Hyatt Eliminating Elite Room Discounts, and Changing Confirmed Bed Type Policy

When Hyatt added a new rewards category 7 and made other (negative) changes to the Gold Passport program a year ago, they introduced a couple of positive features as well:

  • Cash and points awards
  • 20% off rates for elite members (subject to availability)

Cash and points was a permanent feature of the program, and a really good value for category 2 through 6 hotels. Unlike traditional award nights, as well, the rates are paid rates and eligible to use Diamond Suite Upgrades on, plus earn stay and night credit towards elite status and promotional earning.

No More ‘My Elite Rate’ in 2015

The 20% off ‘My Elite Rate’ didn’t make much sense to me, and I’m not surprised to learn that it will not be coming back for 2015.

Whereas I used to sometimes wind up booking AAA rates at 10% off (and often might even have to consider the Hyatt Daily Rate or 10% off prepaid rates in other regions of the world) I’d book these 20% rates as well. Targeted at elites already considering Hyatt, it struck me that they were cannibalizing their own business. They must have both had a different theory of what would happen, and learned that it didn’t work the way they’d hoped to stimulate incremental business.

Guaranteed Bed Type for all Guests, But No More Points for Non-Compliance

Hyatt is revising its bed type guarantee policy. Currently only elites get a guarantee that they’ll receive the bed type that they book. A hotel failing to provide the guaranteed bed type is good for 5000 points compensation.

Effective January 1 all guests will be guaranteed the bed type they reserve… but there’s no longer a built-in compensation arrangement arrangement if they don’t.

Hyatt says that fewer than 0.1% of elites failed to receive a confirmed bed type, so it’s not as though many points will be lost here. However the ‘stick’ of having to pay out compensation helps ensure that hotels come through on the commitment. It will be interesting to see how well Hyatt does delivering on the promise now that it’s being made to all guests and after the removal of a penalty for non-compliance.

Put another way, we’ll learn what the value of a guarantee is that isn’t paired with a credible commitment mechanism.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What I’d like to see, and I know this is a petty first world problem, is some standardization of the Diamond amenity. Many of the properties do a great job here. The charcuterie board at the Grand Hyatt SF is top notch, the Grand Hyatt Kauai has a menu of property-specific amenities like a pool cabana for a day, and so forth.

    On the other hand, the Andaz Napa offered a laptop screen cleaning cloth, and another property which is lucky that I can’t recall offered…. two free bottles of water.

    Most business travelers are just going to take the 1000 points, so is it really so hard to offer us something fun when we’re on vacation?

  2. By definition, a guarantee has to have an “or what”.

    Otherwise it’s just a pledge.

    Am I missing something?

  3. Took me a few times to understand this sentence: “Whereas I used to sometimes wind up booking AAA rates at 10% off (and often might even have to consider the Hyatt Daily Rate or 10% off prepaid rates in other regions of the world) I’d book these 20% rates as well.”

    I think you mean that Hyatt was basically spotting you 10 percentage points for no reason.

  4. If they are discontinuing the elite rate due to incremental business – keep in mind that this rate had to be booked on something other than a mobile device, such as a laptop – I don’t think they wanted it to succeed in the first place

  5. Loss of my Elite Rate means my bookings go back to the corporate travel tool, which will mean I am comparing Hyatt hotels with other properties and chains that may have special negotiated rates. The promise of a 20% spot meant I could justify booking direct and show that it was not to the detriment of my company. Btw, we still easily meet our contractual commitments for preferred providers. The other business to drop off for Hyatt is that the my elite rate used to bring their rates closer to competitors in some markets, including where OTA discounts would offer a better value even when accounting for foregone elite credit and points, so those nights are gone plus I might still book Hyatt via OTA at commissionable rates.

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