Hyatt Diamond Status Challenge Returns Thursday!

Be sure to see the update to this post about eligibility for this offer.

Hyatt has been exceptionally generous in being willing to give elite members of other hotel chains temporary top tier status in the Gold Passport program, while offering an expedited way to keep that status. And they even gave these temporary Diamond full confirmed suite upgrades as though they had earned the status for a year.

This was exceptionally game-able.

Plenty of folks signed up for a credit card that gave them Hilton Gold status and leveraged that into Hyatt Diamond — maybe transferred some points into Hyatt from Chase Ultimate Rewards, booked cash and points award stays, upgraded them to suites at booking and enjoyed free breakfasts during their stays.

That super-easy Diamond status offer ended October 31.

Although Hyatt was willing to share at the time that an expedited path towards status wasn’t gone for good.

It’s hard to dispute the strong value of Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status:

So it’s desirable and plenty of frequent flyers want a jumpstart towards these benefits. But Hyatt doesn’t want to give away the benefits to people who aren’t going to stay loyal to the chain and become frequent guests.

(The downside to Hyatt of course is that they have about 500 hotels, half the size of Starwood and orders of magnitude smaller than Marriott, Hilton, and IHG.)

Last week One Mile at a Time reported that Hyatt would bring back a new version of their status challenge “in early 2015.”

I’ve confirmed the details of the offer with Hyatt, and that it will become available January 1.

  • You don’t need to have status with another chain to qualify.
  • Sign up and get automatic Platinum status for 60 days.
  • Stay 6 nights during that time and keep Platinum through February 2016.
  • While doing this offer you’ll receive 1,000 bonus points for the first 6 nights.
  • Stay 12 nights during that time and receive Diamond status through February 2016.

So there’s no more ‘instant Diamond’ status offer, you actually have to stay 12 nights within 60 days for Diamond.

But you don’t even need to have status with another chain to sign up, you just need to ask for the challenge. (Some folks reported being asked to prove in the past that they had hotel stay activity, and not just status, so having a Hilton Reserve credit card wasn’t actually enough.)

So there’s good and bad here, but it’s great to see expedited status back for those interested in it and the criteria is reasonable. If you have 12 upcoming hotel nights within a 2 month period you’ll want to do this if you can make those nights work with Hyatt.

Current elites can’t benefit from renew their current status with this offer, it’s meant to bring in new loyal guests. Hyatt tells me,

This offer cannot be used to requalify for Diamond or to requalify for Platinum as those who participate and achieve the night requirement receive Platinum or Diamond until 2/2016.

As well as in the past I expect that MGM Mlife stays won’t count towards the challenge, which is too bad considering the inexpensive hotels midweek in Las Vegas in such close proximity to each other. But cash and points award nights, as qualifying status nights, should.

This offer is available with an end date of May 31. They haven’t shared whether the offer will be renewed in the future. Assuming the program lasts, some folks will want to maximize their time as a Diamond and presumably taking and completing the challenge in the back half of the year will wind up conferring status until February 2017 … but this hasn’t been confirmed yet.

If you want Hyatt Platinum status for 60 days, just call and ask starting January 1. (With Hyatt introducing free internet for all guests there’s not a ton of incremental benefit to Platinum – in my view the meaningful benefit is 2pm late checkout).

More importantly if you want to make the move to Hyatt, starting January 1 you’ll be able to request a challenge and then give them 12 nights in 60 days to earn the level instead of hte usual requirement of 25 stays or 50 nights during the year.

Update: I’ve clarified that existing Platinums can use this offer to earn Diamond status, and noted the end-date for the current version of the offer as May 31.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What if I want to have Diamond status through Feb 2017, would I have to wait to do the challenge after June?

  2. I’m confused. It says anyone can now ask for the challenge, but you’re saying if I already have elite status (even if just Platinum via credit card), I cannot request the challenge???

  3. Same question ^ – I thought current Platinums could request the Challenge, but then would still be required to stay 12 nights in order to receive Diamond Status. Was Ben incorrect on this?

  4. Current Platinums can request this in order to fast track to Diamond, I’ve edited what I see as confusing language in my original post that made it seem like it might be otherwise.

  5. That’s a big drop down from the previous Diamond status challenge program. I don’t see where its worth doing without the Diamond status on the front end during the challenge. How many people ever completed the challenge in the past. I do agree that it is a lot smarter program for Hyatt to run. Good for them. They will probably generate a little more business without having it cost them anything.

  6. @jack it’s a great opportunity for people who want to become diamond and stay frequently. it’s not a great opportunity for people who want to game hyatt. i think that’s the takeaway.

  7. Anyone have ideas in which Hyatt’s are the cheapest best to spend 12 nights with points and cash to qualify?

  8. I have Platinum this year from doing it the hard way (21 nights this year for work).

    At the risk of sounding stupid, why is the challenge 12 nights and not 25 nights? On the website, I see it’s normally 25 stays or 50 nights for Diamond status. Right now, I have 6 nights planned for Jan and 6 nights planned for Feb so if it’s really 12 nights to diamond, that would be perfect!

  9. Do free stays from points or the Chase credit card bonus nights count towards the 12?

    Thanks for this post!

  10. @Gary sez:
    ** “Hyatt has the best suite upgrade benefit of any chain — offering Diamond members confirmed-at-booking suites valid on any paid rate booked through a Hyatt channel four times a year.”

    ** “Hyatt has the best top tier breakfast benefit: full restaurant breakfast when no club lounge is available. (And if the club lounge is closed 2500 bonus points, also.) Several Hyatt properties are among the hotels with the very best breakfasts anywhere.”

    Only in the blogosphere, which is filled with bloggers who have drunk too much of their “Hyatt-is-best” Kool-Aid, is either of the above two statements true.

    Here’s a competing perspective:
    Hyatt Diamonds have ONLY 4 suite upgrade certificates per YEAR that are confirmable but are also subject to availability. After the 4 DSUs are used, GP Diamonds have to pay (the rather high rates typical of Hyatt) to see the inside of a suite again. In addition, the Hyatt Diamond suite upgrade certificates are no good on pure award stays.

    Contrast that with Hilton Honors suite upgrades, which are UNLIMITED and are good even on AWARD stays.

    Considering the linked evidence, the notion that “Hyatt has the BEST suite upgrade benefit of ANY chain” does immediately ring hollow, does it not?…

    With respect to the free breakfast, HHonors Diamonds have the OPTION to have it in the restaurant, EVEN at properties that have a club lounge, so what is the big deal? Hyatt’s breakfast is best anywhere? Come on! I just had full free breakfast at Hilton properties in Asia over the past couple of weeks that have been nothing short of Royal Feasts! See, e.g.:

    Again, with this comment I simply seek to provide a different perspective (or “balance”) to the notion of “anything-Hyatt-is-best-in-the-business” that the bloggers created out of thin air and then fell for…

    Benefits that top elites in the other programs take for granted (late checkout, free breakfast) are elevated to mythical status by the bloggers and GP loyalists. They have gone so gaga over Hyatt’s belated entry into the Cash+points reward option that they would soon start to claim that Hyatt’s C&P is the “best in the business” or even that Hyatt invented it, when SPG and then HHonors have had for it a while and even allow its booking ONLINE!

    Gold Passport as a hotel loyalty program is, at best, a work-in-program compared to the other major programs. Everything, including its highly unreliable website, seems to be implemented on a trial basis (My Elite Rate came and went; the Diamond Challenge is returning in a slightly more sane form, etc…). To consider such an unsteady program as offering the “best anything in the business” is a real puzzle…

  11. @DCS you have had great LUCK with Hilton, in a limited number of stays and mostly in Asia. But you are not entitled, as a feature of the program, to restaurant breakfast when there is a club lounge. And you are not entitled to a suite, ever, even when every suite in the hotel is empty. With Hilton HHonors, if you are not given a suite, you have no basis for complaint under the program’s terms.

    For what it is worth, I have been a Hilton Diamond for several years. I have never once received a complimentary suite upgrade.

  12. Bah. They’ve gutted their Diamond challenge. Was planning stays at Hyatt to enjoy Diamond status but now there’s no point.

  13. @Monte P I have been signed up a few hours ago. The new trial is called Quick Qualifying Elite. CSR said it runs until 31/7 but had limited information.

  14. Just tried calling Gold Passport – no luck. They indicated that members would receive an email before 1/15 with new offers. Has anyone had any success signing up?

  15. SUCCESS! I spent about 30 mins on the phone with Gold Passport support. CSR told me that the promotion is so new that he didn’t know all the details. If you call, mention the Quick Qualifying Elite trial. Thanks Rado!

  16. I had no luck either. on hold forever and finally told they did not have any info about it.

  17. @Gary

    As you were telling us how I was LUCKY and not “entitled” to suite upgrades or breakfast in the restaurant at HHonors properties that also have a lounge, that is exactly what I was getting at two more properties, where the suite upgrades were automatic (making 3 of the last 4 suite upgrades unsolicited). I just posted the following two updates:

    “Lucky” is the pseudonym of another blogger who has also drunk too much of the “Hyatt-is-best-in-the-business” Kool-Aid. I have provided concrete examples of being upgraded to a suite 12 of 12 times in 12 months (1/3 not in Asia), so that to call that LUCKY is simply to defy simple logic and common sense!

    My suggestion is that the notion of Hyatt as “the best in the best” be toned down until they actually develop a stable loyalty program that rivals the other programs. At the moment, GP is at best an unsteady work-in-progress…really.

  18. @DCS I think that’s fantastic! I just don’t want readers deceived into thinking this experience is common, especially for travel across regions other than Asia Pacific! Again, you’re noting more upgrades in Asia. Those are different.

  19. @Gary
    It seems that our objectives are the same: to provide the readers with accurate information. There is nothing “deceptive” about my record. It speaks for itself, in vibrant color photos. However, a statement like “Hyatt has the best suite upgrade benefit of any chain”, which is demonstrably untrue, does more to mislead than my presenting my facts. The Hyatt suite upgrade benefit is NOT the best of any chain because I just provided the evidence and ‘luck’ has nothing to do with it. I got upgrades in Milan, Sydney, Hawaii, Chicago (that’s already 4 Hyatt DSUs right there) but I just happen to travel mostly in Asia-Pacific, so, naturally, most of my upgrades would be in that regions! What is important is to understand the HHonors system and then to work within it (I suspect that most people simply expect to be offered suite upgrades, but that is not how the system works!). Lastly, even if I got ONLY 12 upgrades out of 12 at Hilton properties, that is 8 more than a GP Diamond would get with 4 “confirmed” DSUs…which are no good on reward stays, while about half of my upgrades were on rewards stays. The definition of “best” needs to be changed or we should simply avoid superlatives altogether when it comes to loyalty program benefits…

    Another unsubstantiated hyperbole: “Several Hyatt properties are among the hotels with the very best breakfasts anywhere.” Note that you said “ANYWHERE”, except that now you are trying to eliminate Asian properties from what was clearly meant as a general statement. Can we just stop the unsubstantiated hyperbole?!

    Like I said, I am simply presenting alternate views that your readers may not get to hear very often 😉

  20. @DCS remember Hyatt also has the best confirmed points upgrade program as well. In any case, your Hilton experience – a limited number of stays predominantly in Asia – is very much NOT the norm for Hilton HHonors members. Congratulations for it! I am hardly unschooled in the ways of upgrades but have never once been offered a complimentary upgrade from a non-suite room to a suite at a Hilton property outside the Asia Pacific region. I just do not think that relying on your experience is going to help members at large in choosing a program.

  21. Emailed them and they also had no idea what I was talking about and said that promotion ended last year. This is super fun.

  22. 45 more minutes on hold, they found a promo that’s similar but that doesn’t give you Platinum status right away until you stay 6 times. Can anyone (or Gary) provide more information here? Thanks.

  23. Ridiculous. I’ve tweeted, called, and emailed and so far not one CSR has any idea what I”m talking about.

    Can anyone either provide details on what the offer is for current Platinum members or give out some type of contact number for someone who knows whats going on over there?

  24. I tend to agree with DCS at least about the unreliability of the website and the program. They lost a Free Night award of mine (at ANY Hyatt) and because this was before I learned to take screen captures, names and numbers it was my word against theirs.

  25. Well, I e-mailed, was told nothing’s changed. Responded with the name “Quick Qualifying Elite trial”. Got this:

    “We are currently extending some targeted offers to a select group of members based off a number of criteria. We periodically run campaigns such as this to gather insights regarding what works in the market. Please be assured we do honor your loyalty, and you are one of our most valued customers. We know that these efforts sometimes upset those who were not targeted, and we are sensitive to that. We are happy to state that over time, many of our members will benefit from some type of targeted offer.”

    So… is the trial now targeted?

  26. I followed up with a phone call and the CSR immediately knew about it and said it’s not a problem to apply it for me. I’m not quite ready (need it to start on the 19th) so he said to call back then as he didn’t know how to time it to start on another date. Hopefully the next CSR will have no issue, either.

    He also apologized for the confusion surrounding it which I appreciated.

  27. Have had two email responses so far, one stating the platinum challenge ended 31st October! and the next the same ‘targeted promotion’ blurb above.

    Will keep trying.

  28. Folks,

    On 1/3 I called Gold Passport. After lots of time on hold, and mentioning the Quick Qualifying Elite Trial, the CSR rattled off the conditions (6 nights to Platinum, 12 nights to Diamond in 60 days) – then transferred me – after another 20 minutes on hold, I was told that Social Media was wrong – and that my only option was to call the hotel I stayed at most often, and see if they would do it for me.

    The last CSR indicated that, yes, no other Hyatt program had ever worked this way – and they were trying new promotions.

    This sounded completely made up to me.

  29. I too just got off the phone with GP and was told I did not qualify for the challenge since I need 40 nights in 2014 to qualify. She then also asked me which hotel had offered me the challenge similar to what RickinCambridge had been told. I have 15 nights booked so I really wanted to sign up. Asked for a supervisor and was then disconnected after waiting on hold another 5 minutes.

  30. The amount of misinformation and lack of information is crazy. Every other hotel chain has a pretty set standard.

    Hyatt took their set standards, blew it up, and now is confusing members and potential members. Some people are told “sorry, we have no status match.” Some are told “it’s a targeted promotion only…” and now some are being told “you need to contact your local Hyatt sales staff.” So, which is it? Hyatt officials on various message boards have said both “it’s coming…” and “nothing exists at this time.”

    This is very confusing and I would like to change my loyalty in 2015, but with this level of mismanagement, is it worth it?

  31. Gary, please update this post or find out from your contact what the deal is, as many of us are getting sick of wasting time on this if it’s not correct.

  32. @Joe S – waiting until Monday on this but am presuming just poorly informed agents. Have never been all that impressed with phone agents with Hyatt (general line)

  33. This is becoming a big PR disaster for them if they don’t do something by Monday. They’re being hit hard on Twitter and the forums. Makes them look a bit underprepared and behind the times.

  34. @Gary, Gary, Gary!!!

    By which metric do you keep claiming that my suite upgrades have been “few”? A suite upgrade a month for 12 months is a “few”? I do have a my own home, y’know. I have been batting better then 95% across 4 continents since suite upgrades became an exclusive HHonors Diamond perk at the end of 2012. I will not keep posting links, but my very post on this subject was 2 years ago in response to YOUR claim that you never got a single complimentary upgrade at Hilton. If that is true, that’s more a reflection of your inability to play the game than a shortcoming of the HHonors program. Heck, I just got complimentary upgrade as a GP Platinum last week at a Hyatt Regency, so how tough can it be for a HHonors Gold, but especially a Diamond, to get a complimentary suite upgrade?! For HH Diamonds, the suite upgrades are written in the T&C. If a suite is available, a HH Diamond can have it in Asia or in Europe or in the US. It is really that simple

    Let’s nail that coffin shut: the following easily proves that Hyatt’s 4 “Confirmed” suite upgrades are not the “best in the business”:

    1. There are only 4 of them PER YEAR; what do you after they used up? [if my 12 in 2014 are “few” what do you call 4/yr?]
    2. They are good only for stays of up to 7 nights. What do you do when your stays are longer, as mine often are? Burn 2 DSUs?
    3. They are no good on pure award stays – to be “best” the GP DSUs would have to be good across the board!

    Both HHonors and SPG top elite suite upgrades are not limited by the above, therefore, they are superior to the GP DSUs. That fact won’t change no matter how you try spin it.

    As to my claim that GP as a loyalty program is, at best, a “work-in-progress” (by which I really meant “a joke”) one needs not go further than this very thread, which you started to tout Hyatt as the “best in the business”. Look at what it has devolved into!

    @Jason said it best: “The amount of misinformation and lack of information is crazy. Every other hotel chain has a pretty set standard.”


  35. Sorry that some sentences in the preceding post appeared like “shorthand” or seemed cryptic…that reflects the fact that I am now in transit to Yangon, Myanmar, and feel a bit jittery. None of the major US hotel chains have a presence there (yet) and I have no idea what to expect!


  36. It’s interesting, earlier today Hyatt’s twitter said:

    “Thank you for your interest in this new offer. The Elite Tier Offer is available only through our hotels’ sales offices for registration. We are unable to register members for this offer that have not been provided with the information & registration form from one of our properties’ sales teams. ^PR”

    So, this confuses it even more. Half the social media people say “no trial anymore” and then a few know about it but say it’s only through special channels.

  37. “The Elite Tier Offer is available only through our hotels’ sales offices for registration.”

    It is not even clear that this is really referring to the “Diamond Challenge.” The so-called “Elite Tier Offer” could easily be just another promo, since it is unclear why a presumably program-wide like a ‘Diamond Challenge’ would be available only through “Hotels’ sales offices”…

    I bet it is apples and oranges and no one even knows which is which…

  38. @DCS Yep, seems like agents don’t really know anything and a few people are in on what changes are coming as they all keep contradicting each other lol.

    But the Elite Tier Offer does have similar terms to the Diamond Challenge referenced above.

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