Several weeks ago, major changes were announced to the World of Hyatt loyalty program. These changes are live as of today, so I wanted to go over all the details, given the extent to which the program has evolved, especially with the ability to gift so many awards.
We’ve seen loyalty program devaluation after loyalty program devaluation (hi, Delta SkyMiles!), and we’re probably all a bit jaded at this point. The good news is that I’d consider these World of Hyatt changes to be genuinely positive, and well thought out.
Before I talk about what has changed, let me emphasize what is staying the same — there are no changes to World of Hyatt elite tiers, and no changes to earning or redeeming points. Instead, all these changes revolve around the Guest of Honor perk, as well as the Milestone Rewards program. Let’s get into all the details.
In this post:
Details of World of Hyatt Guest of Honor changes
World of Hyatt’s Guest of Honor perk is one of my single favorite elite loyalty program benefits out there. This allows any World of Hyatt Globalist member to redeem their points for friends and family, while extending them their elite perks. This is such a brilliant concept — many road warriors want nothing more than to ensure that their loved ones are treated well when traveling, and this perk takes care of that.
The Guest of Honor perk has been updated in a major way. There’s one negative change (which is needed), while the rest of the changes are positive.
Guest of Honor bookings are no longer unlimited
Through the end of 2023, World of Hyatt Globalist members could make unlimited Guest of Honors bookings for others. That has now changed. As of 2024, Guest of Honor bookings are limited, and are a perk of the Milestone Rewards program. Specifically, you can “earn” the right to book Guest of Honor reservations with the Milestone Rewards program:
- You can earn one Guest of Honor booking at 40 elite nights or 65,000 base points
- You can earn two Guest of Honor bookings at 60 elite nights or 100,000 base points
- You can earn one Guest of Honor booking at each of 70, 80, and 90 elite nights
- You can earn one Guest of Honor booking at each of 110, 120, 130, and 140 elite nights
As you can see, this means members can earn up to 10 Guest of Honor bookings per year, though in some cases at an opportunity cost. A standard Globalist member who earns 60 elite nights in a year would automatically receive three Guest of Honor bookings, without having to give up anything.
These Guest of Honor awards will generally be valid for the membership year in which they’re earned, plus an additional 14 months (February two years later). As a one-time courtesy, anyone who is a Globalist member at the end of 2023 is receiving five Guest of Honor awards in their account, which are valid through February 2025.
The potential limit on Guest of Honor bookings is the only negative change here. But as you’ll see below, that’s necessary, because of the positive changes that have been made…
Guest of Honor benefits can be applied to cash stays
Previously Guest of Honor bookings could only be made when redeeming points out of your World of Hyatt account. As of 2024, Guest of Honor bookings can also be used on cash stays.
This is absolutely awesome, if you ask me, since there are many situations where redeeming points just isn’t a good value, and you wish you could extend your Guest of Honor perks to others on their cash stays.
Receive elite nights for Guest of Honor bookings
Here’s another awesome change. With the previous Guest of Honor policy, the guest actually staying earned elite nights for the stay, and that continues to be the case. However, as of 2024, the member who gifts the Guest of Honor booking also receives one bonus elite night per qualifying Guest of Honor stay (that’s one elite night per stay, not one elite night per night).
So if you’re a Globalist member and gift three Guest of Honor bookings in a year, you’d earn three bonus elite nights. That’s awesome, and creates a great incentive to gift Guest of Honor perks to others.
Non-Globalist members can earn Guest of Honor awards
I also wanted to specifically call out how with the new program, you can earn a Guest of Honor booking at 40 elite nights or 60,000 base points, which is usually correlated to World of Hyatt Explorist status. This means that Explorist members can essentially gift themselves Globalist status perks for one stay per year, lasting up to seven nights. That’s really cool!
Guest of Honor becomes bookable online
As of 2024, it’s possible to make Guest of Honor bookings directly through Hyatt’s website or mobile app. There’s no longer a need to pick up the phone, or to reach out to Hyatt in any other way.
Details of World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards changes
World of Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards program has also changed as of 2024. I’d say that these changes are overwhelmingly positive. Below is a chart with the Milestone Rewards benefits with the new program.
Below I’ll cover some of the biggest changes.
Milestone Rewards go up to 150 elite nights per year
With the previous program, Milestone Rewards only applied up to 100 elite nights per year. I’ve never really understood that limit, since you’d think that you’d want to capture more stays for those who are super frequent hotel guests.
As of 2024, World of Hyatt is offering Milestone Rewards up to 150 elite nights per year, making World of Hyatt the only program to offer incremental rewards above 100 elite nights.
Milestone Rewards come with expanded options
As of 2024, World of Hyatt is adding several new Milestone Rewards options. These are available at different thresholds, though just to give some examples:
- The 2K Next Stay Milestone Rewards perk offers 2,000 bonus points on a member’s next stay at a Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Caption by Hyatt, or UrCove hotel
- The FIND Experiences Credit Milestone Rewards perk offers a $25-300 FIND credit to use on any FIND experience around the globe, depending on the threshold, and you can gift this award to others
- The Guest of Honor Milestone Rewards perk allows you to make a Guest of Honor booking, as I discussed above
- The Miraval Extra Night Milestone Rewards perk lets you stay one night at a Miraval property and receive a complimentary second night; this is valid on both award and revenue stays for up to double occupancy in a standard room, and you can gift this award to others
- The Ultimate Free Night Award Milestone Rewards perk lets you receive one free night at any participating Category 1-8 property, Category A-F all-inclusive resort, or participating Miraval resort, and you can gift this award to others, and this is earned at 150 elite nights
Most Milestone Rewards can be gifted to others
As of 2024, most World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards can be gifted to others. This is possible online with a few clicks, whereby you can transfer awards to others. It’s possible to gift suite upgrade awards, club access awards, free night awards, Miraval extra night awards, FIND credits, and more.
This is a game-changer for many. That’s right, you’re able to gift suite upgrade awards and club access awards to others, even if you’re not staying in conjunction with them. The only thing to note is that you can’t generally stack awards, meaning you can’t make a Guest of Honor booking and then also apply a suite upgrade award, as was previously the rule.
Globalist members can earn more suite upgrade awards
Under the old program, if a World of Hyatt Globalist member earned 60 elite nights, they’d receive up to four suite upgrade awards. As of 2024, you’re able to earn up to five suite upgrade awards with 60 elite nights.
World of Hyatt’s new online features
One of the awesome things about these World of Hyatt changes is how so many additional features are online. That’s now live, so let’s take a look at that. To take advantage of this new functionality, log into your World of Hyatt account, and click on the “Awards” section. You’ll then see all the awards that are available listed there.
If eligible, you should also now see the Guest of Honor awards in your account, allowing you to gift your World of Hyatt perks to others for their stays. Once you gift the award, the person who you transfered the award to will be able to make a booking directly while taking advantage of your perks.
To gift an award to another World of Hyatt member, just click the three dots next to the award you want to gift, click the “Gift Your Award” button, and then you’ll be able to transfer your award. You’ll just need the World of Hyatt number and last name of the World of Hyatt member who you’re gifting the award to.
These World of Hyatt changes are fantastic
I’m so impressed by these World of Hyatt changes, and it’s exciting to see a loyalty program genuinely innovating and improving member perks.
When it comes to Guest of Honor, yes, we do lose being able to make unlimited bookings. However, a vast majority of Globalist members don’t use Guest of Honor more than three times per year, never mind that there are options to earn more of those bookings.
And there are so many positive changes to Guest of Honor, like being able to use them on cash stays, earning one elite night per stay gifted, this being available before you even earn Globalist, and these bookings being possible online. On balance, I think a vast majority of members will consider this to be a hugely positive development.
Now let’s take a look at Milestone Rewards. Say you’re a Globalist who earns 60 elite nights per year. Here are the perks that I’d pick, combined with the ones that members automatically receive:
- Five suite upgrade awards
- Three Guest of Honor bookings
- One Category 1-4 free night award
- One Category 1-7 free night award
- Access to My Hyatt Concierge
- Four club access awards or up to 4,000 bonus points (for two stays at select brands)
For those earning 60 elite nights, what has really changed compared to the previous system?
- Previously you’d earn four club access awards at 20 and 30 elite nights; you can still choose those, but you have the alternative of earning up to 4,000 bonus points, which many of us will get more value from
- Previously you’d earn 5,000 bonus points at 40 elite nights, while now you can instead select a suite upgrade award at that threshold
- Perhaps what’s most exciting is that most awards can be gifted to others with the new program, meaning that club access awards are finally worth something for Globalist members, as you can give them to friends and family members
I’d consider that to be a net positive. So many loyalty programs are transactional, and to me, these changes really take World of Hyatt to the next level. Those who are loyal to Hyatt will be able to ensure that their friends and family members have great stays when they travel as well. That’s a win-win, as it’ll also show others the value of having elite status, and maybe get them to be more loyal to Hyatt.
These are bold changes, and I don’t remember the last time we saw a hotel group make truly positive changes without taking much away. The people currently running World of Hyatt are absolute rockstars, in my eyes.
Major changes have been rolled out at World of Hyatt for 2024, relating to the Guest of Honor and Milestone Rewards program. Guest of Honor has gotten way more flexible, while the Milestone Rewards program has added all kinds of new redemption options. World of Hyatt’s leadership deserves massive kudos for making positive changes, since that’s not something you often see nowadays…
What do you make of these World of Hyatt changes?