Hyatt introduced the most innovative and rewarding elite benefit in 2009 — confirmed suite upgrades. Top tier elites could confirm a suite at time of booking for up to 7 nights four times a year.
Suite upgrades were deposited into a member’s account March 1 and were valid for a year. You have to confirm a suite before the upgrade expired.
Then a year ago this changed — suite upgrades had to be for travel prior to confirmed suite expiration. This presented a problem. Planning a family vacation 10 months out, perhaps for travel in April or May, and you couldn’t use the suite upgrade when you wanted it most. Instead you’d have to wait and hope the suite was available when new upgrades were placed into your account in March. That undermined the whole point of a ‘confirmed’ suite upgrade.
With the move to ‘World of Hyatt’ there have been several changes to the suite upgrade benefit.
- Suite upgrades are deposited into your account when you (re-)qualify for top tier status, and are valid for travel up to a year in the future. If your desired use for these, though, is more than 12 months out you might want to delay earning the upgrades.
- Suite upgrades are valid on award nights, not just paid nights. Unfortunately since it now takes more nights to earn and keep top status, and Hyatt is alone in not counting award nights towards status, this remains challenging.
- You can earn more than 4 confirmed suite upgrades. At each of 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights you can choose between an additional suite upgrade or 10,000 points.
- Upgrades based on availability at check-in now include suites.
Some Hotels Don’t Allow Suite Upgrades
Hyatt’s terms and conditions lists several “Suite Award Ineligible Properties”
- Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa
- Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto
- Hyatt Regency Tulsa
- Hyatt Regency Wichita
- Hyatt Paris Madeleine
- Hyatt Herald Square New York
- Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa
- Hyatt City of Dreams Manila
- Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara
- Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami
- Hyatt Place hotels or M life Resorts
All rooms at the Park Hyatt Maldives are considered suites. Park Hyatt Sydney has only premium suites. The Hyatt Herald Square doesn’t have many suites (and has some of the smallest rooms you’ve ever seen).
On the other hand the Hyatt Regency Wichita has standard suites — you just can’t have them with a confirmed upgrade.
Interestingly, Hyatt’s new rules exclude these properties from confirmed upgrades however those that do offer standard suites aren’t excluded from offering them if available at check-in to top tier members (at least under a literal reading of the rules). Of course, upgrades to ‘best room available’ at check-in are “determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion” and what they consider best can vary day by day.
Some Hotels Play Games With Suite Upgrades
The Andaz Maui created a special poolside suite category that they do not have very many of, and that is highly undesireable, in order to limit and discourage top elites from using their confirmed suite benefits. So Andaz Suite I had on my first stay there isn’t a room I’d be able to get today — even if a confirmed suite upgrade were available.
The Park Hyatt Vendome calls their ‘standard’ suite a ‘junior suite’ which is just a somewhat larger room than standard. To me a suite has more than one room (aside from the bathroom). If a hotel wants to play games and call a room without a wall separating space a junior suite it shouldn’t also be able to call that room the standard suite.
The Andaz Wall Street used to offer two room suites as its standard suites, then they decided that what used to simply be ‘extra large’ rooms constituted suites. Those extra large rooms used to be given to top elites on check-in (even before such elites were entitled to standard suites if available). Then they were considered suites, and became the room that elites could redeem confirmed suite upgrades for.
The Andaz 5th Avenue has a tremendous number of suites. For a few years they classified the ‘Splash Suite’ which is a premium suite and better than the ‘standard’ suite as the room that confirmed suite upgrades booked into. On the one hand, that’s generous. On the other since there are very few splash suites it made redeeming confirmed suite upgrades much harder. That was the hotel’s game. However they’ve gone back to assigning the lower category suite as confirmable. That’s not as large a room, but it’s far far easier to get.
Here’s What Hyatt Could Do to Really Fix Suite Upgrades
Hyatt made some progress this year allowing suite upgrades to be used on award nights, awarding suite upgrades right away when status is earned, and allowing members to earn more suite upgrades for going beyond staying 60 nights in a year.
However there’s not enough guidance or enforcement as to what constitutes a suite, and too many properties playing games to make those suites harder to use.
Hyatt should define what a suite is. A suite is more than one room. And a standard suite is the most common suite room type with more than one room. It shouldn’t be acceptable to say that only the couple of suites on the ground floor are standard.
Hyatt should allow selection of room types up to the standard suite category. Starwood’s Suite Night Awards will let you pick the room types you’d be open to being upgraded into. That could include a room that’s smaller than a standard suite, but still desireable. For instance if no poolside suite of sadness is available at the Andaz Maui, allow suite upgrades to confirm into an ocean view room.
The Park Hyatt Sydney may not have ‘standard suites’ but their Deluxe rooms are certain junior suites if the Park Hyatt Vendome can call a large room a junior suite and define that as the standard suite. A Deluxe Opera View room is a category below their suites, but it’s one that would be fantastic to use a confirmed suite upgrade to ensure.
Finally, why limit upgrades to standard suites? A true and limited celebration of elite status would be access to a really premium suite once a year. Perhaps one of the following would be possible:
- Let Globalists choose a free night upon achieving status as the new program offers or a confirmed upgrade into a premium suite
- At 100 nights award a premium suite upgrade instead of just another standard suite upgrade
- Allow use of 2 confirmed suite upgrades to leap frog the standard suite at a hotel
Given Hyatt’s limited footprint, if you manage to stay 60 — or 100 — nights with Hyatt that’s a real testament to loyalty in a way that it isn’t with Marriott or Hilton (which are everywhere) or Starwood (which doesn’t just count award nights towards status, and allows up to 10 elite nights just for having credit cards with no spend required, but even allows earning elite credit for up to 3 rooms at a time).
Staying that many nights, and being rewarded with one truly special stay, would be a great way to improve the suite upgrade benefit which is already the best among Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, and IHG but which could be more consistent and available.