Middle Age Miles is seriously considering going for Hyatt Globalist status during 2019. The analysis process is interesting to us, so we wanted to lay out our situation and thoughts, and pose the question to our readers whether going for Globalist would be worth it.
Current Status, Requirements and Trade-Offs
Right now, Middle Age Miles holds Explorist status with Hyatt and Titanium status with Marriott. We’ll focus on these programs because, looking at our projected stays for 2019, our analysis essentially boils down to a trade-off between having:
- Hyatt Explorist + Marriott Titanium; or
- Hyatt Globalist + Marriott Platinum
We might be able to have both, but this would require very large spend on the Chase Hyatt card that would have to be inorganic which would (a) come with a cost; and (b) potentially be challenging to actually do.[We also hold status in some other programs, but they’re not really impacted by this analysis as they can either be maintained with holding a credit card (Hilton Diamond), or renewed (hopefully) through status match (Wyndham Diamond), or aren’t really necessary to us.]
The requirements for the relevant status levels for Hyatt are:
- Globalist – 60 nights
- Explorist – 30 nights
We can presumably maintain Explorist status going forward through repeated re-linking with our MLife Gold status as needed, even if we didn’t stay 30 nights with Hyatt. Globalist would have to be earned through a combination of actual stays + 5 nights from the Chase Hyatt card + nights earned through spend on the Chase Hyatt card (2 nights per $5,000 in spend).
The requirements for the relevant status levels for Marriott are:
- Titanium – 75 nights
- Platinum – 50 nights
We don’t have any way to manufacture Titanium status with Marriott, so this status would have to be earned with actual stays (save for knocking out 15 nights by holding a Marriott card and 10 more through holding a meeting or event).
What Caused Us to Consider Going for Globalist?
We’ve long had a bit of Hyatt Globalist envy (previously Hyatt Diamond envy) at Middle Age Miles. We got into points and miles after some of the great Hyatt Diamond status match opportunities a few years ago. But some of our friends have been Globalist, and it seems like they’ve been treated very well by Hyatt. Our friends have gotten great suite upgrades (including once to the Presidential Suite at a Hyatt in California), great breakfasts, and helpful flexibility when needed.
I suppose we’ve also been influenced by our fellow bloggers who tout Hyatt Globalist status as the greatest perk ever. We try not to over-index on this, especially when the blogger writing the article is pushing Hyatt credit card sign-ups. But still, the blog articles do nothing to dispel the notion that Hyatt treats its Globalists quite well.
Beyond that, we’re also impressed with Hyatt’s efforts to improve its limited footprint through its recent acquisition of the Two Roads Hospitality properties and its new partnership with Small Luxury Hotels (SLH). We love the idea of having more aspirational properties where we can redeem Hyatt points or pay to earn points and elite nights. We also wonder if the Hyatt Globalist ranks have thinned substantially after the introduction of World of Hyatt, with its high stay requirements and elimination of many shortcuts to Globalist status.
And most importantly, recently, we have had a few developments on our personal side that have made going for Globalist in 2019 a legitimate possibility:
- I was very fortunate to apply and be approved for the Chase Hyatt card in October 2018
- My application and approval came just a matter of days before Chase began applying 5/24 to the Hyatt card, which would have made me ineligible to get it
- One of the standard benefits of the Chase Hyatt card is 5 elite nights credit each year
- Another benefit of the Chase Hyatt card is the ability to earn another 2 elite nights credit for each $5,000 in spend
- Because we just got the card, this dovetailed with the $6,000 spend requirement to maximize our 60,000-point sign-up bonus, meaning that we’d certainly earn 2 elite nights through spend; plus
- In the first year of holding the card as well as every year thereafter, the first $15,000 in spend dovetails with the ability to earn a free night certificate for a Hyatt Category 1-4 hotel. We’d probably make this spend anyway each year for the certificate, plus we also pick up 6 elite night credits with this spend.
- We have an increased amount of work travel this year compared to previous years – and much of that travel is to Seattle
- With the recent opening of the Hyatt Regency Seattle (the largest hotel in Seattle), there are now 3 good Hyatt options downtown that are reasonably convenient for us; and
- We have a corporate rate available to us that now seems to work well at the Grand Hyatt Seattle, and sometimes also at the Hyatt at Olive 8 and/or the new Hyatt Regency. This makes the Hyatt hotels accessible to us in a way that they haven’t been previously.
- We were able to generate Explorist status through a couple of trips to Las Vegas where we reached MLife Gold, which we then linked to Hyatt for Explorist status
- This means that we can get mid-level Explorist benefits on all of our stays while we work our way to Globalist, instead of having to start from scratch; and
- We also received some Club Access Awards, which will further help make stays nicer along a path to Globalist.
As you can see, a lot of pieces have fallen into place for us that make going for Globalist a more compelling and more achievable option than ever before.
What Would We Be Getting with These Elite Status Levels?
Making the solid assumption that we can easily have both Hyatt Explorist and Marriott Platinum levels, what we’re really talking about is the incremental difference between Globalist and Explorist on the Hyatt side, and between Titanium and Platinum on the Marriott side.
1. Hyatt Globalist vs. Explorist
Hyatt top-tier Globalist status seems to have many advantages over mid-level Explorist status. Let’s take a look at the incremental benefits for Globalist over Explorist:
- 30% points bonus instead of 20% (extra 10% bonus)
- Late check-out to 4:00 pm instead of 2:00 pm
- Room upgrades to best room including standard suites, versus to best room excluding suites
- Club lounge access on all stays, versus 4 Club lounge access passes
- And complimentary full breakfast in the hotel restaurant for properties without a Club lounge
- 4 Suite upgrade awards that can be confirmed at the time of reservation, good for up to 7 nights each
- Resort fees waived on all stays, versus only on free night awards
- Priority access for early check-in
- Complimentary free parking on free night awards
- 48-hour “guaranteed” availability, versus 72 hours
- “Guest of Honor” privileges to share in-hotel Globalist benefits with friends or family when you book award nights for them using your points
This is a very healthy set of incremental benefits for Globalists. The biggest benefit seems to be 4 confirmable-at-reservation suite upgrades awards for up to 7 nights each. In addition, eligibility for suite upgrades on all stays and always having breakfast/club lounge access are also huge benefits.
2. Marriott Titanium vs. Platinum
Remember, that Platinum is the true “sweet spot” of the Marriott Bonvoy program. Platinums get 4:00 pm late checkout, breakfast, room upgrades including suites, and lounge access. All of these are subject to the Marriott program’s sometimes-cryptic rules. But most importantly, all of these benefits are exactly the same for Platinums and Titaniums.
So, what’s the incremental benefit of Titanium over Platinum?
- 75% points bonus instead of 50% (extra 25% bonus)
- A Free Night up to 40,000 points (the best Choice Benefit upon reaching 75 nights)
- United Airlines Silver elite status
- 48-hour “guaranteed” availability
As you can see, there’s not a long list of incremental benefits for Marriott Titanium over Platinum, like there was for Hyatt Globalist over Explorist.
A couple of these benefits can be quantified pretty readily. Our spend at Marriott last year was about $8,000. The points bonus for Titaniums would be an extra 2.5 points per dollar, so we’d earn about 20,000 extra points as Titanium. At our current baseline value of 0.75 cents per Marriott point, this benefit is thus worth about $150. In addition, the 40k Free Night Certificate could be redeemed fairly easily for a hotel costing around $200-250.
Even though we don’t fly United regularly (or perhaps because we don’t), United Silver status is actually valuable to us and we’d hate to use it. The important piece of this puzzle is that it gives us expanded access to United saver-level award availability. And we don’t have any other way to get that access. We have used this availability for major trips in 2 of the last 3 years. And given that we’re sitting on a United balance of more than a quarter-million miles, it’s likely that expanded saver-level award access would also be useful to us in the future. This status also helps us earn extra United miles on car rentals. It seems strange given that the vast majority of our flights are on American, but this is actually a hard benefit to give up.
3. Which Elite Status is “Worth” More?
Here, we’ll use a quantitative analysis to make a purely comparative point.
The Points Guy makes an effort each year to quantify the value of hotel elite status with various chains, including Hyatt and Marriott. I applaud TPG’s and Nick Ewen’s gallant effort to quantify these values. But I have to say that I vigorously disagree with their actual values. I believe they are far too high, and I further believe they are severely biased because TPG is owned by Bankrate and its true purpose is to sell credit cards.
That said, TPG’s actual values are not important to our point here. We’re only looking at the comparatively, in relation to one another. When we do this we see that TPG values Hyatt status at:
- Globalist – $4,745
- Explorist – $945
- Thus, TPG says that Globalist is worth $3,800 more than Explorist
With Marriott, TPG places the values of elite status at:
- Titanium – $5,450
- Platinum – $3,090
- Thus, TPG places the incremental value of Titanium as $2,360 over Explorist
Looking at these values relatively, TPG says that the incremental value of Globalist over Explorist is more than the incremental value of Titanium over Platinum. In other words, if we have to choose either Globalist or Titanium (and can’t have both), TPG says choosing Globalist is “worth” more.
Another way to look at this is to add up the values, assuming that we must choose between Globalist/Platinum and Explorist/Titanium. The total value of each combination is:
- Globalist + Platinum = $7,835
- Explorist + Titanium = $6,395
Again, not focusing on the actual numbers, but looking at them in relation to one another – Based on these total values, it looks like we should choose Globalist/Platinum over Explorist/Titanium.
Moving beyond these numbers to our personal experience and anecdotal stories we’ve heard, it sure seems like Hyatt Globalist is a true top-tier experience, far moreso than Marriott Titanium.
What’s Our Own Situation? Let’s Start by Counting Elite Night Credits
Next, we need to evaluate our own personal situation with likely and potential stays during 2019 where Hyatt and/or Marriott could work for our stays.
Our current situation with elite night credits looks like this:
Nights to date:
- Actual hotel stays = 1
- Nights from holding Chase Hyatt card = 5
- Nights from Chase Hyatt card spend = 4
- TOTAL NIGHTS TO DATE = 10
Nights that are booked and nearly certain:
- Near-certain hotel stays (Feb & Mar) = 7
- Nights from Chase Hyatt card spend = 2
- TOTAL NEAR-CERTAIN NIGHTS = 9
- TOTAL ACTUAL + NEAR-CERTAIN NIGHTS = 19
Nights to date:
- Actual hotel stays = 8
- Nights from holding Marriott cards = 15
- TOTAL NIGHTS TO DATE = 23
Nights that are booked and nearly certain:
- Near-certain hotel stays (May) = 6
- Near-certain “Rewarding Event” (May) = 10
- TOTAL NEAR-CERTAIN NIGHTS = 16
- TOTAL ACTUAL + NEAR-CERTAIN NIGHTS = 39
In addition, we have two other Marriott stays booked at this time. Both of these stays are possibilities – likely enough to happen that we made the booking, but it would not be a surprise if either or both canceled. Hyatt is not a reasonable option for either of these stays, so there’s no opportunity to flip them over to Hyatt even if we wanted to do so. One stay in April would be for 2 nights; the other in July is booked for 3 nights.
Thus, right now with Marriott we’re looking at 39-44 nights in 2019 that are already solid.
3. Discretionary Nights
The biggest pool of discretionary nights comes from work trips in April through December. Our best current estimate is 3 nights per month for these 9 months. For these nights, it’s likely that there would be acceptable options at either Hyatt or Marriott. Thus, we can generally expect 27 nights that we could apply toward either program as needed to help us qualify.
Our current planning is pretty solid through May. But beyond that, we’ll have some number of nights in June through December that we haven’t planned yet but could be at a Hyatt or Marriott. It’s tough to even guess at this point, but we’ll say maybe 10 nights. Of course, even for some of those nights, Hyatt may not be a possibility because of its limited footprint.
It’s worth noting that we already have, or will receive, several free night certificates from Marriott or Hyatt. These certificates could be used for some of the “10 additional nights” we mentioned in the previous paragraph. But they could also be additional Marriott or Hyatt nights. Here’s what we have or expect:
- 2 Marriott certificates already in our account, which must be used during 2019
- 2 Marriott certificates coming in the next 60-90 days (credit card anniversaries), which could/should be used in 2019
- 2 more Marriott certificates that will come late in the year, but perhaps not soon enough to be used in 2019
- 1 Hyatt certificate in the next 60-90 days ($15k credit card spend)
- 1 Hyatt certificate when we reach 30 nights (assuming that we go for Globalist)
Where Does This Leave Us?
1. Hyatt Globalist / Marriott Platinum Option
Assume for the moment that we spend all of the 27 work nights at Hyatt. That would leave us at:
- 39-44 Marriott nights
- We’d need 6-11 more nights to reach Platinum
- We’d need 31-36 more nights to reach Titanium
- 46 Hyatt nights
- We’d need 14 more to reach Globalist
Putting all or some of the Hyatt nights on the Hyatt card would also get us close to or over another $5k of spend and earn another 2 elite nights, taking us to 48.
Once we got that close to 60, we can close the last 12-night gap without too much trouble or expense with some combination of:
- (a) actual additional paid stays;
- (b) the 2 free night certificates;
- (c) using 5,000 Hyatt points per night at a local Category 1 hotel to get elite night credits
- (this might even cost fewer points if done during a promotion like the current Hyatt promo where award stays can earn 1,000 or 1,500 points per night); and
- (d) additional spend on the Chase Hyatt card to earn 2 nights with each $5k of spend.
We also believe it would be pretty easy to reach 50 Marriott nights. We have 39-44 known nights, plus we could close the gap with a few of the additional discretionary stays and at least 4 free night certificates that we’ll need to use during 2019.
2. Marriott Titanium / Hyatt Explorist Option
This option would be very easy to achieve. We expect to be able to retain Explorist status in 2020 through re-linking/re-matching to MLife Gold. Thus, we’d only need to concern ourselves with reaching 75 nights with Marriott.
We already know of 39-44 nights with Marriott. If we spent our 27 work nights at Marriott properties, that would take us to 66-71 nights. We can easily pick up the additional 4-9 nights from our certificates and other expected discretionary stays. If we wanted to do so, we could select “5 elite nights” as our Platinum benefit. Thus, total worst-case scenario, we’d have 66 nights + 5 elite nights Platinum benefit + 4 free nights from the certificates, which would get us to 75.
If we did this, then all other stays we’d have for the rest of 2019 would be completely open. We could choose whatever hotel (or AirBnB perhaps) offered us the best combination of price, benefits and convenience.[Note that there’s no path for us to Marriott Ambassador elite status. We won’t get anywhere close to spending $20,000 at Marriott in 2019 (and we don’t want to!).]
3. Hyatt Globalist / Marriott Titanium Option?
This one would be really tough. We’d need to get to 60 nights with Hyatt and 75 nights with Marriott. You can see from our analysis of Hyatt Globalist / Marriott Platinum above that we’d be stretching just to hit the total of 110 nights needed to reach those 2 levels.
But let’s assume for the moment that we can get to 110 combined Marriott/Hyatt nights given the stays and credit card benefits that we discussed in the “Hyatt Globalist / Marriott Platinum” section above. At 50 Marriott nights, we could choose 5 elite nights as our Platinum benefit, which would take us to a total of 115 (but “cost” us 5 suite night awards).
At that point, we’d need 20 more nights to get to 135. The only way we can see to bridge that gap would be through extra spend on the Chase Hyatt card. At a rate of 2 nights per $5k spend, we’d need to do that 10 times, which amounts to $50k in additional spend on the Hyatt card.
If you assume for the moment that we can indeed generate an additional $50k in spend – all of which would have to be inorganic – then this actually seems like a possibility. We discussed this a bit in our article on Big-Spend Bonuses a few weeks ago. Using the methodology from that article, we could generate $50k in spend at a “net cost” of $500.
I’m not sure we want to spend this extra money to have the Globalist / Titanium combo, as opposed to having Globalist / Platinum or Explorist / Titanium. And I also have concerns about our ability to easily generate this amount of inorganic spend, especially on a personal Visa card. We already push the envelope on the level of inorganic spend that I can do without too much trouble (primarily to help us reach AA Executive Platinum status). And I don’t care to drive around town playing the Visa GC-to-money order game.
In any event, this is all fascinating to think about.
So, what should we do? Go for Globalist in 2019? (We’re leaning that way.) Or something else? Have we missed anything important in our analysis? We truly appreciate your feedback in the Comments.
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