November 21, 2017

Navigating The World of Hyatt Loyalty Program in 2017

Grand Hyatt Dubai

Prior to 2017, the Hyatt loyalty program was known as the Hyatt Gold Passport program.  Starting in 2017, Hyatt renamed the program the World of Hyatt.  Unfortunately, Hyatt also made it more difficult to earn status in the new World of Hyatt loyalty program.  This article provides an overview of the new World of Hyatt program and provides a few shortcuts and tips for earning status in the new program.

The World of Hyatt represents the loyalty program for Hyatt hotels.  Hyatt currently has a portfolio of 13 hotel brands with 708 total properties around the world.  Hyatt’s loyalty program extends to the following properties:

  • Park Hyatt
  • Miraval
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt
  • Andaz
  • Hyatt Centric
  • The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt House
  • Hyatt Ziva
  • Hyatt Zilara
  • Hyatt Residence Club

Elite Status Levels

Hyatt offers 3 levels of elite status.  Everyone that signs up for the World of Hyatt loyalty program starts out as a member.  Basic members receive limited benefits.  More meaningful benefits start with at the Discoverist level.  The following chart highlights the major program benefits.

Hyatt elite status benefits.
Elite status benefits by each status level of the World of Hyatt loyalty program.

Requirements to Earn Status

Hyatt Status Requirements
Requirements to earn Hyatt status.

Globalist Status vs Explorist Status

As a globalist, you are entitled to the following benefits beyond Explorist status:

  • Complimentary room upgrades including suites if available.
  • 4 complimentary suite upgrade awards available on both paid and award nights.
  • 30% points earning bonus.
  • Resort fee waived (counts for all stays; not just waived for award night stays).
  • 4pm late checkout.
  • Club lounge access (guests will receive complimentary breakfast at hotel restaurant when no lounge is available).
  • Complimentary parking on award night stays.
  • Priority access to rooms when checking in early.
  • Two complimentary United Club passes.
  • Share hotel benefits when transferring an eligible award night to friends and family.

Earning these benefits requires you to stay 30 additional nights, earn 50,000 additional points, or hold 10 additional meetings or events beyond the Explorist requirements.

Hyatt provides members with worthwhile incentives for meeting Globalist status.  In particular, the 4 suite upgrades, complimentary room upgrades to suites, club lounge access, waived resort fees, and 4pm late checkout all represent great value.

Base Points

The downside is that earning Globalist status is really difficult due to the combination of Hyatt’s small footprint and high number of required nights or points needed to earn the top tier status.  The other challenge is in regards to Hyatt’s strict definition of “Base Points.”  Base points are defined as the 5 points per dollar earned on an Eligible hotel rate as well as charges incurred for Eligible Incidental Charges and Eligible Non-Stay Charges.

Bonus Points are not eligible towards Elite Status.  Bonus Points include:

  • Points provided by Hyatt customer service.
  • Points earned through the Hyatt Credit Card.
  • Points earned through Qualified Events
  • Points that are purchased or received by Transfer.
  • Earned through a promotional offer.

In other words, if you wanted to qualify for elite status based on points, you would have to spend the following amounts for each status level (divide base points by the 5 points per dollar spent):

  • Discoverist – $5,000
  • Explorist – $10,000
  • Globalist – $20,000

Shortcuts to Status

Credit Card

The Chase Hyatt credit card offers complimentary Discoverist status.  With $50,000 of annual credit card spend, you will be upgraded to Explorist status.  The Hyatt credit card carries an annual $75 fee, but includes one annual free night at a category 1 to 4 hotel.  The card earns 3 bonus points for each dollar spent at Hyatt and earns 2 bonus points per dollar spent at restaurants, airline tickets, and car rental agencies.

The $75 annual fee can be easily offset by the annual free night at a category 1 to 4 hotel.  By strategically using that free night at the most expensive category 4 hotels, you can get very good value for keeping the credit card open.

Spending $50,000 on the credit card just to earn Explorist status is not as good of a deal.  Unless you’re a small business owner or very high spender, putting that much spending on the Hyatt credit card just to earn Explorist status probably doesn’t make sense for most people.

Citi Prestige Credit Card

The Citi Prestige credit card offers a really unique 4th night free benefit.  Prior to July 2017, the credit card would reimburse the 4th night room fee in full for any hotel you stayed at four 4 nights in a row as long as you booked your stay through the Citi travel concierge.

Unfortunately, after July 2017, the benefit changed to cover the average rate over the 4 nights and no longer covers taxes.  Despite those changes, the benefit is still pretty significant and it can save you significant money if you regularly stay at hotels for four nights in a row.  The credit card has a pretty significant $450 annual fee, but it includes a $200 airline reimbursement and if you stay at hotels for four nights in a row, you should be able get good value from the 4th night free benefit.

Additionally, even though you book through the Citi travel concierge, these 4 night stays count towards elite status at whatever hotel you are staying at.  The hotel sees 4 nights of regular cash stays which you earn hotel points and status qualification for.  The 4th night free credit gets rebated to your credit card within two billing cycles.

Status Challenges

The best shortcuts to Hyatt status were requesting a status match or a status challenge.  In the past, Hyatt regularly offered status challenges towards Diamond (Hyatt top tier status was previously called Diamond prior to re-naming the award program World of Hyatt).

In early April 2017, Hyatt issued a small, targeted status challenge which offered a shortcut to Hyatt status if the member met any of the following requirements within 3 months:

  • Discoverist – stay 4 nights
  • Explorist – stay 10 nights
  • Globalist – stay 20 nights

Hyatt typically allows members to retain status earned with challenges for one full year following the year the status was earned.  In this case, Hyatt provided the earned status through February 2019.

The April 2017 status challenge was intended for a limited audience and disappeared quickly.  However, as Hyatt re-evaluates their program as well as changes in their membership’s behavior, I would expect Hyatt to offer periodic status challenges in the future.

Requesting a status challenge represents the most cost effective way to earn top tier status with Hyatt.  I previously held Diamond status with Hyatt and used it to stay in some really expensive suites like at the Hyatt Capital Gate, Park Hyatt New York, and Grand Hyatt Dubai.

Status Matches

It has been possible to request a status match to Hyatt using status with another competitor’s program.  However, since Hyatt converted to the World of Hyatt program, reports from Status Matcher indicated that Hyatt has denied these requests so far in 2017.  I would continue watching since it is likely Hyatt may change its posture based on how its new reward program performs over the next year.

Earning Points

When staying at Hyatt, members earn 5 points per dollar spent.  Hyatt defines these points as Base Points.  The majority of other points earned represent Bonus Points.  Bonus Points do not qualify towards elite status.  Some of the Bonus Points categories include:

  • Earn 500 points for Avis car rentals.
  • Host a qualifying meeting or event and earn 1 bonus point per dollar spent up to 50,000 bonus points.
  • Elite members earn bonuses based on tier levels starting at 10% for Discoverist and increasing to 30% for Globalist.
  • Hyatt frequently runs promotions to earn bonus points and posts these on its main web site.

Shortcut to Earning Points

The best way to earn Hyatt points quickly is through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.  Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer directly to Hyatt on a 1 to 1 basis.  Chase’s Ink Plus credit card earns a 5x multiple for each dollar spent on the credit card at office supply stores.

Staples and Office Depot qualify for the 5x multiple and both stores sell Visa and Mastercard gift cards up to $200 in store.  Staples also sells $300 giftcards online.  The $200 Visa and Mastercard giftcards carry a $6.95 fee and the Staple online $300 giftcards carry an $8.95 fee.

By purchasing visa and mastercard giftcards at Staples or Home Depot, you can earn 5x the amount of Hyatt points for each dollar spent compared with just 1 Hyatt point for every dollar spent on the Hyatt credit card.

Staples frequently runs promotions where a $300 in store giftcard purchase receives a $20 rebate.  So by purchasing $400 of giftcards and paying $13.90 in fees, you receive a $20 rebate either in the form of store credit or in the form of a visa or mastercard giftcard.  Office depot runs similar promotions, but not as frequently as Staples.

Unfortunately, points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt do not count towards elite status.

Redeeming Points

Hyatt allows points to be redeemed for free nights or as upgrades on existing paid nights.  The program offers a fair amount of flexibility in terms of room type as well as offering the ability to redeem points and cash.

Hyatt has 7 hotel categories.  Category 1 hotels require the least amount of points for a free night, while category 7 hotels require the most points.

Required Hyatt points for a free night.
Required Hyatt points for a free night by hotel category.

Redeeming a free night for a suite requires a minimum stay of 3 consecutive nights with each of those nights qualifying as a free night stay.  In other words, you would need a minimum of 24,000 Hyatt points to redeem a 3 night stay in a suite at a category 1 hotel.

Hyatt Points and Cash Redemption Cost
The required cost in points and cash for each hotel category.

When paying a standard room rate in cash, Hyatt allows you to upgrade the room using points.

Hyatt Points and Cash Room Upgrade
Cost in points for a room upgrade.

There are a small number of exclusions for suite upgrades using points.  Some of the excluded properties include:

  • Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
  • Park Hyatt Sydney
  • Andaz Tokyo
  • Hyatt Regency Phuket
  • Hyatt Regency Tulsa
  • Hyatt Regency Wichita
  • Hyatt Key West
  • Hyatt Manila City
  • Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara
  • Hyatt Paris Madeleine
  • Park Hyatt Maldives
  • Hyatt Residence Club Resorts
  • Hyatt Place hotels
  • M Life Resorts

Points can also be used for free nights at all-inclusive Zilara and Ziva resorts.  The redemption rates are as follows:

  • Standard room free nights range from 20,000 to 25,000 per night.
  • Suite free nights range from 32,000 to 40,000 per night.

Other Redemption Options

In addition to free nights and room upgrades, Hyatt points can be redeemed towards the following categories:

  • Dining and Spa credits
  • Airline miles
  • Free nights and upgrades at M Life properties

Dining and Spa credits don’t represent good value for your Hyatt points.  The redemption rates range from a $10 credit for 2,000 points (value of .5 cents per point) to a $1,000 credit for 120,000 points (value of .8 cents per point).

Hyatt allows you to transfer hotel points into airline miles at a rate of 5,000 Hyatt Points for 2,000 airline miles.  A select few of those airlines offer better redemption rates for 5,000 Hyatt points:

  • AeroMexico – 4,000 miles
  • Air China – 3,200 miles
  • China Eastern Airlines – 3,200 miles
  • Quantas – 2,400 miles
  • Southwest Airlines – 2,400 miles
  • Virgin – 3,000 miles

If you need a small amount of miles for a airline redemption, it could make sense to transfer those miles from Hyatt.  However, Starwood offers far better value for conversions to airline miles.  For 20,000 Starwood points, you receive 25,000 airline miles in most major airline mile programs.

If you converted this rate to match Hyatt, for every 5,000 Star points you would receive 6,250 airline miles compared to just 2,000 airline miles with Hyatt (Starwood requires you to transfer 20,000 star points at one time in order to earn the 5,000 mile bonus).

World of Hyatt and MLife Partnership

World of Hyatt offers reciprocal benefits at Mlife properties in Las Vegas.  That means if you stay at an M life property in Las Vegas, you earn the same 5 Base Points per dollar spent and qualify towards elite status.

The Mlife properties include:

  • The Mirage
  • Aria
  • Beau Rivage
  • Bellagio
  • Delano Las Vegas
  • Excalibur
  • Gold Strike
  • Luxor
  • Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Grand Detroit
  • MGM Grand
  • Monte Carlo
  • National Harbor
  • New York New York
  • The Signature
  • Vdara

You can use Hyatt points for free night redemptions at Mlife resorts, but you need to call Mlife to book with Hyatt points and it doesn’t frequently represent good value for your points.  However, Mlife properties can frequently be booked for very competitive rates if you book online using your Mlife login.  If you frequently stay in Las Vegas, you can use your stays at the less expensive Mlife properties towards your Hyatt status elite qualification.

I used the Mlife reciprocal benefits when I stayed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last year.

Purchasing Points

Hyatt allows you to purchase Hyatt points at a rate of 2.4 cents per point at increments of 1,000 points.  Purchasing Hyatt points at this rate really doesn’t represent very good value.  But it does give you a base line to try an exceed when redeeming your Hyatt points.  If your redemptions exceed 2.4 cents per point, you know your making good use of your Hyatt points.

 

About First Class Travel Guide 127 Articles
Travel enthusiast that spent years flying in the back of planes and staying at cheaper hotels in order to save a little money. After learning how to leverage airline and hotel loyalty programs, I've developed an interest in luxury travel and write about my experiences with it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*