While 2014 was still a busy year for travel, it was a bit slower than 2013. It certainly didn’t feel like it at times! I set out with a goal to requalify for Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status, the hotel status I value most highly. My secondary goal was to requalify for Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum status. I was 99% certain I could achieve these goals. My third, and more lofty goal to achieve was to accrue 100 room nights with SPG to retain my Ambassador.
I had a rough start with the Ambassador service but truly love my current Ambassador. He understands my travel patterns and dotes on my kids when we travel. 100 nights was going to be a stretch, but SPG does count credit for award stays and up to 3 rooms per night towards your elite status. So, traveling with my family and getting two connecting rooms on an award would score me 2 night credits for every night we were on vacation.
So, how did I do?
First, let’s look at Hyatt Gold Passport. I needed to accrue either 25 stays or 50 nights to keep my Diamond status. Here’s a snapshot of my most recent monthly statement:
I finished the year with 36 stays and 63 nights, almost exactly what I did last year. I had stays at the following properties:
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe (upgraded using Diamond Suite Upgrade)
Hyatt Chesapeake (upgraded using Diamond Suite Upgrade)
Hyatt Regency Denver (upgraded every single stay, but I’m there quite a bit)
Hyatt Herald Square, New York
The Concourse Hotel at LAX (upgraded without using Diamond certificate)
Andaz West Hollywood (small upgrade without using Diamond certificate)
Hyatt House Colorado Springs
Hyatt House Denver Airport
Hyatt Deerfield, Illinois (upgraded using Diamond Suite Upgrade)
TheHotel at Mandalay Bay
The Delano (formerly TheHotel)
Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos (upgraded without using Diamond certificate)
Grand Hyatt DFW (when I missed my connection, upgraded without certificate as well)
The Driskill (upgraded without using Diamond certificate)
Park Hyatt Paris, Place Vendome (used points to book a suite)
New York, New York
Grand Hyatt Seattle (upgraded without using Diamond certificate)
All in all, another solid year of upgrades without certificates at Hyatt properties. Some folks comment on the fact that they never receive upgrades when they stay at Hyatt properties. That’s never been my experience as a Diamond member for almost 4 years.
I’m also a big fan of lifetime status and Hyatt has a difficult path to get there, requiring $200,000 in spending/1,000,000 base points to achieve lifetime Diamond. At the end of 2013 I was right at the halfway mark. As you can see above, I’m now right at 60%. I’ve been fortunate to have a few opportunities to pay for rooms for my employees when they were traveling with me which has helped.
Now, my Starwood stays:
Sheraton Salt Lake City, Utah (no upgrade, almost didn’t get the room type I paid for)
Westin Dublin (upgrade without suite nights)
Walt Disney World Dolphin(upgrade with suite nights)
Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center
Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center
Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey
Aloft Richmond West
Westin New York Grand Central
Hotel Danieli, Venice
St. Regis San Clemente Palace, Venice (upgrade without suite night award)
St. Regis Rome (upgrade without suite night award)
Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sheraton Suites Market Center, Dallas
And a whoooooole lot of nights at the Aloft Winchester, VA. But, we’ll get back to that momentarily.
I had convinced myself that I hadn’t scored that many upgrades in spite of having a great Ambassador. Now that I’ve laid out my stays, I’m a bit more impressed. Frankly, I don’t really care if I score an upgrade on a one-night stay in Salt Lake City for business.
When I look at my important stays in 2014 (Danieli, St. Regis, Dolphin) they all got upgraded, mostly without suite nights. I’m 100% sure that doesn’t happen without the help of my Ambassador. Add in connecting rooms at Westin Grand Central and an awesome suite at Westin Dublin and my Ambassador made it a very satisfying year.
Did all this math add up to 100 nights? Well, after I got done with all of my stays, I was still short. How short? Uh, almost 20 nights short. To make matters worse, I actually do have a category 1 SPG property nearby me, the……Aloft Winchester, VA. It would cost me 35,000 Starpoints to hit 100 nights on the nose and retain my Ambassador for another year.
Put another way, would I pay 35,000 points to secure upgrades and connecting rooms at high-demand properties? That’s when I realized I had missed a small part of the math equation. When I figured in Platinum arrival bonuses and the extra points for declining housekeeping (duh, I’m not even taking the keys), it would cost me 30,000 Starpoints. I value Starpoints at a bit less than 2 cents a piece, so this was a “cost” of $500 to $600.
You’ve already figured out by now that I went ahead and burned the 30K. I feel good about the decision even though SPG points are hard to come by. I’m excited to have an Ambassador again for 2015, though I fear it’s likely the last year I will. More on that when we start….
I’ll absolutely requalify for Hyatt Diamond. It’s my favorite status. The Diamond Suite Upgrades are like gold to me and I get my fair share of upgrades without them as well. Almost uniformly, I get the benefits promised to me and excellent service. Not much more to ask for.
Starwood? Well, I’ve hit the 500 nights I needed to for Lifetime Platinum.
I’m either one or two years short on the 10-year qualification, so I fully intend to qualify for Platinum in 2015. But, I can do that with as few as 25 stays, which is a far cry from the 100 nights to retain my Ambassador. If I had to guess, I’ll miss 100 nights by a wide margin in 2015. I’ll predict that I end up with somewhere between 45 and 55 nights. And, I’ll be truly sad to lose my Ambassador.
And, the above shows me that once again I’m way behind on writing reviews for a whole bunch of my hotel stays. Guess I know what one of my New Years resolutions will be….
As a side note, unless I’m forgetting something, when I add up all of my Hilton, Marriott and IHG stays for 2014, I still end up at zero.
What are your New Years hotel status resolutions?
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