Hyatt Improves Globalist Suite Upgrade Award Expiration Policy

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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

Earn Hyatt points

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

Bottom line

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?

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  1. Hear anything about GSU’s earned in 2017?

    Mine are still showing as expiring November 2018 (ie no good for end of year vacation) while one I earned later (5th one) does a February 2020 expiry?

  2. Love being a globalist. They treat you right when you check-in. Availability on award stays is good and the suite upgrades – brilliant. I have two coming up on Buenos Aires and London. Both upgrades are to suites that retail between $300 more, per night, than standard rooms. Since I’m staying four nights on each, that a great perk.

    Starwood – gold – they treat you like a regular customer.

    Hilton – Diamond – not as good as a globalist but they do recognize you a bit.

    Overall Hyatt is the best, by a country mile.

  3. I think the other major change World of Hyatt should consider is giving the option to use the Explorist Club Access awards for free breakfast at properties that don’t have a club lounge, since many of the Hyatts I’d want to stay at on vacation don’t. If they fixed that I’d say it would be an all-around pretty solid program by current standards.

  4. This is a great move but gonna create a lot of confusion and frustration with Globalists who see the news and expect their existing TSUs to be extended only to find out it doesn’t apply to their previously earned ‘17 TSUs. I’m also in a gray area as I have two extra TSUs that I earned in 2017 but didn’t select until 2018 but yet it seems those haven’t been extended either. Love the move but it should be fully retroactive rather than partially retroactive.

  5. I am pleasantly surprised to see that the Club Access awards for Explorist have been extended as well! This is not as major as Globalist confirmed suite upgrades, but another helpful change none the less.

  6. Wish they reinstated Globalist welcome amenity. It seems a minor thing yet sets the mood for the whole stay.

  7. I agree. It is nice to see these changes that are customer/guest focused. However, you pointed to a very big hole in their program. No promotions. The last one I was a part of, was staying for 25 nights and receive and additional 75,000 points. It was a large ask, but a large get as well. I did it and got my 75,000 and it made me more loyal to Hyatt. These promotions are something hotel guests pay attention and keeps them coming back to their websites to check status, other promotions, room availability and the like. Without any EXTRA reason to check the website, I will go elsewhere for places to stay.
    They also no longer give a welcome amenity as a choice of benefits when you check in. That was a huge factor in me choosing to stay with them. Normally I would have 15+ nights by now, but as of today, I have one “free night certificate” stay, while I am almost at SPG Platinum level again.
    Thankfully I will be a Globalist until Feb 28, 2019 and will take full advantage of that at the Park Hyatt Maldives in February, but after, that who knows?
    Additionally, it is more difficult to attain Globalist with nights only instead of nights or stays. If anything they could have split the difference and increased the number of stays by 10 or so instead of taking them away, it would have helped those of us that don’t get to 60 nights at one property. I actually love the Hyatt properties, but there are not enough of them to ask us to stay 60 nights to get Globalist status when there are so many other choices around.
    I had a good few years, but unless something changes, I will be Diamond with Hilton and Platinum with SPG through at least Feb of 2020.

  8. While these changes are positive, you miss the largest issue with World of Hyatt- they substantially raised the number of nights (from 25 stays to 60). As the Hyatt footprint is small, this is a very high bar. In addition, in my opinion their move to include $$ just doesn’t line up with the fact that the majority of hotels they are opening are low end Hyatt Place and Hyatt House. The changes are still hugely disappointing for most of us who travel to non Hyatt locations- like most of Europe.

  9. Some Hyatts never make it a point to upgrade Globalist. We stayed regularly at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo but never once received proactive upgrade from them. We are uncomfortable to “ask” for a privilege which comes with one’s (Globalist) status thus always take the room as assigned. How should we feel? What is Hyatt doing to ensure properties do utmost for their WOH members?

  10. I like the benefits of being Globalist, there’s no question about it. My wife recently stayed at the Grand Hyatt in NYC on points. When we checked in at the Globalist line, which was not busy compared to the hoards of people checking in regularly, we were immediately greeted by a very friendly and professionally trained Hyatt personnel. She quickly said those magic words, “Let’s see what I can do for you”! We were upgraded, on points, to an executive corner suite; which was sweet and VERY appreciated! Last year we vacationed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Resort in Scottdale at Gainey Ranch and again we were upgraded to a suite. The suite in Scottsdale was a two room suite, like they are at many of their older properties it’s a room next to a standard room separated by a door. I love them! I agree with most that it still takes too many damn nights to achieve “Globalist” status, and I detest the name “Globalist”. What was wrong with “Diamond Member”? If Hyatt would reduce the number of nights, that would be so beneficial. Many times I stay in Marriott properties in smaller cities that don’t offer ANY Hyatt property. But Hyatt’s benefits for their top tier customers are head and shoulders above Marriott’s benefits and treatment of their top tier customers. I’m Premier Platinum with Marriott and they’ve NEVER offered a suite upgrade to me on points at a full service Marriott or resort. Never.

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