Hyatt Says They Aren’t Changing Their Suite Upgrade Benefit

Hyatt Gold Passport has my absolute favorite hotel benefit: Diamond members get to confirm a suite at booking 4 times per year (up to 7 nights at a time). Instead of hoping for an upgrade close to arrival or at the check-in counter, you throw down one of your trump cards and your base-level room reservation confirms into a suite, provided that the hotel has base-level suites for sale.

These upgrades expire at the end of February following the year in which they were issued. If you are a Hyatt Diamond and you have some of your suite upgrades left, start thinking about where you might use them.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Here’s the key: you do not have to actually stay by the end of February, you just need to apply these suite upgrades prior to expiration. They can be for any stay into the future where a suite can be confirmed. (If you cancel the reservation after the suite upgrades have expired, you’ll lose the suite upgrades.)

Traveling For Miles reported on an exchange with Gold Passport Customer Service suggesting that the policy on expiring Diamond Suite Upgrades would be changing.

While the 2015 DSUs (due to expire at the end of February 2016) will still be valid on reservations booked before the expiration date for stays after the expiration date, this will not be the case in the future.

He further explains that suite upgrades issued in 2016 will have to be used by their expiration date (February 2017) and that members “would be given a lot of notice” although it wasn’t clear when an announcement would be forthcoming.

I checked in with Hyatt about the accuracy of this information, knowing of course that individual customer services agents don’t always have the best information and in their eagerness to help sometimes steer members the wrong way.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

In the meantime Traveling for Miles pointed me to a Flyertalk thread that was started. Hyatt replied there,

At this time, there are no changes to the Diamond Suite Upgrade policy. We are always evaluating the Hyatt Gold Passport program and benefits, and any changes would be communicated to members well in advance.

This seemed less than definitive — at this time there are no changes hardly seemed the same as saying “we aren’t changing how expiring Diamond Suite Upgrades can be used in 2016.”

I was told something that sounded a little more definitive though: “we aren’t planning any changes to the Diamond Suite Upgrade policy.”

View from my Deck at the Park Hyatt Dubai

Naturally all of the usual caveats apply, since they won’t want to make promises that limit their flexibility. So I was also told “We evaluate the Hyatt Gold Passport program annually, and we would of course communicate any program/benefit changes to members well in advance.”

They seem to be suggesting that 2016 Diamond Suite Upgrades will continue to have the same rules that members have become used to.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Shay peleg – I predicted big changes coming to the AA program, but that we’d have notice and that they wouldn’t come for 2016. AA is going to revenue-based mileage-earning sometime in late 2016, though some at AA think it could be early 2017. That prediction bore out. I expected big changes to the AA award chart, though, and I even published my predicted new chart.

    I didn’t see American announcing 4 Systemwides rather than 8 as the base earning for the 2016 elite year. But at a macro level I think my AA predictions have been much closer to right than wrong?

    And in any case all I am doing here is sharing Hyatt’s much more explicit statement on the matter than had been given elsewhere.

  2. I spoke to customer service at Hyatt last week and was told the exact same, that Diamond suite upgrades would expire and not be allowed to be used after February 2017. That was calling the diamond line

  3. I spoke to customer service via the diamond line at Hyatt last week and was told the exact same, that Diamond suite upgrades would expire and not be allowed to be used after February 2017.

  4. I was recently matched from SPG100 and got 4 certificates to use, but they expire in Feb 2016. I called asking theycmkve the expiration to Feb 2017 and was told they have to be USED, not applied, by Feb 2016. Given it is December, that makes them pretty much useless except for random business travel in the next 60 days.

    I emailed Hyatt to see if I get a different answer.

    Gary can you get clarification on both the match expiration and the use vs. Apply by issues we all seem to be hearing contrary to what their officials told you?

  5. @jed –

    1) the 4 suite upgrades you were given need to be applied by february 2016
    2) you will get 4 more with february 2017 expiration next year
    3) your status will expire february 2017

  6. Gary, thanks.

    Re the 4 more upgrades you mentioned they will give in 2016 with 2017 expiration- are the next 4 upgrades automatically delivered or do they have to be earned with 2016 stays/diamond requal?

  7. I just got my 4 upgrade certs as part of my Diamond match. Can I use these in conjunction with an award stay or does it have to be a paid stay?

  8. @Jed said: “I was recently matched from SPG100 and got 4 certificates to use, but they expire in Feb 2016. I called asking theycmkve the expiration to Feb 2017 and was told they have to be USED, not applied, by Feb 2016.”

    The above suggests to me that this may be yet another fallout from the latest botched Diamond status match by HGP — the most unstable hotel loyalty program, which travel bloggers inexplicably keep touting as the “best in the business.”

    The HGP program managers may have just realized the insanity of giving away to new members 4 DSUs that would be good to Feb 2016 and then immediately giving to the same new members, who have yet to prove their loyalty, 4 more DSUs that would be good to Feb 2017. If the current policy of allowing DSUs to be applied for stays beyond their expiration date remains in place, then these new members would essentially have 8 DSUs to use for 2016-2017, which would flood the system with upgrade requests [already may have], thereby negatively affecting the availability for HGP Diamonds who earned their status the hard way…

    The rumored change about limiting the period of validity of DSUs to their expiration date is, therefore, almost certainly true because it is being considered as a preventive measure to limit or undo the potential damage of giving away so many DSUs.

    If the past is any indication, I predict that DSUs — already the most restricted and restrictive elite suite upgrades in the business — will be changed to be valid only up their expiration date.

    This has definitely not been a good year to be a SPG or HGP loyalist… 😉

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