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:
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.
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.