Any time a loyalty programme announces major changes, it is logical to assume that these changes are for the benefit of the company, not its loyal flyers / guests. So imagine my fears yesterday as rumours swirled on Twitter and Flyertalk about changes to my favorite loyalty programme – Hyatt Gold Passport. Having finally seen the details, I can breathe a sigh of relief, along with thousands of my fellow Diamond members…
On 1 March, 2017, Hyatt Gold Passport will become World of Hyatt. The logo seems to have been designed in thirty seconds by an intern however…
Earning and Redeeming Points
There will be no changes to earning points – 5 base points per US dollar spent – or redeeming points, which remains as below:
Qualifying for Status
World of Hyatt involves a major change in how elite status is reached, and the benefits offered at each level of status. Instead of Platinum and Diamond, we now have:
These new names are being much criticised online, but I have to say that precious metals/jewels have become a bit boring, even though one can become a Globalist without leaving the United States (and many will)…
The most important things to note are that:
- qualifying for top status via 25 stays (potentially as little as 25 nights) will no longer be possible
- award nights still do not count for status purposes, however Points + Cash nights will continue to qualify
- members (re) qualifying for Diamond in 2017 under the current 25 stay / 50 night rules will become “Globalists” and will only require 55 nights to re-qualify going forward
- earning status via the base point route is unlikely – 100K base points requires $20K of spend which split over 60 nights works out to $333 per night average room rate. If you’re spending $400+ per night, you probably don’t care much about status as you’re already buying or expensing whatever you want…
Elite Status Benefits
Anyhow who has read this far is probably an existing Hyatt Diamond member and is wondering what the future World of Hyatt will offer for Globalists. Here’s a link to the Hyatt webpage outlining the new benefits. There are some minor tweaks but essentially:
- Globalists will now receive suite upgrades at check-in, as well as the four highly-desirable Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates that can be confirmed in advance. These DSUs can now be applied to full award stays!
- Breakfast/ lounge access remains the same, with less scope for inviting a group of friends to breakfast.
- Resort fees will be waived for Globalists. This is mostly an American resort property issue, but is welcome nonetheless.
- The 1,000 point Diamond amenity bonus is going away.
- The 2,500 point bonus for a temporarily closed lounge is also going away
What is really exciting are the additional benefits to be offered:
Some thing to keep in mind about the new benefits are:
- The free night for trying 5 separate brands is cumulative, not annual. Since Hyatt have 10 separate brands (including the all-inclusive Ziva and Zilara brands), this means a maximum of 2 free night certificates over a member’s lifetime. 5 brands should be easy enough for a regular – 10 brands will be close to impossible.
- All Diamond / Globalist members as of 28 February, 2017 will receive a free night at any Hyatt property worldwide. It is important to note the four-month validity period! This alone, might make it worthwhile to aim for a 25-stay Diamond status while you still can. (in theory, you can also do this in Jan/Feb 2017 to be Diamond in time for the changeover)
- DSU certificates are valid for one year from the moment they are issued. Most renewing Diamond / Globalist members will receive their initial batch of 4 on 1 March each year. However any additional DSUs (for staying 70 nights for example) will be valid for one year from the date that these are issued. Why is this important? A recent complaint is that stays in March/April were almost impossible to apply suite upgrades to, since any existing DSUs would expire on 28 February and new ones wouldn’t be received until 1 March. Now, anybody who stays 70+ nights can choose the additional DSU benefit, and apply these to such stays…
These changes are really going to hurt those current Diamond members who barely scraped their way to the status via the 25-stay route. Globalist is going to be quite difficult to achieve, particularly considering how small Hyatt’s footprint is (600+ hotels worldwide)
For others, these changes are potentially going to be quite appealing, although hopefully they won’t be “enhanced away” over time. The free night certificates are going to particularly interesting. There are a number of Category 6 and 7 hotels I would love to try out, such as the Park Hyatts in Milan, Sydney, Zurich and Paris, but I could never bring myself to spend 30,000 points on them ($500+ of value…) Hopefully the short expiry period will keep the cost manageable for Hyatt, although they also hand out such certificates to U.S. credit card holders.
I also appreciate the additional benefits from staying beyond 60 nights. A common complaint in this hobby is that, apart from Starwood Preferred Guest, no major chain provides substantial benefits for going beyond the bare minimum for status qualification – which ends up tempting people to aim for status in a different chain as a backup. I think the idea of bonus points or additional suite upgrades is brilliant.
I’ve already informed the missus that I’ll be staying at least 55-60 nights in a Hyatt next year. (luckily she loves Hyatt almost as much as I do) How about you?