Some significant changes have been announced to the World of Hyatt program. Whether or not they’re good or bad depends on the type of traveler you are, so let’s look at these details, starting with the bad news.
World of Hyatt increasing Globalist requalification criteria
The World of Hyatt program was launched at the beginning of 2017. Prior to that, Hyatt’s loyalty program was Gold Passport, and the top tier status was Diamond, which required 25 stays or 50 nights.
With the new World of Hyatt program, Hyatt requires 60 nights to qualify for Globalist status, or 55 nights to requalify for Globalist status.
Starting in 2020, Hyatt will require 60 nights to requalify for Globalist status. In other words, there will no longer be a reduced threshold if you’re requalifying rather than qualifying to begin with.
This is of course a negative change, though in fairness, Hyatt has arguably made it easier than ever before to earn status, in particular for those in the US:
- You get five elite nights per year just for having The World of Hyatt Credit Card
- You get a further two elite nights for every $5,000 spent on The World of Hyatt Credit Card
- As of 2018, award nights qualify towards status, which makes a big difference for many of us
- Hyatt has some cool new opportunities to earn elite nights, including by staying at Small Leading Hotels of the World properties, and soon by staying at Two Roads Hospitality properties, as Hyatt is in the process of acquiring the group
Obviously this is negative. I actually don’t think it’s unreasonable as such, as I do think the World of Hyatt program has improved overall, though:
- Adding five elite nights as a credit card benefit and then requiring five more elite nights to requalify for status a bit over a year later isn’t exactly cool
- The inconsistency is a bit frustrating — in 2016 a top tier elite needed 50 nights, in 2017 60 nights, in 2018 55 nights, in 2019 55 nights, and then in 2020 60 nights
World of Hyatt is introducing Milestone Rewards
World of Hyatt says that members have been telling them that they want to be “rewarded sooner and more frequently as they travel,” which is why they’re introducing the new Milestone Rewards program as of March 1, 2019.
Hyatt describes this as “an evolution of member benefits that rewards members for benchmarks achieved as they travel.”
Very big picture this means that you’ll simply be earning rewards at different thresholds than before. You’ll earn rewards in increments of 10 elite qualifying nights, all the way from 10 to 100 nights. As far as what this means for status:
- Nothing is being taken away from Globalist status, and quite to the contrary you’ll be earning an additional reward — the choice of 5,000 bonus points, a $100 Hyatt gift card, or the ability to save 10,000 points on a FIND experience
- Nothing is being taken away from Discoverist or Explorist status, and you’ll actually be able to earn club lounge awards without being an Explorist member, and you’ll be able to earn suite night awards without being a Globalist member
Park Hyatt St. Kitts
Hyatt Milestone Rewards details
The above is a big picture summary of what’s changing, though now let’s look at the rewards at each threshold:
World of Hyatt’s current elite tiers
Before I get into what these changes mean for those at every World of Hyatt elite tier, here’s a reminder of Hyatt’s current elite tier requirements:
- Discoverist status: 10 qualifying nights or 25,000 base points (equivalent to $5,000 of spend)
- Explorist status: 30 qualifying nights or 50,000 base points (equivalent to $10,000 of spend)
- Globalist status: 60 qualifying nights or 100,000 base points (equivalent to $20,000 of spend)
What Milestone Rewards mean for Discoverist members
As before, you receive Discoverist status just for having The World of Hyatt Credit Card. No benefits are being added or taken away for those who just barely qualify for Discoverist status.
However, “overqualifying” Discoverist members have the opportunity to earn more rewards.
At 20 qualifying nights, Discoverist members receive two club lounge access awards, each of which can be used to confirm a club upgrade. These were previously reserved for Explorist members.
Discoverist members will be able to earn club lounge access awards
What Milestone Rewards mean for Explorist members
One of the primary benefits of Explorist status is the four club lounge access awards, and that’s not changing. What changes is that you’ll earn two of these earlier, as you’ll earn two at 20 qualifying nights, and the remaining two at 30 qualifying nights.
Furthermore, there are some additional perks you can earn:
- At 40 qualifying nights you receive the choice of 5,000 bonus points, a Hyatt gift card, or the ability to save 10,000 points on a FIND experience
- At 50 qualifying nights you receive two suite upgrade awards, which were previously reserved for Globalist members
Explorist members will be able to earn suite upgrade awards
What Milestone Rewards mean for Globalist members
One of the primary benefits of Globalist status is the four suite upgrade awards, and that’s not changing. What changes is that you’ll earn two of these earlier, as you’ll earn two at 50 qualifying nights, and the remaining two at 60 qualifying nights. Note that in 2019 you’ll still receive the last two at 55 nights if you’re requalifying, based on the current criteria.
Furthermore, there are some additional perks you can earn:
- At 40 qualifying nights you receive the choice of 5,000 bonus points, a $100 Hyatt gift card, or the ability to save 10,000 points on a FIND experience
- As before, at 70, 80, 90, and 100 qualifying nights, you have the choice of either 10,000 bonus points or a suite upgrade award
Globalist members can receive an extra 5,000 points or $100 gift card
The timing of all these rewards
The timing of all of these rewards can be a bit confusing:
- Even though the Milestone Rewards program starts on March 1, 2019, activity starting January 1, 2019, will count towards earning Milestone Rewards
- You can’t “double dip” in the event that you pass any milestones before March; in other words, if you requalified for Globalist status by the end of February 2018 (by staying almost every night at a Hyatt) you’d earn your four suite upgrade awards, but it’s not like you’d earn an extra four in March
- The increased Globalist qualification criteria kick in starting in 2020, though in 2019 you’ll still be able to requalify with 55 elite nights
- As before, all club lounge access awards and suite upgrade awards will be valid for the entire remainder of the member year in which they’re earned, for the entire following year, and through February of the year after that (so if you earn two club lounge access awards in March 2019, they’d be valid through February 2021, for example)
The expiration of suite night awards and club access awards won’t be changing
My take on these changes
Obviously the increased requirement to requalify for Globalist status is disappointing, but hardly surprising. I really think Hyatt’s loyalty program is quite compelling at this point, and I’m a happy Globalist member. On the plus side, for earning Globalist status you’re looking at an extra 5,000 points or a $100 Hyatt gift card every year.
Beyond that, I really think what Hyatt did here is smart. One of the issues has long been that while Globalist is a valuable status, Hyatt struggled with offering compelling mid-tier status benefits. The program was almost only worth it if you went for Globalist.
I think it’s smart of Hyatt to add more rewards along the way, like being able to earn club access awards without being Explorist, being able to earn suite upgrade awards without being Globalist, etc.
I think the one risk with this new program is that it can be confusing. Are we supposed to remember what we’re earning at every tier? I guess the flip side of this is that perhaps it’s intentionally a bit confusing, in hopes of making members more engaged, checking the World of Hyatt website more often, etc.
What do you make of these World of Hyatt changes?