Is Hyatt’s Instant Diamond Match Disloyal to Current Members & Was it a Good Move for the Company?

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hyatt diamond match disloyal

Hyatt’s Diamond Match – Disloyal, Stupid or Both?

Just a few days ago we saw Hyatt begin to give away their top tier membership to elites of other programs. The match seemed to be driven by the company’s want to take elites from SPG following the Marriott purchase announcement, but they were also matching elites from other chains as well. It was a bonanza for some.

The match was incredibly generous. Prove you were an elite with at least one stay and get the Hyatt’s top tier Diamond status through February, 2017. It seems they tightened up the guidelines for who qualifies sometime during the process, but no doubt thousands of people including several of my friends are now Diamond members just like me.

I Work Hard for My Diamond

But is that really fair? After all, I have struggled this year to requalify for Hyatt Diamond status. I value it a lot, so I have planned and split stays and done whatever it takes. Currently I am sitting just four stays shy of the 25 I need to requalify and no doubt will hit that magic number before the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Day.

The truth is loyalty programs aren’t a democracy. It is perfectly legal for a company to make me struggle to get Diamond status the published way and then give it to someone else for nothing. Many of us Diamonds also fast tracked into that status during the previous Diamond Challenge. Sure, that required 12 nights, but it definitely was an easier way to get the status than 25 stays or 50 nights.

I Am Still Winning

Then of course I think back to all of the statuses I hold. I personally hold SPG Gold, Club Carlson Gold, IHG Platinum, Best Western Diamond and HHonors Gold in addition to my Hyatt Diamond. How about all of the people who earned those statuses the old fashioned way? I simply got mine through credit cards and status matches. In other words, I would be a huge hypocrite for being too mad at Hyatt for this.

I also think back to my recent AA Elite Fast Track. When I saw that promotion, I was in Mexico City with my friend who is not a “hobbyist” and who is AAdvantage Gold purely through flying. He saw me register for the promotion, fly a couple of flights (which still equals less flying than he did this year) and now I have the top tier status. That didn’t make him feel too good nor was it fair.

We Are All Blessed

The truth is we are all blessed. Sometimes we win and score an amazing deal and sometimes we miss out. Yes the Hyatt Diamond match was one of those rare gems and yes I am sort of jealous that so many people got my beloved status without any work, but oh well. There will be promotions they miss out on. In the end we are all winning.

Loyalty programs don’t operate to give things away. They operate to make money and to motivate brand loyalty. A select group of us has found ways to make those programs work for us. We are all blessed because of that. Which brings me to my final points.

Was This a Good Move & Is It Disloyal?

I wonder how many loyal customers Hyatt will get from this match. There are a lot of us these days and the news of this promotion spread like crazy. Sure a lot of people are now Diamonds and probably some of them will stick around, but will Hyatt gain enough to justify giving these benefits to so many people? I suppose time will tell, but my guess is no.

Finally, we need to answer whether this move is disloyal to current elites? In my opinion it isn’t. As I said before, it is completely legal and while some will be rubbed the wrong way, Hyatt is trying to improve their business. They are trying to drive more traffic to their brands and to their properties. As long as they provide the benefits published, I think ultimately they are being as loyal as they need to be.

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  1. Here’s a good one …. I sent Hyatt an email asking to match my Wife as a surprise for her. She is IHG Spire Ambassador. Sent a screen shot of her credentials. I did not ask for a status match for myself. Received an email this morning that I was matched to Diamond. Checked my account, and yes, Diamond. Didn’t even give them my Hyatt Gold Passport credentials. I’ll take it!

  2. I would be very annoyed if I were a current Hyatt Diamond.

    Having said that, I very much doubt Hyatt started out with the goal of matching everyone with one night stay and status elsewhere. Their actions certainly make it look like it was a mistake and they started walking it back within a day or two.

    Also, from the perspective of someone who was a Hyatt Diamond previously, for one year, thanks to a previous status challenge, I’m very grateful to be Diamond again (my Hilton Gold was matched – I did have about 20 nights at Hilton this year so if they were actually vetting one by one I would probably be seen by Hyatt as decent potential for incremental revenue).

    I know for a fact in my case Hyatt will get a lot more of my business this year. The year I was Diamond I probably had 20 paid nights at Hyatts and perhaps another 10 award nights. Once that expired early the next year, I had exactly one additonal paid night at Hyatts (and this year so far I have had 6 award nights with Hyatt and not one paid stay).

    If I’m not Diamond and I need a 4pm checkout I have to stay at IHG. If I want a free breakfast I have to stay at Hilton. All other things, if the rates are equal, Hilton or IHG give me a better point dividend on my stay then the small (20%? 30%) bonus that Hyatt platinums get. Now that these three factors are gone and I have diamond upgrades to burn, I’m much much more likely to book Hyatts.

    If it is a zero sum game (i.e. if a “real” diamond and I want to use a suite upgrade and the hotel has only one)
    “real” diamonds indeed do have a right to be annoyed, but I they will probably stay with Hyatt for the other benefits and now Hyatt gets my revenue ….. good for Hyatt so long as they don’t undermine all trust in Gold Passport qualifying criteria.

  3. PDX: It’s anger, not frustration, and it’s for long-term diamonds, not platinum’s. It appears they let MANY people in, one only needs to review various tweets on Hyatt’s Concierge to determine that. Damage has been done. You won’t understand until you need to re-qualify in 2016 by making 25 stays or 50 nights. Only then, you’ll start to get the point long-term diamonds are making.

    • I meant Diamond. Sorry, my error. And I appreciate your reply pointer. Whether it’s anger or frustration, I get it. You’re certainly welcome to disagree and you may very well be correct. But I just think the numbers probably aren’t all that significant (especially as quick as they cut it off), when you figure in the number of properties and the fact that all these new Diamonds (like me) aren’t going to be traveling frequently/heavily. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I kind of agree with Shawn that we all win some and lose some. This might feel like a loss for you (and you’re certainly entitled to be upset), but I simply have a theory that the noticeable impact won’t be too big. And I’m certainly happy that I got in on it! 🙂

  4. I’m very thankful for this deal coming along and glad that I was able to jump on it early. I can certainly understand the frustration among existing Platinum’s who earned it the hard way. But it appears they cut off the gold-to-platinum matching pretty quickly, so I doubt it’s going to have a huge/noticeable impact/dilution.

  5. Where I see the biggest problem is the 4pm checkouts. The hotel can only have so many. To me this is invaluable. As a Marriott platinum I had to beg for 1pm

    • It is one of my favorite benefits and one I use often! Sometimes i check-in at 10am and checkout at 4pm the next day on a one night stay. It would stink if hotels aren’t able to extend it because of too many Diamonds.

  6. As a long-time diamond I have seen many ways benefits have been diluted over the past couple years. Recently I have been at properties with nice lounges that are normally not super busy have days when the lounge is packed with entire wedding parties and sports teams. On our trip in October there were two days that the lounge was just about completely full with a teen soccer team and their coaches and chaperones.

    Whether the access was paid for, or offered as an incentive to stay at the property, from a business standpoint the hotel can certainly offer whatever they want to potential customers. But, it sure dilutes the Diamond experience to enter a room with messy tables, loud patrons, no food or drink, and no place to sit. One morning we entered, saw the mess and left. We decided it was worth it to pay for breakfast rather than be frustrated.

    At this same property they used to give a $5 discount off resort fee to Diamonds. No more, said that the upgraded Internet takes the place of discount.

    Oh, and you gotta love the reclassification of room types so that less are available for points.

    I don’t mind status matches to the same basic level, or having a challenge whereby you have to do something for it. I don’t care for matching lower level status to Diamond. At least with challenges a person has to invest time, effort and money.

      • Great post bro.

        This topic actually transcends the entire points/miles game. Its not just related to those how work hard for Diamond status and those that got it so easily during this promotion.

        As Kijo mentioned, lounges at properties are getting busier. But dilution is happening all over. The easier and easier it is to get status, the more PACKED anything “elite” will be.

        This really takes away from feeling the l33t level. I know that sounds really elitist, but its true. For those who “legitimately” worked hard for status, that really sucks and you see your chances for room upgrades or flight upgrades eliminated because everyone and their dogs are elites.

        No different than everyone in your neighborhood drives a Ferrari and you worked 50+ years to get yours but Ferrari decided to give it away for free due to some promotion this year.

  7. To add the disclaimer to my statement above… Yea, I would nab the upgrade in a second if it were to be had. I’m not against the path of least resistance. I didn’t get it so I’m all… whaa whaa 🙂

  8. I am one of the people who got the Diamond match the other day with only SPG Gold via Amex Platinum. I’ve been Hyatt Platinum for years because of the Chase CC. I love Hyatt and SPG. I just don’t travel enough with paid stays to get the highest level status for any hotel brand though. Every hotel status I have is because of a credit card.

    Will I choose Hyatt over SPG in 2016, especially for the few paid stays I do have because of this ? You betcha!

    If I worked as hard as you all did to get Diamond status (and spent as much $), I would probably be miffed that Hyatt gave away Diamond status.

  9. I have to wonder how many of the new diamonds will actually use their status. We hate super loyal to Hyatt and both my husband and I are diamond. We started with diamond challenges but the benefits have proven to be so perfect for our family so we continue to requalify each year.

    I also have to wonder how properties will maintain the previous diamond experience. My guess is that they won’t be able to and lots of the new diamonds won’t bother to requalify and some of the long time elites may not either.

    I’m currently at a Grand Hyatt with a club (we’ve been here for quite some time) and whenever there is an influx in people staying at the property with club access, the quality of the club experience decreases.

    Last night for example, at cocktail hour, the food ran out rather quickly. My family and I waited for 40 minutes or so for things to be replenished and we finally left. The club was very busy and the staff I saw were running around like crazy trying to help people. Although we understood the situation and knew that things aren’t always that way at this particular club, we were still disappointed when we left.

  10. Everyone has their own opinion, however, when you start looking at the numbers, you get the idea that long-term diamond folks are, generally, not happy. When a flyer talk thread swells quickly, you know something is up. No doubt about it, this wasn’t a good move for those devoted to their diamond program because it WILL reduce availability. If this was a “good” idea, Hyatt would have kept the original terms pumping, but they didn’t. One only has to look at Hyatt’s reaction to see that this was a bad idea (matching lower levels to the diamond without any challenge at all.) Hyatt needs to do the right thing and make amends with dedicated diamonds.

    • Pointer and I definitely share the same thought process. I congratulate those who were able to take advantage of this promo, but GP mgmt severely underestimated the amount of negative goodwill it created among existing Diamonds. From a purely business perspective, poaching customers is a good short-term strategy, but growing the base by attracting new customers is always more desirable. In the end, successful businesses must always retain and reward its most loyal customers first. The clock’s ticking, do the right thing Hyatt.

  11. It’s crap. You worked hard for Diamond. I earned Plat through stays. Now we need to potentially compete for upgrade availability with people that were not loyal to the brand and now just get to stroll in and potentially bag upgrades. I did very well getting upgrades with my lowly Platinum. I have to expect my luck will dry up with the population of Diamonds growing. It’s like the lottery giving out 10,000 free tickets when I paid for my chance to win… good for those that got a freebie, crap on me for having paid.

    • I don’t really disagree with that, but the truth is I have been on the other side of this many times where I was given status. Since I don’t see anything truly wrong when a company gives me something, it is hard to be truly upset about things like this. My feelings are definitely mixed though and as I said, I do think it is probably a bad move for the company since I doubt most of the matched will continue to be loyal to Hyatt.

    • Except that status is transitory, you have to requalify every year. Sure you did it the hard way this year and others didn’t, but the clock resets Jan 1 for everyone.

      If you want to feel bad for someone, save it for the lifetime SPG plats who are now fooked.

    • I was GP platinum as well, but my HH diamond was just matched. You should be able to get a match if you have status elsewhere as well.

  12. The outcome for those that have qualified the hard way is busy lounges, less upgrades and problems using the suite upgrades. If Hyatt thinks upsetting these people is good business they are mistaken.

  13. Shawn you mention that they tightened up but you didn’t elaborate at all by what you meant. I sent in my credentials two days ago and I’m still waiting to hear back, so could you elaborate by what you mean in terms of them tightening up?


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