The transition of Hyatt Gold Passport into World of Hyatt last year was a bit of a mess and led to the departure of the head of the programme.
Before Marriott acquired Starwood, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport would slug it out to be the most innovative hotel loyalty scheme. As small chains, they knew they had to punch above their weight to get noticed.
With Starwood now effectively gone, Hyatt has decided that it is better to quietly co-exist with the big boys rather than fight aggressively. World of Hyatt introduced a number of painful changes including a requirement to complete 60 nights per year – very difficult for a chain with few hotels, especially if you are in Europe – to gain top tier status.
The two changes which took place on 1st January are an improvement but don’t go far enough:
reward nights will count towards the nights required to earn status (something most other hotel schemes have adopted in recent years)
the free night vouchers you get for hitting 30 and 60 qualifying nights in a year will now expire after 180 days and not 120 days (this had led to people moving stays away from Hyatt to avoid triggering the voucher at a time of year where they couldn’t use it within 120 days)
There is still no move back to being able to earn status by number of stays rather than just nights, but hopefully the new programme head will take another look in the year to come. Hyatt continues to run some excellent hotels – I think Park Hyatt is the most luxurious brand owned by a major chain – and hopefully will soon once again have a worthwhile loyalty scheme alongside them.
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