I absolutely love Hyatt hotels, so when the news about the program change was announced last year, I was initially disappointed. I did not to immediately write about the changes as Ajay and I had a trip to Australia coming up where we were booked to stay at two of the most coveted Hyatt hotels. I wanted to put my recent experience in perspective and then look over all the new benefits.
As a Diamond member almost 80% of our stays in 2016 have been at Hyatt hotels, and that is just not because they have some great hotels around the world but also because Hyatt has one of the most generous top tier elite benefits for its Diamond members, till tomorrow that is! There are 4 confirmed Diamond suite upgrades and we’ve made good use of across Hyatt hotels in Nepal and Australia. Breakfast for up to 4 guests, access to the Club Lounge and a confirmed 4pm late check out which we invariably request for when flying out of Goa.
However, come day after there will be some major changes to Hyatt’s loyalty program. In fact there will be a complete new loyalty program. Effective March 1, 2017 Hyatt Gold Passport will be replaced by the new loyalty program called World of Hyatt with a new logo.
Given that the last weekend we were at Andaz Delhi, and the Director of Rooms had literally this this conversation with me because he was on a different plane with respect to the understanding of the Gold Passport program. I’ll put it up one last time here before the Diamond status goes away!
With the introduction of World of Hyatt , Hyatt has completely remodeled its membership tiers and benefits. But before looking at the new program let’s take a quick look at what the current Hyatt Gold Passport program looks like.
So currently Hyatt has 2 elite tiers and there is a huge difference between the Platinum and the Diamond benefits. If you look closely you’ll realize that Diamond is the only worthwhile tier to maintain. Platinum only got you premium internet and 15% bonus points.
Now let’s take a look at the changes that will come into effect very soon from March 1, 2017 under the ‘World of Hyatt’ label.
That’s a whole load of changes but here are the top 5 you should know:
3 elite tier status instead of the current 2
The elite tiers have been renamed to Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist, probably to appeal to the Millennial generation. I personally find it a bit odd to say that I’m an Explorist or a Globalist member. The shine of the jewels never gives away. For the record, Hyatt told me I’d be Explorist!
Qualifying for top-tier becomes harder, much!
In the new program the elite tier qualification requirements will change. It will either be on the nights spent in a calendar year or the points you earn through money spent with the chain every year. Technically, it will be tougher to reach the top tier Globalist status as nights required now will be 60 nights instead of the current 50 nights requirement. This hurts everyone, since for a lot of business travelers this more than doubles the requirements (actually 2.4x) if they were the overnight staying kinds.
Every tier will have the opportunity to earn free nights
By completing just 5 stays at 5 various Hyatt brands. Hyatt currently operates its hotels under 11 brands, out of which only 6 are present in India currently. Therefore even if you stay at all Hyatt brands across India you’ll be able to earn just one Free Night certificate. Having said that it’s good news because all members will have the opportunity to earn a reward night just by trying different brands in the portfolio. Also, while everyone else gets to redeem between Cat 1-4 hotels, if you are a Globalist member then the reward certificate is for any Hyatt hotel. So imagine a free night at the Park Hyatt, Maldives or at the Park Hyatt, Sydney. However this comes with a lot of restrictions. These free nights cannot be further upgraded, and have to be used within 120 days.
Top-tier members will no longer receive a welcome amenity
In the beginning I thought, it’s a small change to the benefits. However during our last trip I realized that in spite of us opting for the bonus points, all the Hyatt hotels we stayed at sent us a bottle of wine accompanied by chocolates or a fruit platter. I attribute this to the Hyatt hospitality standards. But that’s not all, if I were a road warrior staying 60 nights at Hyatt hotels, I would definitely want those extra points. At the maximum end I could gain 60,000 points which would allow me to stay for 2 nights at any Hyatt hotel around the world. Essentially, I could do with a monetary value of over 2000 USD but now it’s cut by half with just one free Cat 1-7 award certificate, which is sad.
Globalist will now get unlimited suite upgrades
Of course it’s subject to availability but this is definitely great news. If you’ve stayed at the Hyatt Bangalore or Amristsar where the old Ista hotels are run under the Hyatt brand, you’ll realize that the rooms are super tiny and a suite upgrade is more an essential than a luxury. They also get an opportunity to earn more than 4 confirmable suite upgrades and use them on award nights.
But there is more…
A lot of changes under the hood.
- Globalist Breakfast is limited to 2 adults and 2 children per room, with the definition of child being left to the property. This will limit those who bring along family or friends to breakfast and put it on their own tab.
- No compensation for closed lounges. Earlier, if a lounge was closed then eligible members would get 2500 Hyatt GP points and free breakfast in the restaurant.
- Mid-tier members at Explorist tier get lounge access just 4 times a year, which is less of a benefit than Hilton or Marriott Golds.
Here a whole bunch of changes. While for non Diamond members there is some good news, for top tier elites it’s only going to become more difficult to maintain status. Completing 60 nights with a brand that has only about 600 hotels Also members who qualify on stays will be disappointed. In the end these changes sort of reflect that with the introduction of ‘World of Hyatt’ the focus will be more on revenue than loyalty.
I am all set to get downgraded to an Explorist member. How will the new loyalty program impact you? Would you pursue World of Hyatt as your primary program going forward?