My Streak Of Bad Luck With Hyatt

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

It goes without saying that there are much more important things going on in the world, but I feel like it’s only fair for me to also share some criticism of Hyatt, for once, since I’m usually so positive about the brand.

Hyatt does a great job with managing expectations

One of the reasons I’m so loyal to Hyatt is because both the loyalty program and hotel group as such do an amazing job managing expectations. I’m ordinarily a huge Hyatt cheerleader, not because I’m paid to be, but because the company treats me well and earns my loyalty with every stay. I say this as someone who is currently living in hotels, and who has spent a vast majority of nights this year at Hyatts.

Hyatts aren’t going to always be the best hotels in their respective markets, but I know I’m going to be treated like a valued guest, I know I’m going to get what I’m entitled to without having to beg, and I know I’m not going to be disappointed. That’s why I seek out Hyatts.

My Hyatt stays haven’t been very seamless

I’ve had a bad luck streak with Hyatt lately. Individually these are all minor things, but when you add them up, the friction reminds me a lot more of what I usually experience with other hotel groups, rather than with Hyatt. And perhaps it just makes me plain appreciative of how easy my Hyatt experiences usually are.

While things will occasionally not go right with every hotel group, the number of things that have gone wrong with Hyatt lately have been disappointing, even if they’re individually minor.

Points not posting correctly, being pulled incorrectly

Is World of Hyatt having issues with posting points correctly? Until recently I don’t remember a Hyatt stay ever not posting automatically, while in the past few weeks:

  • I had two stays that didn’t post at all, and I had to manually request for them to be credited
  • For one of those stays, it was a hotel that chose not to serve breakfast, so since I’m a Globalist member I was promised bonus points, but of course those didn’t post either
  • I made a Guest of Honor booking for a friend and the points were pulled correctly; then on the day of check-in, the same number of points were pulled again (incorrectly), without any notice or communication

The points didn’t automatically post for my stay at the Hyatt Centric Brickell

Denial of suite upgrades

I find that World of Hyatt does a great job with suite upgrades. Usually I’ll just use a Globalist suite upgrade award to confirm a suite at the time of booking, but in the past couple of weeks I had two short stays where I figured it wasn’t worth burning a suite upgrade.

Okay, fortunately Globalist members receive unlimited suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in, but I was denied at both properties. That’s despite the fact that both hotels were still selling suites at the time of check-in.

Again, it’s not a huge deal, but this felt to me a lot more like what I’m used to with Marriott Bonvoy than World of Hyatt, especially since one of the hotels was really empty. It makes me wonder, is Hyatt actually not doing a good job on delivering on suite upgrade perks lately? Have I just not had these issues because I’ve been applying suite upgrades in advance for virtually all reservations?

We were assigned a standard room at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Disappointing hotel experiences

My last two hotel stays were at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands and the Thompson Chicago. Both stays were… not great. The two properties had some stuff in common:

  • Both denied suite upgrades, even though they showed suites as being available for sale
  • Both chose to keep their restaurants closed (despite no local rules requiring that), and offered no reasonable alternatives other than a small number of points

In the case of the Hyatt Highlands Inn, I’ve gotta say, I found the hotel to be extremely underwhelming, aside from the view, and badly in need of some TLC (this is a Category 7 property, just like the Park Hyatt Paris or Park Hyatt Sydney).

If you’re going to have your restaurant closed, fine, but the hotel didn’t even have snacks for sale. Like, why would you pay $500+ per night to stay at a hotel and they don’t have a morsel of food for sale on property (not even a bag of chips)? It makes me yearn for Marriott’s new breakfast vending machine.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Hyatt Carmel Highlands

And then where do we even start on my Thompson Chicago experience, which was such a contrast to the other Thompson stays I’ve had, which were phenomenal?

  • As mentioned above, this is a property where we were told no suites were available, even though they showed as being available
  • The restaurant was closed, but at least the hotel had a room service menu through a third party
  • However, as a Globalist member I was told that they wouldn’t cover breakfast through the third party room service, but rather they’d give me 500 points per person per day for not offering breakfast
  • I wouldn’t have a huge issue with that if the hotel were being reasonable, but 500 points simply isn’t an acceptable alternative to breakfast; I value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, meaning 500 points are worth $7.50 to me
  • I had booked through Hyatt Privé, which came with a $75 credit, though the only way to spend it was on a snack basket that they had in a back room, along with some drinks, and there was no alternative offered; it’s not easy to spend $75 on M&Ms and Diet Pepsi!
  • One of the two elevators in the hotel was broken, yet there was a sign saying only two people should use the elevator at once, so that went about as seamlessly as you’d expect
  • When I tried to check out at 6AM there was no staff member visible; I waited for a few minutes and yelled “hello,” but no one answered, so I just left (for that matter, I only ever saw one employee at a time)
  • Go figure they couldn’t even take off the ~$12 in charges that I had racked up during my stay for snacks from the hotel, so now I’ll have to follow-up on that as well

Quite a selection for using my $75 credit!

Our (not complimentary) breakfast at the Thompson Chicago

What’s my point?

Like I said, all of this stuff is individually quite minor, so what’s my point? In addition to just trying to be fair and to highlight some Hyatt experiences that are less optimal, a few things stood out to me:

  • To some extent your perception of a hotel group is only as good as your last stay; don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m losing faith in Hyatt, but I am at this very moment (temporarily) feeling lukewarm about the brand
  • It reminds me of how seamless my Hyatt experiences usually are, because typically I never even bother looking in advance if suites are available for sale, if my points posted correctly, etc., because I just know the right thing will happen; that hasn’t happened lately
  • Minor things can really add up and create annoyances — for example, if you’re going to choose not to serve breakfast, fine, but then don’t promise me points and then not post them, and make me beg for them
  • As people start to get out and travel, manage your expectations when it comes to the hotel experience; whether rates are lower or higher than they were pre-coronavirus, don’t expect the same level of service, in terms of amenities, staffing, etc.
  • Obviously hotels are in a rough spot financially, but there’s some element of chicken-or-egg here; what comes first, bringing back basic services, or expecting guests to pay for hotel rooms?

Am I the only one who has had bad luck with Hyatt lately? Anyone else have issues with points not posting, or whatever else?

  1. I understand your issues with the Carmel property as for cat 7 it does sound extremely underwhelming.

    But are we at the point where we should expect all Thompson hotels to be fully integrated into the Hyatt “way”?

  2. Last December I asked for my globalist upgrade at the park Hyatt in Sydney. I was told my stay was too long (8 nights) and the hotel too full (it was busy as they have had some great rates). I had of course tried to use a suite upgrade (been globalist for years) but of course denied. So I went to my standard room only to discover air con was not working. So I rang and asked them to send maintenance. I was told they needed to speak to their manager. I asked why? I repeated that I just wanted maintenance. If they go to speak to their manager. Only to come back and tell me that they have upgraded me and could I please move rooms. It was all of 15 mins after I checked in. I thought about arguing but decided I wanted my balcony opera room instead!

  3. Thanks for the update. I’m thinking of going for Globalist this year, but this makes me wonder if it will be worth it.

    I’ll be curious to see what other readers post about their recent Hyatt experiences!

  4. Restaurants being closed is something we will continue to see I guess, especially with full service or luxury properties. Making these restaurants work financially (read: not bleed you to death) is already hard outside our current pandemic, and I guess it’s simply a function of hotels trying to stop some of the cash burn they’ll continue to see for quite some more time.
    I’d not be surprised for this to happen in many city properties around the world for pretty much the remainder of 2021, simply because they need a good occupancy to make their f&b game work (or are “subsidising” the restaurants through rooms revenue anyway), especially if their restaurants are a typical “hotel restaurant” affair.

  5. @MDA

    Well you were extremely lucky getting the upgrade. But per Hyatt policy no suite upgrades can be used at the Park Hyatt Sydney.

  6. Highlands Inn was a regional fave of our but after a similar experience in the summer, we shifted our staycations to Carmel Valley Ranch and even the Hyatt Regency Monterey. No view is worth the lack of any food, a remote-ish location for food delivery and lack of any formal amenities at four star resort prices.

  7. Although inflation has been low for a while, we’ve been paying for it through reduced customer service and time wasting on resolving problems.

    As you wrote in your Marriott story, removing people from the experience helps the hotel by reducing expenses and also avoids employees providing benefits to a customer they made not deserve (i.e., those people that try to tip for perks cannot easily do so).

    The other day I was trying to call an airline and the wait was over 9 hrs!
    Everything is supposed to be done via email, online chat, etc. but when that isn’t working and you have to call, it can be a painful experience. Just like dealing with tech support, internet service problems, etc. it is a continual drop in service, increase in frustrations and lowering experience for the customer (lack of daily room cleanings, resort fees but limited services, food credits but can’t really use them, etc.).

    Travel is rapidly decreasing in pleasure.

    You are a lot younger than I am but back around 2008 when real estate and the stock market crashed I was fortunate not to be significantly affected by it and went to Vegas. Instead of them being appreciative of having a customer buying stuff and gambling, everyone seemed to be out to screw you for more money (even more than usual Vegas standards). After that experience I didn’t go back except for one night while passing through the area and don’t miss it.

    Sadly things are likely to just go down and down while increasing in price. At some point it may end but I won’t hold my breath.

  8. Based on the pictures posted of the Hyatt Highlands Carmel – Looks to me like a low end Apartment Complex, not a Cat. 7 Hyatt!

  9. @Lucky — Have you spoken with your Hyatt Concierge (about the service shortfalls you experienced)? Are they/would they be helpful in such matters?

    @MDA — “No Suite Free Night Award is valid at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Park Hyatt Sydney, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Hyatt Regency Kyoto…”

    When we stayed at Park Hyatt Sydney in late 2016 (with free night certificates), we were escorted by a staff person to our room. When she opened the door for us, someone else was already inside. That was a big oopsie moment, but fortunately the rest of the stay was great.

  10. We did not enjoy the Highlands Inn and do not plan to return.

    There are plenty of other hotels that have done a good job, even with F&B closed, with offering a decent room service menu. E.g. GH Seattle.

  11. Agreed about Hyatt Highlands. We stayed there 4 years ago and it didn’t feel like a cat 7 to me, even with the restaurant and bar open.

    The best way to describe the hotel was that it felt like an overpriced ski lodge, without the skiing.

  12. Ben, did you push back on suite availability at all? Did you contact your Concierge to flag the issue?

    Thompson Chi does seem to be the ugly duckling of the chain per FT reports too.

  13. I posted the exact same observations about my stay at the Thompson Chicago in your first post about Thompson’s a month ago.

    Also check out the flyertalk thread on it. Like I said, nice property, but all it is right now is a very expensive place to sleep, nothing more.

    The $70 Joie de vivre Lincoln hotel got me an upgrade and breakfast for two at their restaurant, compared to the rack rate of $195 at the Thompson.

    Very disappointing waste of my cat 1-4 cert redemption.

  14. I’ve had great luck at Hyatt lately. Consistent upgrades, good service, but I have had some small points posting issues. I’ve also had to have some bills corrected (parking comp, Globalist breakfast), but overall my satisfaction is as high as ever.

    It is absurd, though, that soa many restaurants are still closed. I think it’s more of a staffing issue at this point. They’re not willing to rehire restaurant staff.

  15. One thing you don’t seem to cover or consider (nor do the other bloggers in my experience): the difference between FRANCHISE properties and MANAGED properties. In my experience, there is a distinct (and growing) gap in the quality of service delivered based on these distinctions. Managed properties (actually run by Hyatt employees despite who actually owns the building) are FAR better and more consistent in delivering the service expected.

    For those that don’t know: franchise properties are run by third parties that “masquerade” as Hyatt employees, wear Hyatt name tags, and even (sometimes) will tell you they work for Hyatt when they don’t. These are companies like Aimbridge Hospitality which operate many Hyatt full service properties as franchisors and do so in the cheapest way humanly possible. My best is that both of these properties that you mention are franchises.

    One big reason why Hyatt typically underpromises and overdelivers: MOST full service properties are managed!

  16. Carmel is a hotel wasteland. I stayed there in 2019 and it’s just very underwhelming on a lot of fronts. I guess people go for the surrounding activities, which are great btw. But yeah, that blows. I’d certainly be disappointed. With your status, I’d voice my concern on a corporate level. Hyatt needs to hear stuff like this.

  17. After your first post a few weeks ago re Hyatt points not posting correctly, I went back and audited my approx. 20 stays since beginning of 2020 and nearly all posted incorrectly (read: most of my incidental spend was not coded as eligible) and I had to ask my concierge to recalculate and correct many stays. Nearly $4,000 in eligible spend wasn’t accurately captured in the automatic posting. This is a big problem and very frustrating!

    Now I am going to be very diligent with checking eligible spend and asking concierge to verify and correct. They need to fix this as it is a big time waster fixing all these issues and having to monitor.

  18. This, as well as the recent reviews on the Centric hotels, are feeling familiar with my recent experiences. I did not have enough stays last year to really draw a conclusion but I was definitely struck by how many stays I had in relatively empty hotels without any room upgrade (as a Globalist) or food options offered. And I have a stay coming up in three weeks at the Thompson Chicago and I was thinking of changing it because they still have no information posted on when they might restore food service.

    I went free agent several years ago on the airlines and I am contemplating the same with hotels. If most of my travel is going to be leisure in the future, I would rather book the room I want where I want it (Four Seasons, Mandarin, Airbnb, etc).

  19. I am feeling the same way regarding the alila Marea beach. Magically ALL suites are currently unbookable for the foreseeable future. Mind you I booked into 1 last year when you posted the availability and my concierge said it be no problem using a suite upgrade award when the hotel officially opened. Now I’m told all suites are oversold and while I can keep the 280,000 point one, I can’t release it and use a suite upgrade award. Definitely leaving a sour taste in my mouth as hotel playing games.

  20. I had a lousy experience at Thompson Chicago last year, Feb 2020. We ditched our 3 night reservation after just one night and concierge changed us to Centric Loop, which always treats us well. Denied the globalist suite upgrade at Thompson Chicago despite multiple being available (at checkin, when I asked and showed suites on the app, front desk agent just said, sorry, we’re not doing upgrades for globalists right now… lol, ok); charged extra for side of toast at breakfast when the restaurant was open (we ordered very modestly for two people.. oatmeal, omelet, side of toast, and one coffee) because “toast isn’t included for globalists;” shower didn’t have good temperature control; light fixtures didn’t work in the room; trash still left in wastebasket from previous guests; and same issue with unstaffed FD as you experienced. Oh, yeah, also, elevator was broken back then, too! Maybe they just never fixed it. Skip this property for sure.

  21. Hyatt is a mediocre brand, overpriced, and overhyped.

    They’ve done a brilliant job in marketing their mediocre product as a luxury chain to wannabes.

  22. All of a sudden, the Hyatt criticisms are coming out of the woodwork. Could it be that Marriott is still a relatively solid chain, especially accounting for the recent failures announced in the news from Hilton and IHG?

  23. Hyatt has been the WORST during the pandemic: Here is my recap

    Hyatt Eliza Jane /new Orleans – NO breakfast! No restaurant and a weak 500 points offering instead.

    Hyatt Gainey Ranch Scottsdale – Room not available until 6pm. Understaffed, terribly old outdated room which was not clean.

    Hyatt Place – Sugarland- Half breakfast offering… just cost cutting for NO REASON since hotel was full

  24. Lucky,

    My first stop when trying to pick out a hotel for a stay is TripAdvisor to check recent ratings.
    Then blogs like this one.
    Then Flyertalk.
    Then I check Amex FHR to see if there are discounts, credits available, benefits, etc.
    Then I check to see where the hotel is located relative to my destination .
    Then, very down the list, I consider the brand of the hotel, how I want to pay (points, cash, etc).

    The point is that with all of these hotel brands, it is much more important to examine things on a hotel by hotel basis. No hotel brand, by virtue of how they are run, is going to be super consistent from hotel to hotel, especially in the Covid era

  25. It sounds like these properties already have a reputation for consistent mediocrity, so why did you stay there? Brand loyalty can only go so far; some franchisees are just not decent people

  26. Pathetic. Even Hyatt is still using the COVId excuse for decimating service and benefits. As Ben noted there are no local regs that prohibit food service anymore or even indoor dining. But apparently it costs too much for hotels to staff room service now much less food for purchase.

    Thankfully not all hotels are going this route (Hyatt Incline Village is a good example) but too many are.

  27. I can understand why hotel restaurants are still closed. But please at least turn on the kitchen for room service at full service properties. This one seems like a no brainer and has been often missed in my recent Hyatt experiences.

    On a recent trip I used points to reserve a premium suite in Orlando, plus certificates for a family friend with us. Was very disappointed when they didn’t upgrade the standard room and they said it was because we were already in a suite, yet they had tons of standard suites still available.

    These problems were recently at their Orlando flagship properties, which are usually training grounds for management. Of course one of these properties hasn’t had a GM in over a year now.

    The Concierge program has been discussed at length before. Experiences differ any mine have been severely lacking. So not worth the bother in my opinion.

    I had 60+ nights the hard way last year and will clear 60 nights again this year. I was consistently 100+ nights before Covid. I hope Hyatt will continue to live up to their own standards.

  28. The Hyatt Carmel Highlands: we were there last week. No Globalist suite for us, we got the tiniest room with a micro bathroom, similar to your photo in quality. The phone didn’t work. The pool is a 1960s reject, and the jacuzzi permits 1 person (always occupied by kids while we were there.). There are all of 12 chairs for the pool, all occupied most of the time. No food, no apology, no points offered, letter on the way. No points posted for me, either. Add to that a loud construction project below us on their entrance road, and I’m glad I’d never paid for a stay. We got out after a night, won’t return.

  29. This is very, very consistent with my experience at Thompson Chicago. In my case, I had a confirmed suite upgrade that they downright refused to honor. Thankfully, I had followed up in advance with my concierge to confirm that everything was good to go with the upgrade, and I had the email to prove it. The front desk first said they didn’t believe it was from Hyatt; then asked to forward it to themselves for further investigation; then eventually relented and gave us the suite, after nearly 30 minutes of arguing. They also refused to give me 4pm checkout until I literally pulled up the terms of the WoH program and showed them.

    Interestingly, all of the dropped balls occurred during the evening/early morning shifts, and the daytime folks were perfectly lovely.

  30. I am very aware of the suite upgrade at the Park Hyatt Sydney but it never hurts to ask. If I don’t get it, I let it go. I have however been upgraded 3 times.
    As for the Maldives as a globalist I was told that if a room was available I would be upgraded or I could pay to upgrade ( base room was on points). I chose to pay. Then the pandemic happened and obviously I cancelled.

  31. Thank you for your post. COVID broke any loyalty link (just like American Airlines broke their cleanliness promise and had no qualms in spreading COVID through fully packed planes) so am restarting fresh once I start traveling again and am keenly observing who deserves my dollars. Hyatt obviously isn’t high on this newly forming list.

  32. Almost all hotel properties are overcharging for the services they are now delivering to Globalist members. I have come to the conclusion that’s it’s just not worth traveling right now.

    I call the front desk and ask what are your Globalist breakfast options and then I hang up and say no I can wait to go on that trip.

    They either start their breakfast buffet back up or I stay home…………I’m willing to wait if they deem it unsafe to provide that benefit………..

  33. I’ve only used Hyatt maybe 4 times ever (in hundreds of hotel stays) – their footprint is pretty poor outwith the USA apart from 1 or 2 overpriced properties in capital cities so have never seen the appeal. That Carmel one looks atrocious – you’d have been better at a HIX or Hampton Inn!

  34. Thanks for this, Lucky, esp. about the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. I have a 2-night stay booked in May over Memorial Day, costing 48K points per night for a suite, and I’ve just cancelled it (based on thread comments as well). There is just no excuse for the poor maintenance and especially, the lack of any F&B, especially since other hotels nearby are fully open with restaurants.

    I find Globalist upgrades much more certain overseas than on US properties. In US properties it’s hit or miss unless I use a TSU.

    Recently completed a stay at Park Hyatt Aviara. Booked before the price increase at 20K per night, used a TSU to a suite for a 5-night stay. Beautiful property, almost new everything after an extensive refurb. Amazing food, including the Richard Blaise restaurant. Great service too.

    Re: PH Sydney, during our last stay there we enjoyed it so much we decided to add another stay at the end, using points. They were fully booked for that last night and put is in one of the penthouse suites with a full-on view of the bridge from the huge bathroom. That was my best Hyatt upgrade, by far.

  35. Our pre-pandemic stays at the Highlands were pleasant, but nothing close to Cat 7 service.
    As others have mentioned, the Carmel Valley Ranch is a great alternative. Awesome food, terrific service (I can count on one hand how many times the hotel knew who I was prior to even identifying myself), nice rooms and a variety of activities.

    Had three short stays there now that were lovely.

    I’m wearing on my enjoyment of the HR Monterey though. I’ve stayed more than a dozen times, still get asked if I’ve been there before, and they’ve begun to charge for parking. The fact that it remains Cat 4 after the remodel is the only saving grace.

    Anyways, Still looking forward to my stays at Alila Napa (booked an Estate View Suite with outdoor tub on points), at GH SFO (booked a Executive Suite on points and plan a cash upgrade to Presidential), and Andaz West Hollywood (splurging on their Penthouse).

  36. *how many times A hotel.

    I’ll add that on our most recent one night stay at CVR, comped an upgrade to Hilltop Suite after booking Studio Suite.

  37. It’s because they made too many “globalist”—lites. Hotels are being swarmed by globalists and are not delivering to those who have been loyal and deserve good treatment. Instead, they have new people with no sty history who’ve stayed 15 nights and demand all kinds of suites, treatment, etc. too bad good days at Hyatt are over. I may also consider another brand with my 85 nights a year.

  38. Is anyone having trouble with points being refunded? I signed up for a 25% points rebate on rewards stay. I had two stays during this period. It’s been 6 weeks, and nothing has posted yet. I contacted Hyatt. It seems like they are just wanting me to forget about it. But it’s 8,000 points! Not nothing.

  39. I can understand a big city hotel not having their restaurant open right now…I imagine occupancy is still relatively low along with room rates, plus there’s usually plenty of options within a couple blocks. I just can’t, however, imagine how a resort hotel in a remote location charging nearly normal rates can get away with that.

    Bummer Nico Osteria was closed at the Thompson when you were there. We had a great dinner there a couple years ago.

  40. During the (stay night X2) promo that ended in February, I did a mini mattress run. I used the OFFICE FOR THE DAY rate at four separate properties. Each stay required a 25+minute phone call because I didn’t receive the night credit. Even the agents thought it was pathetic!

  41. Have not had any issues thus far with Hyatt and like you have been living in hotels now for the past two months. But I imagine it’s a property by property thing.

    One thought based on conversations I have had with a few GM’s is that they just don’t want to use suites unless someone is absolutely paying for it. They just do not have the housekeeping staff to keep up and suites take 2-3 times longer to clean as such they have a clear directive that there are to be no upgrades, period. I was told this candidly at two different hotels when I questioned them being for sale. This could very well be what Thompson Chicago was facing.

    As far as the Highland…I stayed there in 2019 and it was quite nice. But that room is abysmal you had. Either you got assigned a really bad room or the hotel is going downhill quickly. As well, to not offer food there is insane, it’s not even close to anything and will take 20 minutes to drive to any sort of restaurant. Did they not even warn you ahead of time??

  42. Also stayed at the Carmel Highland a couple years back, one of the better stays we have had. We did get the suite upgrade. Beautiful two level arrangement with a fireplace well stocked with wood. Food was quite good – breakfast was memorable with the highlight being a very nice crab eggs benedict. But, atlas with COVID . . . sorry to hear your experience was sub-par. Hope your next venture is better.

  43. The issues with the Hyatt Highland Inn are well-known and well-documented dating back years: it simply shouldn’t be rated a Cat 7. Since it is a residence club, it isn’t even clear if the breakfast is a promised benefit for Globalists even when the restaurant is open, though some have reported getting it. In general people have reported vast inconsistency in room types, with much decor reportedly pulled out of the 1970s and cleaning not up to snuff. The pro tip as others have noted is to skip Carmel Highlands Inn and journey about ten minutes away to the surpassing Carmel Valley Ranch, where the upgrades are generous, the grounds are gorgeous, and the service evokes the sort of excellence you’d typically get in Asia.

    Hyatt does a much better job than most hotel chains in assuring a consistency of experience for loyalists. That said, what you will notice after a few hundred nights with Hyatt is that some Hyatt hotels go the extra mile for you again and again, and some don’t: policy is set at the local level. For example, the San Francisco Hyatt Regency in the Financial District is an amazing hotel with a great club, but you will almost never score a significant upgrade: they generally give you the room type you reserved. Meanwhile, other Hyatts in California and in Asia have upgraded me to ~$700/night suites for days and in some cases weeks. Finding the treasure is well worth your while.

    Finally, one trick which may or may not hurt. I have taken to tipping housekeeping with excessive generosity, especially in cases where I’ve been upgraded to a suite. I figure it’s more work to clean, and my young kids have a way of destroying the place. Do my tips get documented and get me on a “good customer list”, leading to more upgrades? I doubt it, and I don’t care one way or the other. But if hotels get it in their heads that releasing suites to Globalists leads to happier/wealthy housekeeping, that’s not a bad thing for housekeeping and not a bad thing for us. Share the wealth.

  44. Just wrapped up a stay at Andaz Napa. Proactive upgrade to a suite prior to check in on the app. The restaurant was closed for sit down, but they were taking orders at the counter for full breakfast. Globalist benefit was $75 per day, granted I had to call in after my stay to have the breakfast charges dropped (minor annoyance). That said, I made sure the hotel was offering enough benefits before booking; I would have gone with an Airbnb if the restaurant was fully closed.

    Honestly it just depends on the individual hotel, like other people have said. Also, I’m surprised you chose Thompson Chicago over Chicago Athletic, especially since so many people commented on their bad experiences there when you reviewed other Thompson properties. Hilton also has the London House Curio, Conrad and Waldorf in Chicago! I get that you’re trying to achieve lifetime Globalist, but for some stays it’s just not worth being brand loyal.

    It sounds like you’ve just had some bad luck with individual hotels. Don’t lose hope on Hyatt!!

  45. As someone who stayed at Hyatt for the first time last month (figured I’d try for Globalist since I requalified for Bonvoy Titanium and have Hilton Diamond via Aspire), I was disappointed. Granted, most of my deficiencies came from one property and consumer affairs.

    The Grand Hyatt DFW was perfectly fine, front desk was lovely (and were warm and welcoming, especially given the circumstances), room was upgraded, late checkout proactively offered despite them being sold out both nights. The room rate was more than I’d like to pay (and they raised it for the last minute booking), but I wasn’t paying so it is what it is.

    I then was staying at a Hyatt House for an extended period of time… That experience was riddled with problems, but it’s probably property dependent. Arrived with a confirmed reservation only to be told they had no clean rooms due to no housekeeping that day. Didn’t offer any alternative accommodations, beyond suggesting a property that might have space. Called Consumer Affairs, they spoke with the property and was told that they’d offer some points as compensation (surprise, nothing posted). Consumer Affairs called around, but couldn’t find any availability at any property. I ended up finding my own accommodations at a Hilton where management was cleaning rooms late into the evening to accommodate guests. Hyatt Consumer Affairs offered 12k points (1 night at the hotel I was walked from) and a TSU – better than nothing, but seems that Hilton and Marriott have better walk policies.

    Property offered daily housekeeping (which was nice I guess), but was lax on mask wearing and enforcement (housekeeping and the front desk kept removing and putting on their mask, even to talk on the phone). Breakfast consisted of Quaker Granola Bars, Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, whole fruit, Tropicana bottled juice and coffee (well once GFS delivered more food). No local regs in place that restricted food service, property operating at fairly high occupancy (sold out for a few nights), but nothing for hot breakfast. They also were still brewing and serving coffee (and ice) while under a boil water advisory. Anyways, seemed kinda hit or miss – staff were trying their best and management was nice enough, but kinda ruined the Hyatt allure for me.

    The Q1 Bonus Journeys ended up turning into a disaster since I trusted the property on “all the promotions working” if they extended the stay past Feb 28. Consumer Affairs issued the missing points and is following up with management to get the bonus night credits issued, but it’s been a few weeks now and nothing yet… I take partial responsibility for this one though, relying on goodwill after the property overrode the offer T&Cs.

    Anyways, we’ll see how the rest of my Hyatt experiences go – willing to keep trying, but might need to realign my expectations,

  46. This business of vastly limiting services “due to COVID” is getting ridiculous. Local restrictions are one thing, but how are hotels encouraging business travel when they hardly offer any amenities?

  47. Hyatt does a great job with managing expectations
    The fact that a need was felt to write this post at all challenges the claim about Hyatt’s purported stellar expectation management skills.

    Any program is only as good as one’s willingness to ignore the bad and inflate the value of the good.

    For most in travel blogosphere, a program is only as good as one’s self-anointed travel ‘guru’ says it it 😉

  48. I think the perks for status are overrated. (Status is fine and have gotten it thru normal business and leisure stays for Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Hyatt. Not going to chase it or manufacture it thru mattress runs – aside from Hilton as my Diamond status was ending this year I picked up the AMEX for Diamond status.) Unless I’m at a resort meals at a hotel are not a priority. Free or not. Schedule for work doesn’t allow me to eat at hotel for breakfast and when I can I try to eat dinner local. Usually when either on business or leisure I just want a decent room with a decent bed. Not in room much so suites aren’t critical. I realise that an overpriced breakfast given free is important to many, but in most cases the room rates more than make up for the free breakfast.

    I think all hotels are going to use COVID-19 as an excuse to curtail meals for those wishing to enjoy that benefit or just to use if even not an included benefit. Marriotts get trashed, but had great experiences with them in Malaysia, Australia and Fiji a year and a half ago and it wasn’t because of any perks. (We didn’t stay at any IHG properties, but in Fiji they let us access and use the beach on their property as I am Spire Elite. They have a beautiful beach.) They were just great properties. Hyatt though is where I try to stay exclusively in the US where possible.

  49. IN exciting news there is FINALLY a travel bubble (so quarantine free) b/w NZ and Australia. I have done a booking for June at the Park Hyatt in Auckland.

  50. Why did you stay at the Thompson Chicago
    Hyatt has so many better hotels in their headquarters city

  51. I will never be a Globalist, but I do enjoy maintaining perpetual Discoverist status (which I have until 2023 now). The reason? I have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to go for Explorist, even with the “discount” they have going now. There’s so much attention placed on Globalist status, but there should be pressure put on Hyatt to encourage occasional travelers to go for Explorist…and as it stands there’s just no damned point since it’s essentially “Discoverist+.”

  52. I had several issues with being charged for parking on paid rates during the globalist parking promo that ended feb 28…at confidante,regency Aurora Colorado, and Thompson Dallas. Also have problems with the 2 adult 2 kid breakfast to include gratuity and tax. Annoying when you have to explain terms and conditions to them.

    I have done really well with suite upgrades not using upgrade awards

  53. – I too had an issue this year with the 500 bonus points not posting. I think it may be on the property end rather than World of Hyatt. I had the general manager request the points being added to my account. Took a few days though.

    – Also, once I noticed that incidental spend didn’t qualify for eligible spend, I stop all additional spending on site at Hyatt properties. I just kept the spend on the room rates only because it wasn’t worth the time and hassle calling WoH after each stay.

  54. In the past, Hyatt’s corporate customer service could make up for IT’s shortcomings. Hyatt was never that great, but remains the best loyalty programme because others set the bar low in a race to the bottom. I have been a Diamond in the past, Explorist for the last few years, and have tried to make Hyatt my go-to hotel loyalty programme. Unfortunately, there are few destinations (some do exist, but it is rare) where a Hyatt property would be my top choice. Even for point redemptions, WoH is grossly overrated. In the absence of SPG, the hope was that Hyatt would be the next best thing. While some good award redemptions might exist, most of the time the redemption value is well less than $.02 per point, often less than $.017. It is hard work to find continuing value in Hyatt long term.

  55. I think you might have answered your own question. You have spent the vast majority of nights this year at Hyatts, and have had a couple of bad experiences. While disappointing, I’d suggest cop this on the chin, and unless you have several more similiar experiences, then let this go.

  56. I was emailed offer from Hyatt for $75 off a Joie de Vivre or Unbound Collection stays of $250+ if paid for with my Chase Hyatt card. I made two stays at separate properties in the promo time period, but its been much longer than 6-8 weeks and no credit. Hyatt says its a Chase run promotion and to call them, while Chase says to call Hyatt. Neither brand is helping.

    $75 isn’t the end of the world, but it makes me question all future offers/promos by both brands now.

  57. The standard upgrade at the Thompson Chicago is the junior suite. The Thompson suite is a premium suite in WoH.

  58. I dropped Hyatt for Accor ( some might think that was an odd decision, but it fits my travel patterns and preferences for a second choice program in addition to Marriott); now I just restrict myself to 4 favourite Hyatt properties, for which I’m prepared to pay…through the nose…without any real loyalty benefits. I’m glad to be shod of Hyatt. Gold Passport was great for a decade or more, but they lost the plot a few years ago…

  59. im sorry but how on earth is Hyatt Highlands Carmel a class 7 property? remove the Hyatt branding and they look like a 2 or a 3 star hotel. am I missing something?

  60. We stayed at highlands inn ages ago (maybe 5-7 years ago). It was already showing its age then. The views were gorgeous but the lack of employees (the do it yourself pool area, lack of housekeeping, lack of luggage help) was bad even then. It seems like they jack up the rates and drop services simply because they can. The fact is that there is no other points hotel in the area with that kind of view and setting. They don’t have to remodel and can cancel all the services they want since no other chain is on a cliff with nice views in the area.

  61. “I value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, meaning 500 points are worth $7.50 to me”

    Obviously, they value it a bit differently than you 😉 The question is, who is correct?

  62. I see a lot hypocrisy here based on your past posts.
    You have been constantly regurgitating Fauci’s warnings yet choose to travel, live in hotels (perfect vectors for geographic spread of disease), and now are complaining about not having access to restaurants which have been shuttered in most of the country due to “Covid risk.”
    So what’s the deal? Are you for lockdowns and protecting unvaccinated service industry workers or your own comfort at the risk of others’ health?

  63. I think hotels are going to be quite different compared to pre COVID. Business travel while it may return won’t be at the same level for several years. Complimentary breakfast is a nice perk but will likely be inconsistent. Marriott’s Automat food selections is an example which for me is a hard pass.

  64. I will reach the Ambassador status with Bonvoy/Marriott next month. We moved our corporate loyalty program to Bonvoy nearly two years ago after issues with Hilton not posting points and NEVER having complimentary upgrades for Diamond level stays.
    We have been pretty pleased with Marriott and I find that many times the front desk inform me of an upgrade. Sometimes I still have to ask and find that there is an upgrade.
    A recent stay at the DFW Marriott North in which I was given a breakfast coupon for the “coffee shop” only to find they had coffee and a bagel. I wrote the manager (Darryl) and got a fantastic response and plan to stay again. (The rooms are WONDERFUL, btw!

  65. We just used two free Hyatt nights at the Chicago Athletic Association and were very happy with the room and location. I’ve been retired for 5 years and not traveling for business so I don’t get elite status other than Alaska MVP and whatever is offered through hotel credit cards. The staff at the hotel was ecstatic because we arrived on April 1st, the first day most of them were back at work since the hotel had been closed since October. The restaurant on the top floor was only open evenings and had limited seating although you could get food and drinks to take back to the room. However, Shake Shack is located on the ground floor and will even deliver to your room! That location is terrific and the architecture is classic. The only glitch was that someone had not turned up the hot water heaters after the long period of dormancy so hot water was barely lukewarm. I called the front desk to report and we had hot water the next morning.

  66. Had a bad 4 day stay at the THompson Chicago also..nothing could be done.. about anything especially about the alarms going off in our room every night…. at least once an hour… could not fix it or get us another room or move us to another hotel Will never stay there again as there are so many other great places to stay in Chicago..

  67. @Michael Burton – most would say spending $20K w/Marriott to get Ambassador is like flushing $$$ down the drain (esp. compared to what it used to be w/SPG)…good luck w/that.

  68. Ben it is obvious that since you are living out of hotels for the time being, there is bound to be that many more snafus that you notice than if you used a hotel just for a vacation now and then. That being said, you know the program inside and out and are hypersensitive to what you should be getting and expecting. I am more curious as to what your Hyatt concierge says about all this. Or what Hyatt will respond to you after reading this. I think your gripes are very legitimate. Especially since you are spending good money living in hotels, are a globalist, and know your stuff. If I was Hyatt, I would be bending over backwards to correct this, being that you are such a good cheerleader for the brand and that they usually deliver as promised. That Hyatt Highlands Carmel hotel should definitely be a much lower category.

  69. My last Hyatt stay was over the holidays and my points did not post for my room service charges, even though the charges were on the reciept. I had to call to get them to post. This only occasionally has happened to me with Hyatt in the past, so perhaps it is a trend.

  70. Absolutely agree with you Ben.

    We are staying at a Hyatt in Paris for an extended stay. They management and staff are more concerned about the guests they don’t have and have forgotten about the guests they do have in house.

    We always reach out to management first, and indeed we did, but it went to closed ears.

    We have some large discrepancies with our points and nights as well. The completely forgot to add in the promotions as well. Globalist is trying to sort it out.

    Its too bad, we thought Hyatt was going to be a good company for us.

  71. All-

    I have always had problems with Hyatt’s postings on points. The past 7 months have been pretty good. The Park Hyatt Sydney no upgrades all the suites are premium. We went there 2 years ago almost 3 now for our 20th anniversary they were fabulous. They sent some sparkling wine and 15 white roses. They also had a car to take us back the airport. I cannot wait until they open Australia up again. What I have had problems with lately is things left in the room or toilets have “stuff” on them. Upgrades have been good. These are challenging times for Hotels so I cut them a break.
    Thanks for the updates on The Park Hyatt Carmel Highlands it used to be a fabulous hotel. We too were planning to go there in July but not now.

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