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Hyatt Discontinues Diamond Challenge: How to Get Elite Status Without it

As of January 1, 2015 Hyatt has brought the Diamond Challenge back. The requirements are the same, except elite status benefits don’t kick in until the challenge is complete.

Here’s a bit of news that came out of the blue: As of October 31, 2014 Hyatt has discontinued the popular Hyatt Diamond Challenge. There were rumors about this happening months ago, but it apparently happened three days ago and we all missed it. Nice job, sneaking that in on Halloween night, when most people weren’t paying attention. It had to end eventually and I’m honestly surprised it was around for so long.

Hyatt Regency Sacramento check-in

Hyatt Regency Sacramento check-in

Combined with Hilton Gold status from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, the Hyatt Diamond Challenge was the easiest way to get top-tier hotel elite status benefits. It required proof of status from another program (i.e. Hilton Gold) and all Diamond benefits applied right away. Members could keep their status past the 60 day trial period if they completed 12 nights – half the number typically required. If this wasn’t generous enough, members earned 1,000 bonus points on the first six nights. 

If you missed the boat and still want a cheaper way to earn top-tier Diamond status, you have one fairly decent option: Mattress running on Points + Cash awards. You’ll need to complete 25 stays now instead of 12, but you can still do it relatively cheaply at a Category 1 hotel. 

Hyatt’s Category 1 Points + Cash awards require 2,500 points + $50 per night. For 25 stays, you will need 62,500 Gold points and $1,250 cash. This is an insane amount, but it’s really the cheapest way to go about this unless you can find a cash rate between $60-111, depending on your redemption method.

Coming up with 62,500 Gold Points and $1,250 (i.e. 125,000 Arrival Miles) will take quite a bit of manufactured spending, though the final cost will be significantly less than $1,250:

  • $62,500 in Simon Mall gift cards, purchased in $500 increments = $368.75 in gift card fees

The final cost of achieving Hyatt Diamond status will come down to $737.50 in gift card fees. You will get 12,500 Arrival Miles back, as part of the 10% discount on travel redemptions – reducing your costs by another $36.87. 

Don’t forget to factor in the amount of time and effort involved in unloading so many gift cards, if manufactured spending is the way you want to go. If you already have the points sitting around in your Hyatt and Arrival accounts, take into consideration the amount of travel you’re giving up by choosing to spend your points on mattress runs rather than a real 25 day vacation. To some, the four annual suite night upgrades, free breakfast and wifi will be worth it. Others won’t get much value out of these benefits. Personally, I don’t see how mattress running is beneficial unless you travel enough to get your money’s worth from the benefits. And if you do travel often, you shouldn’t have to mattress run so much anyway. You can meet the elite night qualifications through actual hotel stays. However, if you’re short just a few nights, Hyatt’s Points + Cash awards can be a cheap way to meet elite qualifications.

HT: The Trip Sherpa

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Ariana Arghandewal

5 Comments

  1. just a quick thought on your Arrival miles thing:

    I appreciate the last para but I don’t understand why you would even bring Arrival Miles into the equation? Are you suggesting that doing 125 K in MSing with all its attendant troubles is worth saving barely 500 bucks? (even if you don’t take into account costs like Gas.)

    Enjoy your blog but sometimes think you are so much into the whole Points thing & saving money, that you do tend to lose a bit of perspective. 🙂

    No offense.

    Thanks

    • No offense taken – I appreciate the feedback. I’m not recommending anyone do a full $125k in ms to earn Diamond status, but rather outlining the alternative to spending upwards of 62k + $1,250 to get there. It’s meant as a reference for those who have real hotel stays coming up or are a few nights short of status. Doing a bit of ms (not $125k worth, but perhaps $10-20k) can help them earn elite status while saving both cash and points.

  2. Maybe you should refactor it in with the GP points you get on the cash portion, or mentioning that you can nullify the points requirement if you can find one with the lounge closed. =D

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