Hyatt Gold Passport has my absolute favorite hotel benefit: Diamond members get to confirm a suite at booking 4 times per year (up to 7 nights at a time). Instead of hoping for an upgrade close to arrival or at the check-in counter, you throw down one of your trump cards and your base-level room reservation confirms into a suite, provided that the hotel has base-level suites for sale.
Hyatt’s Jeff Zidell tells me that they’re going to be announcing a change to the way that Diamond Suite Upgrades work later today.
Diamond members enjoy many exclusive privileges including suite upgrades at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights. On March 1, 2016, Diamond members will receive four new Diamond Suite Upgrade Awards, and we want to provide clarity on an upcoming modification to the redemption period.
What’s Changing? Suite awards issued on or after March 1, 2016 must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award. Suite awards not redeemed prior to the expiration date of the award will be forfeited.
What’s not changing? Suite awards issued prior to March 1, 2016, must be redeemed by making a reservation no later than the last day of February 2016 for future reservations. In the event one of these Suite awards is redeemed for stay dates beyond the expiration date and the reservation is cancelled after the last day of February 2016, the Suite award will be forfeited.
These changes will be reflected on our website and within our Terms and Conditions on February 1, 2016.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Members starting getting a whiff of this at the beginning of December because phone agents were having to perform a workaround to use existing suite upgrades on reservations after the expiration date on the upgrades. About six weeks ago Hyatt specifically said, however, that they were not making this change. That’s unfortunate.
I don’t see lack of notice of this change being a big deal, since it doesn’t affect hotel stays before March 2017. But I do see a real problem with the substance of the change.
- Diamond Suite Upgrades aren’t awarded until March 1.
- You can’t use prior year upgrades to upgrade a stay that extends into March.
- The best availability for these upgrades tends to be booking in advance.
It pretty much means Diamonds won’t be able to upgrade to suites at a whole bunch of popular hotels, especially those with limited suites, during March, April, and May.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
The great thing about Diamond Suite Upgrades is that a member doesn’t value the upgrade the same on every trip. But they can choose the 4 times a year when they do. And those tend to be more on leisure trips than business trips. And leisure trips tend to be booked farther out than business trips (at least the important ones).
And Diamonds who plan their travel much in advance will have a difficult time using the benefit for a good chunk of the window in which they might travel. Many airline awards are booked 11 months out from travel. It now becomes impossible to book an airline award far in advance and confirm a suite for a hotel stay at the same time for much of the year. That’s why the details of this will matter to at least a significant subset of Diamond members.
What Hyatt needs to do, along with this change, is to award Diamond Suite Upgrades when a member requalifies for their status rather than depositing them into all Diamond member accounts March 1. That would let at least some Diamonds book suites earlier, and it would provide an incentive to requalify for Diamond status sooner. As it stands, with no elite benefit to staying more than 25 times or 50 nights in a year I may let my requalification go until December. In fact, since you only get 4 confirmed suite upgrades no matter how many times you stay my inclination is not to exceed 50 nights by very much. Hyatt could fix this.
View from my Deck at the Park Hyatt Dubai
For your upgrades expiring at the end of next month, start thinking about where you might use them, because you can still apply them to stays past February 28 if you book before then. For the current suite upgrades you do not have to actually stay by the end of February, you just need to apply these suite upgrades prior to expiration. They can be for any stay into the future where a suite can be confirmed. (If you cancel the reservation after the suite upgrades have expired, you’ll lose the suite upgrades.) It’s the suite upgrades being issued March 1 where this rule will change.
In the meantime, I wish they’d have prioritized getting hotels to make suite upgrades available to Diamonds on all rates as they’re supposed to while they were tinkering with the program.