World of Hyatt is my favorite hotel loyalty program, and I find top-tier Globalist status to be incredibly valuable. However, I realize I don’t talk much about World of Hyatt’s mid-tier elite level, Explorist status, so I wanted to take a closer look at that in this post.
How to earn World of Hyatt Explorist status
You can earn World of Hyatt Explorist status through hotel stays, credit card spending, or a combination of both. Let’s take a look at what’s required.
Earning Hyatt Explorist status with hotel stays
World of Hyatt Explorist status can be earned with hotel stays in one of the following ways:
- By earning 30 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year; revenue and award stays count toward this
- By earning 50,000 elite qualifying points in a calendar year; you ordinarily earn 5x base points per eligible dollar spent at a Hyatt, so this requires the equivalent of $10,000 of Hyatt spending
The elite requirements for Explorist are exactly half the requirements of Globalist, whether earning the status with elite nights or elite qualifying points.
Earning Hyatt Explorist status with credit cards
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) offers five elite nights annually just for having the card, plus two elite nights for every $5,000 spent; the $5,000 total keeps accruing, and doesn’t reset at the end of the calendar year
- The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review) offers five elite nights for every $10,000 spent per calendar year
As you can tell, spending $65,000 on the World of Hyatt Card would earn you Explorist status (since you’d earn 31 elite nights), while spending $60,000 on the World of Hyatt Business Card would earn you Explorist status (since you’d earn 30 elite nights).
Now, I wouldn’t recommend spending your way all the way to status, but rather I’d use Hyatt’s co-branded credit cards to supplement the stays you’d otherwise organically make.
World of Hyatt Explorist status perks & benefits
With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of World of Hyatt Explorist status? Below are the benefits, roughly in the order that I value them.
Room upgrades (excluding suites & club rooms)
World of Hyatt Explorist members receive room upgrades subject to availability at check-in, excluding suites and rooms with club access. So you can expect that you’ll receive the best non-suite, non-club room at the hotel.
Hyatts are pretty good about proactive upgrades, and in some cases you may even find that hotels go above and beyond, and occasionally upgrade Explorist members to suites (but don’t count on it).
Guaranteed 2PM check-out
World of Hyatt Explorist members receive guaranteed 2PM check-out. Note that this is subject to availability at resorts. While 4PM check-out would be better, at least there’s a guarantee associated with the late check-out.
20% World of Hyatt bonus points
World of Hyatt members ordinarily earn 5x points per eligible dollar spent at Hyatt properties, including for room rates and incidentals. World of Hyatt Explorist members receive a 20% points bonus, which is an extra 1x points per dollar spent.
Unfortunately Hyatt has a pretty weak program when it comes to elite points bonuses, so this isn’t terribly exciting. For that matter, Globalist members “only” receive a 30% points bonus.
MGM Rewards Gold status
World of Hyatt has a partnership with MGM Rewards, and as part of that there’s status matching available between the two programs. World of Hyatt Explorist members can receive MGM Rewards Gold status, which offers some solid perks at MGM properties, including room upgrades, waived resort fees, and more. How valuable that benefit is depends on how often you go to Las Vegas.
Premium in-room internet & bottled water
All World of Hyatt elite members receive premium Wi-Fi, plus bottled water in the room. This probably isn’t anything to get too excited about, but it’s better than nothing.
Elite check-in counter
All World of Hyatt elite members receive access to the dedicated elite check-in counter, for the hotels that offer that. Unfortunately availability and enforcement of the line isn’t consistent, but if there is a line for elite members, you can use it.
World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards program
The Milestone Rewards program is an awesome aspect of World of Hyatt, as it offers rewards for every 10 elite nights you rack up in a calendar year, up to 100 elite nights. This program offers all kinds of valuable perks, ranging from club access awards, to suite upgrade awards, to free night awards.
Just to give a sense of what you can expect:
- At 10 elite nights you receive entry-level Discoverist status
- At 20 elite nights you receive two club access awards
- At 30 elite nights you receive two more club access awards, plus a Category 1-4 free night award
- At 40 elite nights you receive 5,000 bonus points or a $100 Hyatt gift card
- At 50 elite nights you receive two suite upgrade awards
There are tiers beyond that, but that starts to get into the Globalist status range.
As you can tell, the benefits here really stack up. For example, at 30 elite nights you’ll have earned four club access awards, each of which can be used to access a hotel’s club lounge for a consecutive stay of up to seven nights.
I’m not listing this last because I think it’s the least valuable perk, but rather because the value varies based on your exact stay patterns.
Is World of Hyatt Explorist status worth it?
While I’m a fan of World of Hyatt and really appreciate Globalist status, I think Explorist status is rather lackluster by comparison. I appreciate that Explorist status offers upgrades to the best non-suites and guaranteed 2PM check-out. I also think the Milestone Rewards program offers quite a bit of value.
There are two main areas where the program is weak, in my opinion:
- Unlike mid-tier status with other major hotel groups, you can’t simply get this by having a credit card; it requires a significant number of hotel stays, and/or quite a bit of credit card spending
- In theory earning four club access awards is great, as it could get you up to 28 nights worth of club lounge access; the major issue is that most Hyatt-family properties don’t have club lounges, and even properties that have lounges largely haven’t reopened them since the start of the pandemic
I think the club access awards would be much more valuable if they could also be used for complimentary breakfast at properties that don’t offer a club lounge. It doesn’t seem fair that elite members are penalized when hotels choose not to have club lounges, and/or choose to keep them closed.
Purely in terms of the relative value of Explorist status:
- You can earn Hilton Honors Gold status just for having a mid-range credit card, and that offers perks like a daily food & beverage credit, or complimentary breakfast; you can even earn top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status just for having a credit card
- Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status requires 50 elite nights per year, but you can earn 30 elite nights per year just by having a personal and business Marriott credit card with no spending requirement; that means you only need to stay 20 nights to earn the status, and that gets you perks like suite upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and more
- You can earn IHG One Rewards Platinum status just by having the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) or IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review), or you can earn top-tier IHG One Rewards Diamond status by spending $40,000 on either card in a calendar year
My point is simply that for savvy consumers, I think it’s either worth going for World of Hyatt Globalist status (where the perks are actually awesome), or with a program that requires less effort to earn status, but still offers strong rewards.
Explorist is World of Hyatt’s mid-tier elite status, which requires earning either 30 elite nights or 50,000 elite base points in a calendar year. The status offers perks like (non-suite) room upgrades, guaranteed 2PM check-out, 20% bonus points, and access to the Milestone Rewards program. Milestone Rewards could get you free night awards, club lounge access, and more.
While the status no doubt offers some perks, it pales in comparison to World of Hyatt Globalist status, and I also think some other programs make it easier to earn status with credit cards, all while offering benefits that are at least as good.
To World of Hyatt Explorist members, what has your experience been like?