One of the few sources of information that I pay for is Joe Brancatelli’s weekly newsletter. (Another worth paying for, that I used to subscribe to, is Holly Hegeman’s Plane Business.)
Joe has a column up on his interview with Hyatt Gold Passport’s Jeff Zidell, in which he gets Jeff to concede that Faster Free Nights are no longer something to expect from Hyatt (it’s that tenacity which is why I subscribe to the newsletter..).
“Faster Free Nights doesn’t work anymore in light of the value we offer on an overall basis in Gold Passport now. And now we offer [points] promotions two or three times a year. Faster Free Nights was once a year, at best.”
Joe called Faster Free Nights “the greatest promotion in the 32-year history of frequent travel programs.”
Every year Hyatt would run an offer where you would stay two time and earn a free night valid at any Hyatt property in the world.
Sometimes the offer required you to pay with a Mastercard. And back in the day, Priceline stays would count and if there were any charges on your bill during your free night, those would often count as a stay towards the next one as well.
We haven’t seen this around in any form from Hyatt since the spring of 2010 (when they called it “Big Welcome Back” but the concept was the same).
Hyatt has grown in size 50% over the past five years, and 40% of properties are now limited-service or extended stay hotels.
Hotels have much higher occupancy than they did two and three years ago, that’s what I mostly attributed the demise of Faster Free Nights to.
I hadn’t considered the changing mix of properties that Hyatt offers, many more at lower price points than before, meaning the economics of the promotion have changed.
And of course points promotions — when they’re rich enough — can be more desirable than free nights which expire. Points promotions are usually my preference, since I would rather build a balance than have to direct my redemptions based on expiring nights (something that’s frustrated me about Marriott Rewards’ MegaBonus nights, which are capped at category 4 redemptions most of the time in contrast to the ability to redeem at any hotel that Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights offered). “FFNs” as they were known were about the only promotion that was so good as to buy me out of this preference.
It’s sad to see the offering go by the wayside. Other chains do continue to make similar, though less rewarding, offers — Marriott MegaBonus, Best Western’s regular stay twice for a free night (generally capped at one free night during the promotion rather than uncapped), last year’s Starwood offering of free resort nights for every three stays. Nothing though has ever been as generous.
Which is also why it shouldn’t be surprising that we don’t have it anymore, all of the best offers will eventually go away, which is why you should enjoy and take advantage of them while you can but not bank on their being around years into the future. That’s an approach to take with all loyalty programs and not just one promotion.
I do think that Gold Passport continues to add a lot of value. Hyatt’s fall promotion is probably a bit better than what competitor chains are offering, and I continue to view Hyatt’s Diamond level as being the most lucrative top elite tier of any major hotel chain.
But that won’t stop my mourning the loss of Faster Free Nights.
[…] Gary notes that Hyatt has pretty much officially put Faster Free Nights to bed. I’ve written about this in the past. While I enjoyed participating in FFN, my feelings […]