I’ve been loyal to Priority Club and InterContinental for a very long time now. They’ve treated me very well and I’ve certainly been happy with them all around. But at the same time I feel like it’s worth exploring once in a while and seeing what else is out there, if only to be able to report back about my experiences on the blog. No, I’m not just “sleeping around” with other hotel chains, but am quite deliberately adjusting my travel a bit.
Besides Royal Ambassador, I have found Hyatt Diamond status to be the most lucrative top tier hotel status level as of late. It used to be truly mediocre, but they added some very nice benefits. As a Diamond member you always get access to the executive lounge or full breakfast if there isn’t a lounge, complimentary internet, and four confirmed suite upgrades a year. The lounge is very important to me, free internet is great, especially in places like Europe and Asia where they often charge a killing, and I’ll take anything that’s confirmed! Most importantly, though, Hyatt has the Faster Free Nights promotion virtually every year. This is where you earn one free night at any property for every two stays you make. So two stays at a local Hyatt Place hotel will get you a free night at the ridiculously nice Hyatt properties in Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc. And I plan on taking full advantage of that.
But I wasn’t quite ready to switch some business over to Hyatt until looking at my upcoming trip to Bali. My brother and I will be there for four nights, and booked the last two nights at the InterContinental in one of their incredible club rooms. But for the first two nights it would have been $365 per night plus 21% in “services charges” and “taxes,” and there’s no way I’m paying nearly $450 for a room in Bali, no matter how nice it is.
So first I contacted the InterContinental Bali and asked how much it would be to upgrade to a club room when booking with points. They said it would be $150 plus 21%, which was reasonable enough, I guess. But then I saw that the Grand Hyatt was only $160 plus 21%. So for basically the same rate we’ll get access to the club, free internet, and I’ve already confirmed a very nice suite using one of my confirmed suite upgrades. And of course I save 80,000 points and even earn points at the Hyatt.
So it’ll be interesting to compare. I still plan on staying at InterContinental hotels, but I have every intention of requalifying for Diamond with Hyatt if they live up to my expectations. At only 25 stays or 50 nights, status is quite attainable, and most importantly predictable. I’ve been rather frustrated with Royal Ambassador at InterContinental having unpublished requalification criteria, and especially with them seemingly raising the threshold to 55+ nights recently. It’s just too much of a risk to end my membership with 55 nights and not know whether I’ll be a Royal Ambassador or an Ambassador, a status level I could otherwise buy for $150.