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Sometimes I Have To Force Myself Not Save Elite Benefits For Some Hypothetical Future Trip

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Miles, points, and elite status benefits are all there to be used (it’s pointless hoarding miles and points because they’ll devalue over time and what’s the point of benefits if you don’t use them?) but sometimes I have to give myself a good solid kick in the you-know-where when I realize that something is stopping me from acting in a rational and sensible way. One such kick was needed this weekend.

I’m in the process of booking a family trip for next year and part of the plan sees us using points to stay at two Category 5 Hyatt properties for 2 nights at each.

I had no problem deciding to burn some of my World of Hyatt points as room rates are currently considerably higher than what I’m prepared to pay, but for reasons that are tricky to rationalize, I found myself trying to avoid using any suite upgrade awards when using suite upgrade awards is very obviously the sensible thing to do.

Allow me to explain…

On this trip, Joanna and I will be traveling with our pet teenager (MJ) and this means that at any hotel we stay at, we’ll either need to have two rooms or a suite with a separate living area and a rollaway bed.

At a World of Hyatt Category 5 property, two rooms would cost us 40,000 points/night while a suite big enough to sleep the three of us would cost 32,000 points/night, and even my (sometimes) nonsensical brain can see that for a stay as short as 2 nights, the suite option is the one to go with (for longer stays I may consider 2 rooms).

So far so good.

Currently, I have four World of Hyatt suite upgrade awards sitting in my account (valid into 2023) so as the hotels both have entry-level suites available, I have the option of booking a regular room (20,000 points/night) and upgrading that room to a suite, or I can part with a further 12,000 points/night (32,000 points/night in total) and book the suite outright.

This is where the internal conflict begins.

I’m currently breaking a key “rule” of the miles and points hobby by doing my best to hoard as many World of Hyatt points as possible in preparation for a huge trip that Joanna and I are hoping to take in 2023 so I’d prefer not to spend an extra 48,000 points (24,000 points per 2-night stay) if I don’t absolutely have to.

Logically, therefore, it makes sense to burn two of my suite upgrades to save the 48,000 points and to ensure that we lock in rooms that will work for us…but logic is something that sometimes attempts to pass me by. Irrationality sets in.

The problem is that although by using two suite upgrades on this trip I’d get $672 of value out of them (based on a 1.4 cents/point valuation of Hyatt’s currency), a part of me can’t let go of the feeling that using suite upgrades for stays as short as 2 nights is more than a little wasteful (one upgrade can be used on a stay of up to 7 nights).

My brain knows that I’ll still have two suite upgrade awards left, it knows that I’m unlikely to book more than two long stays at Hyatt properties between now and when the upgrades expire, and it knows that $672 of value isn’t bad considering I earned all 4 upgrades on the cheap, but it still doesn’t like the idea of burning upgrades on 2-night stays.

What has added to the internal conflict is the fact that my Globalist status gives me access to free suite upgrades on the day of check-in (if the hotel has any suites left to sell) so part of me has been wondering why not simply book a standard room at each property and hope for an upgrade to the suites we need on the days of check-in. My suite upgrades would be preserved, I’d save 48,000 points, and we’d still have the rooms that we need. Winner!

Clearly, this is a ridiculous strategy to consider. There’s every chance that there won’t be any suites available at check-in because more sensible guests will have used their upgrades, so I’ll end up paying for an extra room and burning points that I really don’t want to burn…and that assumes that award nights are available when we come to check-in. I may have to part with cash (the horror!)

Nevertheless, a ridiculous idea or not this is the kind of nonsense that my brain has been pondering over the weekend and it took quite a bit of effort to snap myself out of my illogical train of thought, to bring myself back to the real world, and to tell myself that I was thinking like an idiot.

Fortunately, sense won the day so the rooms have been booked and the suite upgrades applied, and as painful as it was to see the upgrades being used on stays as short as 2 nights long, I know that, eventually, I came to my senses and did the right thing.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, the better benefits that come with high elite status can appear so valuable that we forget that they’re there to be used and it can be easy to turn into a Gollum-like creature who can’t bear to part with them.

Let’s face it, it’s nice to log in to a loyalty account and to see valuable benefits sitting on the screen in front of you and ready for some hypothetical trip in the future. Unfortunately, the more valuable benefits (like upgrades) usually come with expiry dates and that makes it important to use them when the opportunities arise. It makes very little sense to keep them on the sidelines “just in case” a better use comes up for them somewhere down the line as, more often than not, the “better use” never comes around. Trust me, I know! 🙂

Featured image: The Andaz Prague (opening in 2022) courtesy of Hyatt

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