BREAKING: Hyatt Guts Loyalty Program, Now "World of Hyatt"

BREAKING: Hyatt Guts Loyalty Program, Now "World of Hyatt"

I jinxed it for everyone. Last night during a conversation with my girlfriend, I said of my Hyatt Diamond status: "It's definitely the most rewarding top-tier status, and it's not really that hard to get. I'm surprised they haven't changed it in a while!"

Sorry guys. I woke this morning to official word about changes that are coming to Hyatt's program -- which will soon be called "World of Hyatt" -- on March 1st, 2017.

Out with the old.

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To begin, let's go over the Hyatt Gold Passport program's current benefits and status levels:

  • Membership is the lowest level, which is given to members upon enrollment. You receive five points for every dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, no bonus points for status, and free standard internet.
  • Platinum is the middle level. It's achieved after five Hyatt stays or 15 nights, and it's currently given to Chase Hyatt cardholders as well. You receive five points for every dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, a 15 percent bonus on those points earned, premium internet, upgrades to a higher floor or premium room, 2 p.m. late check out, and a 72-hour guarantee of room availability.
  • Diamond is the top tier. It's achieved after 25 stays or 50 nights, and Diamond members earn five points for every dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, a 30 percent bonus on those points earned, premium internet, upgrades to the best room available, excluding suites, premium internet, 4 p.m. late check out, 48-hour guaranteed room availability, club lounge access, free breakfast for when there isn't a lounge, a special amenity on each stay, and four confirmed suite upgrade certificates per year.

In with the new.

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As you can see, there are currently a lot of benefits to being a top tier member, and not a ton for being a mid-tier member. I've felt there should be another level between Platinum and Diamond, and my business mind wondered why it was so easy to become a top-tier member in the first place.

Apparently, Hyatt was having the same thoughts. 2017's upcoming World of Hyatt program will have four membership tiers:

  • Regular members will still earn five points per dollar on all Hyatt spend, as well as free standard internet. They'll also receive one free bottle of water daily in the room (which I thought was a nice touch, as other programs offer this), and waived resort fees on all award nights.
  • Discoverist is the second tier, and is achieved after 10 nights or $5,000 in spend with the brand. This level will earn the five points per dollar in Hyatt spend, as well as a 10 percent bonus on those points, which comes out to 5.5 points per dollar. They'll also receive free standard internet, and a preferred room within the room type booked. They'll have the waived resort fees on award nights, and one bottle of water daily as well.
  • Explorist is the third tier, which is earned at 30 eligible nights or $10,000 in annual spend. Explorists will earn five points per dollar at Hyatt plus a 20 percent bonus on those points, which comes out to 6 points per dollar. Once a member reaches Explorist, they'll also receive a free Category 1-4 Hyatt Night Award, which is a great new perk. They'll get free premium internet, the best room available (excluding club rooms and suites), waived resort fees on award stays, one free bottle of water daily, a 72-hour room availability guarantee, and late checkout at 2 p.m.. Additionally, Explorists will be able to use four new "Club Lounge Access Awards" each year, on award nights or paid stays to access that lounge.
  • Globalist is the new top tier, which is earned after 60 eligible nights or $20,000 in annual spend. Globalists will earn five points per dollar, as well as a 30 percent bonus on those points, which comes out to 6.5 points per dollar. Once a member reaches Globalist level, they'll also receive a free Category 1-7 Hyatt Night Award, which is incredible! Additionally, they get free premium internet, upgrades to the best room available, including standard suites, waived resort fees on award stays AND paid stays, one free bottle of water daily, 48-hour room availability, late checkout at 4 p.m., club access for hotels with a club, free breakfast for two adults and two children in hotels without a club, and four confirmed suite upgrade stays of one to seven nights on award nights and paid nights. Finally, Globalists get free parking on award stays. After 60 nights, you'll have further tiers of 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights that you may accept an additional suite upgrade certificate or 10,000 Hyatt points.

What's good?

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If you're a big spender with Hyatt, or didn't have trouble making 60 nights a year, this is great news for you. You'll be getting two free nights (a category 1-4 night for making Explorist, and a category 1-7 night for making Globalist) each year you qualify, and standard suits will be a stated benefit if they're available at check-in. You'll also be able to use your suite upgrades now on award stays and you won't have to pay resort fees, ever, which is a huge perk. Whether you'll be able to get them waived at Hyatt's partner hotels operated by mLife in Las Vegas remains to be seen, though.

You'll also receive your own personal concierge to help you with reservations- more details forthcoming.

Another perk of the new system is that you can get free parking on award stays (not points + cash or paid stays), which is nice if you're on vacation in Hawaii and using your hard-earned points, or in an expensive city hotel like the Park Hyatt New York. You'll also have more bonus points (or another suite upgrade certificate) if you stay 70+ nights, up to 100 nights. Finally, and very importantly, it will only take 55 nights to re-qualify, so there's incentive to keep your status every year.

What's bad?

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Well, if you were like me, and qualified for top-tier status with 25 stays (rather than 50 nights), you've been washed out of this new program. You'll have to earn those benefits now! Suite upgrades are currently good for week-long stays, so a six-night cap is a slight devaluation. Members will no longer get the 2,500 bonus points if their lounge is closed during their stay, which was a hidden benefit in Hyatt's terms and conditions. Also, I'm no longer seeing the welcome amenity as a stated benefit, which is a huge miss for Diamond members. Previously, you received 1,000 points for checking into a full-service Hyatt, which took a big dent out of award stays or points and cash stays.

Also, formerly Diamond members won't be able to match to mLife Platinum status anymore. Now, Globalist members will be mLife Gold, which is still nice but doesn't help with awesome perks like skipping taxi lines, suite upgrades in Vegas, or buffett "skip the line" access.

So, what's happening if I currently have status?

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You'll continue to enjoy your status until February 28th, 2017. On March 1st, Hyatt will determine what new status you have.

Members who re-qualified for Diamond status for 2017 will receive Globalist status. Diamond members who didn't re-qualify for 2017 will receive Explorist status. Current Platinum members will receive Discoverist status. If you would have re-qualified under the new status rules for revenue spending, Hyatt will dig into your 2016 activity and assign the appropriate status level.

The bottom line.

The hotel industry is getting more and more competitive, as we've seen with Marriott and Starwood's recent merger. Hyatt wanted Starwood badly, so these changes are likely a reaction to the losing out on that deal. What's one thing I see in the future for Hyatt? They want to expand, and their interest in Starwood reflected this. Currently, Hyatt's footprint of only ~600 hotels globally makes it more difficult than other programs to "stay in the program" when traveling abroad. I mean, Hyatt has a tiny footprint in Europe, and an even smaller one in South America. I see an new acquisition from Hyatt in their future.

Will you be affected by the new Hyatt program? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.