Does Incidental Hotel Spending Earn Hyatt Points?

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

Here’s a rabbit hole I’ve found myself going down lately. I wanted to share what I’ve learned, including why I’ve had to follow up after the fact for many of my Hyatt stays lately.

Just to be clear upfront, I’ve had similar experiences with other hotel groups, but I’ve found myself staying primarily at Hyatts recently, which is why this post is focused on World of Hyatt.

Does incidental spending at Hyatt hotels earn points?

There’s often confusion about what hotel spending qualifies for points accrual. For example, World of Hyatt offers 5x base points per dollar spent, but what spending qualifies? We know that room rate does, but what about dining or drinking in the hotel restaurant, or parking, or pet fees, or excursions, or resort fees?

In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points for your room rate, you can also earn World of Hyatt points for eligible incidental charges. The World of Hyatt terms & conditions note that eligible incidental charges vary depending on the hotel, but generally include:

  • Resort & destination fees
  • Additional cleaning fees
  • Spa, food, beverage, and lounge expenditures (except at outlets not operated by the hotel or resort)
  • Other charges, such as laundry, dry cleaning, and telephone calls

It’s also noted that points will not be awarded for alcoholic beverage purchases in certain jurisdictions and countries, and at certain properties.

In other words, my interpretation is that the only major categories of hotel spending that consistently shouldn’t be eligible to earn points are taxes, tips, and perhaps excursions and other arrangements booked through the hotel but provided by a third party.

Spending at Hyatt restaurants should count as eligible spending

Are Hyatt hotels posting incidental charges correctly?

Let me first share why this matters to me — I’m living in hotels full-time at the moment, and I’m working my way towards lifetime World of Hyatt Globalist status. Lifetime Globalist status is based on earning one million base points, so it’s purely revenue based.

If I’m going to be spending money with Hyatt, then I’d sure like that spending to qualify towards my lifetime status in line with the terms & condition.

From the loyalty program’s perspective, rewarding incidental spending also makes sense. Whether logical or not, I’m much more likely to spend money at a hotel if I know I’m being rewarded for it, since I view earning points as being the equivalent of some sort of discount, based on my valuation of the particular currency.

Given that spending at Hyatts has become the biggest part of my budget, I’ve been a lot more diligent in checking the folios with each stay to see how points posted. Unfortunately I’m finding that I’m pretty consistently not earning as many points as I think I should.

Upon check-out you can immediately tell for how much spending you’ll earn points. The bottom of the folio lists the “eligible spend,” which is the amount that will be multiplied by five to determine how many base points you’ll earn (the “redemption eligible” section is if you want to redeem points with Hyatt’s dining & spa awards).

Just to give a couple of examples:

  • At one hotel my “eligible spend” was less than the pre-tax room rate, and didn’t include any of the incidentals
  • More often than not I’ve found that I don’t earn points for incidental spending, ranging from dining and drinking at hotel restaurants, to pet fees, to room service

Points largely aren’t posting correctly for incidental spending, in my experience

So, what’s the solution?

I can’t quite figure out where the disconnect is here:

  • Are hotels intentionally categorizing things as non-eligible so that they don’t have to pay to award points?
  • Is there something happening on World of Hyatt’s end that’s causing points not to post correctly?
  • Is this simply an oversight because no one brings this up?

I find the World of Hyatt program to operate in good faith, so I don’t think this is intentional or malicious on the part of the program.

The issue as a member here is how vague the terms are:

  • The spirit of the terms about spa, food, beverage, and lounge expenditures qualifying as eligible spending seems pretty straightforward, but then why is this consistently an issue?
  • Points aren’t awarded on alcoholic beverage purchases in “certain jurisdictions and countries” and “at certain properties,” so what are those?
  • The terms state that eligible incidental charges “vary depending on the hotel” and “generally” include certain things, but that leaves the matter very open-ended

I brought this to the attention of a Hyatt contact (who is always super helpful and responsive), and here’s the response, in part:

Assisting members with any program issues is a great service provided by My Hyatt Concierge representatives for those members that meet the Milestone Reward qualifications. For all other members, we encourage them to contact World of Hyatt via the nearest Global Contact Center, chat or email – these inquiries are typically solved within 7 days of checkouts.

To understand properties with restaurant and spa outlets that participate in World of Hyatt earning and redemption, we encourage members to learn more about our Dining, Spa and More offering here.

Please keep in mind that all outlets at each property may not participate and recommend confirming eligibility with the hotel. If staying at the hotel as a registered guest, it is always best to charge dining and spa to the folio for the most seamless way to ensure credit from participating dining & spa outlets is received. Additionally, all folios indicate eligible charges.

Where does that leave me?

  • When I’ve had discrepancies I’ve emailed My Hyatt Concierge, and I’ve had my issues addressed quickly, and points adjusted; note that not all Globalist members get access to My Hyatt Concierge, but rather this is tied to the Milestone Rewards program
  • When I’ve asked at the front desk of hotels whether an outlet is eligible for earning World of Hyatt points, I’ve sometimes gotten blank stares, and I’ve sometimes been told yes, only for spending not to post as being eligible

To be clear, I only follow-up in situations where there’s a significant discrepancy. If there’s a difference of a few dollars (or even tens of dollars) I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, but if we’re talking about significantly more than that, I do think it’s worth following up.

Always check your folio to make sure points have posted correctly

Bottom line

While hardly the most pressing issue facing the world today, I figured I’d share what I’ve learned in the past few months about Hyatt awarding points. In theory you’re supposed to earn World of Hyatt points for a vast majority of your incidental Hyatt spending. Unfortunately I’ve found that there are some systematic issues, and at least in my experience, I’m not usually earning World of Hyatt points for a majority of my incidental spending.

Ultimately I solve this by contacting My Hyatt Concierge, and then it’s sorted out fairly painlessly. However, it sure seems like this is a bigger issue that could be addressed, as there’s clearly a disconnect between how things are supposed to work and how they actually work.

If nothing else, this is a reminder to always check your folio and make sure you’re earning (roughly) the right number of points for a stay.

What has your experience been with correct points posting for incidental spending at Hyatt hotels (or for other hotel loyalty programs, for that matter)? If you haven’t paid attention until now, take a look at some of your past folios, because I’m curious how widespread this issue is.

  1. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Just checked out of the Grand Hyatt Buckhead yesterday morning, printed the folio at check-out to make sure charges were applied/deleted (e.g. globalist free breakfast, parking, etc.) but didn’t look the earned points. Last night I looked at the earned points and it was waaayy off. I thought I may have been calculating something wrong but now I realize I’m not going crazy. Thanks for this post.

  2. Ditto, with Hyatt Regency in Aruba – very frustrating. It happened once before at Andaz mayakoba. This is one area where the otherwise excellent Hyatt program fails badly.

  3. I think my basic rule is to always ask for a paper receipt, from both the hotel and the place where you incurred the subsequent charge, and if there’s no space to write down your loyalty account number on the receipt from the place where the extra charge was incurred, write it in white space. Then try to reverse engineer how the loyalty program calculated the number of points you were awarded. Parking is the worst.

    The issue is that some of those restaurants/spas/parking lot etc aren’t run by the hotel and the staff who ensure your loyalty account number is associated with the charges so you get points don’t always do a thorough job (even if you write down your loyalty account number).

    Usually my problems come when I am staying at a hotel and either incur charges at a different hotel or the room is in a different person’s name and I decide to pay separately (it’s complicated to explain why this happens). Hyatt once asked me to email them a picture of the receipts from the restaurant I ate at. Marriott just gave me the points from some drinks I ordered at a bar like 6 months after I actually ordered them, and they somehow also gave me a night’s credit stayed at the hotel even though I was staying somewhere else. No experience with Hilton.

  4. I think Hyatt points posting is uniquely bad. I stayed at a Small Luxury Hotel in January; I booked an eligible rate directly through Hyatt’s app. Nothing posted at all. I filled out a request for missing stay credit — twice — no response. I called the call center multiple times and was told someone would look into it and get back to me; supposedly they opened a ticket for resolution. No response. I am Marriott Titanium and started staying with Hyatt a bunch this year under the promotion they ran and earned globalist. That hasn’t helped me get this resolved at all.

    Very disappointed with what a poor job Hyatt does actually posting the points members have earned. I think this is a major respect in which Hyatt does not keep its promises.

  5. Great post and very helpful- I’ve had issues like this at resorts (ie spending several hundred or thousands on incidental spend, to get far less points than I should). Frustrating, but I appreciate you looking into!

  6. Stayed at Bahaha Mar for 7 days, we had over $2,500 in incidental charges but only $750 was eligible for points. When I called Hyatt, I was told most restaurants/shops/outlets are “not operated by hotel” and therefor not eligible for points.

  7. To say Hyatt hotel bills have been posting incorrectly would be an understatement. Every bill has been a fight. The eligible charges have never posted correctly for me when I have multiple food and beverage purchases . It took constant calls bank and forth to Hyatt to prove I didn’t drink $150 worth of alcohol for lunch at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe (which does not credit points for alcohol ). It’s my big gripe against Hyatt .

  8. This is interesting, I was just thinking about this also. I was just at Hyatt’s Alila Ventana Big Sur (Beautiful property, and a great stay, btw. Also saw some “familiar faces”).
    As a points stay at a meals- inclusive property, there were no actual room or food charges. I did add some extra gratuities and some spend on alcohol and had zero points for the stay despite this spend.

    So I did a little digging, and I believe that in some states, you cannot earn “rebates” or incentives on alcohol, so no points there. I haven’t fact checked this yet, but an initial web search suggests that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Oregon don’t allow points on alcohol- so since my only charges were alcohol, tips, and tax, my zero points rewarded makes sense.
    I also stayed at the SFO Grand Hyatt and the points were appropriately awarded for the stay and food, but again not for alcohol.
    Interestingly, I did find a receipt for an older stay in Indianapolis which also awarded points for room charges and food, but not alcohol. Other stays I checked all seem about right. I do agree that it takes a little “archaeology” to figure out what charges you’ve actually earned points for on a stay, tho….

  9. Learned about the alcohol exclusion from some locales in a tough way after a gals trip to the Baha Mar where 50% of our room charged incidentals were alcohol and excluded

  10. So, from experience, I’ve found there is a bug in Hyatt’s implementation of Opera. Opera has 2 folio windows – one you see, which is your charges, and one that is hidden, which is the charges that get billed to Hyatt. The hotels move things like the breakfast charges to the hidden folio window, and they don’t earn points.

    However, what a lot of hotels do is post a negative adjustment on that folio to cover the cost of breakfast they are billing to Hyatt. Those charges negatively affect points earning. Or they do the adjustment on the primary folio, and the change doesn’t earn points on the taxes but the adjustment negatively earns on the taxes – so you end up with this situation where the “eligible spend” ends up less than the room rate because they comped breakfast/parking and the positive and negative charges don’t balance.

    This seems to happen a lot on non-standard rates (such as corporate rates) where they need to do manual adjustments vs the standard rate where it’s a globalist “package” and it just all works.

    What I do is I email my Hyatt concierge – the hotel sends a fully itemized folio to Hyatt when the points post, and the concierge can go and manually add up the eligible changes and adjust it. Really, really frustrating.

  11. Echo’ing several responses here…Luckily for me it was for my LAST stay during the 2x promo to earn Globalist…It has been a bit of a struggle though…Hyatt acknowledges that clearly something is wrong as I never received the Bonus Journey nights [3], and my “points earned” for the stay was -1-…1 point, for a 3 night paid stay booked through…

  12. Thanks for this post. I’m about to reach out to the Alila Ventana as I just recently checked out and did not receive any points on a significant spend at the spa. I also didn’t receive any points on alcohol and tipping similar to what @GC posted above.

  13. You do not earn points on incidentals at SLH hotels. I found out the hard way after booking a stay on points and spending over $5k on activities/F&B/spa. I was very disappointed when the points did not post and My Hyatt Concierge pointed out the tiny fine print on the Hyatt website that said that SLH incidentals did not count.

  14. @Alex I was told the same about breakfast etc credits affecting eligible spend. Hyatt has immediately fixed my issues.

  15. Must not be systematic at the Ventana big sur as I got points for my alcoholic beverages, the only charge I had on my award stay.

  16. I booked 2 rooms at a Hyatt Place recently (2 nights), but only got 2 elite nights on my World of Hyatt account. Should I be eligible for 4 or does Hyatt only let you collect nights for the one room you physically stay in?

  17. Thanks for looking up terms. I had always assumed F&B never counted towards base points, simply evidenced by the fact that they never post. As a result, I tend to avoid property spend whenever possible, since prices are absurdly inflated.

    If they fixed this situation, I would be tempted to spend more on property. But they would have to announce a fix rather than fix it behind the scenes and hope that properties comply because goodwill.

    My time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it chasing down benefits.

  18. I had same issue with my recent stay at Ventana Big Sur and wrote to my Globalist concierge. Here was response:

    “ hope you are well and having a great evening! The reason why the room charges did not post is because at Ventana Big Sur the charges are not eligible for points. Ventana Big Sur does not participate in the dining & spa credit. They are a property that has a lot of inclusions as part of the rate instead (whether paying with cash or points). After the inclusions that come automatically with the rate, they have the following notation:

    “Please note that spa services, retail, Alila Experiences, upgraded food offerings and alcoholic beverages–including our award-winning cocktails and wines from our 10,000-bottle cellar are available for a supplementary charge” but those charges are not eligible for points.”

    So it seems to be property specific and they can pick and choose. It was disappointing after staying on-site for a $600 couples massage that it didn’t count despite being a room charge. Definitely a first world problem but just lame and makes me not want to spend on properties unless there is no better option locally.

  19. This happens to me frequently and is my biggest gripe with Hyatt. I’m always having to review my folios closely, especially after stays using a Prive rate – the $100 property credit tends throws off their point accrual system even more than usual.

    The other problem is that when I contact my Hyatt concierge and eventually get the points that are due to me, it’s typically just as bonus points. Thus, I end up missing out on a bunch of base points.

  20. As a former Hyatt employee, I might be able to help. Any spending with third party vendors is not eligible. For example, if the restaurant is leased and not operated, it’s integrated with the hotel’s PMS, but is not eligible spend. Same with valet parking. If the valet is operated by a third party, you won’t receive points.

  21. Has anyone tried booking the cruises on lindblad? I feel like making a big expenditure like this one and somehow getting a limited amount of hyatt points seems like a risk. Wonder if anyone has any experience in this.

  22. Yawn… WoH just botched the accounting of incidental points, which is straightforward in mature programs, by having too many conditions for determining what qualifies as a valid incidental charge for the purpose of earning points, and trying to do it all in the foreground rather than in the background.

    In a mature program like Hilton Honors, any extra charges (i.e., those not part of the room rate) that appear on a member-guest’s folio are considered incidental charges and awarded points. Therefore, the only thing a member-guest needs to do is to make sure to “charge to my room” all extra spend associated with a stay at a participating Hilton hotel. If an expense or purchase cannot be charged to the room, then it is not an incidental charge and the guest knows it up front, allowing her to use a credit card that would maximize the points earned for the type of spend.

  23. I’ve noticed that at MGM Vegas properties that are booked through Hyatt, all food and beverage spending is counted at 5 points per dollar, including alcoholic beverages.
    This has happened to me on quite a few says and it’s a pleasant surprise since I’m used to 0 points for any alcoholic beverages charged to my folio and normal Hyatt properties.
    For all MGM Vegas properties there is the resort fee with SUCKS and I don’t think I’ve earned any points on that but definitely for drinks! I’m not sure if that’s a mistake but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth 🙂

  24. If you purchase a special package rate, like the bed and breakfast or double your points, how does that work? Are they counted as base points or bonus points?

  25. By Chat, is the Hyatt contact referring to Twitter/FB Messenger?

    But yeah I just noticed a globalist stay at Grand Hyatt Denver didn’t add up. Maybe it was the alcohol subtracting from it, though, it’s not clear from the bill.

  26. Same. Started running with Hyatt brands after trying and liking the Ziva/Zilara resorts. Never a problem with Hilton. Only the occasional problem with Marriott… But I’ve had to escalate every single stay with Hyatt. Reps try to be helpful but always defer to the hotel with vague discretionary language. Even post-stay, they are unable to tell me what qualified and what didn’t. The hotel then is usually helpful in adding the incidental points back. Never quite to the exact amount I assumed should be eligible. But as you pointed out, clarity is important. The net result for me is avoiding incidental spending at a Hyatt or at least operating under the assumption that I won’t get points. Which is a shame. Appreciate you highlighting the issue. Hopefully they fix it.

  27. For many years I was in Hyatt Gold Passport and reached the top tier but gave it up 10 years ago in favour of Hilton, IHG & Marriott programs.

    What I’m reading here is just appalling. A week ago after my 10 year hiatus I joined World of Hyatt but after reading the above, rather than chase any kind of status I just won’t use Hyatt at all.

    The best program for me has always been Hilton Honors easiest status and almost never any mistakes in points credits.

    Just drop Hyatt guys if it’s this difficult use the other 3 big chains instead.

  28. I just ran into this problem and found this highly relevant post. Stayed at Ventana Big Sur (some of you folks look familiar….) March 22 to 26. Did two of their excursions which were not cheap and go no credit with hyatt. But, we highly recommend the falconry experience. I made a rookie mistake and didn’t see the notation on the folio. Called Hyatt and after checking with a supervisor I was told that certain charges would not earn points but that I could send in a copy of the folio to an email address for further review. I’ll circle back when I get a response.

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