You Can Now Earn & Redeem World Of Hyatt Points For IfOnly Experiences

Filed Under: Hyatt

Hyatt has just announced a new opportunity for World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points. Hyatt is teaming up with IfOnly, to give World of Hyatt members the opportunity to earn and redeem points for an experiences marketplace.

Here’s how Hyatt describes this new partnership:

These Travel-worthy Experiences, located across several destinations in the U.S. and Europe, are carefully curated by IfOnly to “wow” and be memorable, and are another key step in Hyatt’s strategy to engage with high-end travelers in more ways beyond traditional hotel stays.

Book a private helicopter tour of Chicago, paired with dinner at an iconic Italian Restaurant; an afternoon with a zookeeper for behind-the-scenes access at the San Francisco Zoo; or backstage passes to the Broadway play Kinky Boots to meet the star of the show, in New York City.

Earn and redeem Hyatt points for IfOnly experiences

Through January 31, 2018, World of Hyatt members have the opportunity to earn three World of Hyatt points per dollar spent on IfOnly experiences. I value Hyatt points at ~1.5 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of ~4.5% on that spend.

You ordinarily earn five Hyatt points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties, so the return on IfOnly spend isn’t as good as the return you’d get when staying at Hyatts.

On top of that, it’s also possible to redeem World of Hyatt points for all of these experiences, though the number of points required varies based on the package you’re interested in. In general, I’m finding that they’re basically valuing World of Hyatt points at 0.8 cents here. For example, an afternoon apprenticeship at Barbuto in New York would cost you $3,000 or 375,000 World of Hyatt points.

That’s a terrible use of World of Hyatt points, given how much more value you can get with those points when redeeming them for hotel stays. Then again, I’m all for loyalty programs making more redemption choices available, as there’s always going to be someone who is interested in redeeming points that way.

World of Hyatt is clearly focused on experiential redemptions

This isn’t the first initiative World of Hyatt has introduced to create experiences for members outside of traditional hotel redemptions. Just a few days ago Hyatt announced that they’d soon be adding the ability to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points for home rentals through Oasis, which is a unique direction for a hotel loyalty program to take. We’re still waiting to learn the details of that.

In June, Hyatt introduced a new marketing partnership with Miraval Resort, allowing World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points at the property.

In April, Hyatt introduced the opportunity to redeem points for AFAR experiences, including a curated trip to Tokyo for World of Hyatt members.

Clearly this all fits into the mission of using World of Hyatt as a global platform for engaging with people:

World of Hyatt is our new global platform, driven by our purpose to care for people so they can be their best. It’s about engaging more deeply with our community and understanding that community better. It’s an expression of who we are and what we stand for, as well as an opportunity to extend what we do with our guests, colleagues and partners beyond just hotel stays.

The problem with all of this

Having said all that, I really think Hyatt is missing the mark here, for a couple of reasons. Let’s start with the actual experiences marketplace they chose.

Hyatt isn’t really doing anything unique here in terms of engaging with people:

  • You can either receive the equivalent of a 4.5% discount on IfOnly experiences, based on my valuation of Hyatt points; that’s nice, but hardly makes me feel any closer to Hyatt
  • You can redeem Hyatt points for these experiences at a really bad value, which I wouldn’t consider doing

Let’s keep in mind that Starwood has been offering an experiences marketplace for years. What makes that unique is that you can redeem points for things you couldn’t pay cash for. For example, redeeming points for suite tickets to a sold out Adele concert? That’s something I couldn’t easily buy directly, it’s unique, and it’s memorable.

What Hyatt is doing here is essentially entering into a marketing partnership with something that already exists, and giving us a small bonus for booking through them.

But that doesn’t get at the bigger issue of World of Hyatt. We’ve seen several new partnerships that are only questionably worthwhile, while little is being done to actually improve the hotel loyalty program as such.

Hilton has had a global promotion for 12 months this year. Marriott and Starwood have offered global promotions for a majority of the year. Meanwhile Hyatt has had a single global promotion this year, which lasted for three months. Heck, Hyatt’s most lucrative promotion this year has been specifically for those who aren’t loyal.

So if Hyatt wants to engage with members on a higher level, that has to start with doing the basics right. And I haven’t seen that happen, unfortunately.

Bottom line

Ultimately I’m always happy to see more opportunities to earn and redeem points. Even if the redemption rates aren’t great, I know some members will find value in things like this.

However, it’s sad to see that this is what World of Hyatt is focusing on. This isn’t even a unique experiences marketplace like Starwood has, where members get access to things they couldn’t buy directly on their own. Rather we’re getting just a small reward for purchases with an existing concept.

Meanwhile as a loyalty program World of Hyatt has had a single global promotion, and has done nothing to fix the issues that members have with the program.

What do you make of Hyatt’s IfOnly partnership, and the overall state of World of Hyatt?

  1. I understand people are irritated with World of Hyatt. But I find Hyatt consistent and user friendly. The points are valuable and relatively easy to use, unlike Hilton or Marriot. I’m happy with the addition of Miraval. For me Hyatt does basics well. Rooms are nice, they make an effort at things like the checklist of items you can borrow while you are there, as opposed to almost everyone else who just says “contact the desk if you need anything.” What’s anything? I like the upscale Hyatts. Park Hyatts are nice. Ritz Carlton Resorts leave a lot to be desired. I’m not particularly brand loyal but I think the backlash over WOH is overblown. The product itself is solid. Having a great loyalty program like SPG isn’t helpful if your properties make me crazy. I love SPG points but I’ll never stay in a Westin again.

  2. Lucky hit the nail on the head…announcements like this just show they totally have taken their eyes off the ball. This is what they are working on? There is a 5 alarm fire at this program and they are playing on the fringes. if Only? really? how many people will use this? 4?

  3. I’m going with the Balloon Expedition over Mt. Everest!!

    What a deal! I could use 651,875,000 Hyatt points or $5,215,000. and that’s for TWO PEOPLE. Nice.
    If I book and pay I’ll get 3x points so that would net me an additional 15,645,000 points. That’s nice too.
    Man this is tough…
    What to do .. What to do.

  4. I used to be a Hyatt top tier frequent guest (Diamond, I believe), but they had too many BS rules that finally put me off. Not sure what @Emily means by saying that Marriott points are difficult to use, but the opposite is true. I have never had any problems booking the Marriott properties I wanted, and they have a great “book four nights, get the 5th night free” program. I switched to Marriott way back in 1990, when Hyatt stiffed me not just once, but twice by first upgrading me, then downgrading me from Regency Club level because the rate I was paying (U.S. Embassy rate) was too low. It was quite embarrassing to receive a letter while trying to access the Regency Club, informing me that I no longer had access because my rate was “too low”. Since then, I have had 1752 nights at Marriott and a few hundred more at others, but none at Hyatt.

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