I’ve been a loyal supporter of Starwood for a number of years, racking up hundreds of stays. I truly believe the Starpoint is the most valuable currency in the loyalty world. I can use it to stay at world class properties (see St. Regis Rome and Hotel Danieli, Venice), and I can use it at an extremely preferential conversion rate for airline tickets. The added bonus is that AA still considers miles from ALL sources for lifetime status, so some well-timed Starwood transfers got me lifetime Platinum on AA.
However, I’ve embarked on a new path with Hyatt. I still carry a Starwood branded American Express card, and will continue to do so. The transition was a combination of the treatment I received at domestic Starwood properties, and the innovative promotions Hyatt kept launching. Each new promotion was like a cruise missile destined to decimate other programs. The most recent promo allowed you to earn 5,000 points or a free one-night stay for every two stays. Easy to rack up the benefits by doing some hotel hopping.
The added kicker is the lifetime status. Hyatt’s top-tier status is Diamond, which they were nice enough to comp me to earlier this year. Unlike Starwood (right now, at least), Hyatt offers a lifetime Diamond option if you earn 1,000,000 base points and are a member for ten years. Since I’ve just signed up, it will be a while. But, with my travel this year, I should earn at least 10% of my lifetime status, and probably more like 15%.
A funny thing happened when I started staying at Hyatts. I really started enjoying things. Then, today, the USA Today published an article that summarizes, in part, the reasons I’m enamored with the brand.
Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites are different than any other limited service property I’ve ever stayed at. Heck, I can’t even call them limited service. When I check into a Hyatt Place, the person who checks me in is also trained to prepare me any of a dozen or so fresh meals, including breakfast burritos, salads, etc. And, the food is damn good.
Spacious rooms, flat screen HDTV, huge bathrooms. Brand new exercise equipment. Summerfield Suites has great kitchens in every room, and a decent breakfast/happy hour. The only downside is some of the Hyatt Place locations are old Amerisuites locations that came through the renovation a little worse than expected.
I may be a bit odd, checking into a Hyatt hotel with my Starwood credit card. But, I can assure you it’s worth the visit. I hope you’ll join me.