There are many perks I love about Hyatt’s top tier Globalist status, though arguably my single favorite perk is the suite upgrade awards that members receive. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how this benefit works.
This is especially useful to understand as many people are going for Globalist status with World of Hyatt’s reduced elite requirements for 2021. However, not everyone will be getting these suite upgrade awards.
What are Hyatt suite upgrade awards?
With World of Hyatt suite upgrade awards, members can confirm an upgrade to a standard suite at the time of booking for a stay of up to seven nights when booking an eligible rate. This is in addition to the standard upgrade benefit that’s available to Globalist members, which is suite upgrades subject to availability at the time of check-in.
To me this is such a spectacular benefit — while several hotel loyalty programs offer room upgrades subject to availability at check-in, World of Hyatt is the only program that offers suite upgrades that you can use to confirm an upgrade at the time of booking (Marriott Bonvoy’s suite night awards can confirm an upgrade up to five days out, and are capacity controlled).
Any frequent traveler can appreciate the significance of this — it allows you to lock in upgrades for the stays that matter most to you at the time of booking.
Earning Hyatt suite upgrade awards
World of Hyatt members can earn suite upgrade awards as part of the Milestone Rewards program:
- Earn two suite upgrade awards upon earning 50 elite nights or 80,000 base points in a calendar year
- Earn two additional suite upgrade awards upon earning 60 elite nights or 100,000 base points in a calendar year
- Earn an additional suite upgrade award for passing 70 elite nights, 80 elite nights, 90 elite nights, or 100 elite nights; at each threshold you have to select this in lieu of 10,000 bonus points
- World of Hyatt lifetime Globalist members receive four additional suite upgrade awards per year
In other words, those qualifying for Globalist with 60 elite nights receive four suite upgrade awards, while members can earn up to eight per year, should they earn 100 elite nights. However, those qualifying for Globalist status with 30 elite nights in 2021 wouldn’t automatically receive any suite upgrade awards.
Suite upgrade awards post almost immediately after a member reaches a particular threshold.
World of Hyatt members can earn up to eight suite upgrade awards per year
Redeeming Hyatt suite upgrade awards
While the process of earning suite upgrade awards is pretty straightforward, there’s a bit more nuance to redeeming them. So let’s cover this in a few parts.
What rates are eligible for suite night awards?
You can apply suite upgrade awards to any eligible paid rate (this includes Hyatt Privé rates) or eligible points redemption. The only type of stay that’s typically considered eligible that you can’t use suite night awards on is free night certificates, whether we’re talking a Category 1-4 free night certificate, Category 1-7 free night certificate, etc.
However, nights booked with free night certificates are eligible for complimentary suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in.
At what hotels can you redeem suite night awards?
Suite upgrade awards can’t be redeemed at the following properties:
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Park Hyatt Sydney, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Hyatt Regency Kyoto, Hyatt Regency Wichita, Hyatt Paris Madeleine, Hyatt Herald Square New York, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami, Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort, Hyatt Rosemont, Hyatt Regency Suites Atlanta Northwest, Hyatt Regency Lisle near Naperville, Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport Newport Beach, Thompson Seattle, Chicago Athletic Association, The Talbott, Hotel Revival Baltimore, Hotel Avatar, Hotel del Sol, Waterfront Hotel, Park South, The Laurel Inn, Hotel Kabuki, 50 Bowery, Alila Manggis, Studios at Alila Sminyak, Alila Villas Uluwatu, Ventana Campground, or Destination Residences or Hyatt Place hotels or resorts.
As you can see, Destination Residences and Hyatt Place properties are excluded, and then there’s a small additional list of properties not eligible for suite upgrade awards. This is primarily due to how few suites these properties have.
Furthermore, suite upgrade awards can’t be redeemed at Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) properties, since these aren’t managed by Hyatt.
You can redeem a suite upgrade award for up to one room per stay, so if you’re booking multiple rooms, you can’t apply those upgrades towards multiple rooms.
You can’t redeem suite upgrade awards at the Andaz Tokyo
Are there capacity controls on suite upgrade awards?
As long as a standard suite is available for sale you can use a suite upgrade award to confirm it. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it, given that there’s potentially quite an opportunity cost to a hotel for that.
How long of a stay are suite upgrade awards valid for?
Each suite upgrade award can be redeemed for a stay of up to seven consecutive nights at one hotel. Generally speaking a suite upgrade award can only be applied to a single reservation.
In other words, if you’re staying for a week at a hotel but have two separate reservations (let’s say four nights paid with points and three nights paid with cash), you wouldn’t be able to apply a single suite upgrade award to the whole thing. Similarly, if you have a single reservation for more than seven nights, you also couldn’t apply multiple suite upgrade awards, as you’d need to make separate reservations.
However, in some cases the hotel may be able to work with you.
Redeem a suite upgrade award for a stay of up to seven nights
What kind of suites are eligible for suite upgrade awards?
Suite upgrade awards can be used to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite, and each hotel has a different definition of that.
How do you determine what a standard suite is at a particular hotel? There are two options:
- Many hotels will list it directly on their website when you do a search — just look at room categories, and specifically for the one that says “this is a standard suite” in the description
- Not all hotels list this, in which case you’re best off calling Hyatt, and a representative can tell you what a particular hotel considers to be a standard suite
As long as a standard suite is available for sale over your dates, you should be able to apply a suite upgrade award for your stay.
How do you apply a suite upgrade award?
Unfortunately there’s no way to apply a suite upgrade award directly, but rather you’ll need to reach out to Hyatt to do so. You have a few options for that:
- Phone up World of Hyatt customer service
- Contact Hyatt on Twitter
- If you have a My Hyatt Concierge, they can help you
Note that even when your suite upgrade award is applied, your reservation through the Hyatt website or app might not actually reflect the updated room type — that’s normal, and nothing to be concerned about.
What is the expiration policy for suite upgrade awards?
Hyatt suite upgrade awards are valid for the year in which they’re earned, plus around 14 months. In other words, suite upgrade awards earned in January 2022 would be valid through February 2024.
Note that you have to actually stay by the expiration date (with the check-out date being prior to when the suite upgrade award expires), and not just make the booking by then.
Can you cancel a suite upgrade award request?
You sure can. For one, if you do end up canceling a booking where you used a suite upgrade award, it will be redeposited back into your account with the original expiration date.
Alternatively, you can cancel a suite upgrade award any time up until your arrival date, and you’ll be placed back into the original room booked.
You can always cancel a suite upgrade award request
My Hyatt suite upgrade award strategy
I’ll admit that I’m probably a bit too much of a suite upgrade award hoarder, since some of my suite upgrade awards typically end up being used sub-optimally at the very end of the year.
The challenge is that you have a finite number of suite upgrade awards, and it can be hard to predict what your travel will look for an entire year. In general here’s how I prioritize suite upgrade awards:
- How long am I staying? Ideally I use these for stays of at least four nights
- How much time would I spend in the room? Personally I value suites more when staying at a resort than when at a city hotel, since I’m more likely to spend time in my room at a resort
- How good is the standard suite at a hotel? At some hotels the standard suite is a small junior suite, while at others it’s a massive “full” suite
- What are the odds that I’d otherwise get a space available suite upgrade as a Globalist? Globalist members get suite upgrades at check-in subject to availability, and odds of that happening vary greatly by hotel based on how many other Globalist members there are, how many suites the hotel has, etc.
An upgrade at the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe was easy without a suite upgrade award
Hyatt’s suite upgrade awards program is probably my favorite aspect of Globalist status, and what most sets World of Hyatt apart from other loyalty programs. Being able to confirm suite upgrades at the time of booking for stays that matter most to me is something I value immensely.
Just for qualifying for Globalist status you could be looking at up to 28 nights per year in confirmed suites at the time of booking, which is pretty awesome. This is a benefit that has even become more valuable in recent years, since these can be used on award stays (which wasn’t previously the case).
What has your experience been with Hyatt suite upgrade awards?