World of Hyatt is More Than Just a New Loyalty Program Name: Here’s What it Means to You

Hyatt executives talk passionately about their purpose to care for people so they can be their best. And they’re thinking about “World of Hyatt” as being more than points but the branding of their overall effort to accomplish that and as an expression of their values.

That can be pretty hokey, and it’s ripe for a few tomatoes from people who were earning top tier Diamond status with 25 stays and who find themselves no longer considered nearly as important customer under Hyatt’s new scheme. Hyatt they seem to passionately believe it.

They’re introducing a new campaign — For a World of Understanding — during the Oscars as part of this launch.

They’re also working with Learning AFAR/No Barriers USA to sponsor Chicago Public School students (Hyatt is based in Chicago) “for an immersive educational program that culminates in a trip to Costa Rica.” They call this “Putting Empathy Into Action” although I call it “choosing a corporate charity” which is something that Hyatt and many companies have always done.

And of course changes to the loyalty program go into effect March 1.

View from the Park Hyatt Sydney

What’s Not Changing

There’s no change to how you earn points, and really no change to what those points are worth. You still earn them with hotel stays, at similar levels as before, as well as from credit card spend or points transfers. And Hyatt still have the same 7 redemption categories as before.

There’s no improvement or devaluation to the basic earn and burn proposition for free nights or other redemption options.

How You Qualify for Elite Status is Changing

Hyatt is introducing 3 elite tiers in place of the current 2 (and giving them rather silly names):

  • Discoverist: 10 nights, 25k base points ($5000 spend), or 3 meetings
  • Explorist: 30 nights, 50k base points ($10,000 spend), or 10 meetings
  • Globalist: 60 nights, 100k base points ($20,000 spend), or 20 meetings

Folks who earn Globalist status will only need 55 nights in subsequent years to requalify. Everyone will need 60 nights or 100,000 base points in 2017 however.

The co-brand credit card will still come with the first level of status. $50,000 spend on the card will earn Explorist status. There’s no longer an option to earn credit towards top tier elite status with credit card spend.

Note that current Platinums may have a back door to give themselves Explorist status that will go away by the end of the month.

Lots More Free Nights

While the revamped Hyatt program will drop the check-in amenity for top tier elites (points or food and beverage offering), there are plenty of free nights on top of points earned.

  1. Everyone that gets transitioned to Globalist in March (even someone with just 25 stays this year) will receive a free night valid at any Hyatt property with no category restriction.
  2. A free category 1-4 night upon reaching 30 nights
  3. A free night at any Hyatt property with no category restriction upon reaching 60 nights.

These expire 120 days after they’re earned (120 days to use the nights, not just to book). I believe it’s to reduce the cost of providing the benefit (breakage, or members using them suboptimally at cheaper hotels) while Hyatt’s Jeff Zidell says it’s to connect the benefit to celebration of the accomplishment.

Hyatt will give a free night (category 1 through 4, valid for a year) after trying 5 different brands.

They’ll give a second free night when you hit your 10th brand. There’s no time limit for reaching these milestones. As long as the benefit remains you’ll receive a free night even if it takes you several /years to hit the goal. Historical stays don’t count, though, they’ll track your activity March 1 onward.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Lobby

New Benefits — and a Few Losses — for Elites

Top tier elites will get space available upgrades including to standard suites at check-in in addition to the continuation of 4 upgrades a year confirmed at time of booking. Staying 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights a year comes with the option of another confirmed suite upgrade or 10,000 points.

Confirmed suite upgrades will become valid on reward nights (but not earned free stays such as the credit card annual free night or free night for hitting 30 or 60 nights in a year).

Confirmed suite upgrades will be awarded once earned, and will expire after (must be used for travel within) 12 months.

Discoverists receive upgrades to best available room within type booked, which may mean a better view or higher floor. Explorists receive the best available room excluding club floor and suites, though will earn 4 club access awards (valid up to 7 nights each) per year.

The best new benefit for top elites is probably My Hyatt Concierge, similar to Starwood’s Ambassador which SPG awards after 100 nights — a dedicated person to take care of all things Hyatt and stay-related.

Globalists do get a slightly-tightened breakfast benefit (2 adults and 2 children rather than 4 registered guests), no more check-in amenity, no more guaranteed turn down service, and no more 2500 points for a closed club lounge. Globalists now have a real answer to the question, “Turn down for what?”

Globalists also don’t pay resort fees (no one should, they’re a black eye on the entire hotel industry) and receive free hotel parking on award stays — but not on cash and points or paid stays.

All elites will receive a bottle of water daily in all hotels, though properties may fulfill that in different ways — it may be available for pickup, for instance, rather than offered in-room.

Finally the change in the new program that bothers me most: elite benefits will no longer be honored on ‘ineligible rates’ which generally speaking are online travel agency bookings.

Pool at the Park Hyatt Chennai

How it Stacks Up

Hyatt will earn at least 60 qualifying nights for me. I like their hotels and the overall experience and believe that their top elite tier remains the most rewarding in the industry.

For most readers a new charity, and new commercials, doesn’t sell the brand. It comes down to how well Hyatt “cares for people so they can be their best” and that really takes two forms — the people on property and the loyalty program.

Jeff Zidell, Hyatt’s senior vice president of loyalty, says “With World of Hyatt, we don’t just want to welcome you to our world, we want to understand yours,” but I don’t think they’re there yet.

  • It’s harder to use points now if you also want status. With tougher elite qualification requirements, and award nights which don’t count towards status (they really do stand alone here now on this), redeeming an award for yourself is super costly.

  • Those free nights you get instead of check-in amenity points have to be used for travel within 120 days. That’s great for breakage, not great for Hyatt understanding your needs and your calendar.

Top tier status becomes harder to earn, many people won’t hit 60 nights who might have made the top elite tier before. For those folks there’s a harder choice to make. For customers at the mid-tier, Hyatt’s elite offering isn’t competitive with Marriott or Hilton. World of Hyatt isn’t competitive below the Globalist status level.

Hilton has made a play for the broadest base of members, making every point useful. Hyatt has focused in on its most frequent guests. Those are two very different strategies.

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. Just like with airlines, hotels only care about one type of customer, the business traveler.

    I cannot imagine how limited my travel would be if I were to be loyal to Hyatt. I hit 68 nights with SPG last year as a leisure traveler, but that was only possible bc of their increased footprint (Design hotels across EU).

  2. I never status-matched to HGP Diamond whenever the program offered that status like Halloween candies because I found it to be the most restricted and least rewarding in the business, despite its being placed on a pedestal by travel bloggers. Ironically, however, now that Hyatt has introduced a top elite status that I consider competitive with the rest, especially with respect to unlimited suite upgrades, and I can see myself trying out for since I generally like staying at Hyatt properties and I believe their overall service is second to none, they have made reaching that status nearly impossible for most but their top frequent guests and high spenders.

    Bottom line: Hyatt is no longer interested in attracting just about anybody to their top-tier elite status. They tried that and went nowhere, except ending up with a crippling an indigestion. Now, they’ve decided to get rid of the low hanging fruit and just target customers with deep pockets for their top and only rewarding elite status, while providing below average to mediocre mid- and lower-tier elite levels. As a Platinum, I got the perks when I stayed at Hyatt properties by outright booking a club room. I will continue doing that as a ‘Discoverist’…

  3. Just a comment about the video: pretty nice and somewhat touching! but funny that I have never seen any staff member in the outfit displayed at the end of the video on arrival at the GHE. Looks a little bit like the ISWAN staff but still not exactly like it…

  4. Did Hyatt pay blogs to talk about all of these “GREAT” perks because every blog has the exact same post right now. Maybe they should have saved the money from the commercial and used it to actually benefit customers… i.e diamond amenities.

  5. Just about everything Jeff Zidell says is bull. Hyatt is definitely not getting my vote in the Freddy’s.

  6. @Mwwak – well said!

    With such a comparatively small presence, Hyatt is like the ugly girl who insists on being picky about who she dates.

    I don’t choose to be loyal because of BS marketing gibberish or ads bragging about your corporate charity work.

  7. BTW, “personal concierge” would be the “best new benefit” only if one buys into the whole concept of focusing exclusively on big spenders with deep pockets, who travel almost exclusively for business and are always in a hurry and would benefit to have someone else arrange their “transfers from the airport, arrival, room requests, food and beverage, and spa”. That’s the type of travelers WOH! seems to be designed to attract as top elites. By contrast, for those on leisure travel, which is what the “game” is largely about for most of us, a ‘concierge’ is anathema. It’s like outsourcing the best part of a trip — planning it and figuring out how to get around and make it in a new location — to a total stranger.

    We will hear again and again how “the best new benefit for top elites is probably My Hyatt Concierge,” on the way to making it yet another “standard of excellence”, but think about it. Is a personal concierge really a perk that anyone but the stuffiest of people would want?

  8. I’m mostly neutral on the program changes (my biz travel reduced so I wasn’t going to make Diamond/Globalist again, I appreciate the soft landing to Explorist), but I think this change totally screwed the Hyatt co-brand card. I cancelled mine yesterday, and told them clearly why.

    Automatic 10-night status (vs 25) is really weak, and eliminating the ability to earn night stay credit toward top tier kills it entirely. There’s just no value in the card anymore. $75 for a category 4 night is potentially worth it, but most of my travel cities have no category 1-4 properties.

    Spend on the card isn’t even worth it, since the Sapphire Reserve does a 3x bonus. You’d think a co-brand card would offer the best rewards!

    I recently killed my United card for the same reason. I had the old Platinum Class card that could earn 10k PQM but that’s useless to me since I’m PQD-limited now, and the PQD-waiver doesn’t apply to 1K. The companion cert is a joke — the qualifying fares are always more than double the cheapest available which makes me wonder who they think they’re kidding. And, again, the bonus is higher on Sapphire Reserve than the co-brand card!

    AFAICT, most of the Chase co-brand cards are now only good for the sign-up bonus. I’ve cancelled all of them so I can requalify for that in the future. Everything they’ve been doing is just encouraging churn, which can’t be good for business.

  9. Going forward, in 2018, if you re-qualify with 55 nights, do you still have to stay for an extra 5 nights to get that free night certificate, Gary?

  10. @ Gary – minor correction: free cat. 1-7 night for Diamond->Globalist transition has a 12-month expiration, unlike the future cat. 1-7 awards. It still can’t be upgraded via DSU, AFAIK. 🙁

  11. Hyatt was hands down my favorite chain, and my wife’s also. Now not so much, I am not an “Explorist” now and I was a Diamond before and that made it my favorite. I checked Hyatt locations first every time I travelled before, but having no chance of hitting top tier makes it not worthwhile. I’m not worrying about Hyatt stays any longer and will look for other options.

    I have the Hyatt card now, but the benefits are so low I’m not sure it is staying around. Other than the free night it is not worth using or having. I will keep for now, but not sure long term that it will have a place any longer in my collection.

    Hyatt program has definitely gotten worse, by a lot in my eyes anyway. Hyatt does not care though and that is obvious.

  12. Deleting comments asking if you are getting paid to pedal this bull crap makes it even more obvious that you are getting paid to promote this hot diaper full of curry diarrhea that is WOH.

  13. @DCS — no it’s someone to take care of your confirmed (!) suite upgrades with a single email, watch and adjust rates for you, construct complex bookings with multiple rates in a single reservation…

  14. @J. I don’t delete comments unless they run afoul of some pretty conservative criteria I’ve written about. It’s possible your comment went into the possible spam queue, e.g. if you were deciding to comment under a different name than you usually do. Then I have to affirmatively approve them. And I’ve been out at meetings all day, just now going through the comments on the plane….

  15. I am not really happy about the change, but for some reason the thing that really bothers me is the 120 day expiration. Spend $20k and you get 120 days to use your free night? Can’t help but feel cheated by that. I was considering spending 20K this year, but not anymore.

  16. “Everyone that gets transitioned to Globalist in March (even someone with just 25 stays this year) will receive a free night valid at any Hyatt property with no category restriction.”

    I believe those who get transitioned to Globalist in March due to qualifying for Diamond by the end of December 2016 don’t get this benefit nor the concierge, right? (But we still get the other benefits of Globalist in March)

  17. Some say that Hyatt is focusing on their best customers. That’s me. I fail to see the enhancement for me. I already have a personal concierge. Losing the 1,000 amenity per stay will cost me about 35,000 points. They are giving me a free night for a 1-4 category hotel. Useless. Then a free night for any category that quickly expires. Stupid. I don’t plan my vacations around Hyatt’s timetable. The ad – nice but nothing there to make me want to stay at a Hyatt. I feel bad about one thing. I am really close to Diamond for life. Now I will never make it. I’m out.

  18. @Joyful Traveler – bear in mind that only several hundred customers had private line agents, fewer than 2% of diamond members I believe.

  19. I have been a Platinum in the past solely by having a United Club Card. I just got an email saying I am now a “Member.” Do I need to reactivate something or am I just out of luck?

  20. You are my favorite travel blog I am curious though to know what Hyatt has offered each of you bloggers to copy and paste this story? It is identical to OMAAT and MMS so clearly this was a marketing ploy by Hyatt in order for full transparency I think you each should make readers aware that you were paid in some sort for posting this story even as far as telling us what it was that you were paid… how else can we trust your future comments on brands?

  21. @Tammy the TOPIC may have been the same thing but the words are very much not copy and paste, at least I can promise you that (1) I wrote it myself, and (2) any copy and paste was in terms of benefits and from an earlier post I wrote on World of Hyatt.

    It’s timely now since we’re just days away from the program changes, and Hyatt sound out a press release with their new commercial. So I shared my take on the commercial, the charitable stuff they’re doing, and recapped what happens on March 1.

    Doesn’t surprise me if Lucky had a similar take (I did not read his post on this, or the post at Million Mile Secrets).

  22. Gary, I see you haven’t denied being asked (or paid) by Hyatt to write something positive on World of Hurt. Are you in a position to do so?
    And how do you genuinely think the suite upgrades (when available) will actually play out in reality? Will Globalists get it or are hotels going to weasel out of it?

  23. @Josh I have not been paid by Hyatt. Period. (Ever.) Full disclosure — which I’ve shared publicly on the blog before — Jeff Zidell bought me lunch once in 2012, and I attended a media event in Chicago where lunch was provided as well.

    As for upgrades, I’m sure it will vary, some hotels will readily provide suite upgrades and some hotels will weasel out of doing so. We’ll have to wait and see in order to learn the proportion of each.

  24. Does this mean that a Hyatt credit card holder can *buy* their way to Globalist with $100k in card spending?

  25. “connect the benefit to celebration of the accomplishment.” That is so classic it should be in the hotel loyalty hall of fame. It’s also a deal breaker for me. If I was in charge of Hyatt Loyalty I’d be worried right now. It seems the old level at 25 nights was way too easy to get but they have gone the other direction making it much harder, with a limited, footprint. In addition who books a reward night that close. Heck I have business bookings further out than that. Sorry I sound negative. I really want to love Hyatt and move my loyalty there but I just can’t under these conditions.

  26. Very disappointed. I just discovered I am a “Discoverist”, a demoted Hyatt Card owner.. needless to say I am cancelling my Hyatt card and focusing on other Hotel chains… been a hyatt member since 199X… its a hollowed out program.

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