Getting Desperate: All Hyatt Credit Card Members Have Elite Fast Track Offer

Recently the head of one hotel loyalty program described the rollout of World of Hyatt as ‘a cautionary tale.’ It hasn’t been super popular with elite members. Now there’s a new reason to think Hyatt’s elite numbers aren’t what they’d hoped.

Fewer Elites Was the Goal

Hyatt changed their top tier elite qualification to require 60 nights (up from 50) and eliminate stays as a way of earning status.

Gone are the members who stayed 25 nights to become a top tier. And gone are some customers who hit 50 nights but won’t hit 60.

That’s fine as far as it goes, a program determines who it wants to consider a valuable customer. And though I lament the loss of check-in amenity points, and don’t think short-expiring free nights make up for it, removing the cap on upgrades without using a confirmed suite upgrade is a(n inconsistely applied) benefit. And I think that offering a dedicated agent, akin to a Starwood Ambassador, after 60 nights is a killer app.

Those who continue to earn top tier status, though a smaller pool, on net should benefit. I’m in that camp.

Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Likely Fewer Top Tier Elites As a Result of Credit Card Changes

The Hyatt Credit Card no longer helps cardmembers earn top tier elite status. There’s no more elite night credit with spend. Instead cardmembers receive Discoverist status good for 2 p.m. late checkout and upgrades which are supposed to be the best room in category reserved (higher floor, better view).

Discoverist also matches to MGM M life Rewards Pearl status. That’s good for free self parking and buffet line passes as well when staying at properties like Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Each year you spend $50,000 on the card you’ll earn Explorist status through the following year, good for best available room excluding club rooms and suites and 4 club lounge upgrades per year — plus it matches to MGM M life Rewards Gold status which gets you VIP check-in, a big deal at monster casino hotels.

at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Of course this means there’s no benefit to Hyatt’s top tier elites spending money on the card. It doesn’t help earn top status. Discoverist and Explorist are useless to them (I suggested to Chase, at least let a Globalist gift the Explorist status they earn from spend).

Hyatt is Uncompetitive Below Top Tier

Hyatt’s “Explorist” level earned at 30 nights offers 4 club upgrades per year. Second-tier elites at Marriott and Hilton get club lounge or breakfast on every stay.

What’s more it’s harder to concentrate nights with Hyatt than it is with Marriott or Hilton, given a footprint about 1/7th the size of their competitors. You have to go out of your way to stick with Hyatt in a way you don’t with other programs.

Hyatt simultaneously downgraded many of their top tier members and gave them a level that isn’t as good as mid-tier at other brands. That meant many unhappy customers.

Hyatt Is Offering Elites a Way Back In, Sort Of

All Hyatt credit card members are eligible for elite status fast track (registration required).

Between September 1 and December 31 stay 10 nights to earn Explorist status or 20 nights to earn Globalist, valid through February 2019.

I think Hyatt’s Globalist is the best mainstream top tier hotel elite status if Hyatt’s full service footprint works for you. Although I also think there are too many Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties where status doesn’t get you much.

If you’re a Hyatt credit card customer this is worth considering.

Beware Status Earned For Less Than 60 Nights

The status fast track offer is great, but there’s often confusion about Hyatt’s Globalist benefits and benefits that are separately earned for staying 60 nights at Hyatt properties.

You actually have to qualify for Globalist status based on nights — and not a promotion — in order to receive four confirmed suite upgrades.

And you have to hit 60 nights to receive the free category 1 through 7 award night and a My Hyatt Concierge. Globalists who earn their status via fast track won’t receive either.

Just know going in that the Globalist status you receive, while great, isn’t the ‘full experience’.

World of Hyatt Performance Hurting?

Hyatt claimed their new program is doing great because more members are signing up than last year and members are spending more, too. I dispensed with that silliness. Enrollment is up because you need to be a member to take advantage of member discount rates. Room rates are up across the industry. And new base memberships tells you nothing about the program changes since only elite levels were changed.

Ultimately you do not run a mass elite status fast track campaign unless you either:

  1. Are trying to poach your competitors’ elites, and see those competitors as vulnerable, or

  2. Your own elite numbers are below projection.

Hyatt is running this promotion because they believe they need to run this promotion. What they need is to create a reason for customers to spend money on their co-brand credit card, making elite status earning a meaningful part of the equation, and to offer a mid-tier status level that competes effectively with their larger peers.

Ultimately as a customer that hit 50 nights two months ago and won’t have difficulty hitting the new higher 60 night threshold, the idea of such a broad-based promotion to ‘mint’ Globalists doesn’t sit well. I understand targeted elite status matches and challenges as a competitive tool, but this seems a little much as someone who is foolish enough to ‘earn it the hard way’.

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. I agree with you 100%. I plan on hitting 60 nights by December the hard way and this really annoys me. I will write my hyatt rep, but they won’t care as it’s mgmt decision. Poor value for those members who have gone out of their way to requal.

  2. This will take away valuable suites from Globalists who tried to earn it the hard way. I was waiting for faux-balists to fall off the books and was hoping then and only then would properties take the suite upgrade benefit seriously (they surely haven’t been until now). But now this will never happen.

  3. I would suggest there’s a third reason that was alluded to:

    3. There has been a signicicant drop in the return from the Hyatt credit card.

    What they need is to create a reason for customers to spend money on their co-brand credit card, making elite status earning a meaningful part of the equation, and to offer a mid-tier status level that competes effectively with their larger peers.”

  4. Man, a far cry from FFNs. Two $39 Hyatt Lisle stays, each with $25 Costco code F&B credit, earning a free Park Hyatt night.

    I miss economic downturns.

  5. Gary, I don’t have the Chase Hyatt card, but it seems among the many negative effects of the World of Hyatt changes, one of the most significant would be removing all incentive to use the Chase Hyatt card ($50,000 annual spend for Hyatt mid tear status doesn’t seem like something that anyone would ever try for). If Elites are dropping out anyway and there is no incremental nights gained for using the Hyatt Chase card, this seems like a one, two punch that would really drop consumer spend on the Chase card. This promotion appears to be geared towards increasing use of the Chase Hyatt card. I would love to know how much more the average spend is on the Chase Marriott card vs the Hyatt card and also how much Chase Hyatt card spend has dropped since World of Hyatt debuted.

  6. Anyone know if MGM nights would count under this promotion? They are tier-qualifying , but not specifically at ‘participating Hyatt property’

  7. I suspect we don’t have to wait too long for an economic downturn, given the outstanding leadership this country has at the moment. Myself and +1 received double qualifying stays and nights with Starwood as a “targeted promo” so Hyatt may not be only one a bit soft on elite targets.

  8. @Gary – You should call out Hyatt in a separate article for having few/no benefits at House and, especially, Place properties. Just getting something off the 24 hour menu or a drink would be nice, but nope.

    Ironically, like with 4P, the Place properties internationally are defining a much higher standard than even the “flagship” domestic properties (Hyatt Place ORD comes to mind).

  9. Well, I was a Hyatt Diamond last year and very happy. This year I put my money where my mouth is and have not stayed one single night with Hyatt. I still have the Hyatt card and a few points but I see no reason to have the card now and may cancel it.

    I know there was a lot of huff and puff when it was announced, but I followed through for sure. Working with Marriott and Hilton now and have been actually surprised with my happiness there. Would have never seriously tried them before all this as I was happy with IHG and Hyatt for the most part.

  10. I laugh at this because my company dropped Hyatt because of employee complaints about World of Hyatt. My loss because our rates were about 35-40% less than the BAR. I frequently used my corp rates as Hyatt always made rooms available to us, even when the hotel showed sold out. Some are upset at not having Hyatt anymore, but the most frequent users (high level execs), found other properties they liked better. Probably at a lower cost, because even with our rates, Hyatt prices were the highest.

    I’m sure other companies dropped Hyatt for the same reason. Makes me look at WOH as a program that is in a state of flux. Too many changes were made in the recipe and unintended consequences occurred.

  11. @gary “What they need is to create a reason for customers to spend money on their co-brand credit card, making elite status earning a meaningful part of the equation, and to offer a mid-tier status level that competes effectively with their larger peers.”

    “how does this incentivize spending money on the card?”

    It should perhaps make some without the card get it (as I can see nothing preventing new holders from registering). For those who hold the card and would stay extra due to this promotion, the additional 3 bonus points per $1 at Hyatts is a reasonable incentive.

  12. I once had a year comped at Hyatt’s highest level, and I recall a nice stay in Sydney with those perks, but I’ve never understand the allure of this program. How the heck do you get to 60 nights a year? To do that with any hotel chain would seem extremely difficult, but Hyatt’s footprint is so small that it would seem nearly impossible. You’d have to be the kind of person who has a job which requires staying in lots of downtown locations on somebody else’s dime. The sacrifices in convenience (and probably expense) would be extraordinary, as I find it hard to believe a Hyatt would be the best place to stay for all of those 60 nights.

    Honestly, the best thing about Hyatt’s loyalty program is their partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards and that award stays are well priced in Chase points. Get a Chase Hyatt card to give you the marginal benefits of Discoverist status, and then redeem your UR points when you need stays. Many of the Place and House properties are only 5000 or 8000 UR points, and some nice resorts and big city properties are 15,000 points or less. It’s hard for me to imagine how exerting more effort and money with Hyatt could possibly be worth it for 99% of travellers.

  13. I didn’t see anything in the terms stating that this would be a suite-less and certificate-less Globalist status. Is it in there?

    Also, If I check in 8/31 for 5 nights, will I get 4 nights towards this promo or zero?

  14. @Eric:

    I think you are good to go for all 5 nights.

    From the Terms:
    To earn credit towards this offer, member must check out of a reservation during the Qualification Period. If member checks into a reservation during the Qualification Period, but does not check out until after the Qualification Period has ended, (s)he will not earn credit towards this offer for any nights stayed as part of that reservation. Stays completed by member prior to the start of the Qualification Period will not count towards this offer (even if any night stayed otherwise qualifies as a “Tier-Qualifying Night” for purposes of the World of Hyatt program.)

  15. I was a Diamond based on stays, I only travel 4 or 5 weeks a year and there was a Hyatt House and Place very near my office, which made it great to switch every night and get the (meager for these properties but still a bonus) welcome points. Well, those days are gone and now I stay wherever is cheapest. Hyatt may have thought they were doing a good thing dropping the stay req for Diamond but all they did was lose my business…again, not much business but I doubt they’d cheer knowing I was in a Marriott or Hilton instead of a Hyatt…

  16. While you and Hyatt properly focus on status for regular Hyatt guests, the situation for casual holders of the Chase Hyatt credit card has also deteriorated. That annual free night a cardholder earns each year for the $75 fee is worth much less than a few years ago due to category creep. There is now not a single Hyatt property in Manhattan with a category rating of 4 or less. No free night in Manhattan. Same for central London.

    Are there some nominal savings to be had with the card’s fee night? Yeah, but holding another card for such small pickings is something I may not do much longer.

  17. There were two Hyatts that I liked staying at regularly and was considering moving other hotel stays to less convenient Hyatt locations…until the WOH revision. Getting to the highest tier is hard enough with the limited property footprint, but worse are the time limited rewards. I’m now happily (for now) as an SPG platinum.

  18. Let’s be real here. Jeff trashed the program and is now gone. After Marriott ate SPG for breakfast I was ready to stay my 30+ nights a year on the road all with Hyatt until they destroyed the program. Now, I am 100% a hotel free agent. Maybe they will learn but doubt it.

  19. All together now. Twenty Hyatt stays and what do you get? Four months older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don’t you call me to your hotel. I owe my soul to Jeff Zidell.

    Globalist Lite can take a long walk off a short pier. I bet 60 (not 55) nights is required to requalify.

  20. Is there a way to determine how many people have globalist status? I am about to hit 60 nights for the year with Hyatt as well

  21. The Photo of the Club Lounge at the Kuala Lumpur – Club Lounge is actually incorrect . This photo is of their Restaurant -38.

  22. Hyatt lost me with the new WOH program. The abysmal Reddit AMA was the end for me. Trying to turn this into a lifestyle brand was a mistake.

    Now I am a Marriott and Hilton guy.

    So you get the status w/o the perks???? What is the point?

    No benefit at HH or HP, now I only use Hyatt at San Francisco and Vancouver as they are close to work and on top of train stations to airport.

    Incredibly, I may qualify for this w/o trying but it won’t help. WOH is dead to me.

  23. Like most people, I shifted my stays from Hyatt when they made the change. I pay for my own stays between miles and points and cash so having to go from 25 stays to 60 was just too much for me. I figured they would need to do something to keep the program working. So I guess this does not come as a surprise to me.

  24. Not interested. As I told Chase customer services, I have dumped Hyatt and am concentrating on SPG 50 nights.

  25. Also curious with @NiceSharkey above if MGM stays would count for toward the 20 nights for this promo. I read the Terms, but didn’t mention MGM. Anyone know…?

  26. @George,
    These people *will* compete for limited suites, because as Globalists they will get suite upgrades without the certificates.

  27. Question: As a Globalist w/ cc, do you think if I sign up for promo I am locked in to lower tier Globalist (minus free night/personal agent) even if I eventually hit 60 night threshold? Im thinking akin to the lower level top elites w/ IHG and SPG? Thanks.

  28. Hyatt reminds me why I love SPG!

    Free club access with the Amex SPG business card and free stays count towards next level.

  29. For years our 4-annual DSUs have expired without useage because we can never find availability according to Hyatt. So, no big loss there …

    Quick question: where can you get the best rates for Vegas properties, MLife or Hyatt website?

  30. @kalboz. After matching status to mlife, I find the rates are lower on using mlife tier discount. But Amex FHR offers some compelling value-added options as well

  31. @Rene – you might be surprised, but SPG is the exact same as it was a couple years ago pre-merger (and likely to not change for another year-plus either)…now best in class w/all the WOH downgrades

  32. I dropped the Chase Hyatt Visa in July when they wouldn’t comp the annual fee. There was no value left in this card under WOH. Would have kept it with no annual fee. Chase offer me 50% rebate on the annual fee but even that didn’t make it worthwhile. I was a Hyatt Diamond for 10 years but don’t travel much on business now. I’m a free agent now and make an effort not to stay at Hyatt since my many years of loyalty to them mean nothing now.

  33. great article. it’s a shame that they don’t offer a similar counter offer to those who have actually stayed with them. sounds like staying 0 nights with a active cc is more rewarding than staying 60 nights,

  34. Hey @Gary – I am considering a mattress run EOY 2017 to retain my Globalist status (I was Diamond in HGP). I made the mistake of diluting my stays this year due to some travel with colleagues who were staying at Marriott and Hilton properties and it is coming back to bite me.

    I’m 15 nights short and I could do the run for about a $1400 ALL IN. From that, I would have about 20,000 points (Globalist bonus plus Hyatt Visa plus the current double base points promo) so *maybe I could approach a “net cost” of about a grand out of pocket after points value.

    What are your thoughts? I’m close to pulling the trigger, but having a hard time convincing my +1 that this is worth it. The stays would be local near the house, so I could check in, ignore for the most part or use for some family outings. Seems like it would be worth it, as I can definitely make the 55 nights in subsequent years.

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