This week I wrote about two significant challenges with the Hyatt Gold Passport program.
- Hotels not offering award nights even when standard rooms are available
- Hotels not offering confirmed suite upgrades on cash and points award stays, even though these aren’t supposed to be capacity controlled
I spoke with Jeff Zidell, Hyatt’s Senior Vice President for the Gold Passport program, about these issues.
He began by acknowledging the issue with awards at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, where the hotel was making standard rooms available only as part of ‘packages’ (such as with breakfast or parking included) and not at the Hyatt Daily Rate — and thus not for points stays.
This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work, Jeff had already researched this issue and reached out to the person responsible for revenue at the hotel. In fact, he reached that individual in Dubai at 11pm local time there. He was committed to getting things fixed right away.
I noted that there have been several other hotels where similar issues have surfaced recently. I mentioned the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and the Hyatt Olive 8. Jeff acknowledged these but pointed out the issues at these had already been fixed.
Readers have pointed to other hotels, like the Hyatt Regency Austin and Atlanta Midtown, but I wasn’t able to confirm those myself (I saw plenty of award space and no discrepancies between standard rooms and award nights at each).
Jeff wasn’t ready to say there’s a pattern, and suggested that when something like this happens it isn’t always intentional on the hotel’s part either — there are mistakes at the hotel level and also IT problems that creep up. And while he’d much rather discover the issues internally and fix them right away, he appreciates learning about them whenever they do happen because these issues don’t reflect how the program is supposed to work and he wants to get them fixed right away.
I also raised the issue that Diamond Suite Upgrades were being made available at some hotels only on certain rates. This is something that some hotel General Managers have stated, and it’s something that Hyatt has appeared to suggest to several readers on Twitter and also reportedly seemed to suggest on Flyertalk as well.
But as I wrote, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Diamond Suite Upgrades are valid on any paid rate, cash and points are considered paid rates for this purpose, and these upgrades aren’t capacity controlled. There certainly aren’t supposed to be different inventory buckets for different rates.
I would add, though, that a hotel might not have standard suites available that Diamond upgrades are eligible to be used for — but a hotel has the discretion to go above and beyond and make better suites available. I’ve seen them do this even on award nights (where Diamond Suite Upgrades aren’t supposed to be valid at all.) My point though is that this can look like inconsistency or capacity controls — no standard suites available, but a hotel offering to book a higher suite category on a paid night but not a cash and points hotel night. That doesn’t appear to me to be what’s happening in most cases, but it’s something that does happen.
The bottom line is that Hyatt is interested in knowing if a hotel appears to have standard rooms available, but not reward nights, so that it can resolve the matter. If a standard room is available for booking with cash it should be available on points.
And Diamond Suite Upgrades are supposed to be valid on any paid rate, including cash and points, and we’ll be hearing more soon to clarify this issue.