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