Hyatt’s Program Next Year Gives You So Many Free Nights it’s Confusing

There’s been lots of controversy and confusion surrounding Hyatt’s program changes going into effect March 1. I’ve had plenty of thoughts about what the changes mean and there are things I really don’t like (and not just the new names for elite tiers).

I’ve formulated a hotel elite status plan for myself going forward, in light of these changes.

Grand Hyatt San Francisco

But it all starts with understanding the changes and what they mean.

All Hyatt Diamonds that qualify this year through February 2018 (or who qualify in January and February through February 2019) receive the new top tier ‘Globalist’ status — even though Globalist status has a higher qualification threshold and on net more benefits.

  • It will take 60 nights to reach Globalist (if you hit 60 nights in 2017 you will only need 55 nights in 2018 to retain the status for 2019). No more qualification on ‘stays’.

  • Globalists will receive suite upgrades if available at check-in; will be able to earn more confirmed suite upgrades for 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights; and will be able to use confirmed suite upgrades on award nights.

While the revamped Hyatt program will drop the check-in amenity (points or food and beverage offering), there are plenty of free nights on top of points earned.

  1. Everyone that gets transitioned to Globalist in March (even someone with just 25 stays this year) will receive a free night valid at any Hyatt property with no category restriction.
  2. A free category 1-4 night upon reaching 30 nights
  3. A free night at any Hyatt property with no category restriction upon earning top tier Globalist status.

Room service breakfast, Andaz 5th Avenue

I don’t like the 120 day expiration of free nights (to use the nights, not even just to book). I believe it’s to reduce the cost of providing the benefit (breakage, or members using them suboptimally at cheaper hotels) while Hyatt’s Jeff Zidell says it’s to connect the benefit to celebration of the accomplishment.

However there’s been some confusion about the free night awarded March 1, 2017. Hyatt’s new terms and conditions say,

the Category 1-7 Free Night Award is not provided as a benefit of Globalist status and a Category 1-7 Free Night Award will not be provided to Members who receive Globalist status through any means other than satisfaction of the Tier-Qualifying Night or Base Point accrual requirements (e.g., Members who receive Globalist status as part of the migration from the legacy Hyatt Gold Passport program to this Program).

That makes it sound like someone who was being transitioned to Globalist (such as staying 25 times in 2016) wouldn’t receive a free night.

View from the club lounge, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

However it struck me that this sounded like a different free night — the terms referring to free night number three, not number one. And I’ve since confirmed that with Hyatt. A spokesperson tells me,

Yes, all members that become Globalist on March 1, 2017 as part of the transition will receive a free night in a Category 1-7 to further enjoy the new program.

This award night is not the same night as the free night received at reaching 60 nights or 100K base points as part of World of Hyatt in 2017. Therefore the terms as stated are correct in that a member will receive a free night in a Category 1-7 upon reaching these milestones once the program transitions.

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. Again, this validates my relief that I remained teetering on the edge of diving into Hyatt’s loyalty program rather than pulling the trigger.

    I’ve made hundreds of mistakes with loyalty programs and point opportunities so it’s nice at least once I saved myself a headache by “missing out” 😉

    At the same time, this does seem like a better program for the hard-core loyalists, so I can be happy for others’ good fortune as well. Win/Win!

  2. “Yes, all members that become Globalist on March 1, 2017 as part of the transition will receive a free night in a Category 1-7 to further enjoy the new program.”

    What the expiration date for this one-off cert?

  3. For a Globalist who reaches 60 nights in 2017, when he gets 55 nights in 2018 will requalify for Globalist. Will he need get the Cat 7 cert at 55 nights in 2018?

  4. This T&C BS drove me away to a different chain. It seems like the T&Cs sometimes contradict what they publicly say (well not even — they seem to communicate only via bloggers or FT moderators). Half the things they say via social media doesn’t even make sense. Also doesn’t help that T&C are changing every 2 seconds.

    I know the program was leaked early but my goodness, this is a terrible way to start a program. Def. feels like Hyatt is just imploding which is unfortunate for a program that I loved.

  5. In my opinion this article talks only about top tiers Diamond and Globalist and the new program focuses ONLY on revenue and less on loyalty…!

    I am not at a Diamond level but I am at Platinum Tier of current Hyatt Gold Passport, my Platinum tier used to get renewed on 5 stays where as the basic tier of the new World of Hyatt the Discoverist needs 10 nights to get qualified. I travel for work mostly within my country India and most of my visits are one day. Hence business travel stays are negligible for me but the 4 stays which I have accumulated in the current year are my weekend leisure trips. Hyatt has also stopped their weekend plan as well. I love the Grand Hyatt Mumbai and Hyatt Ahmedabad is a place I visit every weekend. But it seems this love and my loyalty of staying only at a Hyatt will be short lived.

    Revenue focused loyalty programs have always lost its glory in short term especially in this age of

  6. Gary – let’s say I requalify for diamond with 50 nights Jan – Feb 2017. So that will make me globalist through end of Feb 2019. My question is, that will bring me to globalist, but will I still get the free cat 1-4 explorist certificate since I will have met the 30 nights? That part is confusing to me. Thanks.

  7. I’ve been a life long IHG member and have been trying to migrate over to Hyatt but am constantly stymied by the lack of choices globally. I travel globally three times a year and everywhere I go there are either no Hyatts available or the IHG’s are much better. I even have a Hyatt free night that I have been trying to redeem before the end of the year but cannot find anyplace worth going to. So it looks like it will expire and I will have wasted the Hyatt Card annual fee that I paid :(.

  8. The short expiration date on the free night is such an annoyance, they must be counting on 70% breakage.

    I’m not sure I care whether I get one or not.

  9. I’ve always considered Hyatt to be a higher-end chain, and these changes seem to signal a new focus upon the very highest tier of frequent travelers. Meaning that occasional to moderate travelers will slide to the back of the status train.

    @Gary, any info on upcoming changes for Hyatt Visa card holders? Status will presumably change from (old) Platinum to (new) Discoverist level… anything else? Thanks.

  10. So sad that Hyatt “enhanced” and trashed their HGP loyalty program. I’ve been a Diamond member for the last 4 years by staying 39-40 stays and approx. 49-50 nights with about $ 8-10,000 year in spend. They are losing me for sure by requiring 60 nights, and no stay qualification.

  11. hi, Gary:
    So just to be sure, all members qualified for 2017 Diamond (qualification year is this year), will get the same number and types of certs, upon transition into Globalist, right? No matter it is by night or stays, 50 nights or 60 night?

  12. it would make more sense to achieve 55 stays between hilton (30) and spg (25) than do 60 nights with hyatt.
    10000+ properties among hilton, spg and marriott vs. 700 hyatts. it’s not even funny.
    i love you hyatt but you made a big mistake this time.

  13. I just stayed at a Hyatt Place. Very poor experience. For me the footprint for Hyatt is just the full service hotels. Not many of those so it makes it difficult to stay 60 nights. The point is the person at check-in had just seen a teleconference on the new program. She swore that the amenity would still be in effect. This is the most important take away for me. Gary: can you see if they possibly changed their mind on that part of the new program.

  14. @David, totally agree. There’s no point in being a diamond at Hyatt Place / Hyatt House properties. Especially now that they’re removing the welcome points. (Well, assuming that’s the case.)

  15. Maybe these above questions should have been presented to Mr. Zidell in his Reddit discussion rather the insults and the abuse that was lobbed at him!

  16. I would have thought HYATT could benefit from the mess left in the wake of Starwood / Marriott takeover. But no .. even before the dust settles .. they spoil the beautiful thing they had.
    As Gary says, there are not many HYATT hotels ( except perhaps in USA ) and to now require a minimum 60 nights, seems like shooting oneself in the foot. The spend is also ridiculously high for many GOOD Hyatt members. Not all individuals or companies can afford that, Hyatt is not a low cost hotel. What a pity … Hope somebody at HYATT wakes up before they suffer badly.. including current GP members realigning with the competition.

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