Hyatt Continues To Devalue Their Program

It wasn’t long ago that Hyatt was the most generous hotel chain around.

They offered “Faster Free Nights” promotions from 2002 through 2010 that offered a free night in any Hyatt after every 2 stays. In 2009 I was earning 13,500 United miles+6,000 Hyatt points+1 free night at any Hyatt in the world for every 2 stays that I made. I used faster free nights promotions to stay for dozens of nights in wonderful Park Hyatts in Sydney and Melbourne and Hyatts in Maui and Kauai .

In 2009 Hyatt only had 5 categories with their most expensive awards costing just 15K points. Today Hyatt has 7 award categories and the most expensive rooms now cost 30K. Suites in those categories have gone from 22K points to 48K points per night.

Hyatt also used to offer G bonuses where you would earn thousands of extra Hyatt points per stay, but over the years they continued to eliminate promotions like faster free nights, Platinum extras certificates, and G bonuses, while they made redemptions more expensive.

Hyatt remained a decent value, but it was no longer as lucrative as it had been.

Now Hyatt is changing the name of their “Gold Passport” program to “World of Hyatt.”

They even hired my 5 year old son to design their new program’s logo. Only took him a few minutes to crank it out:

You can read the full details of the program here.

They are not changing the redemption side of the program for now.

However instead of classy elite names like Platinum and Diamond the new elite levels will be Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist.
Could they possibly have chosen more awkward elite tier names?

They’ve added a lot of complexity to the program.

But worst of all Hyatt is eliminating the ability to qualify for elite status based on stays. All they care about now is the number of total nights or how much you spend.

Currently Hyatt cardholders get Platinum status. As of 3/1/17 they’ll be downgraded to Discoverist status which now has 2 elite levels on top of it. Discoverist only earns a 10% point bonus on paid stays, though current Hyatt cardholders will retain the old 15% bonus until 3/1/18. Hyatt also clarifies that Discoverists only receive the best room in the same category that you reserved. Discoverist retains Platinum’s 2pm late checkout benefit.

Explorist is a new tier between the old Diamond and Platinum levels. It requires 30 paid nights or $10,000 of Hyatt spending each year. Currently you can get top-tier Diamond status with 25 stays, so this level can be even harder to attain than the current Diamond level. However Explorists only get 2pm checkout and don’t get suite upgrades at checkin or in advance, so benefits are much less than current Diamond status. Explorists get a 20% point bonus on paid stays compared to 30% for current diamonds. Explorists don’t get club access, though they do get 4 certificates for club access that can be used on paid and award stays up to 1 year after the status is earned.

Globalist is the new top-tier status. It requires a whopping 60 paid nights or $20,000 of Hyatt spending each year, a massive increase from the current diamond status that can be earned with 25 stays. Once you have Globalist status you can retain it by staying 55 nights in subsequent years. Globalists retain diamond benefits like a 30% point bonus on paid stays, club access or breakfast in hotels without a club, and 4pm late checkout. Globalists do get a few new benefits, including a dedicated agent to help with reservations, upgrades to standard suites at checkin if available, waived resort fees on all stays, and waived parking fees on award stays. The biggest benefit is that they retain 4 suite upgrade certificates and that they’ll be able to be used on award stays. Globalists can also earn an additional suite upgrade certificate or 10K points for each additional 10 nights that they stay past 60 nights, up to 100 paid nights per year.

Hyatt will eliminate the welcome amenity which offers 1,000 points back per stay that current Diamond members earn. Because apparently it now makes sense to eliminate nice perks like this when making it significantly harder to attain top-tier status.

All elite levels will continue to get premium WiFi and all members will get free WiFi. All members also continue to get their resort fee waived on award stays.

Cash and points stays will continue to count as paid stays.

There are a few nice additions:

If you stay at 5 Hyatt brands (Hyatt Place, Andaz, Regency, Park, Grand, etc) after 3/1/17 you’ll get a free category 1-4 award night. If you stay at 10 brands you’ll get another night. Those award nights are valid for 1 year.

If you stay 30 nights in a year you’ll get a free category 1-4 award night, but it has to be used within 120 days.

If you stay 60 nights in a year you’ll get a free category 1-7 award night, but it has to be used within 120 days.

If you spend $50K on a Hyatt card in a calendar year you’ll get Explorist status. However the Hyatt card will no longer earn night and stay towards elite status as it does now to make earning Diamond easier. The card will offer no shortcuts to the new Globalist tier.

The MGM MLife matching will also be devalued. Under the new program Hyatt Discoverists will get MLife Pearl status while Hyatt Explorists and Globalists will get MLife Gold status. Currently Hyatt Platinums get MLife Gold status while Hyatt Diamonds get MLife Platinum status. If you have current Hyatt status you should call 800-323-7249 to match to a higher tier than will be possible next year.

If you have qualified for Platinum status this year you’ll be a Discoverist in 2017. If you had Diamond status this year and don’t requalify you’ll be an Explorist in 2017. If you requalified for diamond status this year you’ll be a Globalist in 2017. If you have enough nights or spending for a higher tier in the new program than the current program you’ll get the higher status in the new program.

One small “loophole” is that you’ll be able to qualify based on stays in January and February of 2017 before the new program starts. That means you can stay 25 times in those months and earn Globalist status that will be valid until 3/1/19. Plus if you have a Hyatt card if you spend $20K you’ll earn 2 stay credits and 5 night credit and if you spend another $20K you’ll earn another 3 stay credits and 5 night credits towards elite status.

Overall there are a few positives, but on the whole this is a massive devaluation of the Hyatt elite program, which is currently the best in the industry.

I will give kudos to Hyatt for giving a nice amount of advance notice to these changes though.

Hyatt has traditionally had a strong program because their footprint is far smaller than the other major chains. Frankly it’s surprising that they are announcing these changes before waiting to see what the new Marriott/SPG program looks like. Marriott/SPG has had a shockingly good start to their merger, so hopefully they give Hyatt a run for their money when those details come together in 2017/2018.

Color me happy that Hyatt wasn’t able to buy SPG.

Will these changes affect your hotel loyalty?

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28 Responses to “Hyatt Continues To Devalue Their Program”

  1. ExGingi Says:
    1

    That’s an amazing logo design for a 5 year old 😉 How much did they pay him for it?

    ReplyReply
  2. shiframeir Says:
    2

    c’mon Dan dont sell your son short. he would bang out something much cooler. probably with a dinosaur, but cooler.

    ReplyReply
  3. Mike Says:
    3

    Can you post things without bragging everytime what you earned or got in the past? It’s so not classy

    ReplyReply
  4. David Says:
    4

    If I transfer over 100K UR points to my Hyatt account will that give me the Diamond status, or does it specifically have to be point earned through spending?

    ReplyReply
  5. Dan Says:
    5

    @shiframeir:
    True.

    @Mike:
    The point is that it used to be a very generous program and is significantly less so now.

    @David:
    Through paid stays only.

    ReplyReply
  6. Nic Says:
    6

    @ExGingi: they just gave him Explorist status lol (man those new names are dumb…)

    ReplyReply
  7. Antonio Says:
    7

    This is not a MASSIVE devaluation of the elite program. Seriously? Benefits for the most loyal and “elite” have been on the whole, enhanced. The elimination of 1W diamond bonuses are a MAJOR negative, but overall, the benefits package actually got better. The standard to reach it was made more difficult, but the reward is greater. Basically, it was made to reward more “loyalty” and less low cost, system gaming. I am not saying people are not unhappy that they are losing the ability to get greater benefits for less cost, but to say that the program itself was destroyed for elites is beyond ludicrous. The ability to extract massive value compared to minimal cost investment based on intelligent manipulation of the system has been greatly devalued, and the benefit and reward for genuine loyalty and financial commitment has been increased.

    ReplyReply
  8. James Says:
    8

    They’re taking away elite benefits on 3rd-party-booked stays, also.

    ReplyReply
  9. Explorist 4 Club lounge access awards Says:
    9

    Hi Dan,
    About Explorist’s 4 Club lounge access awards, do you know each award is good for a stay (multiple nights), 1 night, or 1 club lounge entry only? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @Nic:
    😀

    @Antonio:
    If United raised 1K from 100,000 miles to 240,000 miles would that not be a massive devaluation of the program?

    Losing the 1W bonus, Hyatt cc credits, and MLife status only amplifies the sting. The additional benefits are nice, but not for the increased requirements.

    @James:
    Wow, I missed that one.
    Lots of bad news here.

    @Explorist 4 Club lounge access awards:
    It’s good for a whole stay (up to 7 nights.)

    ReplyReply
  11. tv7 Says:
    11

    I agree with what Mike said. I’m sure you are able to get your point across without letting us all know about how amazing you are in your posts. I think we all know that already. 😜 I appreciate your work though.

    ReplyReply
  12. azhoopsfan Says:
    12

    If you spend $40k on the Hyatt card in January and February will those 10 night credits count toward qualification after March 1st? Or do I need to get 45 (trying to re-qualify) additional nights by March 1st too?

    The only way to qualify by stays would be to get all 25 stays in January and February. I hope it’s not the same with the cc nights.

    ReplyReply
  13. Antonio Says:
    13

    @Dan Wait wait wait…so the comparison you want to make is United increasing 1k requirements by 140%, compared to Hyatt increasing the nights requirement by 10%? Hyatt added a bunch of LEGITIMATE real benefits in exchange for that, and UA has not added anything but misery over the years. How is that even anywhere close to a logical argument?

    I agree, as I already said, losing 1W is a HUGE reduction. However, the MLife reduction is negligible, and the other things are MORE than made up for by new perks. I expect histrionics from the masses (which they have not disappointed in), but here I expected you to honestly provide some more intelligent evaluation behind the numbers rather than hysterical nonsense.

    ReplyReply
  14. Josh Says:
    14

    Dan, your article states than you can qualify for top tier with 25 stays in January and February 2017. This is not correct. The crappy World of Hyatt website confirms that elite qualification from 1 January is based on the new requirements; only the benefits of the new program won’t kick in until 1 March.

    ReplyReply
  15. Sarah Says:
    15

    I AGREE with Antonio! This is not a devaluation, but finally we are retuning to loyalty as it was meant to be!!! Rewarding people who actually stay at th hotels, and not have massive amounts of people all trying to get the same elite benefits when they all don’t really earn them through many stays!!! I never liked how I could stay two weeks at a time and it counts as only one stay! Stays should not have ever been less than nights!!! I am so excited to hear that HYATT is taking the LEAD to return status the way it should have stayed before they starts offering all those matches last year, and then HILTON jumped in and offered EVERYONE possible matches……it is TERRIBLE at HILTON lounges now. Thank goodness HIKTON distinguishes a but at most properties between lifetime diamond status and the no stay diamond people. PLEASE HILTON?…WAKE UP…..FOLLOW the lead of HYATT and return to a REAL LOYALTY PROGRAM FOR YOUR TRUE LOYAL GUESTS!!!!!! Hurray for HYATT!!!!!!!

    ReplyReply
  16. Ag Says:
    16

    Currently a diamnond and planning my move to other loyalty program… the small footprint was challenging enough but at lwast we enjoyed the benefits.. now there is no point..

    ReplyReply
  17. Tom Brady Says:
    17

    Disagree with the blanket premise of this post. You explain how Platinum is devalued. Platinum was worthless to begin with so big whoop. Diamond is not devalued but rather it’s improved. The downside with the improvement is that the status is a little harder to attain. Tell me that the majority of Diamond members don’t stay over 2.8 nights a stay then maybe I’ll admit I’m wrong. Don’t tell me that, and that means that this change is an improvement for probably the vast majority of Hyatt Diamonds.

    ReplyReply
  18. Mo Says:
    18

    It will definitely affect my loyalty. I have been diamond for five years. I average between 25-35 paid nights per year. Most of those stays are one nighters. I have been loyal to hyatt as they have always treated me well, and it was great for the once or twice a year that i wasbable to get away with the family, with the suite upgrades and breakfast. Ultimately it seems like i will now become a priceline man. Oh well, another program bites the dust.

    ReplyReply
  19. Dan Says:
    19

    @azhoopsfan:
    20 stays+$40K on the cc in Jan/Feb.

    @Antonio:
    25 to 60 is 140%.

    How exactly do the new benefits make up for losing 1W, losing Hyatt card credits, losing stay qualification, and losing Mlife Plat?
    The free nights expire quickly and are far less valuable than 1W.

    What are you so enamored with exactly? Some free parking when you redeem points? DSU on award nights is something, but when will you have time to redeem points when you need 60 paid nights to earn status?

    If they allowed award nights to count towards status then I’d be more inclined to agree with you.

    @Josh:
    Hyatt has confirmed that you can qualify if you make 25 stays in Jan/Feb.

    @Sarah:
    As I comment above, the giveback isn’t enough for the higher requirements and loss of benefits.

    @Ag:
    Agreed.
    Though a mattress run in Jan/Feb may be in order.

    @Tom Brady:
    No way does a typical road warrior spend 3 nights in a hotel.
    Nor are the new benefits good enough to justify the takebacks.

    @Mo:
    Agreed.

    ReplyReply
  20. Azhoopsfan Says:
    20

    Thanks Dan, but to clarify. If I charge $40k in January would the ten night credits still count after march 1st? I’m going to shoot for requalification based on nights. It’ll take me a whole year to get there, but I’m wondering if I can get those 10 night credits from the credit card with January spending so that I only need 45 more the rest of the year.

    ReplyReply
  21. Mont Says:
    21

    Don’t know if this will increase or decrease the mid-tier ranks and use of credit card. It surely will shrink the suite and upgrades, but if a lot of these are fixed costs and didn’t ever hear of significant troubles in the upgrades– so why shrink and risk award flight when other programs are getting bigger and relatively better?

    Guess Hyatt is going to trend toward the Omni/Fiarmount/Four seasons philosophy.

    Without a way to top tier via credit card spend, don’t think I’d even try to put $50,000 on it just for Explorist. $30,000 on SPG and $40,000 on Hilton for Diamond is much more appetizing.

    ReplyReply
  22. Sean Says:
    22

    @Dan – The changes will impact my loyalty in a major way. They will cause me to move 50+ nights a year from SPG to Hyatt.

    They’ve clearly done the math and decided that the 25 stay diamonds who do not reach 50 nights are not worth the benefits that they receive. And they’ve (rightfully, IMO) decided to focus the benefits on the small group of customers who drive the majority of their revenue.

    In the past, with no real benefits at Hyatt past 50 nights, I’ve spent 100-120 nights a year at SPG hotels and 50 at Hyatt. With these new changes, my strategy for 2017 has switched and Hyatt picks up 50-70 nights.

    The loss of 1W sucks, but the replacement value of the free night awards more than makes up the difference (assuming 4 nights a stay & averaging the 500-1k bonus, I’m giving up 11K points for 2 free nights).

    For this diamond, there is no devaluation. It’s actually a significant program improvement.

    ReplyReply
  23. Dan Says:
    23

    @Sean:
    Do you really stay 4 nights per stay?

    Also 60/4 is 15 stays, so you’re losing out on 15K 1W points and getting a 1-4 night and a 1-7 night that expire in just 120 days. There will be lots of unused nights.

    What will you do when SPG also requires more than 50 nights for top tier?

    Either way, similar to the airlines switching to revenue based mileage earning, there will be some winners.
    But the majority of people wind up losers and I stand by the premise of the post for most people.

    ReplyReply
  24. Sean Says:
    24

    @Dan – In response to your comment to Antonio, the benefits are significant for those who spend week in and week out at their hotels. They’re making it harder to qualify, which should make status mean something (unlike the status match fiasco earlier this year). With regards to your points of devaluation;

    1) Losing 1W – The new benefits assuming a stay pattern of 4 nights per stay, more than make up for 1W. Even at 3 nights per stay, assuming full service properties, you’d only give up 20K points in exchange for 2 free nights (albeit 4 months to use them).
    2) Losing Hyatt card credits – If you’re spending the requisite 55 nights in their hotels, this doesn’t matter.
    3) Losing Stay Qualification – Same as above
    4) Losing Mlife Plat – YMMV on this but seems like a minor devaluation here.

    In exchange, we get the following;
    1) DSU on award nights (yes, the target demo will be able to use these and requalify).
    2) 40K points for nights 60-100, easily worth the tradeoff from 1W.
    3) Free parking on award stays – significant benefit at properties such as the Andaz Maui, Napa, and any of the NYC hotels.

    At the end of the day, Hyatt has created the most desirable top tier loyalty program at the expense of making it harder to qualify for. IMO, this is not a “devaluation” as you state in your title, but rather a change in focus for whom the program will give their benefits.

    ReplyReply
  25. Sean Says:
    25

    @Dan – The majority of my stays are 3-4 nights, with half of them at HP/HH, with a 500 point 1W.

    With regards to SPG – I don’t find very much benefit from my ambassador or your24 and haven’t gotten a suite upgrade in over a year. So if the nights requirements go up for SPG, I will just qualify for SPG gold through United 1K.

    I do agree with your point that there will be a “thinning” of the herd at the Diamond level, and selfishly, I do find a lot of value in the changes as they will benefit me without costing me anything.

    I think the difference between Hyatt and the airlines is that they’re switching to revenue based programs but also providing more benefits while doing so.

    ReplyReply
  26. Grif Says:
    26

    Whoa!!!! Hyatt is reneging on the offer to allow people to qualify for diamond in Jan & feb. and transfer to globalist.
    I qualified for diamond on stays in Feb. Because my last stay didn’t post until march 1 (it was completed in feb) I transitioned into the lesser status and was manually upgraded. However it was in name only. I only have 4 club passes and didn’t receive the upgrades.
    Hyatt has decided not to honor their word and confer status if your stays post in march. If i re qualify under the new term I can earn the status.

    ReplyReply
  27. Dan Says:
    27

    @Grif:
    I got Globalist from 2017 stays. Though mine posted before March.

    Try emailing customer service.

    ReplyReply
  28. John Says:
    28

    @Dan
    I also got Globalist through February 2019, in my case based on 2017 stays and Hyatt CC spending. (Thanks very much for your post!) Despite this, the new World of Hyatt account page is showing my “Progress to Globalist” in terms of qualifying nights and base points. Any idea whether completing 60 qualifying nights this year would earn me ANOTHER year of Globalist (through Feb 2020)??

    ReplyReply

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