This year I have top tier status with several hotel chains but re-qualifying for next year will place an emphasis on Hilton going forward over Hyatt, my focus program.
On the Precipice of Re-Qualification
I am currently a single night away from re-qualification with Hyatt and have ceased my stays with the brand for the year. Why? Because my favorite benefit, the Category 1-7 free night certificate expires six months after I re-qualify. If I can’t use the benefit it holds no value to me, but in this instance, I can delay my re-qualification until later in the year when I near the use of the certificate.
Hyatt Still My Top Choice
I couldn’t quit Hyatt despite a previous attempt earlier this year, in fact, I doubled down with the chain. Its loyalty program is industry-leading, its partnership with SLH properties improves its footprint and returns focus to high-end properties, and my family looks forward to staying in Park Hyatts and its other premium brands on vacation.
I have also been fortunate to have business travel that has a conveniently located, and bargain basement-priced Hyatt Place that is suitable for my needs. My family has enjoyed many other brands but Hyatt is consistently worth the payoff when it’s time to reap the rewards of business stays all year long.
Hyatt Disincentivizes Early Re-Qualification
Some people love Hyatt Globalist status for the confirmed suite upgrades – I did too and still do. However, the Category 1-7 certificate is far more valuable to me. We have used it the Park Hyatt New York when the going rate was north of $900/night.
Hyatt has a very early expiry on the benefit, however, just six months after qualification. If I re-qualify now, I would have to use the night before the end of this year and I am unsure if I can do so. While I have been able to convert that certificate to points in the past, Hyatt has stated they will not do so as a rule going forward. Therefore, it is better for me to re-qualify within six months of available use of the certificate.
Hyatt offers incentives above the 55/60 night Globalist qualification, I just don’t rate them highly. At 70, 80, 90 and 100 nights they will award a bonus of 10,000 points or one additional suite upgrade. Consider this, however, they issue a standard Category 1-4 night at 30 nights. Staying 90 nights would earn enough bonus points to cover another category 7 hotel, yet I’m not striving to give them all the business I can. Therefore, to get me to stretch my loyalty to the brand, if the carrot was bigger, like additional certificates over their current bland incentives I might push all of my business to Hyatt.
This also means I won’t be spending on the Hyatt credit card in my wallet either because every $5,000 I spend triggers two elite-qualifying nights. Prior to re-qualification, this is an outstanding perk, but for my situation, I want to wait to re-qualify so they won’t get any more of my credit card spend for the rest of 2019 either.
Hilton Gets My Business
Hilton has stepped up their game in recent years. Many former Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty employees scattered to other chains and Hilton came out ahead with some key wins. There are three reasons I am moving my business to Hilton above other chains despite having the status secured through 2020 already.
First, they have nice enough hotels. What is nice enough? It’s a Garden Inn in a convenient location or a Homewood Suites with a decent dinner offering and plenty of space. It’s a Hampton across from the out-of-the-way office I am there on business to visit. IHG properties are perhaps just as ubiquitous if not more so, but given the choice, I choose Hilton brands every time.
Second, when we stay at high-end Hiltons outside the United States we have been treated like absolute royalty. One of our favorite hotels in the world is the Conrad Hong Kong for its Old Money Luxury charm and the new Waldorf-Astoria Bangkok is unreal.
Lastly, but most importantly, Rollover nights help me build toward next year to ensure my status level is never in doubt. If I were to stay at a Hyatt 100 nights this year, the counter still resets at 0. With Hilton, if I stayed 100 nights the counter would reset to 40 for the next year and that makes re-qualification even easier.
What About The Others?
I have tried SPG and loved them before Marriott but now can’t send them my business. And Marriott properties? Not until the bonvoying ends. I have one stay as a Titanium in the last year and it will remain that way; it was an award stay.
I would love to match with Le Accor because some of their hotels are amazing but despite having free-for-all top tier status years ago, they are completely uninterested in my business. Fair enough.
As long as Hyatt continues to expire the most valuable (to me) aspect of the program after six months I will delay my re-qualification with them until the last possible moment before I need the certificate. Hilton is a fine place to put my business for the rest of the year and will pay off in the year following as I continue to roll my Diamond membership toward lifetime status.
What do you think? Have you already re-qualified for status and have switched to another brand for diversification? Do you utilize Hilton’s rollover feature? What do you think of Hyatt’s approach to over-qualifying for status?