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.
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).
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 150 elite nights. This program offers all kinds of valuable perks, ranging from club access awards, to suite upgrade awards, to free night awards, to Guest of Honor awards.
For every 10 elite nights you rack up in a year, you’ll receive new perks. Below is a chart showing the Milestone Rewards thresholds for 2024.
As it impacts Explorist members, here’s what you can expect (I’m not looking at any Milestone Rewards at 60 nights or above, because you’re Globalist at that point):
- At 20 elite nights, you could select two club access awards
- At 30 elite nights, you receive a Category 1-4 free night award, plus you could select two additional club access awards
- At 40 elite nights, you receive a Guest of Honor award, plus you could select one suite upgrade award
- At 50 elite nights, you could select two additional suite upgrade awards
As you can tell, the benefits here really stack up:
- Club access awards can each get you club access for a stay of up to seven nights; so with two of these awards you could get club access for stays of up to 14 nights, while with four of these awards you could get club access for up to 28 nights
- Suite upgrade awards can each get you up to seven nights in a standard suite, so if you earn 40 or 50 elite nights, you’re potentially looking at quite some time in a suite
- A Guest of Honor award offers Globalist perks for a stay, so adds even more value
This hugely enhances the value of Explorist status. While Explorist members don’t ordinarily get club access, breakfast, suite upgrades, etc., with all of these thresholds, you could potentially be getting those benefits on some stays.
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.
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.
Access to the American AAdvantage partnership
American AAdvantage and World of Hyatt have a partnership, offering reciprocal points earning opportunities. World of Hyatt elite members (including Explorist members) can earn one World of Hyatt point for every eligible dollar spent on American.
Since I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, think of this as an incremental 1.5% return on your American spending. For some people this will be worth almost nothing, while for those who are frequent American flyers, the value of this could really add up.
Is World of Hyatt Explorist status worth it?
I’d say World of Hyatt Explorist status is simultaneously uncompetitive and industry leading, depending on how you look at it.
Purely in terms of the published benefits, not accounting for Milestone Rewards, I’d consider it to be one of the weaker mid-tier status programs out there:
- 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
- The biggest ongoing published benefits include the best non-suites, and 2PM guaranteed check-out, and don’t include breakfast or club lounge access
Just to look at the relative value of Explorist status in terms of ability to earn perks with credit cards:
- 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, and you can earn this status just by having the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review), or you can earn 40 elite nights per year just by having a personal and business Marriott credit card with no spending requirement; this gives you access to perks like suite upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and more
- You can earn IHG One Rewards Platinum status just by having the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) or IHG One 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
However, the area where Explorist status is most valuable is when it comes to the Milestone Rewards program. All Explorist members who earn 30 elite nights receive a free night award, and have the ability to earn two club access awards. Then with incremental stays you can earn more club access awards, suite upgrade awards, and Guest of Honor awards, which can really enhance your Hyatt stays.
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, suite upgrade awards, Guest of Honor awards, 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. The exception is if you over qualify for status, as the Milestone Rewards program is lucrative.
To World of Hyatt Explorist members, what has your experience been like?