You may remember how through a series of unusual and quite fortunate events, my husband became a Diamond Hyatt member. He had exactly zero points in his account and probably has no clue what Hyatt even is. And yet, he is now their most prized customer. Why does it matter? Well, Hyatt Diamond is probably the most valuable status level there is. To find out more, see this excellent infographic on Travelisfree
Of course, I would never suggest people go out of their way to acquire it, but in our case, it was totally 100% free (other than 20 minutes of my time), just the way I like it. So, of course, now I’m going to swap all of our reservations to Hyatt, right? Nope, as I explained in this post, I would rather use the points we already have in other programs. Breakfast and upgrades are nice, but they are not enough to sway me to pay cash. Because when you use Ultimate Rewards points for transfer to Hyatt program, you are spending real money (more on that later).
Splurging without regret
Even though, I don’t plan to stay in Hyatt a whole lot this year, there is a place I really would like to try out. Introducing Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. It’s a category 4, which means it runs at 15,000 Gold Passport points per night for a basic room (fits 4). The best way to acquire this currency is by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1.
However, I plan to do a “Cash+Points” redemption instead. It costs 7,500 points+$100 per night. Pure award redemptions don’t qualify for suite upgrade, and I really want that darn suite! Side note: According to Travel Codex, it looks like in a near future, your 4 annual Diamond suite upgrades have to be used up by expiration date.
My cousin-in-law has stayed in this hotel with her family and absolutely loved it. In fact, I’m hoping they can join us this year. However, there is one problem. They have to wait for renewal of their annual Hyatt Visa certificates valid for category 1-4, which won’t happen till June (read my post on Chase Hyatt Signature Visa).
If everything goes as planned, they will be able to stay in this resort for only $75 per night (basic room with 2 queens), a spectacular deal. I’m hoping that Hyatt doesn’t change the category in the next six months, so for now we just have to wait and see. Here is what the suite at this resort runs at during high season:
First, let me say I would never pay this ridiculous price. Anyone who would is out-of-their-mind, no offense. While I’m sure it’s a very nice place, it’s not worth 1 grand per night. But that’s where points come in, and why I don’t mind splurging once in a while. I called this resort and was told that they have basic suites that come with 2 queen beds and a sofa, so you can potentially fit six people. Here is how you would book it if you happen to have an upgrade certificate that comes with Diamond status. First, you look for “points+cash” rate, if available:
Go ahead and book it online, then call Hyatt to apply one of your upgrade certificates. And you are set! A huge perk that comes with Diamond status is the fact that you get free breakfast for up to 4 people or lounge access that has food and snacks. I was told you can use a Hyatt gift card (I happen to have one) to pay the cash portion of the rate. It is refundable, and normal cancellation policy applies.
No Hyatt Diamond, no problem
But what if you don’t have status and really want to stay in that suite or have a large family and simply have no choice? You can still use points for that. This is what it would cost you:
It looks like minimum 3-night reservation is required, so it would run a total of 72,000 Hyatt points. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the easiest way to get them is via transfer from Ultimate Rewards. You can sign up for cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (55,000 points bonus) and Chase Ink Plus (a business card that comes with 60,000 points bonus). Both offers pay me referral and you can read more on them in this page. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure I would burn valuable UR points here at this rate. Remember, you can cash them out for $720 and get more value when redeeming for flights or transferring to Southwest. Frankly, a beachfront condo would give you a better bang for your buck. But everyone has different goals, and I’m not here to tell you how to use your points.
Talking about Chase Sapphire Preferred…again
A mini rant: Yes, Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably the most famous credit card in the history of internets. Yes, the coverage on it is $ahem$, plentiful. And yes, it pays me referral. But here is the thing. The sign-up bonus is worth at least $550, its currency can be used for regular revenue flights where you get 1.25 cents per point, or you can transfer them to Southwest, Avios, United or Hyatt.
If you are starting out in the hobby and are not sure about your future plans, I can’t think of a reason why you would be wronged by applying for it whether you use my referral link or someone else’s. Of course, I assume you can easily meet the minimum spending requirements of $4,000 in 3 months. If that’s too much, then it’s a different story. Otherwise, the sign-up bonus itself (not renewing the card) is awesome sauce, and I dare anyone to argue it’s not. It looks like current 55,000 points offer will stick around through at least the beginning of March, maybe longer.
Combining Hyatt points
But what if you don’t have enough UR currency for this redemption because your stash is split between yours’ and your spouse’s accounts? You can transfer points for free to your spouse and then dump them to Hyatt. If you are still short, ask a relative or a friend in the hobby if they can spare some Hyatt points. You can transfer them to anyone once every 30 days by emailing or faxing this form. I did just that.
You see, I had 7,000 Hyatt points, but since my husband is the one with top status, the suite upgrade can only be used for redemption in his name. Hyatt loyalists, correct me if I’m wrong. So, I emailed the form, and it took about 4 days for points to show up.
What now? We wait for my cousin-in-law’s certificates to post in June and hope for the best. In the meantime, I need to transfer UR points to Hyatt before canceling my husband’s Chase Sapphire Preferred. How many points? Probably just 8,000, which would give me enough for a 2-night redemption at this resort. The rest will go to Southwest or United (undecided at the moment). I might even redeem UR points for cash (gasp!) Like I said, as much as I love upgrades and free breakfast, I value miles and real money more than hotel points.
Are you being irrational?
Speaking of, you may want to read this excellent post on Free-quent Flyer Miles and points as an (irrational!) commitment mechanism I actually planned to write something very similar, but I doubt I would do it quite so eloquently. Even though his blog isn’t in “family travel” niche per se, I recommend you follow it. It’s easily in the top five in the industry.
Warning: The author does unleash his inner drama queen now and again (hey, it takes one to know one!) Though in his defense, he did live in Russia for few years. And you know what they say: You can take the hobbyist out of Russia, but you can’t take Russia out of the hobbyist.
I’m definitely not planning to add more trips because of Hyatt status. If anything, I might cut back on our getaways this year. My husband and I just had a short PointBreaks getaway with kids and we are pooped. Vacationing with small children is a lot of work. If you think it sounds like an oxymoron, obviously, you don’t have small children.
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