A New Year... A New Challenge?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Dad to GO, Dec 31, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    Just looking for a general opinion here. I've never had any status in a hotel program other than getting the standard silver or gold option from having a credit card. We did the Hyatt Diamond trial earlier this year and I became obsessed with the status and the upgrades. My wife and I don't travel a TON but with us getting the companion pass in January we plan to fly a lot more this year than in years passed. So... that leads me to my question. Should we try and shoot for the 25 stays at Hyatt and get the Diamond status OR since I already will have 4 stays towards SPG platinum due to the Personal/Business cards should we just try and shoot for that? I've never experienced the SPG Platinum so I don't know how to compare it to Hyatt Diamond.

    Any input/opinions would be appreciated!
     
  2. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    SPG Platinum does rate pretty high as does the Diamond though the suite upgrades at Hyatt seem to rank much higher. I think your answer is likely less in the pre-booked confirmed suites than it is utility. Having great suites available but not where you travel is a real bummer. I don't know exact number but i'm thinking SPG has about 2 1/2 times the number of hotels than Hyatt and what that means is that the more hotels, the more choice in prices and availability of better rooms. Based on what you describe here, I'd say go with the low hanging fruit for qualification (both are the same in base qualification) and play it by ear for next year as to how many times you actually were able to really enjoy the perks. At a 4 stay head start, you're nearly 20% of the way there with SPG. More thoughts a little later. Good question and here's to you having more time to travel!
     
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  3. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    SPG was my first top status, courtesy back then of the AMEX Centurion card. When that ended, I worked to requalify every year. You also need to think about if most of your leisure stays will be paid or points. While I feel Hyatt is the better program and we loved our time as Diamonds, day in and day out, Starwood has rarely let us down. And having just come back from a five night stay at the St Regis NYC and been upgraded to a Madison Suite (900 square feet, two full marble baths!, free breakfast) I'm feeling pretty loyal right now!
     
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  4. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Do you plan to do many award stays in 2013? If so, SPG might be the best: their award stays count toward status. Several of us have been asking Hyatt to match that, but they haven't done so yet. (Maybe in 2013?)

    Other than that: consider the footprint. As Randy says, SPG is quite a bit bigger. I MOSTLY find Hyatt's footprint adequate, but the limited number of their hotels in some areas makes for fewer rate choices. For comparison:
    Hilton: 3900 properties
    Marriott: 3700
    Starwood: 1100
    Hyatt: 500
    (all rounded numbers, mostly from the programs' web sites)
    The higher Hilton and Marriott numbers can be blamed in part on the low-end brands: Hampton, Fairfield, and the like. I'm fine with Hamptons. They're not to everyone's taste, but they're relatively cheap, which can make it easy to get those last few stays. On the other hand, one can get Hilton Gold with the credit cards, so it's probably not worth struggling to get their status.

    And consider what hotels you like to stay at. I enjoy Hyatts, but their bedding is half a step down from the nicer Starwood properties'.
     
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  5. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Of the hotel programs, I think Hyatt and SPG offer pretty good top tier benefits and it will really depend on the cities you travel to and the hotel brands there, as traveltoomuch noted, both Starwood and Hyatt are relatively smaller than IHG, Hilton and Marriott.

    In comparison between Hyatt and SPG, I think Hyatt offers more for their Diamonds than SPG does for their Platinums (1000 amenity points @ Hyatt vs 500 @ SPG, confirmed suite certs @ Hyatt - SPG offers 10 nights for 50 nights+).

    When lounges are available, I prefer Hyatts over Sheratons and the breakfast options at Hyatt hotels are pretty good!

    Having said that, I find it easier to hotel hop using SPG properties in most cities and their points are very useful, esp when you consider their C&P offers, as well as award stays count as stay credits for Platinum status. Overall, if you are on the cusp of getting top tier status, this will make getting SPG Plat much easier (and less costly) than Hyatt Diamond.

    Here is how I would break it down - if your travels will permit 25 stays or more in the next year at Hyatt properties (this requires a little planning as Hyatts may not be in every city - or cost prohibitive), I would go for that, but if you are looking at 21 or so stays, some using point redemptions, then shoot for SPG.

    good luck!
     
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  6. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm thinking for this 1st year of increased travel we will probably be doing a lot of point redemption's so having those count towards status makes me think that the SPG option might be better. Plus I really do enjoy the Points and Cash option too. Maybe after we qualify for SPG Platinum this year we can think about going for Diamond next year. I'm sure after hitting the status my addiction to this points "game" will be taken to a whole new level... and I can't wait!
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Do you expect to have enough stays in 2014 that you'd be able to both qualify for Diamond and actually use/benefit from SPG Platinum earned in 2013? Don't forget that you earn status not as a medal, but to use it. :)
     
  8. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    The Pizzaman (himself a devout Hyatt dude) offered the following slides at the FTULAX, that might be of help!
    [​IMG]
    Marriott might be the larger chain, but SPG has more luxurious (potentially inspirational) properties ... and Hyatt is lagging in numbers way behind!​
    [​IMG]
    SPG has 4 times more properties than Hyatt for overseas travel​
    Don't get me wrong here, Hyatt has some great properties in Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Hamburg, etc. But you have more selection with SPG, as others indicated.​
     
  9. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    Considering that it appears the SPG Platinum would last for the remainder of this calendar year and into the next I figure we would either keep the SPG platinum and just continue to shoot for it again the year of expiration or re visit the same scenario at that point and go from there. I'm very excited to take on this challenge in 2013.
     
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  10. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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  11. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    As others have said, there is a lot of information out there but I think it might make sense to slow down a tad! You're right - it IS an addiction but in the end, the purpose is to facilitate great vacations for as little cash as possible. To me, it makes more sense to forget about Hyatt for now. Get your Starwood Platinum Elite status and spend time learning how to make the most of it. How can you maximize point accrual? When should you hope for an upgrade and when should you use extra points to guarantee it? For example, we are heading for Chiang Mai, Thailand. The rooms are 3,000 points per night so I decided to spend double (still a ridiculously low 6,000 per night) to GUARANTEE a suite. Guess what - as of today, the hotel is sold out so if I had not done this, there was probably zero chance of a suite upgrade. There are other examples.

    Another way of looking at it is that once you attain top status, why spend a lot of time getting another one during which time, your Hyatt stays will be without status? Of course, some people travel MUCH more than I do so it can make sense but my strong suggestion is get the status and then enjoy it!
     
  12. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    You make too much sense doc!

    OT - wife and I love CM. it gives BKK a run for its money. Cooler, more relaxed and even less expensive if that is possible. The Wat crawls on the weekends (Kalboz, do they still have them?) we're cool. Eating for pennies on the dollar from vendors who put effort into the food.
     
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  13. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    So psyched!
     
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  14. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Been to CM twice, and the only reason I'd return is because my wife wants to go there as she has only been there once when she was a child.

    [OP: forgive this major OT]

    Chiang Mai is interesting especially the walled city with its ancient temples, Doi Suthep and its temple, and (somewhat) the night market with the crap they sell there. It also has its by-the-river entertainment with Khun Took at Le Brasserie playing classic rock and Thai favorites, and other venues. Also,the Smiling Monkey for very good late night food/entertainment with the locals. There is also the human zoo of the long neck tribes-people, and the abusive elephant parks/trekking, but I don't encourage those. And that's about all there is in Chiang Mai ... done in 3-4 days max!
    [​IMG]
     

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