Hyatt just updated its terms and conditions for Gold Passport. I cannot emphasize enough that loyalty programs should share with members when they do this, and explain the changes that they’re making, even when the changes are innocuous or consistent with other announced changes to a program that have been made.
Here’s what Hyatt has done.
Free United Club Passed for Diamond Members
Last month they announced that Diamond members would receive 2 United Club passes each year. I was surprised to see this announced as a feature of the program, something to expect on an ongoing basis, rather than just a one-off or something they’d try that could become regular in the future.
In fact, it’s now in the terms and conditions (click to enlarge):
Interesting as well that it’s noted that the club passes cannot be replaced. I wouldn’t be surprised if a call to Gold Passport got new passes sent if a Diamond member doesn’t receive theirs in the mail. Certainly they need to say that the passes aren’t replaceable by right or else members could keep calling up for an unlimited number of additional passes. Kind of like some people do with their United Explorer credit card (cough).
Premium Internet for Elites
Now that Hyatt is giving everyone — not just Gold Passport members (would have increased joining of the program) and not just those who book rooms through Hyatt channels (would have helped reduce their distribution costs, shifting bookings away from online travel agencies) — free internet, the relative value of elite status has fallen a bit, at least for Platinum members (who still get 2pm late checkout and bonus points).
One thing Hyatt has done to compensate is they’ve said that elites get premium (faster) internet where it’s an option, not just the basic speed hotels offer to everyone. (Click to enlarge.)
With guests increasingly needing greater bandwidth, hotels throttle the speeds of internet that guests can access and then ration higher bandwidth via pricing (a small percentage of guests use a majority of the bandwidth and this can reduce the speeds and degrade the experience of other guests). Diamonds and Platinum members can get faster internet free.
No More Free Newspaper
I rarely read physical newspapers anymore, I’ll read online most of the time. Although flipping through a newspaper with my morning coffee is an indulgence I still very much enjoy. I often simply don’t have time for it.
Hyatt appears to no longer guarantee a free newspaper for elites, though I wonder in practice what that will change at the individual property level at least in the immediate term (though I would guess that the long-term trend is that the newspapers are less read anyway). (Click to enlarge)
Only One Guest Per Room Can Earn Points and Status Credit
One imagines this would win an award for most obvious statement that doesn’t need clarification in the program’s terms, but one imagines they felt the need to make this even more clear as a result of actual issues and complaints.
It’s the first name on the reservation that earns, not a second name. (Click to enlarge)