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Back in October 2016, we reported the coming changes to the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. The new program goes live as of March 1, 2017, and Hyatt has released even more details of the new program—unsurprisingly like almost every loyalty program overhaul in the last decade, or so there are some good points and bad points. While there seem to be several generous additions to the new program, there are also some hidden devaluations and quirks. Here is the low down on some of the upcoming fundamental changes to the Hyatt program.
Major Changes as Gold Passport Becomes World of Hyatt
The changes to the program are extensive, and some of the key aspects are as follows:
- The program is changing its name
- The program is moving from 2 Elite tiers to 3 Elite tiers
- You can qualify on spending as well as nights (but no longer on stays)
- You can earn free nights for staying at different brands (once per lifetime benefit)
- Hyatt Credit Cardholders receive complimentary Discoverist Status
- Elite members get unlimited suite upgrades
- No welcome amenity for Globalists
- Tier-based Free Night Awards
Name Change to World of Hyatt
The first and most noticeable difference is in the name, the Hyatt Gold Passport program ceases to exist at the end of February 2017, and a new program called World of Hyatt will take its place effective March 1, 2017.
Three Elite Tiers
Hyatt Gold Passport had two Elite tiers, whereas World of Hyatt offers four membership levels with three Elite tiers—Discoverist, Explorist, and a top tier Globalist—while the entry-level tier will be called Member.
Below is a chart that illustrates the key benefits of the new tiers within World of Hyatt.
Members of the old program will be transitioned to the new World of Hyatt. Hyatt released the following chart to show at which level you will be transferred.
Earn Status on Spending
This is a great improvement which rewards big spenders since it is unreasonable to treat someone who regularly spends $600 a night the same as someone typically spending $100 a night. Requiring both to stay the same number of nights to earn Elite status seems unfair. The new qualifying options are illustrated in the following chart. All members earn 5 base points per dollar spent so that'd be $5,000 for Discoverist, $10,000 for Explorist or $20,000 for Globalist. Not an easy feat, but if you're easily earning a lot of base points with high room rates, you now have the opportunity to reach status.
Earn Free Nights for Stays at Different Brands
All members will be eligible to earn a stay at any category 1-4 hotel after staying at 5 different Hyatt brands; you can earn a further stay after staying at another 5 brands. Ultimately you are restricted to 2 free nights since Hyatt only has 12 brands.
Sadly, the new perk is not retroactive, and the new counter will start on March 1, 2017. Any previous stays in 2017 will not count towards this new benefit. This benefit is a once in a lifetime benefit per account.
Hyatt Credit Card Holders Receive Discoverist Status
Previously, if you had the Hyatt co-brand card you received complimentary Platinum Status. Cardholders now receive Discoverist status. Unfortunately, Hyatt cardholders will now lose some of their points bonus for stays, since they will be earning a 10% points bonus on stays rather than the 15% they used to earn previously.
Globalist Members Receive Unlimited Suite Upgrades
One of the best improvements to the Hyatt program is the unlimited upgrades to the best available room including suites. This new benefit is available to Globalist members and is in addition to their four confirmed suite upgrade certificates. The confirmed upgrades are only valid for 12 months from the date they are deposited in your account. If you have planned a family vacation or have some aspiration travel plans, you might need to do some pre-planning when you hit Globalist status and earn you certificates, to maximize their use.
No More Welcome Amenity for Globalists
One of the costlier devaluations for Elite members is the abolishing of welcome amenities. You will no longer earn points or welcome drinks upon check-in. When you consider that the amenity points are 1,000 for a full-service property and 500 for any other Hyatt property this can be a significant hit. A Globalist with 50 nights could easily end up losing 15,000 to 20,000 points or more, which is enough points for a night at a category 3-4 hotel or even more nights at lower tier properties.
Luckily, Globalist do have some enhanced benefits with Club Lounge access, 4-suite upgrades, 48-hour room availability guarantee, and a 4 PM checkout time, in addition to the usual 30% points earning bonus.
Tier-Based Free Night Awards
To seemingly make up for the loss of the welcome amenity, Hyatt has introduced a new benefit—you will earn a free night certificate at a category 1-4 property after staying 30 nights, and a free night certificate at any Hyatt property after completing 60 nights stay.
At first glance, this seems like a great new perk, with Hyatt Globalists now earning a free night at any Hyatt property worldwide. The major issue with the award is that it is only valid for 120 days from the time it is issued.
The award could be worth up to $1,000 at one of the Hyatt’s top properties, but an individual who is very close to reaching Globalist by completing 60 nights, may opt to stay away until his aspirational stay is within the 120-day window, and then come back to Hyatt to hit Globalist so that they can use the free night perk at their desired top tier location. 120 days is simply too limiting, and something Hyatt should consider changing.
The changes to the Hyatt program are interesting; like most changes, there will be winners and losers depending on your stay and spending patterns. It is clear from the changes that Hyatt has decided to focus their loyalty program on people who are not only more regular users of the company but also on big spenders who stay at high-end Hyatt properties. This is in line with most airlines and hotels loyalty programs today who are moving towards a revenue-based program, as opposed to a usage based one. How will the new program affect you? Are you going to be one of the World of Hyatt winners, or do you feel the new changes will affect you badly?
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