Hyatt Cracks Down on Elites Lending Out Their Elite Status

Hyatt explicitly lets members gift their elite status to friends when they book awards in someone else’s name.

If a top tier member gives an award, your friend or family member gets treated as though they have the same status. Always ask explicitly to gift a ‘Guest of Honor’ stay. Friends can even transfer their points into your account so you can book the award for them with your status.

But booking a paid reservation for someone else using your own account is verboten. Frequently some members will book a stay in their own name and add a friend as a second guest on the reservation.

  • The friend’s name is on the booking so they check in. The account holder doesn’t ever show up at the hotel, in fact they may not ever be in the same city.

  • The friend staying at the hotel gets to experience elite status for the stay.

  • The accountholder earns elite stay credit and points.


Suite at the Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris

This is commonly done across chains. But Frequent Miler reports that Hyatt is reportedly cracking down on the practice. He says some members caught doing this “have received phone calls, but most have received emails as follows:”

We appreciate your continued loyalty as a World of Hyatt member. However, we recently became aware of reservations credited to your account, for which you were not present. Please note, members may only earn stay and point credit, including bonuses earned with any promotion, if they pay an eligible room rate and are the registered guest. See https://help.hyatt.com/en/hyatt-terms/world-of-hyatt-terms.html.

At this time, your account is active. However, please be advised that any continuation of this prohibited behavior will result in an account closure and forfeiture of all accumulated points and awards.

Perhaps they surmise that an elite member who frequently adds a second guest to their stays, or whose second guest is constantly changing, isn’t actually staying on property — as opposed to asking front desk clerks to actually check.

My wife and I frequently meet up in a city. She may travel there from home, while I may be coming in from whatever city I was working in. I’ll try to coordinate our arrival times, but I always add her as a second guest so that she can check in without me if she’s going to arrive first or in case my flight is delayed. There are absolutely legitimate reasons for adding a second guest name to a booking.

Hotel rules certainly require that an elite actually stay on property in order to be entitled to elite benefits for the room. I recall an effort over a decade ago at some Starwood properties to refuse to assign upgrades on bookings with more than one name until the member actually arrived.

It’s not clear to me,

  • How widespread this is?
  • How Hyatt even knows you’ve done this?

Has anyone out there actually been contacted by Hyatt? I’d love to know if this is more than apocryphal, and the circumstances behind it — Were you in fact guilty? How often had you done this? And what hotel(s)?

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. One thing confuses me. In order to get elite credit the charges have to go on a credit card in the elite member’s name, right? Perhaps this is how Hyatt knows.

  2. So yeah @Hyatt clarification please, is it OK for a partner with different last name to be on the reservation and check in, even if I’m potentially not staying or do I need to move my business elsewhere?

  3. My wife and I do this often and it has never been an issue. We travel together but often on different schedules. There are many properties where the staff actually knows us so once again it has not been an issue.

  4. I’ve also had several properties OK a scenario paralleling Jon L’s without issue.

    This isn’t surprising. As Gary notes, there are many legitimate reasons for listing your spouse or other regular companion, having nothing to do with intended circumvention of Hyatt’s rules.

    Per your question Gary, I had an incident where I couldn’t arrive for a booking at the GH Tampa last year. They wouldn’t issue club keys to the other parties without my arrival.

    When I called, and explained that I wouldn’t be able to make it after all, they politely explained that they didn’t issue keys to someone other than the Globalist as a matter of policy, unless Guest of Honor. No threats, questioning of my integrity, or other irritants. This seemed reasonable to me.

  5. My guess they send it out only when they know for certain that this has happned such as scenarios where the guest actually tells the hotel that is what they are doing or you have a reservation in New York City which you check-in and you happen to have another reservation in your name in Paris which only a guest checks-in and the dates overlap.

  6. I’ve done it a couple of times a year – though I usually did points plus cash. I want the EQM as I had trouble making Hyatt Diamond each year. Never had a problem. I think it’s a stupid rule. That Hyatt is now enforcing it just emphasizes to me how their attitude towards customers has changed. I’ve seen it gradually become, “company first, customer last” over the last three years or so.

    I didn’t even try last year. Don’t think I’m even platinum now. Don’t know, don’t care. Hyatt is no longer on my radar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *