Some Hyatts Have Learned A Trick To Avoid Awarding Points – And Get Away With It

Several Hyatt hotels have figured out a trick to save themselves money and cheat members out of points. And there’s nothing that Hyatt will do about it, so they can get away with it with impunity.

Normally hotels have to buy the points that members earn while staying as a guest (or while dining or using spa services, while not a registered guest). But if they don’t award the points, they don’t have to buy them. And there’s at least one category of spending that they can just opt out of without telling anyone and they’ll never be questioned.

Most hotels award points for spending on alcohol. That’s the highest margin thing they sell, and they want to incentivize alcohol sales. But even better for a hotel is using the incentive as points – because guests will think they’re earning for their spend – while not actually awarding the points.

According to the World of Hyatt terms, spending on beverages should usually earn points:

“Eligible Incidental Charges” vary depending on the applicable hotel, resort, or other participating property, but generally include resort/destination fee, additional-cleaning fees (where applicable), spa, food, beverage and lounge expenditures (except at outlets not operated by the hotel or resort) and other charges, such as laundry, dry cleaning, and telephone. Points will not be awarded on alcoholic beverage purchases in certain jurisdictions/countries or at certain properties.

However if a hotel says their property doesn’t award points for alcohol purchases, that’s the end of the story – even though this opt-out is only supposed to be used to comply with laws around alcohol sales, where those apply.

What’s remarkable is that numerous hotels have stopped awarding points for alcohol where there are no locals laws prohibiting it and indeed I’ve earned points at other hotels in the same city. And Hyatt won’t push back.

Here’s a Hyatt Regency doing it:

And a Hyatt JdV:

Here’s a Hyatt Place:

And another Hyatt Place:

A Hyatt spokesperson confirms that the intention of the terms that allow ‘certain’ hotels not to award points for alcohol purchases is that some jurisdictions do not permit incentivizing alcohol sales. It’s supposed to be an ‘out’ so that hotels aren’t breaking laws or regulations.

However Hyatt doesn’t keep a list of hotels that are supposed to be exempt. They only offer guidance to hotels on which charges beyond room rate should earn points and hotels decide for themselves without repercussion whether or not they award points for alcohol spend. So even if they withhold points despite no local rules prohibiting it, Hyatt won’t do anything about it. As it was explained to me,

World of Hyatt provides general direction to hotels on eligible and ineligible incidental charges. With respect to alcohol, this is left up to the hotels as they have a closer understanding of local laws/restrictions so we don’t require hotels to offer points on alcohol. Members may inquire with a particular property on eligibility.

Many hotels just combine all food and beverage spend into a single line. Some separate it out but still award points, as they are supposed to. But still other hotels have figured out that they can avoid paying for points on alcohol spend and Hyatt won’t do anything about it.

One response to a customer even shows how simple it is for a property to opt out of awarding points.

So what does this mean?

  • The guest chooses the Hyatt restaurant thinking they’ll earn points
  • Goes for a nicer bottle on an expense-able meal, or picks up drinks, figuring they’ll earn points
  • The hotel gets the business, the guest doesn’t get their points, World of Hyatt doesn’t get the revenue

What hotels are doing is free riding on chain brands and getting away with it. The long-term cost is to the brand. But they’ll do it if they can save a few pennies in the meantime.

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. This is downright shameful. At bad as IHG and Marriott are, they don’t allow this.

  2. Not excusing Hyatt here, but there are actually a lot of states that have laws like that in place. For example, Costco purchases generally earn 2% back with their Executive membership, but it excludes earnings in alcohol in these non-incentivizing states which includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Vermont.

  3. Hyatt Baha Mar did this to me a month ago. And just about every restaurant is a 3rd party so you don’t get any points dining at those. Basically you get screwed out of earning any points there. Over 4k in spend and only $800 was qualifying.

  4. So if I have one beer with a $100 steak dinner, do they exclude the whole bill? Or are their systems specific enough to separate it out?

  5. I learned this the hard way last year at the Hyatt by Union Square park in NYC. Did a whole night of drinking with a friend and picked up the tab because I thought it would be a ton of points…only to find out that they don’t award on alcohol.

    (I noticed this does not apply to any Hyatt I’ve drank at in Europe. And being a functional alcoholic, I have experience.)

    However, when I spoke to hyatt they made this sound like it was standard. As though it was the rule hyatt-wide. Is this not true? Where can I drink and earn?!?!?

  6. To help guests not get screwed when staying at any Hyatt Hotel properties worldwide, perhaps someone will take the initiative to create a Hyatt Hotel blacklist database. It is helpful to be informed, before selecting a Hyatt Hotel, that you as a valued guest are going to be screwed on the correct number of earned by not awarded World of Hyatt loyalty points.

    Thanks to your article Gary, my future stays will not include any Hyatt Hotel venues.

  7. I’ve definitely earned points from a number of Hilton family properties in some of those states on the non-incentivizing list, though I suppose it’s also possible the individual properties didn’t really prioritize coding alcohol sales in a way to exclude them from F&B qualifying spend.

  8. Texas sucks. We can’t participate in beer contests because of that stupid rule yet the state promotes gambling with the state lottery…..

  9. I’ve never stayed at a Marriott hotel with a bar and restaurant where my F&B spend didn’t earn points in Bonvoy. Even in Muslim countries, like Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia. I’ve had booze at hotels in Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, and Georgia that have also earned points. So, this definitely seems to be a Hyatt issue. Especially when you read the definition of what qualifies as an incidental charge. The wording says not getting points is a limited occurrence. The actual implementation of that by Hyatt means you never get points, if this article is correct.

  10. Remind me of why I would ever take my customers to dinner at a Hyatt? Loyalty programs exist to incentivize spending by guests. Denying points for spend is absurd.

  11. Another interesting tidbit regarding points from a recent stay. My nightly rate was $199 but since it was a promotional rate and included parking my eligible spend was only about $470. I had no other charges on the folio. Insane that my eligible spend doesn’t even equal my nightly room rate.

  12. This is pretty trivial. Personally I’d like to see Hyatt outed for not cracking down on properties that are deliberately not releasing any awards for 2023 (e.g., HR San Francisco), flagrantly evading the breakfast benefit (Centric Waikiki), or canceling awards with impunity (i.e., Alila Villas Uluwatu).

  13. I’ve never been one to scam things from companies. Back in the day I might take an extra small bottle of shampoo or soap but not a handful, etc. At this point in time with nearly every company trying to take advantage of customers or providing poor service to you while trying to add on fees, I have to admit, I can understand anyone trying to get things free from companies whether legitimately, borderline or almost completely illegally.

    Airlines, hotels, OTA, and numerous other companies have made it mostly a free for all and there don’t seem to be any rules being enforced.

    I had to do a bunch of work just to prove a medical company actually cashed a check (online bill pay) including sending them a copy of the cashed check. I don’t know what records they keep but geez when you don’t know your own company cashed a check, I question all of their booking. But like everything else they keep pushing the burden of proof on the customer.

  14. Evidence that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Hyatt has good aspects like waived resort fees but what if the hotel started calling it something else to get around the resort fee waiver? Would a housekeeping fee be kosher? I never understand why some hotel owners think it’s okay to screw the brand’s best customers out of a couple points? Screwing that customer out of 20 points here or 50 points there will cost you more money in the long run.

  15. For what it’s worth, if you belong to Accor ALL, you can earn points on food and beverage at its hotels. But, the program’s terms and conditions say that you’ll only earn those points if the charges are made with a Mastercard. WTF?

  16. This happened to me at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.

    I also find that f/b purchases are rarely awarded correctly even non-alcoholic purchases. It’s a “glitch” that they don’t seem to be in a hurry to rectify.

  17. Add Grand Hyatt Baha Mar to the list. No points for alcohol spend and almost every where you eat on property is a “3rd party outlet” so they don’t earn you points either. Spent over 4k at the property and earned a whopping 835 base points. It’s a joke. Never had this issue at Hilton or Marriott.

  18. MH – It’s pretty clear which restaurants at Baha Mar are part of Rosewood, which are part of SLS, and which are part of Grand Hyatt. Do a little digging and it’s easy to figure out (or if you don’t feel like digging, one easy way to tell them apart is the restaurants that charge you for water are NOT part of Grand Hyatt).

    Adding to the list, though, pretty much all F&B spend at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, is excluded spend. Still, the hotel kicks so much ass that I don’t even mind it.

  19. Hmm, went over my bills recently and sure enough Hyatt Regency Long Island did indeed NOT give points for two glasses of wine purchased at their bar. Ad this place to the list. Who knew? Due to circumstances, I need to stay here for family health issues. I can assure you I will not spend any amount of money here unless necessary. What a dumb policy. Shouldnt surprise me since ownership of this hotel is at the forefront of trying to get out of providing globalist benefits.

  20. @JohnnieD: Crazy. Who has the time to check their every stay over 100 points? My guess is thousands of people are impacted because it’s all elites and all members, not just globalists.

  21. I switched to Hyatt this year after Lifetime Titanium Bonvoy. Hoped for better service. No Luck.
    After receiving my lounge upgrade certif, I called and tried to use it. For all my booked reservations,
    the upgrade was denied. Grand Hyatt Athens, no go. They won’t honor it. Why? “Some of our hotels
    choose to opt-out of lounge access, room upgrades, free rooms, etc.” What? If this is part of the brand experience, how can branded hotels just opt-out? They should be de-flagged and called Marriott’s. Very disappointing that Hyatt is not demanding their hotel operators honor the basic
    Hyatt rules.

  22. I haven’t stayed at a Hyatt in North America with an open club lounge since before March 2020.

  23. You can add the GH Erawan Bangkok to this list. Pre-covid: got points on alcohol spend at the bar. 2 months ago: nada. Escalated to MHC and got a similar response.

  24. The terms don’t seem to restrict non-awarding of points for alcohol to places with local laws against it. If other properties are are doing that, it isn’t actually a violation of the terms. Best to ask ahead of time if that’s going to be an important factor in a decision to stay or not.

  25. One workaround for this is to book a rate that includes a food & beverage credit (like $50). Since it’s included as part of the room rate, you’ll earn the full amount of points whether you use if for alcohol or food.

  26. @Jr You do realize that some of us entertain clients or customers? Other times we have a working dinner with colleagues at a hotel. I’ve rented suites and held team meetings at the dinner table with room service food and, yes, wine. Some of these dinners end up being quite expensive.

  27. We have spent thousands on wines/drinks and not earned points. It is very disappointing. So now when we stay at Hyatt we spend our $ on clients and family dinners somewhere off property. Just recently, I was very upset with a property we frequent often. We paid for two villas and had 5 children with us for this stay. At the pool I asked if they could make the kids some type of dairy free “smoothie” since 2 have milk intolerance. The server called them “Virgin daiquiris” , upon compeleting our stay and about 20 unfinished $10 “Virgin daiquiris” later lol, I find out we did not receive any points for them! They were billed as an alcoholic beverage. I called and luckily got a great CS rep who went in line by line and saw they were actually “virgin daiquiris” and ended up issuing points. She also realized we didn’t get points for food at the pool either. Over $700 in food and non alcoholic drinks that one day weren’t issued. We planned on going back a couple weeks later and ended up cancelling our next trip there and staying at a Marriott property instead. So for a few hundred dollars worth of points they lost out on thousands of dollars smh.

  28. Just came across this at the Hyatt Place, Tallahassee, FL. It was an award stay and the only spend was like $10 for a glass of wine. Zero eligible spend.

    I contacted Hyatt and was told clearly that they *do not* have a list of participating/exclusionary hotels or even locations. Not a big deal, just principle and annoying.

    FL was not on the list above (and I’m assuming that it’s accurate).


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