As most people probably know already, last Friday (20 November) Hyatt decided to try to capitalise on concerns being voiced by Starwood Preferred guest members as a result of Marriott’s impeding take over of Starwood.
Starwood and Marriott are two very, very different hotel chains with Marriott being considerably bigger than its counterpart. Starwood is considered to have the more luxurious and aspirational properties in its portfolio while Marriott’s strengths lie in it’s very large footprint and the large number of long-stay properties that it owns (e.g. Residence Inn).
The two companies’ loyalty systems are as different as the companies themselves. Starwood’s SPG program is considered to be one of the more rewarding hotel loyalty programs around while Marriott’s has the toughest criteria for elite status of them all. SPG gives its top-tier elites suite upgrades while Marriott top-tier Platinums get nothing like that.
So you can see why Starwood Elites aren’t exactly looking forward to Marriott taking over the loyalty system the enjoy so much right now.
Well, Hyatt saw this as an opportunity and, last Friday, this tweet was spotted on Twitter:
It turned out that, not only was Hyatt happy to match status from another hotel group, but they were matching to their top-tier Diamond status – and you didn’t even need to have top-tier status with another loyalty program to get Hyatt Diamond Status. They were matching Starwood Gold status (which you get as a perk of having an Amex Platinum card) to Hyatt Diamond as long as you had one Starwood stay in the past year (yes, just the one stay).
Needless to say, when the news got out, this started a stampede (of the metaphorical kind) that I don’t think Hyatt expected.
Hyatt has a fantastic loyalty program to make up for the fact that they have such massive gaps in their portfolio (compared to hospitality groups like Hilton, IHG and, of course, Marriott) and any opportunity to match your status from one hotel group to Hyatt Diamond status is something you can’t pass up. And not many did.
Hyatt was inundated with requests for a status match and many, myself included are still waiting to hear if we’ve been lucky.
I head about the news via Gary at View From The Wing and immediately sent a tweet out to Hyatt:
As a couple of hours passed and I hadn’t heard back I decided to email Hyatt Gold Passport. I went with a proactive approach and I sent them my Marriott Platinum details, a copy of my Marriott folio showing some recent stays and a screenshot from Marriott.com showing 69 nights stayed this year.
The waiting continued…which wasn’t surprising considering the thousands of status match requests they must have been getting.
It wasn’t until the next day that Hyatt’s Twitter team got to my tweet….
….which I replied to thanking them for getting back to me and explaining that I’d already emailed my details in. They confirmed that this was what they would have had me do anyway, so I was set.
I didn’t hear anything more until today when I got an email from Hyatt Gold Passport:
Thank you for your interest in Hyatt Gold Passport. We have received your recently submitted request for membership and review of your tier status, and will get back to you within the next 14 business days.
We appreciate your patience during this time and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause.
Hmmm…that didn’t look promising. Most people who I know got a match to Diamond status got their match over the weekend and, since then, Hyatt has definitely been slowing down on what they’re offering….with a good number of people only being offered Hyatt Platinum Status.
An added annoyance is that I’ve got a few hotel bookings I need to make for December, January and February so it would be nice to know, sooner rather than later, if I have Hyatt Diamond status or not.
The Phone Call
I decided to call up Hyatt Gold Passport customer services to see if there was any way of fast-tracking my application. To be honest I just wanted a yes or no answer. Getting Hyatt Diamond status would be great, but right now I just wanted to get on with making my reservations for the coming months.
As I suspected, the customer service agent confirmed that everyone who had put in a status request was in a queue and there was no way of speeding the process up. The number of people who applied was overwhelming but the 14 business days quoted was the very longest the application would take.
I asked if there was any way I could judge what my chances were of actually getting the match from Marriott Platinum to Hyatt Diamond and this is what I was told:
- Originally the offer was really only meant for Starwood Preferred Guest elites, but they ended up accepting applications from other programs too (including Marriott).
- From Friday afternoon onwards (12pm US Central Standard Time on 20 November) Hyatt changed what they were prepared to offer and most people were only being offered Hyatt Platinum status. No higher.
- Those people who got their requests in before the 12pm CST should be eligible for Hyatt Diamond Status.
The time stamp on my email (allowing for time zone differences) shows 10:56am CST. So I should have made it just in time. But I’m not there yet.
Hyatt clearly didn’t think this through before they sent out the tweet on Friday and they’re now faced with a huge increase in the number of Diamond tier status members – and I think they’ll do what they can to dial back what they offered.
They’re already saying that those who applied after 12pm CST on Friday will only be matched to Platinum status but I wouldn’t be surprised if they clamped down even further as they work their way through the logjam of applications. Perhaps they’ll decide that, out of the people still to be processed, only top-tier SPG elites will get Hyatt Diamond status?That may seem harsh but, in reality, it’s probably only fair.
So, if you got your application in before the Hyatt cut-off, and if you’re still waiting to hear, you do have a chance of getting the all important Diamond match. But, if you’re still waiting to hear and you applied after 12pm, I suspect you’ll be out of luck (unless you’re a high-value customer to Hyatt).
Anyone get a Hyatt Diamond Match despite applying after the apparent 12pm CST cut-off time?
UPDATE: My status match came through! (Hyatt Diamond Status – Exactly What Do You Get?)