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.
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.
World of Hyatt does offer lifetime Globalist status. However, the target of 1m base points – requiring $200,000 of hotel spend – is exceptionally high.
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.
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.
Hyatt points will expire after two years of total inactivity on your account. This policy started in January 2014. Before this, points did not expire.
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.
In Part Two of this article tomorrow I will give my personal opinion on World of Hyatt.