwide (compared to hilton 3700 and marriott 3600).

    • Andy,

      Hyatt points convert to some airlines at a 2.5:1 ratio, which is poor. So even with the devaluation Hyatt points are best used for hotel redemptions.
      Marriott already has the best reach imo (along with Hilton) for properties. SPG and Hyatt have a much smaller footprint, which is why their elite programs are much more rewarding to compensate.

  2. I appreciate this post. Would love to see a series of post comparing Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club and Starwood Hotels elite status and seeing what each is really ‘worth’.

  3. @CK,
    Sorry, I mistyped your name in my previous posting.

    I think Frequent Miler wrote a post to list all benefits of Gold Status with hilton, marriott, starwood, hyatt and priority club. He also answered my question that Priority Cloub Platinum has free breakfast or Internet (not both). Overall, Hilton and Marriott Gold have free breakfast, priority club plat has half, too, but hyatt does not (Hyatt diamond has).

    I am a sog plat that has free breakfast, so I did not ask. However, it is better for someone to clarify that, Starwood Gold has free breakfast or not?

    Also, if someone could add Wydnham and Choice hotels into comparison list and include free breakfast item, that would be great.

  4. You have a very reasonable analysis. However, I’m not sure I agree with your assertion that your valuation of the status is less because your travel is not for work. It can often be the opposite. If I’m travelling for work, and I have to pay for internet access or breakfast in the morning, that’s just going on my expense report to be reimbursed by my employer. Therefore, getting free things that my employer would be paying for anyway aren’t of much value to me personally.

    It’s the same thing with a room upgrade. I’m more likely to pay for an upgrade when I’m travelling on holiday with my wife. If I’m on a business trip somewhere, I’m probably not in my room very much and not very likely to pony up any extra cash out of my pocket to upgrade the room. So, if I get a free upgrade, then that’s great, but it’s probably not something I would have paid for anyway. So, there is some value because it’s nice to have and enjoy an upgrade, but if you’re trying to place a value based on cash you’ve saved out of your personal pocket, then I might say it’s worth nothing?

    So for me, the value of status on work trips is less monetary in nature and more in additional comfort. That’s worth something, but tough to assign a number to it. For personal travel, the bonuses of status do provide some cash savings.

    • Good point Dave. You have to remember, that’s only one side of it. I don’t have work stays, and that means for high high room rates and last minute bookings (where the 48 hour Diamond guarantee might come in handy), I don’t pay those rates. I simply just don’t go there.

      I also just reread my post, and all I talk about work stays is that I don’t have any which means that depending on my travel plans I may not have any stays if I don’t book airline tickets.

      When I’m talking about room upgrades and free internet and breakfast, these all are covered by statuses like Hilton Gold or SPG Gold (to an extent) or even an FHR rates. That’s why my valuation of these benefits from Hyatt Diamond is extremely low, because if I DIDN’T have Hyatt Diamond the cost for me to get all these small benefits are relatively minor. The biggest bonus with Diamond status for me is honestly confirmed suite upgrades, bonus points, and full breakfast/club lounge access. That’s about it.

  5. @Jeff,
    Thanks for quick reply.

    It is a pity that I found Marriott has much less international presence than Hilton while it has more in the US — this summer in Nanjing, China; next year in Auckland, New Zealand. Wyndham seems the largest (7300 hotels) and Choice hotel seems the second largest (5500), followed by Priority Club (4600). Please correct me if I am wrong. Or, any hotel recommendation?

    My purpose is to find a mid-tier or not very low-tier hotel chain that has excellent global presence plus a reasonable US presence so that I can earn reward points in the US for my work travel and then stay reward nights for my family’s international vacations. Any recommendation?

    • I haven’t looked at their numbers and I don’t know off the top of my head, but generally Marriott and Hilton are the chains with hotels which target all segments of the market from budget/limited-service to luxury. Wyndham and Choice and Best Western might have a lot of hotels, but they have limited luxury hotels and definitely not very strong elite programs either.

      It’s hard to tell you what the most rewarding programs are given that I don’t know where your work stays are and what sort of travel you like to do. For example, SPG has exorbitant relative earning rates from paid hotel rates for luxury (Cat 7) hotels while their lower category hotels are not bad at all.

    • Generally not a good value. With the Cat 6’s like Bellagio I’d say only if weekend rate was at least $400. Otherwise look into FHR rates in Vegas too as their weekday rates are often $150-300 and with benefits quite a good deal.

  6. @Jeff,
    Thank you very much for detailed answer. Yes, I fogot to mention that there are several Best Western hotels in New Zealand, one hilton but no Marriott. I found Best Western has 5,500 hotels worldwide, more than Hilton and Marriott. I have never stayed at Best Western. So, ask your advice: is Best Western in the same tier and higher than Wyndham and Choice?

    • I haven’t looked at elite programs of Best Western, Choice, and Wyndham as they do not have many luxury properties, and thus I don’t think I’m qualified to answer. Sorry!

  7. @Jeff,
    What is FHR rate?

    Btw, what are 1/20 and 1/40 hotel room policy? (Marriott hotel manager told me that but I do not understand.)

    Thanks in advance.

  8. @Dave,
    Your analysis makes sense. Hoever, keep in mind that even for business travelers, each traveler has its own interest.

    I travel 120+ nights a year but I can get reimbursed for room rate only (including tax) up to a reasonable level. I seldom bring my family during my business trip. Instead, I bring my family for vacations two domestic and 1 internationally. Therefore, free breakfast and free Internet are crucial to me (I do not want to pay for meals or Inertnet out of my own pocket). But the most important to me is reward points or free nights I can earn for my family’s vacation. I do not care about upgrades at all on my business trips since I am almost always alone.

  9. You missed a HUGE benefit of Hyatt Diamond: Mlife Platinum, which cross pollinated to Crown and Anchor Gold to RCCL and opens up a world to tons of other benefits. I’ve gotten at least 1k from Mlife alone in upgrades, free rooms, admissions, and with light gambling all sorts of other doors opened up…

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