I’m a big fan of Hyatt Gold Passport. Along with Starwood Preferred Guest, it’s one of my two preferred hotel chains. So when I notice negatives with Hyatt or Starwood, it’s often simply a function of me dealing with them most, so also being most likely to notice their shortcomings, at times.
One of my favorite things about Hyatt Gold Passport is that I find that they’re the best at managing expectations — they under promise and over deliver, in my experience. Hyatt is one of the smallest “major” hotel chains, so in many ways their loyalty program is what keeps me loyal to their hotels, since they don’t have anywhere close to the global footprint of Hilton, IHG, or Marriott.
But there’s no denying that over the past several months we’ve seen some inconsistencies in the Hyatt Gold Passport experience. I genuinely don’t think these inconsistencies are intentionally being done on a program level, but rather individual hotels are getting “creative” on an individual level, and perhaps there’s not enough being done to ensure they’re cooperating.
So what kind of “questionable” activities have we seen from individual hotels?
- “Basic rooms” intentionally being blocked; this was done by select hotels only selling basic rooms as part of packages and not as standalone rates, because that way they don’t technically have to make the rooms available as awards
- Diamond Suite Upgrades not being usable on Points + Cash rates, even though availability is supposed to be the same on paid rates and award rates
- A hotel closing an entire sections of the property, meaning no standard rooms are available, and therefore no free night availability
- A hotel seasonally opting to be a resort, so that they don’t have to honor Diamond late check-out benefits
Anyway, these are isolated incidents, in particular the last two. Though I’ve noticed basic rooms only being offered in packages at least a handful of times, and have been denied a Diamond Suite Upgrade on a Points + Cash rate more times than I can count (though after pushing back a bit I’ve always been able to make it work).
But here’s an interesting situation at one of the most popular properties that savvy Gold Passport members redeem points at — the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. And what’s going on here is clear as day… it’s not really a grey area.
Simply put, on many days the Park Hyatt Paris isn’t showing any free night availability, even though basic rooms are available for sale. This isn’t just a few dates, and this isn’t just a website glitch.
The standard rooms at this hotel are the Park Twin and Park Queen. However, on many dates (particularly in October) those rooms are available, yet the website doesn’t show award space.
I assumed this was a website glitch, so called the Diamond line to inquire about space. The agent said “hmm, it looks like a standard room isn’t available. Let me see how much a Park Queen would cost.” I responded with “oh, I thought the Park Queen was the standard room at this hotel.”
After being placed on hold she confirmed that the Park Queen was in fact the standard room, and put me on a further hold to see if she could open up the space. After about five minutes she came back and said she was able to “force” me into the room.
This isn’t a big deal for those in the know, who are aware that they can redeem their points as long as a standard room is available for sale. But presumably:
- Most people assume that the website is accurate when it comes to displaying award space, so would assume there’s no award availability when that’s what the website says.
- Most agents probably wouldn’t proactively offer to open space unless prompted to do so.
Ultimately these are still isolated incidents, though they certainly seem to become more and more common with Hyatt. Historically Hyatt has hands down done the best job of any hotel chain when it comes to getting individual properties to “buy into” the loyalty program and comply with published benefits. And while I think that’s still the case, situations like these are disappointing.
I’ll reach out to Gold Passport and see if they can clarify what’s going on here.
Have you experienced instances where Hyatt hasn’t offered award availability despite standard rooms being available?