Last week Hyatt unveiled their new loyalty program slated to begin March 1 2017: World of Hyatt. You’ve probably already read posts boohooing the changes, but lost in that noise are some big improvements over Hyatt’s old program: Gold Passport. Here are my top 5 new features of World of Hyatt…
# 5 Somewhat Meaningful Mid-Tier Status (Explorist)
The old program, Gold Passport, was all or nothing. Platinum status was near worthless while the next level, top tier Diamond status, was great. With World of Hyatt, there is now a mid-tier status unfortunately named “Explorist”. The key benefits of this middle tier over the lowest elite tier (Discoverist) is that Explorists get 4 Club lounge access awards. That’s not a huge benefit, but it is unquestionably valuable. Sadly, qualifying for mid-tier isn’t easy:
- 30 qualifying nights; or
- 50,000 base points (e.g. $10,000 spend); or
- 10 qualifying meetings or events; or
- Spend $50,000 in a calendar year on your Hyatt Credit Card
#4 Qualify on Base Points with up to 3 Rooms at Once
I don’t know if this is meaningful to many people besides me, but to me this is big. I regularly visit Hyatt resorts with friends and family members. I book all of the rooms so that we share my elite status benefits for the stay. With the old Gold Passport program, this did nothing to help me re-qualify for status. Only one room at a time counted for stays and nights. In the new program, though, up to 3 rooms will count towards earning status through base points. Plus, all spend at the hotel will count too as long as my friends and relatives charge everything to the room.
The World of Hyatt Terms & Conditions state the following:
Multiple Rooms. A Member may earn points for up to three (3) rooms per night (Member’s room and two (2) additional rooms) within the same hotel or resort. The Member must be a registered guest, occupy at least one of the rooms, and pay an Eligible Rate for all applicable rooms. The Member will earn Base Points for each of the rooms, but the Member will only earn Tier-Qualifying Nights (defined in Appendix C) for one (1) room. In addition, only the room occupied by the Member will count toward current Program promotions and receive Program benefits and services. The occupant(s) of the additional room(s) will not receive points (or any partner credit offered to Members in lieu of points).
#3 Upgrade Certificates Better than Before
Free nights booked with points can now be upgraded to club rooms or suites through upgrade certificates. Previously, if you wanted to use an upgrade certificate you could only use it on a paid stay. This is a huge improvement when hoping to use upgrade certificates at very expensive properties. Now you can redeem points for a regular room, and apply a certificate to upgrade the stay.
#2 Top Tier Status Better than Before
Top tier World of Hyatt “Globalist” status is arguably even better than Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status. While there were a few losses in benefits (I’ll cover those in a future post), Globalist status adds some great benefits:
- Room upgrade upon arrival, up to standard suites (previously suites were excluded).
- Free parking on free night awards.
- Suite upgrade awards redeemable on both paid and free nights
- Priority access to available rooms when checking in early
These are in addition to many great perks carried over from the old program such as:
- Guaranteed club lounge access or free full breakfast at hotels without a lounge
- 4pm late checkout
- 2 free United Club passes per year
#1 Still possible to share top tier status benefits
The new program continues to allow members to combine points, and they continue to allow top tier elites to make “Guest of Honor” reservations. These are the two ingredients necessary for getting Hyatt
Diamond Globalist benefits without status.
I realize it is strange that my favorite feature of the new program is already available through the current Hyatt Gold Passport program, but hear me out… When I first saw that a new program was being rolled out, I was sure that they would have cut these features, but they didn’t. Both features are spelled out in the new program’s terms & conditions. As a result, even though it may be harder to re-qualify for top tier status under the new program, it is as easy as ever to enjoy top tier status benefits as long as you have a friend with top status willing to help you out. For more details, see: How to get Hyatt Diamond benefits without status.
What about the new free night awards?
The new program offers free night awards earned through stays, nights, or base points as shown in the following table:
This is a nice new addition, but it didn’t make my top 5 because free nights with tight expiration dates are a double-edged sword for me. Sure, they’re great when they work out, but more times than not I find myself scrambling to find a use for them. Give me points over expiring free nights any day.
It’s also worth pointing out that some have reported that the free nights are tied to status levels, but that is not true. If you earn Explorist status with $50,000 of Hyatt credit card spend rather than through Hyatt stay activity, for example, you will not earn the Free night award that is given for staying 30 qualifying nights or earning 50,000 base points.
See also: 5 things I hate about World of Hyatt