Hyatt replaced their Gold Passport loyalty program with World of Hyatt in March 2017. While the ways in which members could earn and redeem points remained the same, significant changes were made to elite benefits, branding, etc. Overall World of Hyatt didn’t seem to be terribly popular with Hyatt’s elite members, though the program has grown on me.
My frustrations with World of Hyatt
When the program was first launched I noted what I considered to be the biggest deficiencies as a Globalist member:
- World of Hyatt still wasn’t counting award stays towards elite status, even though virtually all of their competitors did
- World of Hyatt offered free night certificates as rewards, though they expired after just 120 days, which seemed awfully restrictive
- The four confirmed suite upgrades that Globalist members receive per year expired 12 months after they were issued, rather than at the end of the membership year; this penalized super frequent guests, and in some cases encouraged them to stay elsewhere, so that their confirmed upgrades were valid later in the year
The great news is that as of the beginning of this year Hyatt made two fantastic changes to their loyalty program — they started counting award stays towards status, and they extended the validity of many free night certificates from 120 days to 180 days.
Now they’re making that last change I was hoping for.
Globalist suite upgrades & Explorist club lounge passes are now valid longer
World of Hyatt Globalist members receive four confirmed suite upgrade awards per year (which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade at the time of booking for a stay of up to seven nights), and Explorist members receive four club lounge access awards per year (which can be used to confirm club access at the time of booking for a stay of up to seven nights).
Up until now these have only been valid for 12 months from when they’re issued, which is silly. Let me give an example. Let’s say someone usually spends 120 nights per year with Hyatt, and likes to plan a family vacation around Christmas way in advance every year (since that’s when you want to book for peak travel).
This member would typically requalify for status around the middle of the year, yet those suite upgrades would only be valid through the middle of the following year. That means a member with this kind of stay profile would never be able to confirm an upgrade way in advance for such a stay. That’s just silly, as it really encourages someone to push off requalifying for status, which is behavior a company would never want to encourage.
This is finally changing.
For 2018 and beyond, these awards (both suite awards and club awards) will be valid through the member’s tier expiration date at the time they are earned, as opposed to 365 days. This means that awards earned in 2018 will be valid through February 29, 2020.
As of today, eligible World of Hyatt members should see the extended expiration of their certificates reflected in their World of Hyatt accounts.
As part of this announcement, Hyatt says the following:
World of Hyatt was built around continuously listening to our members, and we heard a desire for more flexibility when it comes to award benefits. That’s why earlier this year we rolled out award nights counting toward tier status and extending the expiration period on free night awards, and now members will have even more flexibility when it comes to enjoying their well-earned rewards.
Usually when companies say they’re listening to feedback I dismiss it, but in this case they really are. It has been just over a year since World of Hyatt has been launched, and they’ve made changes to what I consider to be the three biggest downsides of the program.
Explorist club lounge passes will have better expiration policies
I’m very happy with World of Hyatt elite benefits now
I was initially resistant to World of Hyatt, because I really loved the Gold Passport program, and I feel like there were a few “gotchas” with World of Hyatt. However, with the recent changes to the program I’m a very happy camper, especially when you consider that Starwood Preferred Guest is going away in a couple of months.
What am I loving about World of Hyatt?
- I’ve had pretty good luck with the complimentary space available Globalist suite upgrades, but that’s also because there probably aren’t that many Globalist members visiting the Hyatt Regencies in Dushanbe and Tashkent
- I love being able to apply Globalist suite upgrade awards (confirmed in advance) to award reservations, which wasn’t previously possible
- It’s nice that Hyatt waives resort fees for all Globalist members on both paid and award stays, given that these fees keep becoming more popular
- I love that World of Hyatt is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, which makes it easy to redeem points efficiently while still requalifying for status
So as a top tier elite I’m a very happy camper.
At this point I’d say the biggest weakness of World of Hyatt is that they don’t have many promotions (then again, while Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest have promotions, they’re not exactly terribly lucrative) and also that their mid-tier status isn’t very compelling. But otherwise I’m a fan.
Suite at the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe
Well done, World of Hyatt. While I was skeptical about the program at first, I’m happy to see that they’ve made three genuine improvements to the program since it was introduced, without taking anything away. This change to the expiration policy of suite awards and club awards is a nice development.
How are you feeling about World of Hyatt now that they’ve made these changes, and given the future of Marriott and Starwood?