World of Hyatt: Primer on Hyatt’s New Loyalty Program and Transition Process

Yesterday I wrote about Hyatt launching a brand new loyalty program, called “World of Hyatt.” Full, confirmed details of the program are now available and Hyatt has set up a dedicated website about the transition. I wanted to take a deeper dive into the program, now that we have most of the information through the official channel.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

To sum things up though, the changes are a net positive to people who stay many nights with Hyatt, but will likely be a net negative for everyone else. This is the trend we have seen with many loyalty programs over the past few years. The Stephen Covey quote, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior,” is ringing true. Companies now prefer to measure loyalty by revenue, instead of how much effort a customer may have invested to stay loyal.

Qualifying For Status

Previously, you qualified for Hyatt status by number of nights or number of stays. Under World of Hyatt, you will be able to qualify for status in three ways.

Discoverist Explorist Globalist
10 Nights
or
25,000 Base Points
($10,000)
or
3 Meetings
30 Nights
or
50,000 Base Points
($50,000)
or
10 Meetings
60 Nights (55 to Re-qualify)
or
100,000 Base Points
($20,000)
or
20 Meetings

Most notably, you can now qualify by base points, which reflect your spending at Hyatt properties. You earn 5 base points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties, including spa and dining services. However, at the high end, you would have to spend $20,000 with Hyatt annually. That is a ton of spending; even if you spend $500 per night, you will still need to stay 40 nights per year. Of course, you could also not stay a single night at Hyatt and spend $20,000 on spa and dining at Hyatt hotels. 

On the other hand, you will no longer be able to qualify by number of stays. This will hurt people who may only do 1 – 2 nights at each location, and frankly a lot of folks in the miles and points game. But Hyatt has clearly done the math on their customer’s spending habits and have decided that they don’t care about awarding those customers top tier status anymore.

World of Hyatt: Elite Statuses and Earnings

World of Hyatt will have three different elite status tiers. By the number of nights, it’s easier to qualify for the lowest tier, but harder to qualify for the highest tier, compared to Gold Passport.

All elite members will get a free bottle of water daily, a dedicated check-in area, and a dedicated phone line. Here are the additional benefits.

Discoverist Explorist Globalist
Earning Bonus 10% 20% 30%
Lounge Access None 4 Per Year Yes
Room Upgrades “Preferred” Room Best Room, excluding Club Levels and Suites Best Room, including Standard Suites
Guaranteed Availability 72 Hours 48 Hours
Late Check-Out 2 PM 2 PM 4 PM
Matched MLife Status Gold Gold

The top-tier status, “Globalist,” will no doubt confer the best benefits. But it comes with a set of unique perks as well.

  • Club Lounge access, or free breakfast for 2 adults + 2 children
  • 4 Confirmed Suite Upgrades per year
  • Guest of Honor benefit
  • 2 United Club passes per year
  • A dedicated My Hyatt Concierge agent (not available if you qualify on meetings)
  • Free parking on award stays
  • Priority access to available rooms with early check-in
  • Earn 1 Confirmed Suite Upgrade or 10,000 Bonus points after staying 70, 80, 90, and 100 elite-qualifying nights

New Ways to Earn Free Nights

There are also new ways to earn free nights. For simplicity’s sake, these are basically available to everyone, but by meeting some of these requirements, you will earn status as well.

  • Stay at 5 Different Hyatt Brands after March 1, 2017, and you will earn a free night at any Category 1 – 4 Hotels. This free night certificate is valid for one year. You can earn up to 2 free nights by doing this.
  • Stay 30 Elite-Qualifying Nights or Earn 50,000 Base Points, and you will earn a free night at any Category 1 – 4 Hotel. This free night certificate is valid for 120 days.
  • Stay 60 Elite-Qualifying Nights or Earn 100,000 Base Points, and you will earn a free night at any Category 1 – 7 Hotel. This free night certificate is valid for 120 days.

The Transition

This is actually fairly simple and I think Hyatt is going about it in the fairest way possible. If your 2016 activity already qualified you for Diamond (valid until February 2018), you will get Globalist status. If your 2016 activity already qualified you for Platinum (valid until February 2018), you will get Discoverist status.

If your Diamond status is expiring February 2017, Hyatt will actually give you the mid-tier Explorist status as a soft landing. Hyatt will also award you status for 2017 – 2018 based on the World of Hyatt criteria, to your advantage. For example, if you stayed 30 nights and 15 stays, this would only give you Platinum status under Gold Passport. However, this actually fulfills the “Explorist” criteria, so you will get Explorist status for 2017 – 2018.

Finally, credit card holders will get the lowest Discoverist tier for having the card. However, Hyatt will bump you up to Explorist if you spend $50,000 on the card. This doesn’t come in the form of stay or night credits, so you won’t be able to qualify for Globalist by credit card spend.

The new changes will kick in on March 1, 2017. This means if you make 25 stays or 50 nights between January 1 and February 28, you will earn Diamond status and hence Globalist status. That’s a lot of stays though…

A Word About That Branding…

So…I don’t think I can finish without talking about the branding of World of Hyatt. Here is Hyatt’s introductory video to World of Hyatt.

I am not really sure where they are going with this branding. I think they are trying to be hip, or as many people have said, trying to appeal to millennials. (By the way, Millennials don’t call themselves millennials.) But arguably, the people who are most likely to qualify for status are people who travel for business (aka people who don’t stay at Hyatt in order to do the things in the videos). I think it would be really hard to travel purely on leisure and rack up 60 nights with just Hyatt.

And then there are the status tiers. The old system of gemstones and premium metals might be hackneyed, but at least they made sense. Honestly, I can’t keep straight whether Explorist or Discoverist is the higher tier. Do you explore first, and then discover something specific? Or do you discover something, and then go explore in more detail? Globalist is another head-scratcher to me, especially since Hyatt only has ~150 overseas properties. Maybe it’s Globalist within the World of Hyatt, and not within the real world? I don’t know, but I think it’ll be a bit funny to be greeted with “thanks for being a Globalist with Hyatt” at the Hyatt Place Lyndhurst.

I do give them props for thinking up something new, but it will at least take me some time to not cringe while saying “I’m a Globalist.” And I don’t think I will carry a card like this.

Rendering of an Explorist Card with World of Hyatt

Rendering of an Explorist Card with World of Hyatt

Conclusion…For Now

I have covered my initial reactions in an earlier post, and most of them still hold true. No doubt Hyatt is moving closer to a revenue-based system, since you won’t be able to qualify for top-tier status by credit card spend or by number of stays. The branding is head-scratching, but I can look past that and focus on the underlying benefits.

Even before the change, Hyatt Gold Passport was one of the better programs out there, at least for top tier members. With the new changes, their top tier status is even better than before, which is a good thing. Of course, this comes at the expense of “ditching” members who might not stay many nights with Hyatt, even though they make a huge effort to stay loyal.

I am excited about standard suites being available for Globalist upgrades, though I remain a bit skeptical about the execution. I am also happy that free parking on award stays will now be a guaranteed benefit, which will be especially useful in big cities. There are some negative changes, of course, like the elimination of the welcome amenity, or the 2,500 point bonus when a club lounge is closed. The breakfast amenity will now only be available to 2 adults and 2 children, instead of “4 registered guests in the room.”

With all the new benefits, I am actually a pretty happy camper, since I am able to stay 60 nights a year with Hyatt. But I also know that many people will be affected under the new rules, so I’m glad Hyatt is at least giving a soft landing to Diamonds who won’t even qualify for 2017.

What do you make of these changes?

Comments

  1. I think loyalties programs are not going in the right direction with such changes.
    I was before gold for HH and when they changed their rules I became silver. Before any night spent on an hotel was in a Hilton one and now that is so more difficult to reach the gold status (especially the number of stay) I choose often other hotels.
    Loyalties program are made to bring loyalty, a shame that Hyatt one will less reward people who are loyal. I think they are doing a mistake.
    Best

  2. In your first chart, under Explorist, you have $50,000. Looking at Discoverist and Globalist, it seems that should be $10,000. ??

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