A unique feature of the World of Hyatt loyalty program is its Guest of Honor program, whereby a top-tier Globalist can use points to book an award for someone else. Unfortunately, however, the Guest of Honor program is plagued with logistical problems that can make some bookings a complete nightmare.
What Exactly Is Hyatt Guest of Honor?
By using points to book a stay, a Hyatt Globalist member can “guest” their status to another individual — even someone who doesn’t have any status. That “guest” is then entitled to receive Globalist in-hotel benefits such as 4PM late check out, complimentary space-available suite upgrades, and club lounge access. This can be a really valuable benefit, and is notably one that other hotel loyalty programs don’t offer. A perk like Guest of Honor can go quite far in generating goodwill from elites and exposure to new potential customers for Hyatt.
However, there are numerous issues that plague the Guest of Honor program and decrease its value.
Issue #1: Limits On Points Transfers
To be eligible for Guest of Honor (GoH) benefits, a stay has to be booked with points from the Globalist member’s account.
To be sure, gifting friends and family free hotel nights is something that people more generous than myself do. However, I’d imagine that a good proportion of GoH stays are booked with points transferred to Globalists by those who will be actually staying. While World of Hyatt generously allows points transfers between any two people (no requirement for same address or family relationship), this ability is severely limited by Hyatt’s restriction stipulating that points can only be received/transferred out of a single account once every 30 days.
For those Globalists who make a few GoH bookings every few months (not an unreasonable number I would argue), this limitation makes things difficult. While I’m not necessarily advocating for unlimited points transfers, I think a more reasonable limit on the order of, say, 3-5 points transfers per month would be much more conducive to facilitating GoH bookings for friends and family.
Issue #2: Inefficient Points Transfer Process
Not only does World of Hyatt limit points transfers, the program has made the actual process of transferring points incredibly difficult.
To process points transfers, a physical form must be filled out, signed by both the person transferring the points and the person receiving the points, and then emailed or physically mailed to World of Hyatt. Yes, snail mail is an option.
No other program that I can think of requires something this tedious. Presumably two people who are transferring points to each other don’t necessarily live in close proximity to each other, so this adds an extra hiccup to the transfer process.
Issue #3: Points Transfer Form Submission Issues
Not only are points transfers limited, my personal experience — along with anecdotes from a number of friends and colleagues — demonstrate that the actual transfer process can be difficult as well. For instance, while the actual blank transfer form file is larger than 1 MB, Hyatt is evidently unable to accept files larger than 1 MB. How does that make sense?
Rather than being a fluke or just a single agent having problems, this issue has occurred for me on more than one occasion. After compressing the file size down to <1 MB, I have subsequently received emails stating that the (typed) text on the resized form is not visible.
Unlike with the 1 MB limit, this particular issue seems to be sporadic, and though I use the same method to compress files each time, some agents are able to view the text while others are not.
Issue #4: Points Transfer Delay
After jumping through hoops to get the actual points transfer request processed, additional issues persist. In my experience, the processing time of requests takes at least one day, sometimes up to three. With award night availability changing dynamically, award space can easily disappear in the span of a few days, and I have personally run into this problem multiple times.
Issue #5: Inconsistent Ability To Book Stays
The headache isn’t necessarily over even after points are transferred. Hyatt is incredibly inconsistent when it actually comes to booking Guest of Honor stays as well. While some Twitter agents in the past have been able to easily book GoH stays, others have denied ever being able to.
Issue #6: Hotels Don’t Always Honor Benefits
The problems don’t end after successfully booking a reservation either. In multiple instances, friends for whom I have booked GoH stays have reported that some properties were either completely unaware of the program or, despite being aware, chose to not honor any of the benefits promised by the program.
One notable example included a friend staying at a Park Hyatt in Europe on a GoH award who was assigned only a low-floor base room with a view overlooking a dumpster in an alleyway, despite the hotel having plenty of other room availability. After pressing the front desk, he was simply told there was nothing they could do. Surely this isn’t what the Guest of Honor program was intended to be in practice.
Hyatt offers something potentially very valuable and meaningful with its Guest of Honor program.
When successful, it can both engender further loyalty to Hyatt from the Globalist as well as making a great impression on the guest without status (what better way to get acquainted with Hyatt then being treated like a top-tier elite with a nice room, lounge access, and other perks?).
Yet the process of transferring points, booking a stay, and getting the entitled benefits honored can be so tedious as to make the program not even worthwhile. These issues need to be addressed before the Guest of Honor program becomes as rewarding as what Hyatt presumably intended when they created the program.