Hyatt Introduces Milestone Rewards – The Winners & Losers + Sortable Chart with All Changes

by Bill Shuman

This post was written in collaboration with Point Me to the Plane Writer Shelli. 

Throughout 2018, Hyatt has fed their loyalists many carrots through the rebranding of their World of Hyatt Credit Card, expanding their footprint over the globe (see St. Lucia, SLH, Two Road Hospitality) and by making changes based upon customer feedback. As the year comes to a close, Hyatt has announced yet another new program, Milestone Rewards. At first glance it would appear that giving more members another carrot, like Club Access, would be a surefire win. However, the ambiguous language and changes being made to the newly rebranded credit card are going to leave many feeling like they got a stick instead.

The new sleek World of Hyatt Credit Card offered by Chase.

Credit Card Holders = Big Losers

Just half a year ago Hyatt made a big splash with the announcement of their newly rebranded World of Hyatt Credit Card. One of the biggest changes was the fact that cardholders are now able to earn unlimited nights toward elite status. With no limit on the number of nights, this means a cardholder can earn Globalist status without ever having spent a night in a Hyatt hotel. Apparently Hyatt is regretting that decision. In 2019 nothing will change, but as of 2020 you will no longer be able to earn Club Access through credit card spending!

For cardholders this change, thrown into the middle of a promotion with the word “Rewards” in its title, feels like a punch in the gut.  From one perspective, it is understandable that Hyatt would not want to reward people who are not spending nights in their hotels. This then begs the question, “Why rebrand the credit card to include that benefit and then remove it a few months later?” From another perspective, there are multiple ways to display brand loyalty and putting spending on your hotel credit card is one of those ways.

Consumers have a plethora of choices on where to put their credit card spending. Prior to the rebranding, the only time it made sense to put spending on the Hyatt card was at Hyatt hotels, or if some bonus was being offered. After the rebranding, Hyatt credit card holders were given a reason to put spending on their card. This is especially true for individuals who spend nights at Hyatt properties, but not enough to earn Explorist or Globalists levels. Gaining the ability to supplement  stays with spending was a win for everybody.

Is Club Access Important To You? How About Suite Upgrades?

The second big focus of the Milestone Rewards program is on Hyatt Club Lounge access. There’s good news for some, but not across the board for all members.

Club Access Winners

If you base your stays on free breakfast and the potential to be upgraded to suites, getting club access sooner, even if only a few times a year, is a plus. However, we don’t know yet how many nights Club Access awards are good for. Will they be good for an entire stay, a set number of nights, or just one night? These points remain un-clear and we’ve reached out to Hyatt for answers.  Once we have them, we’ll share via a follow-up post.

Hyatt’s language is also confusing regarding what club access offers in terms of food. Hyatt hotel club access has always meant FULL access to everything in the club (besides locations with cash bars), and this too could be changing with these announcements. The term “continental breakfast” used by Hyatt in its Milestone Rewards program announcement begs for definition. Again, waiting on Hyatt to clarify.

Qualifying Nights Needed For Lounge Club Access And Suite Awards

Status TierActivityMilestone RewardWinner, Loser, or Same
Any TierStay at 5 different Hyatt brands and pay an eligible rateFree night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort, Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel, or M life Rewards destination (valid for 1 year from issuance)Same
DiscoveristStay 20 qualifying nights or earn 35,000 Base Points in a calendar year

2 Club lounge access awards for use at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts at the time of reservation. Access includes continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms).Winner
ExploristStay 30 qualifying nights or earn 50,000 Base Points in a calendar year

Free night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort or Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel (valid for 180 days from issuance)Same
ExploristStay 30 qualifying nights or earn 50,000 Base Points in a calendar year

2 Club lounge access awards for use at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts at the time of reservation. Access includes continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms).

Same
ExploristStay 40 qualifying nights or earn 65,000 Base Points in a calendar year

Your choice of 5,000 Bonus Points, a $100 Hyatt gift card or save 10,000 points on a FIND experience. Winner
ExploristStay 50 qualifying nights or earn 80,000 Base Points in a calendar year

2 suite upgrade awards to use at the time of reservation at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts Winner
GlobalistStay 60 qualifying nights or earn 100,000 Base Points or hold 20 qualifying meetings/events in a calendar year

Re-qualify for Globalist statusLoser
GlobalistStay 60 qualifying nights or earn 100,000 Base Points in a calendar year

Free night award in a Category 1-7 Hyatt hotel or resort or Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel (valid for 180 days from issuance)

Same
GlobalistStay 60 qualifying nights or earn 100,000 Base Points in a calendar year2 suite upgrade awards to use at the time of reservation at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts Same
GlobalistStay 70 qualifying nights in a calendar year

Your choice of either 10,000 Bonus Points or a suite upgrade award (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms)

Same
GlobalistStay 80 qualifying nights in a calendar year

Your choice of either 10,000 Bonus Points or a suite upgrade award (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms)

Same
GlobalistStay 90 qualifying nights in a calendar year

Your choice of either 10,000 Bonus Points or a suite upgrade award (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms)

Same
GlobalistStay 100 qualifying nights in a calendar year

Your choice of either 10,000 Bonus Points or a suite upgrade award (subject to expiration; see new Program Terms)

Same

Final Thoughts

World of Hyatt’s year has been a giving and taking one. Depending on what kind of allegiance and relationship you have with Hyatt, you might come out a winner, a loser, or maybe you’re still trying to decide if you got the carrot or the stick. Hyatt has expanded its footprint, offered up a new and exciting credit card, and added club lounge access for some of its members. However, Hyatt also gutted the points and cash payment option, watered down its credit card by taking away the best benefit, and given its Globalist elites nothing much while adding a five night requirement to re-qualify for status. What do you make of these changes?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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2 comments

Jennifer December 18, 2018 - 11:06 pm

I wasn’t sure what had changed with the credit card that led you to say, “as of 2020 you will no longer be able to earn Club Access through credit card spending!”? Can you elaborate?

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