What is the best hotel scheme? – World of Hyatt – The Facts

This is the seventh and last of our overview series of the main hotel loyalty schemes. Each scheme will be covered over two posts on consecutive days. One will list the basic facts of the scheme, the other will be my subjective view of what is of particular merit.

World of Hyatt is the smallest and newest of the global hotel loyalty schemes.   Launched in early 2017 to replace Hyatt Gold Passport, it covers 700 hotels globally under the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, The Unbound Collection and Andaz brands.  The World of Hyatt home page is here.

What is the geographic spread?  You used to struggle to find a Hyatt in the UK, although the one London hotel has recently been joined by two budget Hyatt Place properties near Heathrow.  Apart from that you only have one in Birmingham and an Andaz in the City.

The chain is expanding – Hyatt reflagged good hotels in Nice and Cannes in 2013 and Germany is particularly strong. More importantly, the hotels Hyatt has are generally excellent.  Park Hyatt is the most luxurious hotel chain that is run by a multi-brand group.

Do I use them? Yes I do, because they are very good hotels. I have stayed at the Grand Hyatt Berlin, Park Hyatt Vendome Paris, Park Hyatt Hamburg and Park Hyatt Zurich for cash in recent years (Zurich is reviewed here, Hamburg is here). My wife also uses the Park Hyatt in Hamburg when visiting her head office.

I have had some spectacular redemptions in Asia over the years using the ‘suite upgrade’ rewards which used to require just 6,000 points per stay, although that benefit has now been devalued.   I was disappointed that I couldn’t book their Tokyo hotels on my current trip due to availability issues.  If they had more properties, I would use them more.  If it were easier to earn Hyatt points in the UK, I would use them a lot more.

World of Hyatt review

Elite membership levels

With World of Hyatt, the company ripped up its existing tier structure and replaced the previous two levels (Platinum and Diamond) with three tiers.

This has not gone well with regular guests, partly because benefits have been downgraded and partly because the new top tier – requiring 60 nights – is almost impossible for most people to achieve given Hyatt’s small global footprint.  The non-sensical new tier names didn’t improve sentiment.

Discoverist – requires 10 nights or 25,000 base points.  Benefits are premium internet, a free bottle of water daily and a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel when staying at 5 different brands (from 1/3/17).

Explorist – requires 30 nights or 50,000 base points.  Additional benefits are 20% bonus on base points, four vouchers for free Club Lounge access, and a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel (valid for 120 days) when hitting or requalifying for Explorist.

Globalist – requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points, but is renewable at just 55 nights.  Additional benefits are room upgrades, including standard suites, and guaranteed Club Lounge access or free breakfast where no lounge is available.  Resort fees are waived where charged.  You receive a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel (valid for 120 days) when hitting or requalifying for Globalist.

Globalist members also receive four free suite upgrade vouchers to use on paid or reward stays – these are confirmed at the time of booking making it the most generous suite upgrade benefit in the industry.

For very heavy Hyatt stayers, you will receive either 10,000 bonus points or an additional suite upgrade voucher when hitting 70, 80, 90 and 100 nights per calendar year.

Globalist status with Hyatt is generally seen as very attractive, primarily due to the guaranteed club access and the four annual suite upgrade certificates. These can be used for stays of up to seven nights each.

The full list of elite benefits is here.

World of Hyatt does offer lifetime Globalist status. However, the target of 1m base points – requiring $200,000 of hotel spend – is exceptionally high.

Hyatt Regency Churchill

Earning points

World of Hyatt gives 5 points per $1 spent, plus the 20% elite bonus if applicable.  See the Hyatt site here.

Hyatt runs regular promotions.  However, these usually require at least five nights during the promotional period to generate a bonus.  See our ‘Hotel Promos‘ page for any current offers.

If you are visiting Las Vegas, Hyatt has a partnership with M Life.  This allows to earn and spend Gold Passport points at 12 hotels in Las Vegas including Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, Luxor, Vdara, MGM Grand and Delano.  Details are here.

Spending points

Redemption rates for hotels run from 5,000 points in Category 1 (the cheapest properties, mainly old US hotels) to 30,000 points in Category 7.  I tend to value Hyatt points at 1p each on this basis, but at the most luxurious Park Hyatt properties you can do even better.

There are no discounts for extended redemptions, unlike the ‘five for four’ deals run by Hilton and Marriott.

There are no blackout dates.  If a standard room can be bought for cash, it is available for points.

For a roughly 30% points premium, you can book a room with club access at a participating hotel.

A 5-star 25,000 point Category 6 redemption would typically require an Explorist member to spend $4,150.  This is almost 250% more than Club Carlson would require for a top hotel. Unlike Hilton, which has a similar premium, Hyatt promotions tend to be less generous so it is harder to reduce this spending target.

Points expiry

Hyatt points will expire after two years of total inactivity on your account.  I wrote a full article on Hyatt’s expiry policies, and ways to stop it happening, here.

Can you upgrade using points?

Yes. Hyatt allows you to upgrade to a suite or club room using points. A suite will cost 6,000 points per night whilst a club room is 3,000 points per night. You need to book a room at Best Flexible Rate to upgrade, and must book the equivalent of a ‘deluxe’ rather than ‘standard’ room.

Are ‘cash and points’ redemptions available?

Yes, Hyatt offers ‘cash and points’ rooms.  These are explained more fully in this post. They represent a good deal, although hotels are not obliged to offer them, even if ‘all points’ reward nights are available.  You will not generally find them available at peak periods.

Airline redemption options

World of Hyatt points can be transferred to a large number of airlines including Avios. The transfer ratio of 2.5 : 1 is not bad. However, given that you can get a one-night upgrade to a suite for just 6,000 Hyatt points, I would use them for that. Hyatt points are tough to earn if you are UK based and should not be transferred to airline miles unless you are sure you will never use them for a room.

Can I earn Avios directly without collecting points?

Yes, see ba.com here. You can earn 500 Avios per stay by showing your British Airways Executive Club card at check-in. You will not earn any World of Hyatt points. However, you must still be a member of World of Hyatt in order to do this.

Credit card partnerships

Can you get elite status with a UK credit card?  No

Is there a World of Hyatt credit card in the UK?  No

Is Hyatt an Amex Membership Rewards partner?  No

Bottom line – the only way for a UK resident to obtain Hyatt points is to stay in their hotels. That is a very radical approach in 2017!

Purchasing and transferring points

You can buy World of Hyatt points for $24 per 1,000 via this link. This is not cheap, but can actually represent a bargain if using the points for a suite or club room upgrade (6,000 and 3,000 points per night).

Points can be transferred to other members by filling in this form here and emailing or faxing it to Hyatt. There is no charge for this.  However, as I found out to my cost a couple of years ago, you can only do it if both members have had a stay within the last 12 months.

My opinion

In Part Two of this article tomorrow I will give my personal opinion on World of Hyatt.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Nick Burch says:

    Does the “both members have had a stay within the last 12 months” rule apply if you’re combining to redeem for a reward? Or does only 1 of the two need to have had a recent stay? (eg Person 1 has 10k points, person 2 5k, need 15k for a reward so combining together)

  2. Stephen says:

    I guess GHA doesn’t make the cut for this series of articles, presumably because they don’t have the standard points-based system as the others. Understandable, although it would still be useful to have a collection of reference articles for the less common chains, like GHA, to explain what they do, and don’t, do.

    • I do have an updated article on GHA in the queue actually, I thought as Business Traveller is still giving away status I should give it another mention. I wanted to get this lot out of the way first though.

  3. Am I the only person still horrified by that visual identity, by the way? I could do better with Microsoft Word twenty years ago!

    • Oh yes, it’s absolutely atrocious – the emails they send out look like bad spam! The previous Hyatt GP logo was perfectly reasonable too!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Hope it was designed by an intern on placement and no one paid an agency a fortune for it

  4. Redeeming for a suite upgrade at the Park Hyatt Tokyo was probably my best use of points some years ago. So enamoured were some of my Tokyo based friends that they actually wanted to see the suite; the Park Hyatt Tokyo was then a defining position in even residential Tokyo life. Of course nowadays, the hotel in semi plagued by those seeking their own version of Lost in Translation.

    If you stay there, you soon rack up enough points. The room rates can ruinously expensive, not helped by a strong Yen and weak Pound.

    • The Conrad was over £500 per night last week for a standard room. Even the IC (bit of a dump according to Anika, review to come) was £350 or so.

  5. Small correction:
    lifetime Globalist status is $200k not including taxes and also any non usd spend is converted from foreign currrency to usd at very disadvantageous rates. (20% spreads and nowhere near spot rate forex)
    So really expect to spend minimum $250k to $325k.