Hyatt Changes How Suite Upgrades Expire, Here’s How to Really Fix World of Hyatt

When Hyatt’s confirmed suite upgrades were introduced they were awarded at the beginning of an elite year, expired after 12 months, but could be applied to future reservations after their expiration date as long as they were confirmed prior to expiration.

Then when Hyatt implemented a new member database suite upgrades expired 12 months after being awarded without the ability to apply them to future reservations.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris

When Hyatt announced their World of Hyatt elite program changes I identified a rather perverse incentive they were creating on day one.

  • Suite upgrades were awarded to top tier elites when qualifying for status (instead of the start of the elite year)
  • They expired 12 months from being awarded
  • It can make sense to avoid staying at Hyatt and put off re-qualfying in order to have later-expiring upgrades to use for a big trip.

Splash Suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue Has – At Times – Been the Designated Suite for Upgrades

I was in exactly that position in the fall and slowed down my Hyatt stays.

Hyatt is fixing this. They’re extending the validity of the suite upgrade awards members already have through February 28 of the following year regardless of when you earn them. The same applies for the four club lounge access awards given to Explorists each year.

  • You earn them when you quality for status.
  • They expire at the end of the next member year (February 28) instead of 12 months from when they’re deposited into your account.
  • That rewards – rather than penalizes – qualifying earlier in the year and staying more with Hyatt.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Awards earned in 2018 will expire February 29, 2020. That holds true as well for additional suite upgrades selected after 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights.

They’re also changing how lifetime top tier elite member suite upgrades expire.

Upon achieving Lifetime Globalist status, members will receive four suite upgrade awards valid through the remainder of that year plus 14 months. Annually, Lifetime Globalists will receive four suite upgrade awards on or around March 1 valid for the remainder of that year plus 14 months. In addition, Lifetime Globalists who stay 60 qualifying nights or earn 100,000 Base Points in a calendar year will receive four additional suite upgrade awards that are valid for the remainder of the year they are earned plus 14 months.

Expiration dates on suite upgrade awards are supposed to be updated in member accounts today, though that hasn’t happened yet at least for my account (I did earn one suite upgrade award in January 2018.)

Over the last six months Hyatt has been fixing some of the pain points in their new program. At the end of 2018 they announced free night awards for achieving status would last 180 days instead of 120, and award nights would count towards status. They even counted award nights and free certificate nights towards status retroactively to 2017 stays for 2018 status.

Confirmed suite upgrades can still be improved so that they’re more usable and to prevent hotels from undermining the strong loyalty they engender.

  1. Hyatt should define what a suite is. A suite is more than one room. And a standard suite is the most common suite room type with more than one room. It shouldn’t be acceptable to say that only the couple of suites on the ground floor are standard.

  2. Hyatt should allow selection of room types up to the standard suite category. Starwood’s Suite Night Awards will let you pick the room types you’d be open to being upgraded into. That could include a room that’s smaller than a standard suite, but still desirable. For instance if no poolside suite of sadness is available at the Andaz Maui, allow suite upgrades to confirm into an ocean view room.

Park Hyatt Chennai

Beyond suite upgrades there’s a lot of work to be done on the Hyatt program still.

  • The level below top tier, Explorist, isn’t competitive with Gold at Hilton or Marriott. They currently offer 4 upgrades to club lounge per year, while Marriott and Hilton offer their mid-tier elites lounge or breakfast on most stays.

  • The credit card is great to get for the signup bonus and annual free night, but there’s no longer a reason to spend on the card. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards products earn points faster and transfer to Hyatt and the card no longer provides nights towards status for spend.

  • There’s no meaningful benefit for elites at limited-service properties, and Hyatt Place and Hyatt House represent half the chain’s portfolio. Without the check-in amenity all I get for my loyalty is a bottle of water.

Chase re-upped its Hyatt deal and told me they’re working on ways to improve the card. I’ve seen some surveys of possible ideas for how they might do so.

The biggest challenge Hyatt faces is its footprint, only 10% the number of properties that Marriott has. Their competitive advantage is their loyalty program. They need to continue to invest here so that guests have a strong reason to go out of their way to choose Hyatt properties even when their hotels are less convenient or more expensive.

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’m an Explorist . I have a Globalist friend that doesn’t use all his TSUs. He has offered to give one or more to me…but hyatt won’t allow. To me it’s a head scratcher.

    Gary, please use your Hyatt connections to share there is at least one person out there that thinks this would make their program much better.

  2. That’s great news! I was in exactly that situation with almost 4 suite upgrades that would expire at the end of June this year (I Took the extra for every 10 nights last year (through 100). When will this be implimented?

  3. Actually I just qualified for globalist again this year, so I see the new 4 TSU are until feb 2020 but the old ones are not updated, will they update the historical ones?

  4. Chase needs a top-tier, premium priced Hyatt card much like Hilton’s AmEx Aspire. And, no, it won’t flood the hotels with top tier elites simply because relatively few will pay the premium ($350-$450). But it would help bring in top-spending travelers who have reached the point in their lives/careers where they don’t want or need to spend 60 nights a year in a chain hotel.

  5. A: The card HAS to earn at least 4 points on Hyatt spend if they want people to actually use the card, otherwise there is reason to ever use the card.

    B: They have to keep the one “free” stay a night and any increase in the annual fee must be modest at best (unless it includes allowing the “free” stay to be in higher tiers.) if they want people to actually keep the card .

    Most people will argue that they need to improve their benefits for their mid-tier (and I agree), but the two points above are undeniable.

  6. Mid-tier or 25 stays used to be the sweet spot at Marriott, Hyatt, SPG but is now basically worthless. If hotels don’t want to incentivize me with even minimal perks then I will simply choose based on convenience or the best ROI for each stay. I can’t imagine why anyone would spend a dime on hotel credit cards anymore particularly with the massive deval on SPG amex everyday spend. Hopefully the banks will get the message…

  7. This is Behavioral Economics 101…awesome job originally creating a disincentive to complete your annual status early, forcing you to stay elsewhere. UA stupidly tried the same things w/SWUs at merger time…that didn’t last long.

  8. I’m an Explorist and also hold the credit card but I am seriously considering dropping the credit card. The free night from the credit card cannot be paired with the club upgrade cert for having Explorist status. So what’s the point of it? If the cert could be used on the free credit card night, then I would be interesting in maintaining the card but right now it feels like I have no status with Hyatt when using that credit card night.

    I will continue to maintain Explorist by matching with MGM but have no intention of staying in a Hyatt anytime soon until this status actually means something.

  9. I’m a globalist for several years. Under present conditions, I will probably switch to another hotel program after the next year because of the drastic changes in the program. I was once very enthusiastic about Hyatt. No more.

    Explorist seems a waste of time and it’s almost impossible for a person to stay 60 nights unless they hate where they live or travel incessantly. I couldn’t agree more that the lower level Hyatt’s offer nothing to the frequent traveller.

  10. Hmmm when they say 2018 awards do they mean the tsu’s that we earned in 2017 that are valid through 2018 that will get extended? Or do they mean 2018 tsu’s that we’ve earned this year 2018 are now extended? I have 4 tsu’s from end of Dec 2017 that will expire in Dec 2018. My expiration date didn’t change though… I’m assuming they only mean the tsu’s that were earned in 2018. Can you please clarify.

    I wish they would go back to how it was before where it was just redeem by expiration date instead and not use by. That was easier.

  11. Oops, Gary! “At the end of 2018 they announced. . .” You obviously mean 2017!

  12. Sorry Hyatt. You lost me WOH came into the world and that absolutely ridiculous AMA with Jeff

    I am a Hilton guy now.

  13. If Hyatt really want to build customer loyalty, the extra 10,000 point or one night suite upgrade should be be offerred for night stayed above 100. right now Hyatt only give 10,000 per addtional 10 night up to 100 night. it is a pity.
    or At least come up some additional incentive for folks stay more night

  14. Wondering about a strange situation I’m in: If I postpone choosing my 100N award (I just hit 100N today and have 90 days to choose) till late March 2019, will my SNA be valid till Feb 2021?

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