Last Minute: Match Hyatt Platinum Status to MLife to Get Explorist with World of Hyatt

It's been widely publicized at several blogs (VFTW & MommyPoints were my sources) that those with Hyatt Platinum Status should match to MLife Gold ASAP to allow for a future match back to Hyatt's new Explorist Status when the World of Hyatt program begins on March 1st. Of course, I spent the better part of two weeks finding other things to do with my time, and now I've called in a couple days before the changeover and ran into a problem, but luckily, I also found a solution!

The Problem: Batching Status Matches 

According to the representative with whom I spoke, MLife sends status matches over in batches to Hyatt on a "bi-weekly" basis, meaning there was a high likelihood of my status-match not arriving before March 1st. A late arrival would mean I'd get matched to MLife "Pearl" status instead of "Gold," since my World of Hyatt status will be the lowly "Discoverist." Here's is the current matching chart and the new World of Hyatt chart to make the explanation easier:

The Solution: Be Nice or Be Sneaky

There are two solutions to this problem that I've been able to work out, so if you waited until the last minute too, fear not! 

I chose the "Be Nice" option, explaining my dilemma and asking the MLife representative if he would expedite the match. After reading through an email directive he had received on the general subject, the agent agreed to update my MLife account to show Gold status immediately. He did caution that there was no guarantee the Gold status would stick, since Hyatt might come back and match me to a lower tier later. I'm not convinced this will happen, since I am already showing as MLife Gold in my account, assuming Hyatt doesn't specifically tell MLife to downgrade my status.

The second way to accomplish this status match in a hurry would be to say you're planning to visit Vegas (MLife property-land!) in the next couple days. The MLife representative immediately asked me when I was planning to visit Las Vegas when I asked for a status match, so it's likely your agent will bring the topic up. I said sometime in the spring, which is when the agent volunteered the "batch-match" information to me. Instead of answering like me, you could say "I'm thinking about coming out tomorrow!" That should get the status-match wheels turning.

What I Recommend: Hurry Up and Be Nice!

I got a very helpful MLife agent, and there's no reason to think you won't, too. It's always better to be honest and since this status match is totally above-board, if you get a good agent he/she should be willing to help you; it's just good customer relations. Use the "Be Sneaky" option only if this fails, since Hyatt terms do entitle you to this status match, whether they feel like giving it out or not. Whatever you do, don't wait another minute because this window to potentially get Hyatt Explorist status is closing fast.

P.S. Curious what the difference between Explorist and Discoverist status is? Here's your reference. The short: 4 stays with access to club lounges (free breakfast and hors d'oeuvres), upgrades to non-suite rooms.

Get Matched to Hilton Diamond Status for Free

If you've been following along at Thorpe Travel, there's a decent chance you picked up an IHG credit card from Chase (I blogged about an opportunity to earn 110,000 points and IHG Platinum status in January). In this post, I'll show you how to parlay that status into top-tier Hilton status, which will give your stays at Hilton-owned hotels some extra sparkle!

How to get matched to Hilton Diamond status

First, let's start with the offer: Hilton has just recently made a page on their HHonors Loyalty Program site, which provides the opportunity to match status from another hotel chain. Basically, you just screenshot proof of your status with the competing hotel chain and provide another screenshot showing a stay within the last 12 months with that program. Diamond usually comes after 30 stays or 60 nights in one calendar year, so getting it for free is a pretty big opportunity!

Here is the relevant conversation over at Reddit, which includes a datapoint suggesting IHG Platinums are being matched to Hilton Diamond status. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Hilton is even accepting future stays booked with IHG as proof of a stay within the last 12 months, although this may be a YMMV situation.

UPDATE: Hilton has been inundated with requests and many are not getting a prompt response after filling out this form. Consider a follow-up email to hhonors@hilton.com if you want to move things along. More information on this available at this Reddit thread.

Why do I want Hilton Diamond Status

Hilton Diamond provides a number of benefits, some of them uninspiring, but a few are really quite useful. Here's the short story:

  • 48-hour availability guarantee - If you call the hotel two days out, even if they are fully-booked, they 100% promise to find a place for you.
  • Access to the executive lounge where available, which includes free food and beverages throughout the day.
  • 50% elite bonus on base points - Earn an additional 50% in bonus points on top of HHonors points earned from your stay.
  • 5th night free - If you book four nights with points or free-night certs, you'll get the fifth night free.
  • Guaranteed discount - When you go to book online as a Diamond, you will see a special rate only available to those with top-tier status. Think of it like a AAA discount on steroids.
  • Digital Check-In - Some hotels now have the tech upgrade to do digital room-keys and mobile check-ins for Diamonds. You can even pick your own room from a floorplan, instead of hoping the front-desk clerk gives you their best available.
  • Late Check-Out - Basically, hotel staff will accommodate an early arrival and late departure, giving you more flexibility on travel days.

In addition to these and a few other benefits of Diamond status, room upgrades are common, though not expressly a member benefit. Getting a nice room upgrade is usually one of the biggest perks to top-tier status, so you'll want to skim through this post on how to make that happen on a consistent basis.

The short story is, if there's a nicer room or even a suite available, Hilton should be looking to keep their elite members happy, which makes them likely to oblige an upgrade request. The best thing you can do is ask, followed closely by making sure to ask nicely!

The Bottom Line

If you've got the IHG credit card (or top-tier status with another major hotel chain), you've got an easy route to Hilton Diamond status all the way through March of 2018. If you think you'll need hotel stays at any point in the next two years, why not grab hold of some extra benefits?

Hilton's brands are everywhere and with the Diamond discount price, they'll be an attractive option even if you don't care about the other posted benefits and aren't counting on a room upgrade. If you stay at one with an executive lounge, you'll have free breakfast and snacks throughout the day, a great place to work, and some complimentary drinks during cocktail hour. Seems worth the two minutes it takes to fill out a form and attach some screenshots, right?

I received Diamond status through matching a few months ago and we've got a 3-night stay at the Hilton Vienna. I'll leave you with another blogger's detailed review of that hotel's rooms and executive lounge to get the ideas flowing!