How World of Hyatt Creates a Perverse Disincentive for Elites to Stay at Their Hotels

When confirmed suite upgrades were introduced they were awarded at the beginning of an elite year, expired after 12 months, but could be applied to future reservations after their expiration date as long as they were confirmed prior to expiration.

Then with the new CRM Hyatt implemented a consequence was that suite upgrades expired 12 months after being awarded without the ability to apply them to future reservations.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris

When Hyatt announced their World of Hyatt elite program changes I identified a rather perverse incentive they were creating on day one. Since suite upgrades are awarded to top tier elites when qualifying for status, and they expire 12 months from when they’re awarded, it can make sense to avoid staying at Hyatt and put off requalfying in order to have later-expiring upgrades to use.

I was in exactly that position in the fall and slowed down my Hyatt stays.

Reader Drew is in that position already in 2018,

Quick question as to your prediction for the way WOH goes with respect to Globalist confirmed suite upgrades. I am now officially in the odd position of being very close to requalifying for Globalist already this year. However, I have a substantial Asia vacation planned in the Summer of 2019 and want to have some confirmed suits upgrades available at that time.

My question – should I just delay requalification, or should I gamble and hope Hyatt changes a frankly dumb policy, similar to the way they credited 2017 award stays recently?

Andaz 5th Avenue

I think that Hyatt ought to fix this. And I think that the program’s leadership is aware of the issue. They may fix it at some point, but if they do there’s no reason to think it happens retroactively for already-awarded suite upgrades. Again they might, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Meanwhile I faced the situation myself again last week. With Hyatt retroactively counting last year’s award nights towards status and for 70, 80, 90, and 100 night bonuses I earned a choice of an additional suite upgrade or 10,000 points. I didn’t get the email though, it turned out that my email address somehow went inactive in Hyatt’s database. So I asked my Hyatt Concierge whether it was possible for them to select the suite upgrade for me?

Park Hyatt Chennai

I didn’t want them to do it, I wanted to know if they were able to do it. But I wasn’t clear enough. They went ahead and applied the suite upgrade when I wanted to have them do it in 90 days. You have 90 days to make your selection of points or a suite upgrade, and the suite upgrades expire 12 months from when they’re credited to your account. I didn’t have an immediate need for the upgrade, and I wanted the flexibiltiy to use it later. When I pointed out that I hadn’t intended for them to make the selection I got a ‘too bad, so sad’ note back, that it’s not possible to undo it. Once selected it’s selected and it didn’t matter that I hadn’t wanted to select it yet.

Awarding confirmed suite upgrades when a member qualifies or selects suites for a threshold bonus makes sense, but penalizing early qualifiers with earlier expiration doesn’t make sense.

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. The retroactive awarding of nights suggests they got a real shock this year and are prepared to try to work the problems of their terrible last 18 months. But we aren’t there yet. We’re in a shoulder period and who can really say whether they are truly interested in fixing their punitive and unintended-consequences laden policies. There are reasons to be hopeful but also reasons to be skeptical. They still have major problems and there may still be institutional resistance to some of the choices they’ve made.

    In some senses I think they are still reeling a bit from giving away status like candy and though they way over cooked the response, my guess is that bad history is causing them to move slowly. Their expiration policies are designed to cause breakage. That’s the bottom line. A program more enamoured of breakage than incentivizing spend and stays tell you everything you need to know. They just don’t get it yet.

    It remains an untrustworthy program with some nice properties in a small footprint. I’m still on the sidelines, happy with SPG for another year, while we see whether a Hyatt really is about.

  2. Yep, Larry crushed it. I said all of these things during my 30 minute Hyatt Globalist survey phone call last year.

  3. Hyatt is a mess. World of Hyatt is a failure. Park Hyatt standards have slipped at many properties across the brands, and the New York flagship property has some of the most disappointing service and food/beverage issues.

    SO glad I stuck with SPG. Even Marriott is treating me better than Hyatt, by a mile.

  4. Sadly my top tier days are over oh I did my usual 50 nights but damn footprint too small for my usual travels. So I will use this coming year to burn down my points and bid farewell. Fear not I am LFT PLT with Marriott that coupled with their SPG makes it work internationally which is where my concerns are..

    Back to point it will be interesting to see what happens next and if they reach out to us this year.

  5. My company had really good rates with Hyatt. This year, the rates are gone completely. I was told that employees who do 200 nights are not interested in Hyatt. I personally don’t use Hyatt that much. So I wasn’t following the WOH changes. But from what has been said here and all the other hotel points blogs, Hyatt cut too much. Hyatt only has 700 properties, and Hilton and Marriott multiples more. You would think keeping those road warriors away from Hilton and Marriott would be the goal here?

  6. Going back to SPG this year.
    Stopped chasing Hyatt status because you a) don’t get credit for more than one room when SPG gives credit for 3 b) footprint is small c) I’ll pay for a better room and club access if I want it

    This is the same reason I stopped chasing airline status. I just buy first class.
    I’m not making decisions based on begging and hoping. It’s demeaning to the best customers with the most money to spend.
    None of the brands seem to get the fact the people with the most money spent on REVPAR or RPASM deserve the best treatment.

    I’ll still hack a deal if something great comes along, but I am damn sure not going to be left hoping for a transcon upgrade at the gate

  7. . Park Hyatt standards have slipped at many properties across the brands

    It’s not your insulation. It’s your crappy a/c units….and when no wind blows it’s way too hot to do anything other than go in the water or drink.
    Then try building a restaurant that actually has air conditioning eating in 95 % humidity at 95 degrees is way beyond unpleasant.

    You’re getting this from someone who returned from The Maldives to his home in Las Vegas and was happier at 117 degrees with no humidity. It’s not like I don’t know hot!!

    I doubt it you fixed anything. I asked you to let me know , and I have heard nothing.
    When I last left there EARLY I looked like the TV interview with Prince Al Waleed LOOKED when he was locked in a 5 star hotel.

    I’m surprised they didn’t demand half my net worth

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