Hyatt’s New Globalist Breakfast Rules Won’t End Well

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

I’ve been digging into the World of Hyatt program lately as it’s about to launch on March 1. As you might have figured out by now, I’m not a fan. Mostly I think the qualification requirements are insane for a hotel chain that has around 700 properties worldwide.

That said, assuming you can get to 60 nights per year, there are some things to like about the new program. The unlimited complimentary suite upgrades are a really nice perk, at least in theory. I travel a lot with my family and the three most important features for us — be it on the plane, at the hotel, or in the rental car — are space, space, and more space. So if this works as advertised, it’ll be great.

But it’s not all fun and games even for top-tier Globalists as devaluations and gotchas lurk around every corner. Some of these changes, like the diluted breakfast benefit, just don’t make a lot of sense to me.


Gold Passport breakfast

Under Hyatt Gold Passport, Diamonds officially received breakfast in the club. If the property didn’t have a club, or it was closed, Diamond members received breakfast in the restaurant for up to four registered guests in the room. This policy seemed to work fine and in fact was one of the most highly touted aspects of Hyatt Gold Passport.

It could also be quite valuable, at least in terms of the what the hotel would have otherwise charged.

For many properties in the US, it’s possible to register four adults in the room for roughly the same cost. That means that two couples could share a room and all four would receive the Diamond breakfast.


World of Hyatt breakfast

The breakfast benefit is changing under the new program. Starting March 1, top-tier Globalists will receive breakfast for up to two adults and two children rather than four adults. So even for a room with two double beds that can legitimately sleep four adults, you’ll still only receive breakfast for two of them.

But what defines a child?

Can an older couple bring their two adult children to breakfast with them? After all, my mom says that I’ll always be her little boy. As another point of reference, the Affordable Care Act could be said to define a child as up to age 26.

For its part, the Hyatt website asks you to specify the age of a child at the time of booking, and provides choices up to age 18.

hyatt child website

I checked the World of Hyatt terms and conditions and it seems the lawyers have chosen to simply foist this point of ambiguity off on the individual hotels. The age cut-off for a “child” is determined by each hotel or resort in its sole discretion. 

hyatt breakfast child

It seems as though the quotes around child are an acknowledgement that this is going to be a point of contention.

There’s no such thing as a free breakfast anyway

I’ve often wondered who incurs the cost of loyalty perks such as free breakfast. In general, I’ve assumed that the property is not reimbursed for it. Since Hyatt doesn’t own most of their hotels, that would mean they don’t actually bear this cost at all. In that case, why would they bother diluting this breakfast benefit when it doesn’t actually cost them anything?

And even if I’m wrong and they do pay the hotel the marginal cost of breakfast for Diamond guests, is there really that much savings to be had here? I mean, I’m guessing most Diamond guests travel alone or with their spouse the majority of the time. Following that, I’d suppose they bring their kids, who are, at least subject to interpretation, still included.

The least likely scenario then is a Diamond guest traveling with two or three other adults in the same room. And that’s the only scenario under which this dilution saves money.

In other words, are the savings from the fringe case of a Diamond traveling with two or three other adults really worth changing the policy over? And creating confusion for families? I guess Hyatt thinks so.


Bottom Line

There’s something to be said for consistency. As a Dad who travels a lot with his family, I appreciate showing up at a hotel and knowing what to expect. If breakfast is included, I’d like to know. If it’s not, that’s okay too. But leaving it up to the hotel to decide if my child is a “child” is just silly and bound to cause some confrontations at properties that choose not to be as family-friendly.

That said, I’m confident that many hotels will go ahead and be generous. But I’m also sure that some will choose to push the issue — particularly those that have tried to play games with the Diamond breakfast in the past.

It’s a shame that Hyatt chose to dilute and add ambiguity to what was once an industry-leading benefit.

Are you concerned about the changes to the Globalist breakfast benefit?

  1. This isn’t about Diamonds cramming 4 adults in a room and wanting breakfast, it’s about inviting people in other rooms (or locals not staying at the hotel) for breakfast.

  2. It sounds like Hyatt is no longer a good program for you. Rather than continue to try to make this program work for you, best to find another one that works for you.

  3. What @Gary said.

    Also, there’s no mid-teir breakfast benefit like at Marriott and Hilton. That was fine before when there were only two levels, but now that there are three, it’s perplexing.

  4. BTW, the ACA doesn’t “define” children as 26 and under; rather, it allows children up to 26 years old to remain on their parents health plan.

    Not trying to start a political debate, but I don’t see how the comparison applies here.

  5. We received breakfast for 5 (including my three daughters, the youngest of whom is 19) at Clearwater Beach and were most appreciative but I am going to echo others who say it is not worth it anymore. Letting one of my DSUs expire unused. There just aren’t enough Hyatts where I want them and I started directing my travel plans to locations with a Hyatt, which is crazy. Hilton and Marriott have hotels where I want to be. Do not understand World of Hyatt thought process at all.

  6. It’s a devaluation of the program. Previously you could have 4 people at breakfast, now it is only two people and maybe two more but criteria are unclear.

  7. So question, right now everyone registered in the room gets club access if a Diamond. Does that change to only 2 adults under Glob?

  8. If this is the best critique you can find for your blog must be a really slow day. You don’t have 3 kids and they are all under 18 so it seems like much ado about nothing for you. I don’t blame Hyatt properties for cutting off freeloders.

    PS you are going to be sorely disappointed when you see what free unlimited upgrades really means. Good luck on those suites

  9. Since as you mentioned this is a fringe situation where there is actually 4 adults in a room, I can’t see this really being a problem Travis… I appreciate the clarification on this rule.

  10. I have my 97-yr-old mother with me at Hyatt Clearwater this weekend to ride out the last of my Diamond status. I started working on requalifying in 2016, but gave up after they announced World of Hyatt. I’ll lean toward SPG. At least this weekend has been great. Two BR/3 BA suite w 2 balconies looking out over the Gulf, delicious amenity dessert (Mom got to pick), attentive service, beautiful weather. Nice way to end a good run.

  11. Under the old rules, the Hyatt Diamond breakfast was one of the best features. My recent experiences at the club level breakfast both domestically and abroad have been as disappointing as the mediocre wine pours. I already chose to exit Diamond status in 2018 and this post confirms I made the best decision for me.

  12. FWIW, hotels already have their own definition of who is considered a “child”.

    I don’t take a big issue with this change but I am disappointed in how four 7-day Club Passes are supposed to work for Explorists — instead of allowing club access OR restaurant breakfast (like the Diamond->Globalist perk), this will NOT give restaurant breakfast at properties without a club lounge.

  13. Gary — Diamonds qualified last year under the expectation that the breakfast benefit would cover 4 adults. Then at the end of October — 5/6 of the way through the qualification year — Hyatt said “sorry fellas, that benefit is only going to be for 2 adults and 2 kids.”

    Seems like if Delta had pulled something like this you’d have a much different opinion on the matter. In fact, here’s your quote from one of their devaluations:

    “A loyalty program is a promise of future value for purchasing behavior today. Changes without notice renege on that deal. Think of Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football. You’re told that if you save your miles, there’s a reward at the end of the rainbow. As you get close, the reward is yanked away from you. It’s bait and switch.”

    People qualified last year expecting breakfast for 4 adults this year. Now they get 2 adults and 2 kids. Hyatt didn’t tell anyone this was going to be the case until most people had either already re-qualified or were most of the way there.

  14. @Travis – No one qualified for Diamond status at Hyatt because they thought they could have 4 adults for breakfast. Full stop. The horse is dead already, quit beating it.

  15. It could potentially lead to some disappointing results abroad traveling with a family, It is very common for many hotels abroad to define children as 12 and above. If the parents want to have a nice, and expensive, breakfast, that leaves them with the burden of paying quite a lot for a “child” who comes along with them. In our case, our daughter certainly does not eat a lot, but I wouldn’t want to head off to a buffet and exclude her! Nor would I be thrilled about paying big money for it!

  16. @Travis, you’re doing an awesome job picking apart the program piece by piece. One question that many of us had that has gone unanswered constantly by Jeff and his staff is: if Hyatt is going to allow people to requalify for top-tier with 25 stays before March 1st, then shouldn’t there be a metric put in place to convert your stays under 25 into a percentage of nights? In other words, because the program is starting a quarter way into the requalifying year, if you clock 15 stays, that should convert into 36 nights after the changeover.

  17. Louis — That is a fantastic question. It boggles my mind as to why they are transitioning the program in mid-year. I’m guessing that if you don’t get in 25 stays by March 1, your number of stays ends up not mattering.

    Thanks for the support. Appreciate it.

  18. Seriously – this is such an asinine article. Who are the Globalists (I will be on in March) cramming 4 adults in a room and then whining about breakfast? Seriously?? Yesterday Ben had an equally whiny post RE Qatar Al Safwa shower and double bed room use. Are these posts intended just for free loaders and point redeemers or actual business people who travel to get work done and fly premium to arrive for a revenue generating meeting 4 hrs after landing (after a 26 hrs flying)?

  19. And there is no more 1000 welcome points or gift per stay.

    And there is no more 2500 points if the club is closed?

  20. The 4 adults for breakfast was an abused benefit, so it is gone. No surprise. I applaud the move.

    With those who stay 25-40 nights per year (like myself) weeded out, maybe Hyatt Globalist will be competitive with InterContinental Royal Ambassador come 2018. Now I have to decide if it is a status worth keeping.

  21. I’m surprised at those whining about the “freeloaders”. Actually no, I’m not surprised, but all the same I’d remind these enlightened souls that this blog is in part devoted to how to “freeload”. That’s the “tips” and “tricks” part.

    As far as the devaluation is concerned, I wonder if they researched the cost of the precious policy. One might assume they did, or someone less charitable than I might say that they looked at the benefits list and randomly picked this one. In any case, it’ll hurt my small business and it looks like it’ll hurt Travis. Unfortunate,

  22. I just requalified for Globalist through Feb 2019. As a Hyatt Diamond for many years, I am thinking this will be it for me. I very much appreciated the benefit of breakfast for four, though I only used it once or twice a year. I spend a lot of money with Hyatt because I appreciate the décor of the hotels, the service and the added benefits as a Diamond. Hyatt as a whole seems to be losing quality, both in service and hotel branding. Have not been impressed as of late.

  23. @BOraxo says: “PS you are going to be sorely disappointed when you see what free unlimited upgrades really means. Good luck on those suites”

    LOL. Spoken like someone with no experience with unlimited complimentary suite upgrades, and a bloggers’ kool-aid drinker who bought into the bogus notion that the 4 DSUs per year that HGP gave their Diamonds were the most valuable among elite suite upgrades, when the policy — complete with the exclusion of suite upgrades at check-in enshrined in the T&C to avoid misunderstanding — was a deliberate ploy by Hyatt to limit the number of suite upgrades their top elites could claim a year! It is, in fact, the very same policy, with suite upgrade awards replaced with club access awards, that WOH! will have for club access by Explorists — 4 “confirmed” or “guaranteed” club access awards/year and that is all they’ll get. Contrast that with unlimited exec lounge/club access for MR and HHonors Golds, and you get the picture.

    Look at it this way, under WOH! DSUs will go the way of SPG Plats’ SNAs. They will become useless because Globalists will clear more complimentary suite upgrades at check-in than they will clear DSUs at booking. Mark my words; well, the few who will actually make globalist should mark my words 😉


  24. Yeah, although this is likely intended to stop abuse of the system by those who invited their friends who aren’t even staying, it is going to impact those with children who d not qualify as children. As noted above, many hotels, particularly in Asia, have defined anyone over 12 (or even 10) as an adult, so people will be paying adult prices for child size breakfasts. I also agree that this was a bait and switch, to implement it for people who qualified under the old deal.

  25. The best way to handle this is through reviews of the property. If you feel shorted by not allowing you buddies in, make a point of it. I have stayed at some properties that take all the benefits literally to the letter, like Hiltons or Doubletrees limiting you to the continental half of the buffet…

  26. How ridiculous to mention obama care. You’re probably still reeling from the election and out protesting about how Trump isn’t “your” president. Good thing Obama care will be gone soon and then you won’t have to worry about what age a “child” is. Maybe you should just pay for braakfast at Denny’s if it’s so important to you and your family.

  27. Not sure about others experiences but I travel with my partner and my parents (in two separate rooms for which I book and pay) and regularly get comped 4 breakfasts to the point that I thought this was the rule. Obviously not but I’m sad to see the flexibility I was afforded is almost definitely going away.

  28. The breakfast benefit should be based on how many people the booked room would normally hold. If it’s a suite, it’s completely understandable that four people could be staying there. Yes, this benefit could’ve been subject to abuse in the past (some even blogged openly about it), but I suspect that was a very small percentage overall. It’s also a somewhat inconsistent policy, as it doesn’t seem that they’ll be limiting club access (and therefore breakfast and possibly “dinner”) to only two adults and two children.

  29. Class action suite time!! How dare Hyatt close that loophole and not allow people like you to game it!! The nerve!! As for me, I love it when a company is smart enough to realize someone is gaming their generosity and do something about it.

  30. Carl — The Diamond breakfast benefit is indeed based on the number of guests registered in the room with a maximum of four. Here it is from the T&C:

    “Daily complimentary full breakfast inclusive of one entrée (or standard breakfast buffet), juice and coffee (tax, gratuity and service charges included) will be provided to the member and each registered guest in the room, maximum four (4) people.”

    So rest assured that nobody was “cramming” anyone into a room. Either the room could legitimately hold four adults — and you could book it that way — or it couldn’t and you’d only get breakfast for the official maximum occupancy of the room.

  31. Amazing that the troll DCS cannot let a SINGLE hotel-related post go by without spreading false garbage about SPG, even those that have no SPG content…it truly is amazing.

  32. Gary — It’s also somewhat ironic for you to argue that United should let people take the Polaris blankets home to remind them of the experience:

    “United doesn’t feel that extending their business class marketing into your home is a worthwhile investment.”

    Yet inviting friends to experience the “Diamond life” by joining you for a complimentary breakfast — which, by the way, is completely legit assuming you registered four people to your room — is wrong.

    Seems you are being highly inconsistent.

  33. Lol let DCS troll on. It helps him sleep at night. He probably doesn’t believe half the stuff he writes.

    As for Gary’s first comment, maybe he’s wrong too. Maybe it’s about Hyatt realizing Gary’s belly was getting way out of control since he’d use up 4 breakfasts every time.

  34. Speaking of devaluation, my qualifying nights for 2017 suddenly went from 45 to 6, but with 0 required to reach next tier (according to a spam e-mail). Clicking on the link offered took me to a page that says the system is down for maintenance.

  35. The real issue is when traveling with your children internationally and they are considered adults over 13. This adds about $90 per day with 14 and 16 children at hotels without club lounges

  36. @Carl and the moronic troll — Maybe you and the forum moron/troll should be banned for content-free comments that always target others, including disclosing their personal information or impersonating them, in a disgusting breach of the most basic ethical standard of online posting.

    If you have something to say or you’d like to challenge anything in my comment(s), then do so and we’ll duke it out. Otherwise, get lost because you will be banned, if not for content-free comments, but for unethical conduct, before I am banned for comments that stimulate discussion even though they may not be to your or anyone’s liking.

  37. When you continually lie post after post (like saying that the success of the SPG AmEx somehow took down Starwood as a going concern, or that SPG is “dead”, etc. etc. etc.), and also manage to do it in posts that have ZERO content related to your lies – YOU are the troll.

    Case closed.

  38. Go to hell. I can write about anything I damn please. Your task, as another commenter and not the blog host, is to challenge (coherently, if that’s even possible) the content of my comments. You railed the other day about my lies, lies, lies and then I provided a link to a piece supporting my assertions, which I’d already provided multiple times, and that did not shame you. Now you are back at it again. SPG is dead. The startpoint/AMEX combo does not offer the best points currency/rewards card pair out there. Not by a long shot. If you do not like what I write, just skip over it. To keep hounding me and to call me
    troll when that challenges every definition of the word exposes you for what you are: clueless and unhinged.

    @Travis and @Lucky — please feel free to delete these nonsensical personal attacks that do not advance the discussion one bit. @Garry Leff started deleting such exchanges, and that seems to have toned this guy over there. Maybe that’s what will get this moron to go pick on someone his own size (intellect-wise).

    Good bye.

  39. Link to a SINGLE source for your lie-pinions like “thousands of people earning starpoints from general unbonused spend on the SPG AMEX without ever setting foot in Starwood hotels, and then transferring those points to airline miles instead of redeeming them for award stays at Starwood properties, which would be reimbursed in hard currency for such stays, would depress economic activity and stunt growth”, and I’ll happily back down.

    Until then, you’re just trolling, and cluttering every.single.hotel.thread with your anti-SPG diatribe, sad that none of the reputable bloggers ever talk about Hilton in any meaningful way 🙁

  40. My guess is that Hyatt might be looking to sell. Possibly to that Chineese company that was interested in SPG. Perhaps this is a way for the accounting books and costs at the higher end Andaz and Parks to look more attractive to the possible new owners without the costs of the diamond loyalty guests on a cost per guess say ratio.

  41. I’ve been told at multiple Hyatt properties that they didn’t care about registration at hotel of breakfast companions, and that breakfast was covered for up to four adults, no matter who they were.

    This downgrade doesn’t impact me personally at all, but it is hardly the closing of a loophole; it’s a change in policy, as Travis points out.

  42. @Travis The reason we were given was because of the expiration date of the DSUs — which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    Completely agree with you that in doing this ridiculous switchover, Hyatt is SERIOUSLY missing the boat and many potential customers. With every other program going in the toilet, they could’ve been the single program to stand out and therefore, grab LOTS of business from the other chains.

  43. I routinely find my regular properties bend breakfast rules.

    Example: 3 adults + 2 children. Every single morning our breakfast receipt only showed 3 adults and 1 child. Staff served the additional small person and just ignored them for billing purposes.

    This doesn’t worry me.

  44. A couple of things strike me about this change. First, we are all children of our parents no matter our age. Second defining “adult” seems to also define a “child.” One cannot be an adult and a child at the same time. The age of majority (18 in 47 states) defines adulthood. If I was running a hotel that’s the age I’d use. In addition to age, another qualifier should be a parent/child relationship to the adult(s) in the room. How is that going to be proved?

    Another possibility might be that when a hotel has a special price for a children’s meal, the hotel could say that a free breakfast for a child must be limited to the offerings on the children’s menu thus further reducing the value of the benefit. Or if the hotel sponsors activities for children staying at the hotel, will the criteria for participating in that program become the definition of child?

    Leaving the definition of child up to each hotel is the worst of all scenarios. Depending on changing facts and circumstances, that definition might even change from time to time even at each hotel. If Hyatt is going to have a program, at least it should have the decency to have uniform and clearly defined terms and conditions.

  45. Travis –

    Thank you for this post. As a 6 year consecutive Diamond Member, like you, I’m sorry to see Hyatt take a stellar program and morph it into a mediocre one. I’ve talked to enough Hyatt managers to know that the breakfast benefit is not abused as indicated by several commenters. It is also a small cost for the chain for it’s most loyal customers.

    What bothers me most about the change is the absolute radio silence after the Jeff Z reddit program. No follow up, no recognition of feedback — very un-Hyatt like IMHO. And someone please tell me why a hotel chain can tell me I need to be understanding and subject me to a not so veiled political message on the home page? Yes, I truly want world peace, but what I really want when I go to is a hotel room. All of this is steering me right to your competition. I know I’m not the only one.

    Still waiting for ONE positive comment about this new program.

  46. Breakfast at many Hyatts is not that good anyway. The Park Hyatt Hadahaa, which I believe is your last picture, is a case in point.

  47. People keep saying that they are cramming 4 people into a room but do a search on HPs with 2 Queens and you’ll find that is capacity is actually 6. I agree it’s a minor change but in a long list of overhaul changes that make obtaining globalist much more difficult. Lifting the stay requirement and not allowing award stays out multiple rooms to count as qs to hit 60 nights with a limited footprint is a challenge. Having rushed the 25 stays these two months was an exhausting challenge.

  48. Hopefully people who cry about not getting these “free breakfast” perks will leave the top tier at Hyatt. I look forward to the new program and the new benefits that come with it. Hopefully, less top tier members will thin out the executive lounges and make it easier to use the confirmed suite upgrades. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…

  49. I just stayed at a Hyatt Regency with no club lounge this past weekend. It was only me, but the lady at the front desk gave me 4 certificate for either breakfast or meal bundle at one of their restaurant. So I took two certificates and gave two back. I used one for breakfast and the other one for a sandwich when i checked out around 4pm.

    I think maybe we are over reacting about this breakfast situation. From my experiences, the hotels have always been helpful in accomadating extra guests. Let’s wait and see how the hotels actually handles this. I’m thinking it won’t even be any different than it is now.

  50. kubear — Thanks for sharing your experience. To be clear, the new program doesn’t start until March 1, so you were still under Gold Passport.

    That said, I generally agree with you that hotels will likely (hopefully) do the “right thing”.

    But relying on a hotel “to do the right thing” versus having it explicitly promised in the terms is still a devaluation.

  51. W.O.H. is “FOR SURE” a devaluation in comparison to H.G.P., and it is really all about money by the reduction of the accumulation of points (and by extension the reduction in free night stays on points). In the first week, and it is becoming very apparent that the elimination of bonus points for “Diamonds” on the Diamond Amenity will over the course of the year yield significantly less points to use on free stays.
    BTW, for those that have said to others that bring real critical analysis go find another program, just remember from a long-time (decade) Diamond member, these negative effects on Diamonds will negatively affect ALL of you in the end. Also increasing the annual nights requirement from 50 to 60 will result in less, not more, Diamond equivalent Globalists.

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