Hyatt Guest of Honor: Great In Theory, Not So Much In Practice

by Zoe

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.

First, 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 Hyatt Guest of Honor program and decrease its value.

Issue #1: Limits On Points Transfers 

hyatt guest of honor

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

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

Snail mail? Is that a joke?

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.

hyatt guest of honor

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.

The Upshot

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.

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JBTx April 8, 2019 - 1:06 pm

Great article and much needed for sure. I love being a Globalist and have been for 5+ years now but this is one place where they need to improve execution. Let me guess – that Park Hyatt was in Paris!

Stephen April 8, 2019 - 1:08 pm

Spot on.

Nelson Hulbert April 8, 2019 - 8:58 pm

I never comment on anything like so this is out of character.

That said – this is the worst article on one of the best perks of being a Globalist on record.

Hyatt routinely allows me to gift it on paid stays, stays where I am not even present, and absolutely crushes it with good will.

Example was my friends at Hyatt Centric in SOBeach. They allowed me to use my 48 hr guarantee AND use points plus cash and still honored the guest of honor.

My guess is this clown never was a Globalist to begin with. I have 7 hotel top statuses and Hyatt dominates x 10.

Awful article

Chris Dong April 8, 2019 - 9:27 pm

Glad to hear you’ve had only good experiences. But if having an issue using an advertised perk of a loyalty program makes you a “clown,” there’s a ton of us clowns out there.

And if you actually read the article, you can see the proof in the pudding with screenshots.

CZ April 9, 2019 - 12:39 pm

Mr Hulbert…If you have to lead with ” I never comment on anything like this…” then you probably comment all the time. Also, just because you have had only good experiences doesn’t mean other people haven’t. The problem with this and a few other Globalist perks is the inconsistency. Take concierges for example. I’ve read about many people who have really fantastic Concierges who bend over backward to make things happen. However, in my experience mine pretty much does nothing more than a phone agent or twitter agent. If Hyatt can do more to standardize these benefits, and give all Globalists the experiences you say you have had, then this would be a really strong perk.

Mike October 17, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Lets be honest here, transferring points from someone else into a Globalist account so the Globalist can book the GOH stay is not in the spirit of the benefit. If they allowed instantaneous unlimited transfers, one Globalist can extend his perks to unlimited “guests”. That is not only unreasonable, it also dilutes the benefits to other Globalists. I think the system as it is now is fine. With rampant fraud in the miles game, I personally think the Hyatt system is OK. The form, and the few days transfer time is fine with me. Again, let me restate, the GOH program is meant for bookings with points FROM THE GLOBALIST’S ACCOUNT. Hyatt could easily enforce that and restrict bookings with transferred points.

tjp74 October 17, 2019 - 2:51 pm

I don’t think Globalists booking guest of honor using points transferred from that guess is what the program was intended for. I for one booked a guest of honor using points transferred from my friend for them. But I also booked a guest of honor using my own points for my dad because I wanted to treat him. I think that’s what the program was originally intended for. I bet their logic is, “It’s your point, you will get the benefit anyway, so we are letting you transfer that to someone else when redeeming your own point.” Hyatt even letting you transfer points and letting you book these bookings behalf of them, I consider that to be a loophole. I think Hyatt knows it but instead of stopping it, just letting it go but makes it little harder so that there is no globalists opening selling the benefit on ebay without any restriction. Same reason they don’t let you share the benefit on cash booking. I believe if they make the point transfer seamless and unlimited, guest of honor program will quickly die.

So to me, Issue #1 through 4 are not an issue of Guest of Honor program it self. If they fix those issues, I expect them to limit the GofH booking to your own points only.

Having said that, issue #5 and #6 have valid points.

Tri N October 17, 2019 - 3:00 pm

Allowing a friend/acquaintance/random third party to transfer you points and then using your account and Globailist status to book for said person sounds like a huge loophole (or hack). I’m not particularly sympathetic in this situation. Yeah I get it, its within the rules! But your article is tying together two different issues. (1) transferring points is a pain (likely intentional) because its generous since they dont require immediate family members or household address and (2) not accommodating GoH benefits. IMHO.

Ron Loborec October 20, 2022 - 10:17 pm

100%. Bad execution, only good in theory – its pure marketing wash. Love being a globalist and all this could easily be improved with a good IT platform. Too bad


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