Guest of Honor is a benefit available exclusively to World of Hyatt Globalist members, and it’s one of my favorite perks offered by any hotel loyalty program.
In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how Guest of Honor works, and what makes it so useful.
What is Hyatt’s Guest of Honor benefit?
Hyatt introduced the Guest of Honor benefit in 2015, back when the loyalty program was called Gold Passport (rather than the new name, World of Hyatt).
The idea is simple — with Guest of Honor, World of Hyatt Globalist members are able to extend their elite perks to friends and families on award stays booked out of the Globalist member’s account. I love the concept behind this.
As anyone who spends a lot of time on the road knows, there are some stays that matter more to us than others. For most of us, the stays that matter most are those where we’re traveling with loved ones. Or heck, sometimes I care more about trips that my family takes where I’m not even there, since I want to be sure they have a great time.
With Guest of Honor you can extend virtually all of your elite benefits to anyone you choose, as long as the points or free night certificate come out of your account.
Extend elite benefits to friends & family with Guest of Honor
There are some things to be aware of when it comes to this perk:
- The Guest of Honor benefit is only available on free night stays (either outright free night bookings or stays booked with free night certificates), so it doesn’t apply on cash bookings or on Points + Cash bookings
- To take advantage of the Guest of Honor benefit, you need to book by phone, and inform the World of Hyatt representative that you’re looking to make a Guest of Honor booking
- All Globalist benefits apply on these stays, including suite upgrades subject to availability, complimentary breakfast, 4PM late check-out, waived resort fees, free parking, and more
- While World of Hyatt awards elite credits for award stays, Guest of Honor elite credits would go to the account of the person actually staying, rather than the World of Hyatt Globalist member who is making the booking
Enjoy room service breakfast at the Park Hyatt Paris with Guest of Honor
Hyatt Guest of Honor FAQs
The above are the very basics of Guest of Honor, though let’s go through some of the most frequently asked questions about this benefit.
Can you apply Globalist suite upgrades to Guest of Honor bookings?
Globalist members can earn suite upgrade awards through the Milestone Rewards program. Each of these can be used to confirm a suite upgrade at the time of booking for a single stay of up to seven nights.
You can’t apply suite upgrade awards to a Guest of Honor booking, though the booking is still eligible for a space available suite upgrade at check-in.
Can free night certificates be used to make a Guest of Honor booking?
They sure can! For example, the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at Category 1-4 hotels, and you can earn a second one if you spend $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year.
Both outright points bookings as well as certificate bookings are eligible for Guest of Honor benefits. So if you can’t use one of these certificates yourself, you can gift a loved one or friend a getaway with your benefits.
Use the Category 1-4 free night certificate at the Park Hyatt Saigon
Do you have to stay in conjunction with the guest?
You can use the Guest of Honor benefit either in conjunction with a stay you’re making (in other words, if you want to book a second room for family and friends), or you can use it to book someone independently for a stay they’re making without you.
Can you use the Guest of Honor benefit for multiple rooms?
Yep, you could book more than one room at the same hotel at the same time with Guest of Honor benefits, assuming you have the points.
Can you use a Guest of Honor booking on a paid stay?
Nope, Guest of Honor bookings only apply on free night redemptions. They don’t work on paid stays, or on Points + Cash stays.
Can a Globalist member apply Guest of Honor benefits to a stay not booked out of their account?
Nope, a Globalist member can only gift you a Guest of Honor booking if the points are coming out of the Globalist member’s account. A Globalist member can’t just call Hyatt and add benefits to a stay booked out of your own account.
Maximizing the Guest of Honor benefit
There are a few strategies you can use to maximize the Guest of Honor benefit:
Earn Globalist status more easily
The first step to being able to use the Guest of Honor benefit is to actually earn Globalist status. That’s easier than ever before right now, given that:
- For 2021, World of Hyatt has lowered the requirement to qualify for Globalist status to 30 nights
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card can help you with earning Globalist status, thanks to the elite nights you can earn
Just for having the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you receive five elite nights towards status annually, plus you can earn an additional two elite nights for every $5,000 you spend on your card. This means that if you wanted to, you could spend your way all the way to Globalist status.
In reality, I don’t recommend spending your way all the way to Globalist status, but rather would recommend doing so through a combination of credit card spending and actual stays. After all, what’s the point of Globalist status if you never actually stay?
Combine points between accounts
Hyatt lets you combine points between accounts at no cost. There are some catches, though:
- You have to fill out a points combining request form
- A World of Hyatt member can only take part in a points combining request activity once every 30 days (this includes gifting or receiving points)
- You can only combine points “in order to have a sufficient number of points to redeem a particular award”
The benefit here is that you could transfer World of Hyatt points to a Globalist member who is a friend or family member, and they could make a Guest of Honor booking for you.
However, that’s only possible if the Globalist member doesn’t have enough points in their account to book that on their own (since you can only transfer in order to have sufficient points to redeem for a particular award).
There’s nothing prohibiting this kind of activity, though personally, I wouldn’t make a habit of it for all your friends and family. In other words, Hyatt might take issue with this if you start making tons of bookings for other people since that’s not within the spirit of this.
Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards
One of the best complements to having status with Hyatt is the ability to transfer points to World of Hyatt from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Many of us use Ultimate Rewards cards for our everyday spending, so I think it’s a great asset to be able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points into a World of Hyatt account where you have status. Then you can redeem for yourself, or for friends and family.
Guest of Honor bookings aren’t always a good deal
Lastly, I just want to acknowledge that Guest of Honor bookings aren’t always a good deal. Keep in mind that these are only valid on free night redemptions, and those redemptions don’t always represent a great deal, especially at hotels that are highly seasonal.
Sometimes you can get outsized value from your points, like if you’re redeeming at the Alila Ventana Big Sur just about any time of year. This hotel can be booked for 30,000 points per night, while paid rates are consistently well over $1,000 per night.
Meanwhile redeeming 25,000 per night at the Royal Palms in Arizona in summer, when the paid rate would be about $203, is a significantly worse deal.
With a Guest of Honor booking you’d not only want to compare the cash cost to the cost in points, but also factor in how much you value the benefits. In some cases the value of the benefits may be considerable, like if you value parking, lounge access, breakfast, etc. While at other properties the benefits might not be as valuable.
World of Hyatt’s Guest of Honor feature is one of my favorite perks offered by any loyalty program. While I don’t use it all that often, I love the idea of being able to redeem my points for friends and family, and have them be treated the same way I’d be treated when staying at Hyatts. To me that’s the ultimate reward for loyalty.
It also makes me feel more loyal to Hyatt, and want to requalify for Globalist status. Then again, the program in general is doing an incredible job engaging members, and that goes way beyond this perk.
Have you ever used World of Hyatt’s Guest of Honor benefit? What was your experience like?