Next year I will be staying at a lot of Hyatt hotels. That is a little strange since I have been a loyal Starwood Preferred Guest member since the mid 90s and having Gold or Platinum staus every year since 2001. This summer I qualified for Lifetime Platinum SPG status. That was a huge milestone as it required reaching Platinum status (the top tier in the program) for 10 years and a minimum of 500 nights in Starwood hotels since 1999.
SPG Platinum staus entitles me to the best available room at check in, including standard suites. It also means complimentary full breakfast and evening appetizers and cocktails in hotels that have a lounge. The breakfast and evening appetizers and cocktails is most valuable at foreign hotels, especially in Asia. And as a Lifetime Platinum, I don’t have to meet the 25 stays or 50 nights per year requirement to get Platinum benefits.
Morula Suite, Sheraton Pretoria
Just last week I reached another SPG milestone and qualified for Platinum Ambassador service through February 2017. Ambassador service is extended to Platinums who stay 100 nights in one year. That is a lot of nights. It helped that I had the SPG Amex personal and business credit cards that each count for 5 nights.
Ambassador service means that I will be assigned a personal representative who will handle all (in theory) reservations and issues/questions related to my Starwood hotel stays next year. That is nice but in my opinion the Your24 benefit (check in at anytime of the day or night) and 33% more Starpoints per dollar spent on hotel stays that comes with reaching 75 nights in one year is more valuable.
Well all of these juicy benefits were jeopardized by the recent announcement that Marriott would acquire Starwood in the later part of 2016. Ruh roh. Marriott’s frequent guest program is universally regarded as substantially inferior to the SPG program. There has been no announcement as to what will happen to the SPG program and the benefits and status it confers after the acquisition becomes final.
Recognizing the amount of angst SPG elites were going through, Hyatt astutely offered SPG elites a status match in its program, Hyatt Gold Passport. I applied for the match and was recently notified that I was assigned the Hyatt Diamond status(the highest Gold Passport level) for the 2016 program year. Bingo!
Hyatt is probably the hotel chain that most closely resembles the SPG program and Starwood hotels. Like Starwood, Hyatt is a relatively small chain and doesn’t have a zillion hotels all over the country and the world like Marriott and Hilton, but it does have some really nice hotels like Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Andaz that are located in many national and international major cities and resort locations.
Hyatt Diamonds get some great benefits, including breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres, 4 p.m. late checkout, a 30% points bonus, the best available room at check in excluding suites, and best of all upgrades to a suite at the time of making a reservation four times per year for the duration of the stay up to seven days per stay.
I’m going to Cincinnati over the Holidays to spend some time with my son. On that trip I will stay at my first Hyatt in years. Next year, I will stay at several more Hyatts and perhaps many more depending on what happens to the SPG program as a result of the Marriott acquisition.
I will report on that stay and compare it to the Cincinnati Westin that I will also stay at on the Cincinnati trip.