I flew to Mexico for a day to earn Hyatt Globalist status — here’s why you should consider it too
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The biggest fire sale of the decade is going on right now. You can earn Hyatt Globalist status by staying as little as 15 nights with Hyatt, thanks to Hyatt’s current promotions (or even fewer if you are a cardholder of the World of Hyatt Credit Card).
Globalist status is the best hotel elite status in existence. A deal like this will never present itself again — it’s just too good. If you can find a cheap Hyatt hotel, it could be worth booking 15 nights just for the potential thousands of dollars in perks you’ll get from the status (I’ll explain this value in just a minute).
However, now is also the best-ever time to pursue Hyatt’s “Milestone Rewards,” which are benefits you can achieve by staying a certain amount of nights with Hyatt. If you do complete your nights by Feb. 28, 2021, you’ll be rewarded handsomely:
- One Category 1-4 free night award after 15 nights (normally 30 nights)
- 5,000 Hyatt points after 20 nights (normally 40 nights)
- Two Suite Upgrade Awards after 25 nights (normally 50 nights)
- One Category 1-7 free night award and 2 more Suite Upgrade Awards after 30 nights (normally 60 nights)
I flew to Mexico for a day to check into the cheapest Hyatt in the world, just to earn these rewards. I’ll show you why the trip was easily worth it. There’s still plenty of time for you to do something similar if you want to.
It’s important to note that the Center for Disease Control says postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Additionally, the CDC reports that while you may feel well and not have any symptoms, you can still spread COVID-19 to family, friends and the community after travel. You’ll want to assess your own personal risk factors before traveling right now, and make sure to read our guide on flying safely during the pandemic.
Mattress running for thousands of dollars in value
Here are a few critical things to know about Hyatt’s current promotions:
- You’ll earn at least 3x bonus points for spend at all Hyatt hotels through Feb. 28, 2021 (this 3x the normal base earning)
- Any stays with a checkout date between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, 2021, will receive double elite night credits
- Hyatt has slashed their elite status requirements in half for 2021 (you only need to earn 30 elite nights to reach Globalist status instead of 60)
- You need to register for the promotion here before completing your stays. You must also register by Jan. 15.
These three promos make earning Hyatt Globalist status very easy — especially if you have the World of Hyatt Credit Card. It comes with five elite night credits each calendar year.
I have this card. To achieve Hyatt Globalist status, I only need 25 elite night credits in 2021. And because Hyatt will double all elite nights for stays completed between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, I’d only need to book 13 nights at a cheap Hyatt hotel to get the 25 nights I need.
But I’m interested in the whole enchilada. I want those valuable Milestone Rewards — and I need 60 elite nights to earn them all. Here’s what I did.
What I spent
23 nights at a cheap Hyatt
I decided to book 23 nights at a cheap Hyatt hotel. Here’s why:
- After Hyatt doubles my elite nights, I’d net 46 nights
- With the five nights earned from the Chase Hyatt Card, I’d end up with 51 nights
- I have a five-night stay at Hyatt coming up, so there was no reason for me to book enough nights to reach the full 60 — I’ll have all the perks I want to enjoy my upcoming stay, and I’ll earn the remaining Milestone rewards organically over the rest of the year
The Hyatt Place Aguascalientes/Bonaterra is a spotless hotel in the unremarkable town of Bonaterra, Mexico. The area has three gigantic Nissan plants, which is probably why a hotel exists there at all. Every local I interacted with was a sweetheart, but there’s pretty much nothing touristy about Aguascalientes.
This is the cheapest Hyatt hotel. Not just in North America, but in the world — probably even the entire galaxy. If you are aware of a cheaper Hyatt, let me know in the comments, and I’ll make an update. The hotel cost me $41 per night after taxes.
UPDATE 1: Reader xshanex reports the Hyatt Place Sao Jose Do Rio Preto in Brazil is cheaper. Extended stay prices appear to be about $36 per night after taxes.
For 23 nights, I paid about $950. Domestically, the cheapest hotel I could find was the Hyatt Place Chicago/Schaumburg, which would have cost me about $1,420 for the same 23 nights.
Read my post on how to find the cheapest hotels in the world if you’re thinking of doing some kind of mattress run before Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promotion ends. Of course, you can use the same methodology to find cheap hotels with Marriott, Hilton, etc.
Note: When you go to the hotel’s website and find that the rates are so cheap because they’re using some kind of “third night free” promotion or something similar, my understanding is that those free nights will not accrue elite night credits. That’s very important to watch out for.
Cost: $950 in cash
A round-trip ticket to Mexico
In my experience, you cannot remotely check into a Hyatt hotel. I emailed several hotels requesting they check me in, and I think I only annoyed the management. If you’re going to mattress run, you have to at least be there to check-in.
I flew from Dayton, Ohio (DAY) to Aguascalientes (AGU) with a connection in Dallas (DFW). I was away from home for a grand total of 34 hours. It’s possible to achieve a mattress run trip to Mexico (or wherever you find a cheap hotel in North America) in exchange for an inconvenient weekend.
It cost 30,000 American Airlines miles round-trip from my home airport to Aguascalientes. We estimate American Airlines miles value to be 1.4 cents each. So spending 30,000 miles effectively cost me $420 in rewards. Paid flights were about $450, so I had no issue burning American miles. There are plenty of ways to earn AA miles later when I find myself running short.
Cost: 30,000 American Airlines miles (worth $420, per our valuations)
I spent about $1,370 worth of cash and points on this trip. By heading to Mexico, I only saved about $50, considering I used $420 worth of American miles. However, I’d have had to commute to Chicago anyway, so I estimate I saved about $200 in total. Perhaps not enough for the trouble of an international trip, but I could more easily part with 30,000 miles than $650 in actual cash.
What I got
Let’s keep in mind the $1,370 I spent. We’ll subtract the value I earned from this figure as we go along.
19.5 points per dollar on my stay
Hyatt’s current Bonus Journeys promotion gives you 3x base points (15 points total) at all Hyatt hotels through February 28, 2021. By using the World of Hyatt Credit Card alongside this promotion (which earns 4 points per dollar with Hyatt, plus another 0.5 points per dollar for complimentary Discoverist elite status), I earned 19.5 points per dollar on my stay. I earned around 17,000 Hyatt points for this reservation, which translates to $340 in value, per our points estimations.
Total point value: $340
However, I’m still in the red by $1,030.
Hyatt Globalist status
If you want to hear me wax poetic about Hyatt Globalist status, you can read this post. But here is a brief outline of the many features you’ll get with it, along with the money I estimate each will save me in 2021:
- Complimentary upgrades to suites for every stay (based on availability): Data points suggest that Hyatt is by far the most generous major hotel chain for upgrading elite members to a suite at check-in. But if you’re booking a paid stay at Hyatt and want to ensure a suite, you can use 6,000 points per night to upgrade yourself. Therefore, I will quantify this benefit by assuming I get upgraded for just four nights this year, saving me 24,000 points. Since we estimate Hyatt points value to be 2 cents each, this benefit is worth $480
- Free breakfast: I plan to stay at least eight nights at fancy Hyatt hotels that charge for breakfast. Conservatively, this perk should save my wife and I $720 this year, as breakfast can easily cost more than $45 per person
- Free parking on award stays: Parking can cost $30+ per day at nice Hyatt hotels. I estimate this will save me $280 this year
- 30% bonus points on Hyatt purchases: All Hyatt members earn 5 points per dollar. Globalist members earn another 1.5 points per dollar, or another 3% back (per our Hyatt points valuations). I don’t plan to be paying for many Hyatt stays this year, but I’ll certainly spend money at the restaurants and such. This benefit is worth $75 to me
Total value: $1,555
I’m already $525 ahead!
It’s also important to note that my status will last through Feb. 2023. So I’ll have Globalist status for two whole years. My return on investment could easily grow as I plan more trips for later in 2021 and 2022.
The bonus elite night credits earned through the Bonus Journeys promotion do count towards earning valuable milestone rewards. You’ll start earning Milestone Rewards after earning 20 elite night credits. You’ll then earn the next tier of rewards for every 10 elite night credits earned (30, 40, 50, 60, etc.).
Essentially, the Bonus Journeys promotion cuts the effort it takes to earn milestone rewards in half. Just remember that you’ll have to register for the promotion by Jan. 15 and check out by Feb. 28 to earn the double elite night credits.
1 free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel (achieved after earning 30 elite night credits)
I plan to use my free night to take my wife to the Andaz Savannah for our anniversary. I’m confident my wife doesn’t read my posts, so I feel safe telling you. This hotel costs $235 per night, so that’s what this certificate is worth to me.
You also can earn this certificate every year you hold the World of Hyatt card. You’ll earn an additional category 1-4 night certificate after you spend $15,000 on the card in a year.
Total value: $235
I’m $760 ahead.
5,000 Hyatt points (achieved after earning 40 elite night credits)
Again, we estimate Hyatt points are worth 2 cents each, making 5,000 points worth $100.
Total value: $100
I’m $860 ahead.
2 Suite Upgrade Awards (achieved after earning 50 elite night credits)
Suite Upgrade Awards allow you to secure a suite at the time you reserve your room. They can be used for both award and paid nights (but can’t be used with a free night certificate). They are also valid for stays up to seven nights! That’s incredible.
I will value these awards by estimating that I’ll use each of them for stays of at least two nights. Again, you can book a paid Hyatt stay and upgrade yourself to a suite for 6,000 points per night. So each of these certificates I’ll estimate are worth 12,000 points each, giving me a total value of $480 for both.
Note that if you’re booking seven-night stays, these two certificates could save you $1,500+ no problem.
Total value: $480
I’m $1,340 ahead.
1 free night at a Category 1-7 Hyatt hotel (achieved after earning 60 elite night credits)
You can use this certificate for pretty much any Hyatt hotel in the world. Hyatt categorizes its hotels no higher than 7 (though some hotels under the SLH brand — a partner of Hyatt — are Category 8).
The hotel at which I plan to use this, the Hana-Maui resort, is $653 a night, so that’s what it’s worth to me.
Total value: $653
I’m $1,993 ahead.
2 more Suite Upgrades Awards (achieved after earning 60 elite night credits)
Again, I’m valuing Suite Upgrade Awards by estimating that I’ll use each for stays of at least two nights. Since you can upgrade yourself to a suite on paid nights for 6,000 points per night, I’ll say each of these certificates are worth 12,000 points, or $240 each.
Total value: $480
I’m $2,473 ahead.
Other routes you can take to earn Hyatt Globalist status
Instead of paying straight cash for a mattress run, remember that both award stays and Points + Cash stays earn you elite night credits, too. Doing the math, neither of these ways were anywhere near the best deal for me. But depending on the hotel you plan to mattress run, the math may present that one of the below options are a better deal for you.
Again, I paid $950 for 23 nights with Hyatt. That amounts to $41.30 per night. However, because Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promotion allowed me to earn a total of 19.5 points per dollar on my stay, I earned 17,000 Hyatt points, which I value at $340. To me, that brings my total out-of-pocket cost to $610, or $26.52 per night.
This does NOT include my flight prices, which you’ll have to account for if you plan your own mattress run.
Use Hyatt points at a Category 1 hotel
Hyatt Category 1 hotels cost 5,000 points per night. We value Hyatt points at 2 cents each, meaning you’re paying effectively $100 per night.
- Because of Hyatt’s current Bonus Journeys promotion, you will get 25% of your points back when you spend them by Feb. 28, 2021. So each night effectively costs just 3,750 points
- If Hyatt points are worth 2 cents each on average, 3,750 points is worth $75
That’s nearly $49 higher than just purchasing my hotel stay. Not an amazing option. But if you don’t want to pay any cash out of pocket, this method could work. Remember you can also transfer Chase points to Hyatt.
Use Points + Cash at a Category 1 hotel
Hyatt Category 1 hotels cost 2,500 points per night, followed by a unique amount of money — usually dictated by the cash price of the room. For example, the aforementioned Hyatt Place Chicago/Schaumberg costs 2,500 points and $43 after taxes. My hotel in Aguascalientes cost 2,500 points and $23.20 after taxes.
- You’ll get 25% of your points back, so that comes to 1,875 points and $23.20 per night. Figuring Hyatt points are worth 2 cents each on average, this amounts to $60.70 per night
- You’ll earn at least 19.5 points per dollar if you use the World of Hyatt Credit Card alongside the Bonus Journeys 3x points promo, bringing your earnings to 452 Hyatt points per night. Those points are worth ~$9
This brings your total cost per night to $51.70. That’s $25.18 higher than just purchasing my hotel stay.
If you’ve always dreamt of Hyatt Globalist status (like me), now is the time to secure it for a small fraction of the nights you’d normally need. Read my post on how to find the cheapest hotels in the world and participate in one of the best Hyatt promotions of all time. Let’s just hope that COVID-19 is put behind us as vaccine distribution roles out around the world.
One more thing to consider: When you earn Hyatt elite status, you’ll receive its benefits for the remainder of the year you earn it, as well as the entire following year. If you earn Globalist status in 2021, it will be valid through Feb. 2023.
In other words, that $1,555 value I placed on Globalist status can be effectively doubled. I now have Globalist status for the next 25 months. A show-stopping value compared to the money and effort of a quick mattress run! It could mean $3,000+ in savings if I stay at a few fancy Hyatt hotels each year.
Let me know if you plan to earn Globalist status. And subscribe to our newsletter for more travel tips and tricks like this delivered to your inbox once per day!
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