Starbucks Eggnog, Cadillac/AAdvantage Promotion, and Hyatt Diamond Challenge

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I’m buried under a landslide of RFPs and other heavy paperwork at my office.  That means my creative writing skills here at Jetsetter’s Homestead are being funneled to project work rather than travel musings.

TJH_PlaneI do have a few quick thoughts to share today….

I reported yesterday that Starbucks would limit their eggnog offerings to ONLY the Pacific Northwest and Western/Central Canada this year.

While that was true at the time, the company reported last night that it made a mistake and would roll out eggnog to the rest of its North American stores the week of November 17.  Starbucks said the issue was getting eggnog from their suppliers this early in the season.  Or maybe it’s just a sneaky way to get several waves of “buzz” during the two-month long “red cup season”.

My miles from the Cadillac AAdvantage promotion still have not posted.  While I completed my test drive visit two weeks ago (and many bloggers reported getting miles the week following their test drive), I still have yet to see mine.

I need to dig deeper and figure out if anyone who visited on or after October 23 received miles yet.  If you did – and have or have not received miles – I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

I didn’t get to test-drive the car (although I would have loved to) but I did watch while the sales manager input my data for the mileage credit.  My mom visited four days later (after the signups had ended but test drives were still ongoing) and she ended up buying a car (a Hyundai, not a Cadillac, but from the same family of dealers).

Speaking of promotions that bloggers love – the Hyatt Diamond Challenge.  I have one word – ugh!

Hyatt has for sometime offered a challenge to Diamond (top tier) status that was given to anyone who could show they have top tier status with another program.  Enrollees were immediately given temporary Diamond status plus four suite upgrade certificates plus all benefits of being Diamond during the challenge plus bonus points during certain stays during the challenge.  Then they receive MORE benefits when they complete the challenge.

In other words, someone switching loyalties can stay 12 nights (12 unique stays) and have even MORE perks than I get when staying 50 nights/25 stays a year.  It hardly seems fair from my side.

One of my big issues with status challenges is that some people abuse them.  They are designed to get top spenders from other programs to switch loyalties.  The problem is that many who were coming over to Hyatt had comped status from another program so they weren’t really the top spenders Hyatt was targeting.

In the meantime, those of us who are Hyatt loyal (and have been for years) are suddenly competing for our own suite upgrades with these Diamond-Lite members, many who publicly share that they are only doing it to get benefits for a special trip with no intent to complete the requirements to maintain the status.

It’s a dual edged sword – I understand the need to try to go after new customers (and indeed, I was even comped Hilton HHonors Diamond status last week) but its frustrating to see a promotion gamed in a way that potentially hurts the existing elite base.  I may be biased as a business traveler though – I stay enough to earn Hyatt Diamond and Starwood Platinum and lower-than-top tiers on Marriott and Hilton without any comp programs.

Many are upset that the Hyatt Diamond Challenge has ended (and is apparently being retooled by the company).  To those folks I say – do what I do and stay 25 times (or 50 nights) – and then you won’t have to worry about a challenge.  And if you don’t have that kind of volume, perhaps top tier status is not really intended for you.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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    • I messaged Roger Fenn, the GM. He said that I was in the system but didn’t show completed so he updated me. (It always pays when they remember visiting with you!)

  1. Jennifer,

    I actually registered for the promotion on Thursday October, 23, shortly before Cadillac announced the end of the promotion (believe it was the next day). I signed up to test drive on Saturday, October 25. My miles posted on November 1.

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