Hyatt Gold Passport is a good hotel loyalty program for its free breakfast and Diamond suite upgrades. Those are high value benefits on paid stays and breakfast saves some cash on award stays.
Complimentary upgrades have seemed harder to get without a suite upgrade certificate in both of these programs since the introduction of e-certificate suite upgrades for high elite Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members and 50 nights per year SPG Platinum members.
I have never spent 50 nights with a single hotel chain in one calendar year. My focus for elite status is always stays and getting 25 stays in a year, usually with 25 to 35 hotel nights is an expensive year in hotels when my average room rate is about $100 per night. My spend is far below the average room rate of about $180 per night if staying in upper-upscale urban centers and resorts with Starwood or Hyatt.
$200 nightly rates is an understatement for most city center properties with Hyatt and Starwood Hotels. 50 nights at $200 per night is $10,000 per year in hotel spend.
That is extravagant spend for a leisure traveler.
The point of this analysis is to compare the value of SPG Gold elite (10 stays or 25 nights in a calendar year; reward stays and nights count for elite) to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum elite (5 stays or 15 nights in a calendar year; reward stays and nights do not count for elite).
Why SPG hotel loyalty works better for me.
Mommy Points mentioned she needs five more stays for Hyatt Diamond qualifying stays in 2013 to continue Diamond membership through 2014. (I would link to the actual post on Mommy Points blog, but I do not see a way to navigate back a few days on her blog to find her post from earlier this week and the post is not listed under Hyatt category.)
For me the rising cost of Hyatt brand hotels in 2013 has been a concern.
Hyatt brand numbers show the average daily rate (ADR) for the first half of 2013 according to the company’s 2013 Q2 financial report.
- Hyatt Place, 161 hotels, ADR = $103.21
- Hyatt House, 53 hotels, ADR = $123.42
- Hyatt Regency, 139 hotels, ADR = $169.55
- Hyatt Hotels, 25 hotels, ADR = $170.40
- Grand Hyatt, 36 hotels, ADR = $242.30
- Andaz, 8 hotels, ADR = $284.88
- Park Hyatt, 27 hotels, ADR = $340.15
Starwood brand numbers show the average daily rate (ADR) for the first half of 2013 according to their company’s 2013 Q2 financial report.
- Aloft, 73 hotels, ADR = $111.86
- Four Point, 181 hotels, ADR = $115.96
- Sheraton, 431 hotels, ADR = $150.67
- Westin, 193 hotels, ADR = $186.66
- Le Meridien, 97 hotels, ADR = $191.49
- W Hotels, 44 hotels, ADR = $295.90
- St. Regis, 30 hotels; Luxury Collection, 85 hotels, ADR = $302.79
- (Note: SPG combines data on room rates for these two brands).
This data shows that both Hyatt and Starwood have upper midscale brands with average room rates around $113 per night. Hyatt has around 225 hotels in Hyatt Place and Hyatt House out of 525 hotels worldwide.
Starwood Hotels has Aloft and Four Points with about 250 hotels out of around 1,200 hotels worldwide. Sheraton is the big difference between the two chains with over 400 hotels in the upscale to upper-upscale hotel market with an average daily rate of $150. Sheraton is the hotel brand where the SPG member has a good opportunity to find a lower rate than $150 or a room upgrade in a hotel that most likely offers several types of suites.
Starwood’s 1,200 hotels compared to 525 with Hyatt is one aspect of Starwood Preferred Guest favoring SPG members.
Hotel Rate Discounts
Even more important to me than the footprint of SPG with its 1,200 hotels is the opportunity to find discount rates for Starwood Hotels with Cash & Points rate discounts and special offers like Pay Your Birth Year rates.
SPG members have access to Cash & Points rates that reduce the price significantly for hotels in the mid-range reward night categories of category 3, 4 and 5.
- Category 3 hotel = 7,000 points standard award night
- Category 3 hotel = $55 + 3,500 points Cash & Points award night
- Category 4 hotel = 10,000 points standard award night
- Category 4 hotel = $75 + 5,000 points Cash & Points award night
- Category 5 hotel = 12,000 or 16,000 points standard award night
- Category 5 hotel = $110 + 6,000 points Cash & Points award night
The opportunity to drop the rate of a $300 per night category 5 Luxury Collection or W Hotel down to $110 and 6,000 points means the points you earn in SPG can buy rooms for 50% of the standard points price.
Hyatt has no comparable discount program for its upper-upscale hotels in the category 3, 4 and 5 tiers at 12,000 to 18,000 points per night. A category 4 hotel at 15,000 points will take around $2,500 in hotel spend to earn those points as a Platinum elite.
SPG members with Gold elite status will earn 6,000+ points with $2,000 in spend.
Bonus points promotions will mean more points are earned at these levels of hotel spend. I don’t think the bonus points offers are a huge differentiator between SPG and Hyatt Gold Passport. I think Hyatt and SPG have mirrored each other in the value of their promotion bonuses for the past 18 months.
SPG Award Stays count for elite status
Another advantage of SPG over Hyatt is award stays count for elite status and the SPG American Express credit card gives an annual elite credit of 2 stays and 5 nights. Another 8 stays in a calendar year, including elite stays earns SPG Gold and the 50% elite bonus points for hotel spend.
Spend $1,000 at Starwood Hotels as SPG Gold and the member earns 2,000 base points + 1,000 elite bonus points for 3,000 points without credit card spend points.
Hyatt Gold Passport Visa grants Platinum elite, however that only gives 15% elite bonus points.
Spend $1,000 at Hyatt as a Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum member and earn 5,000 base points + 750 elite bonus points for 5,750 points without credit card spend points.
Hyatt Gold Passport will get you into a category 1 hotel for 5,000 points. A category 2 hotel will require 8,000 points. You will likely earn plenty of bonus points from promotions while spending $1,000.
SPG will get you a free night at a category 1 hotel for 3,000 points or only 2,000 points on the weekend. The problem is there are only 42 category-1 hotels worldwide in the SPG tier. SPG category 2 hotels are far more prevalent with 184 hotels worldwide and 3,000 points will buy a weekend night at a Category 2 hotel.
SPG Gold members earn 250 points per stay at Starwood Hotels, except 125 bonus points at Aloft, Element and FourPoints. This can mean an additional 1,000 or 2,000 points after $1,000 in spend.
Assume the SPG Gold member earns 3,500 to 5,000 points before promotion bonus points after $1,000 in spend. This member has the opportunity to redeem for a category 3 hotel at $55 + 3,500 points or 5,000 points + $75 for a category 4 hotel award night. This opens up nearly 800 hotels worldwide for a room award night with the points an SPG Gold member earns after $1,000 in hotel spend.
Hyatt Gold Passport members will find 18 hotels in Category 1 for 5,000 points per night that are not a Hyatt Place or Hyatt House brand hotel in the USA. Category 2 hotels for 8,000 points per night are still mostly Hyatt Place and Hyatt House in the USA. Hyatt Regency Warsaw is the only hotel in Europe at 8,000 points.
Why SPG hotel loyalty works better for me than Hyatt Gold Passport is based on the assumption that I do not stay sufficient nights to earn SPG Platinum or Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond with 25 stays in a calendar year.
Given the choice between SPG Gold and Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum and $1,000 to $2,000 in hotel spend annually, I find there is better value with SPG points for lower cost award nights and Starwood Hotel discount rate opportunities than available with Hyatt Hotel discount rates and award value.