Hyatt Gold Passport has made several (minor) updates to its terms and conditions.
Hyatt Has Renamed the Daily Rate
A hotels’ “Best Available Rate” or BAR is rarely the hotel’s lowest available rate. Instead, it’s the base, undiscounted rate.
Call and ask for the best available rate and it turns out that’s a specific rate plan, and it’s higher than the best (lowest) rate you may qualify for.
It’s a standard term of arm in the hotel industry. RACK is the highest price a room can sell for. BAR is the base rate against which other rates discount. For instance, the AAA or AARP rate might be 10% off BAR.
Hyatt’s “Best Available Rate” used to be called the “Hyatt Daily Rate.” Now it’s called the Standard Rate.
Hyatt Notes Restrictions on Use of United Club Passes
A year ago Hyatt introduced a benefit of 2 United Club passes each year for Gold Passport Diamond members.
While United sells club passes on a one-off basis for $50, they’re no doubt either offering these to Hyatt on the super cheap, offering them as a straight-up trade, or even paying Hyatt to send them out… Hyatt gets to give something to its Diamond members, and United gets to market itself to Hyatt’s most frequent valuable customers.
Make no mistake, though, the value of a United club pass is certainly not more than $14.
United Explorer cardmembers get two annual passes. Sometimes those get lost in the mail, and members call Chase and get more sent out. That may be where the plethora available on eBay are coming from.
I assume that United is actually paying Hyatt for this benefit, rather than the other way around, as it encourages Hyatt’s most frequent and valuable customers to travel with United.
What was surprising to me is that Hyatt didn’t just send these passes out as a one-off, they actually wrote the benefit into their terms and conditions.
And with United preparing to restrict club access to those with same day travel, Hyatt has updated their terms to reflect this restriction.
New Limits on Use of Diamond Suite Upgrades Enshrined into Gold Passport Terms
Last month Hyatt announced new restrictions preventing application of Diamond Suite Upgrades for stays past the expiration date of the certificates.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
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.
This change is now reflected in the Gold Passport terms and conditions:
Google Bookings Are Explicitly Not “Eligible Rates” for Points and Status-Earning
Hotels want to gain control of their distribution channels, since booking a room directly is far less costly than paying a commission to online travel agencies like Expedia and Booking.com.
As a result, “third party” bookings don’t earn points (for the room rate — although Hilton even refuses points on incidentals for those stays) and don’t earn credit towards elite status. Hyatt, like Marriott (but unlike Starwood and Hilton), at least will generally recognize status a customer does have on such stays.
While the terms and conditions aren’t exhaustive with regard to which rates are considered ineligible, the terms do give examples. And Google’s direct booking has been added to the list of examples. Someone must have thought it would have been seen as a grey area otherwise.
Best Practice Would Be to Keep Members Informed
These aren’t significant new changes. Those paying attention (to blogs like this one) are already aware of the new expiration rules for Diamond Suite Upgrades and restrictions on use of United Club passes coming down the pike.
Nonetheless, when a program updates its terms and conditions it should really tell members it has done so and provide a simple explanation for the updates. Gold Passport didn’t do it. Most programs don’t do it. And I don’t think that’s cool.