Loyalty Programs that Surprise and Delight Engender Both Appreciation.. and Bitterness

I’ve just received 1000 free Hyatt points ‘as a Diamond member and Hyatt Visa cardholder’.

Naturally this has me speculating that it’s funded in part by Chase. Perhaps because Diamonds benefit less from the credit card since they have no use for its free Platinum status, although on the other hand Hyatt Diamonds likely places a higher value on Hyatt’s points than other members.

It’s just 1000 points. I value that at ~ $14.

But it’s a surprise gift! I sure loved it when out of the blue Hilton give American Executive Platinums top tier Diamond status.

Northwest used to build a bit of surprise and delight into the Worldperks program for Platinum members: 1000 miles every time they didn’t clear a domestic upgrade. On short flights there were frequent flyers hoping not to get the upgrade!

That’s a little bit different, because it wasn’t a surprise. But it may be the right way to do it.

When Hyatt started handing out free nights to some members upon reaching certain milestones, like the number of unique properties they had visited, members talk.. a nice gesture to some members became a question, and source of unhappiness, for members who hadn’t received the same thing.

Hyatt at one point handed out Diamond members large amounts of United miles. I admit to a certain displeasure that I wasn’t one of those lucky ones.

When targeting groups of members, you can be especially generous.with a few or modestly generous with everyone.. giving out 1000 points, as in this case.

Either way though I do think it’s the things we don’t expect and don’t feel entitled to, but we nonetheless receive as a courtesy, that can feel especially good. I prefer knowing what to expect, and insisting on receiving that. But I do love the little extras just the same.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Seems this is targeted for diamond members only, not just any card holder? I’m platinum from having the card and I do quite a bit of spending on it. Haven’t received any such email. Would be nice.

  2. How do you figure 1.4c per point? It seems you can often get .02 on P+C rates. But maybe 1.4c makes sense for Cat7 properties like PHT.

  3. As a Diamond, I did get this email as a happy surprise. Hyatt treats me very well and I stay there often. I love the options I have of using the Hyatt elite rate (20% below daily rate) or points and cash for stays. I love always having breakfast included and the tip included as well (I don’t get Marriott Platinum not including breakfast everywhere). I also like the Hyatt Concierge on Twitter. Overall I am very happy with Hyatt!

  4. @Boraxo I’ll explain how I value points shortly but as i have said in the past the value of a mile is the price at which you’re indifferent to holding the mile vs holding cash. Would you pay 2 cents for a Hyatt point?

  5. Nope–Diamond and card holder (and user), but no points. I even followed the link and put in my info and it said “you do not qualify.” : (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *