There are about to be a lot of very happy World of Hyatt members, as Hyatt has just announced some generous extensions of status, free night awards, and more. They’ve also extended their change and cancellation waiver.
Here’s what you need to know about this announcement from Hyatt:
Hyatt suspends forfeiture of points
World of Hyatt is suspending the forfeiture of points through December 31, 2020. Ordinarily World of Hyatt points expire after 24 months of inactivity (among the most generous policies in the industry), but even that won’t be enforced for the rest of 2020.
Hyatt points won’t expire for the rest of 2020
Hyatt extends elite status
World of Hyatt is extending all active elite status by a year. Current elite members have status through February 28, 2021, though that status will now be extended through February 28, 2022.
Whether you’re Discoverist, Explorist, or Globalist, your status will automatically be updated to reflect the new expiration date no later than April 15, 2020.
Note that this doesn’t do anything for those who had status that expired in February 2020 (in other words, those who didn’t qualify for status this year). This is clearly intended for those who are currently loyal to Hyatt.
Hyatt is extending elite status by a year
Why it could still make sense to earn status
While World of Hyatt is extending elite status, keep in mind that some elite perks are tied to Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards, which are based on how many elite nights you earn.
While your status will be renewed, you won’t be getting some of the additional benefits unless you at least earn a certain number of elite nights.
Here are the noteworthy Milestone Rewards:
- 20 qualifying nights or 35,000 base points: two club lounge access awards
- 30 qualifying nights or 50,000 base points: two club lounge access awards, plus a Category 1-4 free night award
- 40 qualifying nights or 65,000 base points: 5,000 bonus points, a $100 Hyatt gift card, or 10,000 points off a FIND experience
- 50 qualifying nights or 80,000 base points: two suite upgrade awards
- 60 qualifying nights or 100,000 base points: two suite upgrade awards, plus a Category 1-7 free night award
For example, if you’re an existing Globalist member your status would be extended through February 2022, but if you want to earn an additional four suite upgrade awards, an additional two free night certificates, a $100 gift card, and more, you’d need to still earn qualifying elite nights.
While Hyatt is already being generous here, my hope is that Hyatt lowers Milestone Rewards thresholds this year, or offers double elite nights for the rest of the year.
To me that would be smart business on their side, since it would encourage people to actually spend money on the World of Hyatt Credit Card, and to stay at Hyatt hotels.
If you want to earn additional suite awards you’ll still have to earn elite nights
Hyatt extends all earned awards
World of Hyatt is extending the expiration of many earned awards, including:
- Free night awards, whether earned through status, qualifying activity, or through Hyatt’s co-branded credit card
- Suite upgrade awards, which are issued to Globalist members
- Club upgrade awards, which are issued as a Milestone Reward
How are they being extended?
- If they were supposed to expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020, they will now expire on December 31, 2021; that’s right, they’re extending expiration by anywhere from 12 to 22 months
- All unused awards will be updated with the new expiration date by the 20th day of the month in which they were supposed to expire
- Awards that expired between March 1 and March 31, 2020, will be replaced with new awards on April 20, 2020
Unfortunately this means that the suite and club awards due to expire in February 2021 won’t be extended any further. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hyatt still extend those at some point.
All free night awards are extended through the end of 2021
Hyatt continues waiving change & cancellation fees
In addition to the above generous World of Hyatt changes, Hyatt is also extending their waiver of change and cancellation policies through June 30, 2020, for those who booked directly:
- All existing reservations (including advance purchase rates) for travel through June 30, 2020, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival
- New reservations booked through June 30, 2020, for any future travel date, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival; the only exceptions are Destination Residences, Special Events Rate reservations
Hyatt is continuing with their flexible cancellation policy
World of Hyatt is extending elite status by a year, and is also extending all free night awards through December 31, 2021. That’s an extremely generous policy, and I think Hyatt’s approach here is exactly right.
That being said, for many there will still be value in earning status the “hard” way, to get perks like additional suite upgrade awards for next year, additional free night awards, and more. Once things normalize, I hope we’ll see Hyatt offer double elite nights (or something similar), so that members can still earn Milestone Rewards.
In fairness, we also have to give credit to Hilton Honors, which several days ago extended status for all members by a year. Perhaps the distinction is that generally Hilton status is easier to earn.
What do you make of Hyatt’s status and award extension?