Why Hyatt’s Diamond Suite Upgrade Policy Change Is A Terrible & Unfriendly Move

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Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade Changes

Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade Changes

Yesterday the news broke that Hyatt is changing the way they enforce the expiration date on Diamond Suite Upgrades. Here is a summary of the changes:

What’s changing?

Suite awards issued on or after March 1, 2016, must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award. Suite awards not redeemed prior to the expiration date of the award will be forfeited.

What’s not changing?

Suite awards issued prior to March 1, 2016, must be redeemed by making a reservation no later than the last day of February 2016 for future reservations. In the event one of these Suite awards is redeemed for stay dates beyond the expiration date and the reservation is cancelled after the last day of February 2016, the Suite award will be forfeited.

Why This Is Bad

This is a really terrible policy and one that is incredibly unfriendly to elites. Why? Well let’s look at how Hyatt describes the Suite Upgrade benefit on their website:

Treat yourself to a suite upgrade at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights

They specifically use the “time of reservation” language to explain how valued Diamond members can upgrade at booking. But what if your stay is March 1 or shortly thereafter? In that case, I suppose you have to wait until March 1 to confirm that suite and just hope and pray that space will be available. In other words, this is a devaluation of the benefit.

A Good Example

My family and I are going to Spain and France for Spring Break in late March. Under the new rules (which won’t be in effect until the 2016 certificates are issued) we would have to wait until March 1 to confirm a suite upgrade for a stay that is supposed to happen on March 22. That is a really terrible policy and one that I think isn’t in the spirit of the benefit as described on their website.

A Grace Period

One way Hyatt could find a middle ground is by giving a grace period of three months or so. For example, the certificates would still need to be booked by their expiration date, but could be used for stays up to three months after expiration. This means that customers looking for a suite upgrade in March wouldn’t have to wait for March 1. I don’t expect Hyatt to backtrack on this, so don’t expect my idea to actually ever come to fruition.

Conclusion

Yes some will argue that Hyatt already listed the last day of February as the expiration date of Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates, so they are just now enforcing their policy. I don’t think that is the case. Their language above indicates this is a policy change and thus we should be treating it that way. I don’t know if this change has to do with so many new Diamonds joining the ranks or if it is a cost cutting move, but it slightly tarnishes my opinion of a brand I really love.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. You’d think since they’ve been courting SPG elite that they’d be more generous with their elite benefits. Hah! Not diamond myself but I agree this is a bad move.

  2. I’m just going to book my suite through a portal to Hotels.com and book a Relais & Chateau and pay with a Citibank Prestige to get the fourth night free. And with R&C every room is a suite……….seems a much better value for aspirational travel and much, much more flexible………

  3. The “time of the reservation” language, I believe, is meant to convey the benefit of getting an upgrade in advance of showing up at the check-in. I do not believe it is meant in the same way you are interpreting the language.

  4. Why not just issue the awards once the status is earned instead of waiting till march…this would still have an end hard date but would allow people to get them early enough to book march awards.

  5. I’m a newly gifted diamond member and I just made a reservation and called the diamond line to have a dsu applied. When I now look at my reservation, it shows the suite but the reservation price is listing the true price of the suite (~$1k per night) and the dsu has not been deducted from my account. Is this how it typically works and should I just give it some time? Or could this be a mistake? Thanks.

  6. Wow. I have never been so confused about a change. Can someone post up a TLDR in the comments? I dont think im THAT much a n00b to not understand WTF is going on, but I totally dont get it. So what was the Pro/Cons before the change and the Pro/Cons AFTER the change? I read this post about 5 times and I still dont get it. I feel so stupid.

    For example, I read the change is “Suite awards issued on or after March 1, 2016, must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award” Ok sounds fair. Whats the issue here? Isnt that legitimate? Cant redeem after expiration is legit right?

  7. @NinjaX let me explain…it’s a slightly negative development to bring into line with probably what it should have been in the first place. It was probably overly generous and now it makes sense.

    And this is from someone who always travels with wife and 4 year old I love love need need suites!

    Between my wife’s (now expired) and my Diamond status we can stay up to a month in fabulous suites around the world on great value cash and points AND they count towards status renewal.

    Way ahead of Starwood or anyone…but the entitled (some of em) bloggers want everything their way FOREVER, and in my humble opinion actually spoil goodwill, and trend the big companies towards removing benefits to over entitled demanding members. If it was me, Id say “sounds reasonable, thanks for being the best, keep it up”

    • Andy you didn’t manage to explain anything. All you did was sort of try to insult me I guess?!? The true fact is that this change makes it so suite upgrades can’t be applied in advance in certain situations. As another commenter said, they could issue the upgrade certs upon (re)qualification and leave the expiration date as is. That would work too and may even give people an incentive to qualify sooner. There are ways to do this that are consumer friendly. This isn’t one of them.

      @Ninja

      Currently with the upgrade certificates you need to book by the expiration date, but the stay can be any date on the bookable calendar. This has been their policy.
      Starting with the certificates issued in 2016, you must book by and stay by the expiration date.

      • @Andy
        Really appreciate the response and the attempt. But just like Shawn said, you didnt explain jack and only gave me a rant (I guess you agree too), but I am still thankful you at least took the time to make an attempt.

        @Shawn
        Thanks a lot man! That clears it up SO MUCH better! Now I get why this is a Terrible & Unfriendly move. I really didnt get it at first, but now I totally understand the new time constraints and your example + grace period notes make complete sense. Definitely agree with the three months after expiration suggestion. That would be a good compromise. Thank you!

  8. @Shawn…Ok you’re right I didn’t explain the details. And I should have not claimed to do so.

    I didn’t want to be insulting really, but obviously I find (what I perceive to be) entitlement frustrating when we get outsized value that is still not good enough for some.

    Perhaps I shouldnt be so antagonistic or be more polite. I apologize. However I do think the title TERRIBLE and UNFRIENDLY to be slightly insulting to Hyatt to be honest, and that is what I was disagreeing with.

    The bottom line to me is 28 days of suites every year for top level elite is very consumer friendly, and Im grateful for it and keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way for some time.

    • Interesting sir. I did not know you can retroactively change your booking like that. So you can pay via 6,000 Hyatt points per night then switch from the points with a DSU instead? What if you paid ALL cash for the Suite. Can you apply the DSU after you get the cert but before you actually stay?

  9. Hyatt is talking about making a timing change on when the certificates are issued – likely to do something along the lines of when someone qualifies for Diamond. This should definitely help, especially if someone qualifies earlier in the year. In such a case (like qualifying around June, for example), a Diamond member would be able to use those certificates for travel beginning the following March 1.

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