Hyatt Names New Head of World of Hyatt Program

A month ago Hyatt named Starwood veteran Mark Vondrasek as Head of Loyalty and Business Platforms. World of Hyatt reports up to him, and he’s also responsible for integrating Hyatt’s lifestyle brand acquisitions Miraval and Exhale into the chain.

He’s not filling huge hole Hyatt has had since Jeff Zidell left. He had to hire that person.

And Hyatt has now announced that they’ve brought on Amy Weinberg as senior vice president, World of Hyatt loyalty program to run the day-to-day. Until the Marriott acquisition, Weinberg ran CRM and consumer analytics for Starwood.

Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives

Reading into the boilerplate of the release I always find it interesting how they choose what to say. In this case Mark Vondrasek describes Weinberg as “thoughtful, smart and intuitive leader who combines analytical strength with a passion to lead and develop others.” I read that as inward-facing rather than a salesperson for the program, with a strong focus on data.

It’s not at all surprising that Vondrasek has gone to the well of his previous Starwood experience to fill the role managing the Hyatt loyalty team.

On the one hand I think it’s telling that Hyatt has brought in Starwood talent to run the loyalty program, and that it reports up to the CEO bypassing the Chief Marketing Officer who came in two years ago and gave us the 2017 program changes, Hyatt does seem to delude themselves into thinking that the new program is working despite having to scrounge for elite members wherever they can find them.

World of Hyatt is in many ways about cutting costs rather than competing aggressively for nights with larger chains Hilton and Marriott. We’ll have to see what direction the new leadership team brings to loyalty at Hyatt.

Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Here’s the release:

CHICAGO (October 31, 2017) – Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) today announced that Hyatt has selected Amy Weinberg as senior vice president, World of Hyatt loyalty program. Weinberg joins Hyatt today and reports to Mark Vondrasek, executive vice president, global head of loyalty and new business platforms. In this role, Weinberg will direct Hyatt’s global World of Hyatt loyalty experience and teams, including program strategy and innovation, partnerships, operations and management.

“Hyatt is fortunate to welcome a reputable leader in the loyalty space. Amy’s impressive track record in data insights and analytics will help advance our efforts to identify with our guests and understand their needs,” said Vondrasek. “Amy is a thoughtful, smart and intuitive leader who combines analytical strength with a passion to lead and develop others. This role is critical to our business as we continue to accelerate momentum of the World of Hyatt loyalty program and engage more deeply with our guests.”

Weinberg joins Hyatt with more than 20 years of experience in building brand strength in loyalty through consumer insights, market research, and strategic marketing and operations. Most recently, she spent two years as general manager for Corp, consulting for a variety of disciplines, including hospitality, hotel management, real estate ownership and development companies.

Prior to that, Weinberg spent 12 years as senior vice president, consumer insights for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. In the position, Weinberg was responsible for leading global analytics, market research and customer relationship management functions, including a global team supporting all of Starwood’s brands and divisions, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program. Weinberg’s career also includes previous roles at Fulcrum Analytics, The Chicago Tribune Company, and Strategic Media Research.

“I have always admired Hyatt and its dedication to caring for guests, members and colleagues. I’m thoroughly familiar with the World of Hyatt loyalty platform and eager to build upon the strong foundation Hyatt has created with its guests, both within and beyond traditional hotel stays,” said Weinberg. “It’s an exciting time as Hyatt expands into wellness and other opportunities, and I look forward to helping drive overall guest engagement across Hyatt’s portfolio of brands.”

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. @Gary I really, really think they need to re-imagine the WOH program, especially some of the low hanging fruit for loyalists that was unceremoniously lopped off, such as award nights counting towards qualification. This really hurt me, as I can hit 40-50 (paid) nights and maybe a few more, but losing the award nights may keep me from going over on Globalist again this year. I sent a twitter DM today as well, but anything you can pass along to the new loyalty SVP would be most appreciated.

  2. @Gary – do you think that either new hire will ultimately benefit Hyatt, WoH members, or both?

    When I see “smart”, “intuitive” and “analytical strength” in a company press release, I don’t see see someone who’s looking out for members. Instead, I can picture Hyatt describing a cost -cutter like Scott Kirby.

  3. It would be terrific if you could let Hyatt know they screwed up….. and need to rethink this WOH embarrassment….starting with the name and the logos. The old Gold Passport system worked.
    We are totally loyal Hyatt, in U.S…..but there is very little in Europe. They seem to have forgotten that someone who stays in one of the brands, 20-40 times a year at their own expense is LOYAL. Someone who stays because their employer booked them on contract, is not necessarily loyal.

  4. Dear Mr. Vondrasek and Ms. Weinberg. I am at Qualified Nights YTD: 59. I won’t be staying at another Hyatt property until one of the last days of the year. The reason should be obvious to you. As soon as I hit 60 days I will get a quickly-expiring free night. To ensure that I can use the free night for personal use, I won’t start the clock until the last moment. Your poorly thought out quickly- expiring date is costing you my business for the final two months of the year. Please consider this counter motivating factor when you start making well needed changes to the program. As a Marriott Platinum, Starwood Platinum, and Omni Black I have alternative options.

  5. World of Hyatt works for me! The quickly expiring free nights might be a pain to use but the benefits are great! I love being upgraded to the best room available including standard suites! Hopefully next year there will be less globalists…

  6. Dear Gary. I suppose you missed the class on facts or investigative journalism. Its clear from your repeated posts that your dear friend Jeff Zidell, who you miss terribly, endeared himself to you. Was it all the free nights and perks he threw your way. I would have hoped that you would have dug into “why” he left as a journalist — cause it wouldn’t have taken a genius to understand that he was fired for what must have been a good reason, given that Hyatt rarely fires anyone. But I guess that would have required you doing some work… its a sad day when journalism is left to the likes of you, simply relying on the freebies to taint the view they put out in the world. Welcome to #fakenews.

  7. WOH is the ultimate example of some “Marketing Guru” run amok. Stupid organization, silly names… It is an embarrassment. Kind of when you tell a story, and it was hilarious or “oh so clever” when you were drunk. Have they not sobered up yet?

  8. I have been a Hyatt diamond for many years. 2017 I will barely make whatever the bottom thing is now.

    @LucasSchool – if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

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