Hyatt’s New Loyalty Program Confirmed: Why It’s Bad for Most of Us & Fantastic for a Few

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World of Hyatt Loyalty Program

New World of Hyatt Loyalty Program

Hyatt is a popular brand in the “travel hacking” space for a few reasons. First, their top-tier Diamond elite status is among the most generous in the industry and the vast majority of properties treat elites very well. Second, Hyatt points are relatively easy to get thanks to their transfer relationship with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Sometimes I think the factors above force us (me) to overlook some of the negatives of the company. I think by far the biggest negative is Hyatt’s footprint. I travel a lot and while I always look for Hyatt properties to stay at, there are giant holes in their network. Plus, when I do find properties these days they tend to be limited service Hyatt House and Hyatt Place locations where my status doesn’t mean much if anything.

Perhaps someone forgot to tell Hyatt that they have some shortfalls, because apparently they are implementing a brand new semi-revenue based loyalty program next year that is less rewarding for many. According to One Mile at a Time, the three tiered Hyatt Gold Passport program will be a thing of the past. It will be replaced with a four tiered program called “World of Hyatt” which will be implemented on March 1, 2017.

World of Hyatt

Let me get the bad news out of the way first. Stay qualifications are now a thing of the past. Instead, you can qualify either based on the total number of nights or on your base points earned. (Revenue) Here is how you earn elite status under the new program:

  • Discoverist: Stay 10 nights, Earn 25k base points ($5000 spend), or hold 3 meetings
  • Explorist:  Stay 30 nights, Earn 50k base points ($10,000 spend), or hold 10 meetings
  • Globalist: Stay 60 nights (55 to requalify), Earn 100k base points ($20,000 spend), or hold 20 meetings

Here are the new World of Hyatt benefits as reported by One Mile at a Time.

Transitioning

On March 1, 2017 current elites will transition to the new program as follows:

  • People who have qualified for Diamond in 2017 will become Globalist.
  • 2016 Diamonds who didn’t requalify will become Explorist. (This is good for people who matched last year to Diamond.)
  • People who have qualified for Platinum in 2017 will become Discoverist.

Top Tier More Rewarding

While I’ll explain the bad below, for those who are able to hit 60 nights (55 to requalify), the top tier Globalist status is significantly more rewarding. Among the improvements are:

  • Suite upgrades on all stays subject to availability. (Although they now expire 12 months from when you earn them.)
  • Receive a category 1-4 free night after 30 nights and category 1-7 after 60 nights.
  • Resort fees are eliminated on paid stays as well. Currently they are only eliminated on award stays.
  • Suite upgrades are now applicable on award stays!
  • Free parking on award stays.
  • Earn additional points or suite upgrades for every 10 nights after 60. (70,80,etc.)
  • A My Hyatt Concierge Ambassador. (Dedicated Hyatt representative to help with reservations, etc.) HT: View from the Wing

Note: All Globalist members will receive a free category 1-7 night on March 1 in celebration of this new program.

Less Rewarding For Many

Yes, the top tier Globalist is more rewarding, but current Diamonds who can’t hit that 55 night threshold to re-qualify will no doubt be downgraded to Explorist in 2018. Explorist is a big downgrade from current Diamond status.

  • No suite upgrades.
  • Club access only 4 times per year.
  • No free breakfast. (And even the breakfast benefit for top-tiers is going from “4 people in the same room” to “2 adults and 2 children.”
  • Only 2pm late checkout.
  • Less of a points bonus.
  • No check-in amenity or turndown. (These have also been eliminated for Globalist members as well.)

No Benefits on 3rd Party Stays

One of the best things about being a Hyatt elite has been getting full elite benefits even if a stay is booked through a third party. For example, if you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book a Hyatt because the cash rate is cheaper than simply transferring points, currently you do not earn points or elite credit, but your elite status is recognized. Under the new program that will no longer be the case. You can find out more detail about this change here.

Credit Card Changes

According to View from the Wing, here is how the Hyatt Visa credit card is handled under the new program:

  • Comes with Discoverist (lowest tier) status
  • $50K spend each calendar year earns Explorist status through the following year.
  • Cardmembers who have the card by March 1 will earn a 5% bonus on base points earned for in-hotel spend through February 28, 2018.

Mlife Downgrade

World of Hyatt Loyalty Program

Unfortunately the new program will bring a downgrade into the way Mlife status matches work. Currently status matches are as follows:

  • Hyatt Member = Mlife Sapphire
  • Hyatt Platinum = Mlife Gold
  • Hyatt Diamond = Mlife Platinum

Under the new program Hyatt elites will only match up to Mlife Gold. Here is how it will work:

  • Membership = Mlife Sapphire
  • Discoverist = Mlife Pearl
  • Explorist = Mlife Gold
  • Globalist = Mlife Gold

So lower tier elites drop from Mlife Gold to Pearl and top-tier elites drop down to Mlife Gold. Free parking is still included for all, although the loss of some upgrades and priority check-in, etc. may hurt. Overall it is a small downgrade but one that will be noticeable for some.

More Thoughts

World of Hyatt Loyalty Program
View of the Andes Mountains from the Grand Club at the Grand Hyatt Santiago. Unlimited access may be a thing of the past for me.

I suspect many within this community who are Diamond members fall into two categories. Either you currently have Diamond status because they gave it to you last year and you are planning to let it go or you scrape buy requalifying for Diamond by getting barely 25 stays. I know that I fall into that category and often will do several one night stays in an area with several Hyatt properties to “juice up” my qualifying.

This year I will hit exactly 25 paid stays and about 30 nights. Of course I actually stayed north of 50 nights in Hyatt properties, but I opted to use points when it made sense financially. What would make this news more palatable is if Hyatt would begin counting award stays towards qualification like many other chains, but that isn’t happening.

To reach top tier status under this new program, one would have to stay 60 paid nights (or 55 if they currently are top tier) which is simply impossible for those “25 stay elites” like me. Between the sheer cost of their high-end properties and the limited footprint, it would be a constant struggle. The new revenue earning mechanism doesn’t help either, since it will take $20K in spending to reach the top level.

Switching Loyalty

I have been considering whether it made sense for me to continue my pursuit of Diamond in 2017 and with these changes I honestly can’t say that it will. Since I will be given Globalist status in 2017 I’ll try it out, but given these new restrictions plus their severely limited property footprint, I’m thinking that a strategy to earn SPG/Marriott Platinum status may be one worth pursuing.

Conclusion

Hyatt Gold Passport is one of the most rewarding loyalty programs for top tier elites and that world class treatment continues with World of Hyatt. Of course, under this new program there will be a lot less top tier elites to deal with. In the end a few business travelers/big spenders will love these changes, but I suspect many more elites (especially ones within this community) won’t.

What are your thoughts on the new World of Hyatt loyalty program?


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32 COMMENTS

  1. minor point, but this is going to have the funny side-effect of making the second-highest and perhaps highest elite levels (refuse to even write those silly names!) available to those who make perhaps two expensive stays, especially, say, by taking a large family to a resort.

    • $10,000 or 20,000 in spend on a vacation? I guess if you’re the godfather and pay for your large family. I cannot imagine my Dad (a doctor, not a mobster) throwing down 20k for 2 weeks somewhere and treating all his kids and grandkids. I guess there’s a lot of wealth out there though.

  2. Arguably the new “World of Hurt” loyalty program devalues the value of the Chase Hyatt Visa from March 2017. After this date Chase Hyatt cardholders will be given “Discoverist” status which is a reduction in current Platinum benefits: No 2pm late checkout, no premium wifi, and no 72 hour guarantee. BTW, Given how few Hyatt properties there are in the world – Hyatt Loyalists have always been “Discoverists” due to the ongoing challenge of simply trying to find a Hyatt hotel in any given city.

  3. To qualify Globalist (fka Diamond) via spend instead of nights, you’ll need ADR of USD $333+, which is roughly the ADR that Andaz commands, and slightly below that of a Park Hyatt.

    Translation : for the VAST majority of people, qualification is pretty much number of nights (which is mostly in line with the industry …. mattress running 25 “stays” is simply too easy to obtain top status)

    • No qualms with that per se, but the lower tiers are shit. Also, third party bookings don’t count, awards don’t count. There’s not much marginal incentive to stay there. It mostly looks like like 2017 will be a great year to stay on Hyatt points, and then never again.

  4. This is the start of the latest Deval cycle in the hotel world…..next up will be MRR/SPG. This sure makes it easier for them 🙁

  5. Ben quietly updated his chart to show Premium Internet and 2pm late checkout for Discoverist. I’m not sure if anything else changed but you might want to update your chart as well.

  6. I would bet this is a terrible value proposition for most, if not all, of your readers. Awarding the top 1% – however lucrative they may be, while essentially penalizing the rest is no way to build a loyalty program. It may work for the Ritz Carltons of the world, but the Hyatt portfolio as a whole doesn’t compete in that space. Questionable decision making by management at best.

  7. Has someone than a chart comparing the different hotel programs? I started one when I began this hobby, but quickly gave it up when it became clear that chasing status is not for me.

  8. How much reg spend (groceries, gas) outside of Hyatt on the Hyatt card to qualify for Globalist? Wouldn’t it be 100K, not 20K? Kind of confused here…

    • For explorerist, it’s 50k manufacture on Hyatt card (hardly worth “4 lounge upgrades”). Not possible for globalist.

  9. If I qualified to be diamond in 2017, will I get a category 1-7 certificate in March or only if/when I re-qualify for 2018?

  10. It is not easy. I will be Globalist next year because of this year 25 stays…and I went the extra mile for those 25 stays. So It will be imposible got me to get to 60 night. But looking at the other programs I can’t see value anywhere. Hilton or Marriot are 40000 or 50000 points for a 100 a night mediocre hotel. And SPG is going to be the same when they merge both programs. So for me Hyatt cash and points is still the best option…great value and nice properties. I just need to lear to live without benefits…

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