Hyatt Will Offer Benefits For Every 10 Nights Stayed, Adjusts Elite Requalification Rules

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Hyatt just announced several modest program changes to award members after fewer nights starting next year, and some tweaks to qualifying for elite status including requiring 5 extra nights to re-qualify for top tier status in 2020.

Here’s what’s changing and what they’ll mean to you.


Looking Out Over the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Hyatt Will Award Benefits Every 10 Nights

Starting in 2019 Hyatt is adding a new benefit at 40 nights and awarding confirmed upgrade benefits earlier in order to offer something to members every 10 nights (up to 100 nights). They’re calling this Milestone Rewards.

In order to accomplish this they are splitting the awarding of confirmed club lounge access from Explorist status, so that it’s based on nights rather than status.

Here’s the new benefits chart which shows 2 club lounge upgrades awarded after 20 nights, a choice benefit at 40 nights, and 2 confirmed suite upgrades at 50 nights:

# Nights Or Benefit
10 25k base points or 3 meetings Discoverist
20 35k base points 2 club lounge access awards
30 50k base points or 10 meetings Explorist, 2 club access awards, cat 1-4 free night
40 65k base points 5k points or $100 Hyatt gift card or 10k points off FIND experience
50 80k base points 2 confirmed suite upgrade awards
60 100k base points or 20 meetings Globalist, 2 suite upgrade awards, cat 1-7 free night, concierge
70 N/A 10,000 points or suite upgrade award
80 N/A 10,000 points or suite upgrade award
90 N/A 10,000 points or suite upgrade award
100 N/A 10,000 points or suite upgrade award

There’s nothing being taken away here. Members get more benefits, earlier. I always loved the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie where each thing you get makes you want something else. What’s brilliant here is that the increment to each new benefit is modest that members can stretch their stays, giving Hyatt just a bit more wallet share, to get to the next level and be rewarded.

I like awarding club lounge access awards and confirmed suite upgrades earlier because this year the program fixed how awards expire, instead of expiring 12 months from when they are earned they expire February 28 of the following year regardless of when they’re earned. Getting them earlier means they’re valid longer.

Interestingly since club lounge access awards will be rewarded after 20 and 30 nights stayed, Globalists will earn them too but club lounge access is a benefit of Globalist status. That means, for a Globalist member that requalifies, these certificates will not have any usefuless and will simply expire (though of course a Globalist who does not requalify will value them).

Changes to Elite Status Qualification

Hyatt requires 60 nights to earn top tier Globalist status, but only 55 nights to re-qualify for that status.

Earning Hyatt qualifying nights has gotten easier since they changed the program to count reward nights towards status and launched a new World Of Hyatt Credit Card which both comes with 5 elite nights each year and lets you earn an additional 2 elite nights for each $5000 spent on the card. Spending $15,000 on the card is a no-brainer, too, since it gives you a category 1-4 free night in addition to points earned for your spend.

With status nights easier to earn, they are going to require 60 nights for Globalist status both for initial qualification and for renewal. This doesn’t start until 2020, so there’s plenty of notice as well.


Andaz 5th Avenue

Since you can even transfer points into Hyatt from Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, redeem them for reward nights, and have those nights count towards status as a result I don’t see this as a burden and fully expected some sort of change here.

In addition the new Milestone Rewards decouple earning club lounge access certificates from Explorist status, they’re providing a bridge for members who downgrade from Globalist to Explorist on March 1 — these members wouldn’t have earned any club lounge access certificates this past year. So they will still receive four club lounge access awards at time of downgrade.

Finally legacy Hyatt cardholders, folks with the old card that haven’t upgraded to the new World Of Hyatt Credit Card, will still earn 4 club lounge access awards and Explorist status after spending $50,000 on purchases in 2019. In future years spending $50,000 on that (no longer available) card will no longer earn club lounge access awards.

There’s lots of notice to changes to elite status qualification. I like that. – but stands in contrast to the lack of notice changing how cash and points awards work. Cash and and points is now half the points of a standard redemption plus half the published room rate (ignoring the best discount rates) instead of a fixed cash component.

I had the chance to talk to Amy Weinberg, Hyatt’s senior vice president for the World of Hyatt program, about these changes so I put the question to her: clearly notice matters to the program, why was this different with cash and points awards?

She explained that they “try to give as much notice as we can” of changes to the program but “did not want to wait to bring new [suites and premium suite] opportunities” to cash and points awards. Hyatt introduced the ability to use points for premium suites and made that change to cash and points awards too at the same time. I don’t see why they couldn’t retain fixed cash pricing on these awards for a period of time while introducing suite options, of course.

5 New Brands Will Participate in 2019

Hyatt has acquired Two Roads Hospitality and with it 5 new hotel brands: Destination Hotels; Joie de Vivre; Alila; Thompson Hotels; and tommie.

I’m especially excited about Alila properties in Indonesia and India, though this is a big boost to the Hyatt portfolio overall.


Alila Uluwutu, Bali

Amy Weinberg tells me that these brands will be incorporated into the World of Hyatt program during 2019.

In addition to having more hotels at which to earn and redeem points, more hotel brands creates an opportunity to more easily earn category 1-4 free nights. That’s because Hyatt awards a category 1-4 night for every 5 brands a member stays with. It’s been hard for me to earn a second free night to date with 13 brands since I don’t usually stay at all-inclusives (Ziva, Zilara) and haven’t stayed at a Residence Club or Miraval (of which, so far, there is one). More brands will make this much easier.

Makes the New Hyatt Visa Even More Attractive

The card comes with a free night each anniversary year for a category 1-4 Hyatt property and an additional free night each year that you spend $15,000 on the card, valid at a category 1-4 property. That makes putting $15,000 annual spend on the card attractive.

Just having the card earns 5 elite nights each year — the exact increase in nights required to requalify for Globalist status.

And it earns 2 more qualifying nights for every $5000 spend — and now there is a new Hyatt benefit every 10 qualifying nights. That makes spend on the card, which helps you reach those levels, even more rewarding. The 40 night benefit is also new.

Transfer points into Hyatt from Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, redeem them for reward nights, and those count towards status as do the free nights earned with the World Of Hyatt Credit Card.

What’s Still Missing

Hyatt’s second elite tier isn’t as rewarding as Hilton’s Gold status (20 stays, 40 nights, but a giveaway level. and offers breakfast every stay. A member staying fewer than 50 nights gets club lounge access on only 4 stays. And a member who stays beyond 30 nights with Hyatt gets only 2 stays with club lounge access until they reach 50 nights.


Andaz Papagayo Costa Rica

Nonetheless I continue to believe that Hyatt offers the most rewarding hotel loyalty program for members who can make their footprint work. They’re growing that footprint to be sure through acquisitions — the 5 Two Roads Hospitality brands — and alliances, adding about 10% of the Small Luxury Hotels portfolio and hopefully more in the future. However they don’t have hotels everywhere the way that Marriott, IHG, and Hilton largely do.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Does starting in 2020 mean 60 nights in 2019 for status in 2020 or 60 nights in 2020 for status in 2021?

    If the former , not much notice for folks as I have my big 2019 vacations already planned.

  2. I really want to know how many people that read this blog actually can afford to put $15k on this card? That would be over 75% of my total CC spend for the year.

    I know I am probably one of your more poor readers I spend about $18-20k a year on cards and it is all for my expenses no reimbursement.

    Personally I would rather have no status with Hyatt and more ultimate rewards than just plain Hyatt points.

  3. Do you start earning these milestone night based benefits on 1/1/2019 or 3/1/2019? If 3/1, is it an incentive not to stay at Hyatt 1/1 to 2/28?

    Also it sstrikes me for renewing Globalist members, they should offer a choice award or bonus points instead of getting the club lounge certificates??!? Why is there not a different choice award at 20 and 30 nights for existing Globalist members? How about a return to the Diamond amenity?

    The elimination of the Diamond amenity was the worst devaluation with the new World of Hyatt program. The Diamond food and beverage amenity was one of my favorite aspects of Gold Passport. For every hotel, it gave you something to look forward too as to what local amenity they would offer. Also it was great for entertaining friends and family. I would even trade 1 instead of 4 suite night awards for the Diamond amenity coming back! I’m sitting on at least 4 expiring suite night awards. I don’t tend to use them on business trips, and some hotels are now playing with the inventory so a confirmed suite night award could even book in to just a bigger room, no thanks! I could really care less about getting a junior suite, I mean if I’m going to get excited about a suite, it has to be a great one!

    I think the Diamond amenity deval was the worst deval to affect me in the last 10 to 15 years across the entire travel industry!

    Its also foolish the way all hotels process standby suite upgrades, there is no way for a member to indicate on their reservation if a suite upgrade would be meaningful. You could have 10 Globalists checking in, 2 where a suite is meaningful, and they give it to 2 who are just their by themselves on a business stay. Because, there is no mechanism to signal that a sstandby suite upgrade would or would not be meaningful.

  4. Awarding the club access based on nights instead of Explorist status means that if you get your Explorist status via a status match (for example from MLife), you’ll no longer get those.

  5. Jeff,

    Yeah, I agree with you. I think most people may spend $10K-$30K on credit cards. If you have a business then you can put a ton on cards (depending on your business). Others travel frequently and may be able to use their cards and have a company reimburse them (although most companies require you to use their own card so you may need to be a private consultant/contractor to do that). And of course some are doing some questionable activities to generate spend.

    And in reality there are a number of people who do this stuff because of egos and not common sense. Often you can run the numbers and what people do for some statuses is pretty stupid. If you are someone that flies very infrequently then having a card with lounge access isn’t worth a lot, you can just pick up a daily pass.

    Many of the hotel statuses levels don’t really give you much considering the cost you have to incur. I like Hilton’s free breakfast but I only have it because of a low cost CC otherwise I’d skip that as well since I’m not a big breakfast person (just give me a pastry and a soda and I”m good).

  6. The biggest disappointment in the news here is that current Globalist members now need to earn 60 nights to renew. That is pretty steep.

    Did they just give us 13 days notice? That is also pretty poor.

  7. Gee, is Amy Weinberg calling all the bloggers these days?

    I was with you until you added a paragraph shilling the credit card. Oh Gary, no matter haw many times you write that it is a “no brainer” to put $15k of spending on the Hyatt visa, that does not make it true. _Shifting_ $15k of spending from other cards to gain one free night is a huge loser. It’s only worth it for cardholders who put a lot of Hyatt nights on the Hyatt card, so they only put a small amount of unbonused spending on the Hyatt card to get to $15k.

    As for your other points, they are well taken, but you are dancing around WoH’s big problem: it is a program set up to carefully meter benefits, and members respond accordingly. Free night awards? Oh, they expire in 6 months, not a year. So members time Hyatt stays. 10k points after every 10 nights? Oh, that stops at 100 nights. I’ve already stayed 100 nights this year, so I’ve shifted all my nights for the rest of the year to other programs that are more rewarding.

    Bottom line: Hyatt slightly modified the program to try and get some of the “20 night a year” crowd to book directly, but Hyatt feels less of a need to encourage people to make Globalist. The tinkering goes on.

  8. Maybe it’s because I skimmed this article quickly before I head out the door, but what do Globalists get for having 5 addl requalification nights added back? In addition to having Points and Cash being changed?
    And don’t tell me that “it balances out with the WoH CC,” because lowering the requalification minimum to 55 nights and then raising it back up to 60 with no addl benefits doesn’t make sense. And it makes Hyatt look silly – “Oops, we lowered it too much! Raise it back up!”
    Just when I think that WoH turned itself around, it starts messing up again with negative changes. Stop copying Marriott – they’ve lost their SPG elites with their poor planning.

  9. outstanding – nice to see a new benefit without a take-away attached. I find 4 lounge passes sufficient for my leisure stays with family – additional passes are a big incentive to select Hyatt over Marriott for business stays.
    The lack of meaningful mid-tier status for those of us who can only cobble together 20-25 EQN is disappointing across the board. Hotel chains (like airlines) focus on high volume customers but almost completely neglect the segment of frequent (but not ultra-frequent) business travelers. If the perks are not there then it will be a decision purely driven by point values – which favor Hyatt and disfavors Hilton (the new Marriott still TBD)

  10. Gary, it would be great if you and your fellow bloggers showed a little understanding of your non-US readership. There’s probably not that many (and might be one less soon if the US-centricness continues) but I’m not a US resident so even if I was a big spender, I don’t have access to a fancy credit card with its night bonuses.

  11. @Greg: The new globalist stay requirements don’t start until 2020. So, if you qualified for globalist next year (2019) you still only need 55 stays next year to re-qualify for 2020.

    It’s smart of Hyatt to offer incremental awards for people who aren’t sure they’re able to commit to qualifying for Explorist & Globalist. I think they’ve also correctly seen that there are a LOT of Starriott members looking for a new program right now as things are completely imploding over there right now (ongoing IT mess & past security breach, elite recognition issues, reduction of resort benefits, point devaluation…etc.)

    Having said that, I’m still not sure why they wouldn’t offer Globalists a bit more for STAYING Globalists. Something like, say, the check-in bonus they used to offer! Offering two tiers where people get club lounge access is completely worthless to your top-tier customers! Why not offer them something valuable like 10k points & 15k points at 20 and 30 night thresholds?

  12. As the parent of a 3 year old, I greatly appreciated the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie reference. Oh, I enjoyed the rest of the information too, of course!

  13. The fact is that there is a lot that may be taken away by way of this major program change at Hyatt.

    Soft-landings in elite status will henceforth come with fewer status instruments for customers in the aggregate than is currently the case.

  14. This major program change also seems designed to enable Hyatt to hand out a lot more elite status match/challenges/giveaways without seeing a lot more redeemable award instruments being tied to elite status level itself.

  15. Does anyone know if staying at Mlife will count as elite nights? We have a 9 night stay in Vegas next year and that will put us over the top for Globalist if it does.

  16. Another point I haven’t seen any bloggers pick up on is the fact Globalist now only comes with two confirmed suite upgrades. The level below (whatever the ridiculous name is for, gets two at 50 nights. It’s no longer possible to say Globalists receive four confirmed upgrades and that shouldn’t be part of Hyatt’s marketing any longer.

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