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Is World of Hyatt the best hotel loyalty scheme? (Part 1)

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This is the sixth and last of our overview series of the main hotel loyalty schemes.  Each scheme will be covered over two articles.  One will list the basic facts of the scheme – basically “How does World of Hyatt work?” – whilst 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 850 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.

In recent months, the groups has expanded sharply via two transactions.  The acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality added the Alila, Destination, Joie de Vivre, Thompson and Tommie brands which are now being integrated. 

Hyatt has also added Small Luxury Hotels of the World to its marketing system, allowing you to book and earn and spend points at the upmarket independent hotels.

World of Hyatt

What is the geographic spread?  Historically you used to struggle to find a Hyatt in the UK, although the two London hotels have recently been joined by two budget Hyatt Place properties near Heathrow.   However, the addition of the Small Luxury Hotels group to World of Hyatt has seen a transformation.  Whilst not ‘officially’ Hyatt properties, you can now redeem your points at five other London hotels including Dukes and The Franklin.  Later in 2019, Great Scotland Yard becomes the third ‘official’ Central London Hyatt.

There are now some amazing UK country house properties which came with the Small Luxury Hotels deal.  Monkey Island, Luton Hoo, Stoke Park, Langshott Manor etc etc …. if you can earn the points, your weekend break options are now fantastic.

The chain is also expanding directly.  Recent years have seen Hyatt reflag good hotels in Nice and Cannes, for example, and Germany is particularly strong. More importantly, the hotels Hyatt has are generally excellent. Park Hyatt is arguably 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 just spent four nights at Park Hyatt Hamburg over the Bank Holiday weekend.   I have stayed at the Grand Hyatt Berlin, Park Hyatt Vendome Paris, Park Hyatt Dubai, Park Hyatt Hamburg and Park Hyatt Zurich for cash in recent years.  I had a surprisingly impressive stay at my first Hyatt Place in Dubai a couple of years ago, reviewed here.

I have had some spectacular redemptions in Asia over the years using the ‘suite upgrade’ rewards. I was disappointed that I couldn’t book their Tokyo hotels on my trip in 2017 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.  I constantly plead with them to become an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner in Europe, where there are no dedicated Hyatt credit cards.

Elite membership levels

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

This did not go well with regular guests, partly because benefits were 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.

All members can earn a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel when staying at 5 different brands.  This is a lifelong promotion which began on 1st March 2017 – I am currently four brands in and will probably trigger my free night in 2020!

Discoverist – requires 10 nights or 25,000 base points. Benefits are premium internet, a free bottle of water daily and a 10% bonus on base points.

Explorist – requires 30 nights or 50,000 base points. Additional benefits are 20% bonus on base points, two vouchers for free Club Lounge access and a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel (valid for 180 days) when hitting or re-qualifying for Explorist.

Globalist – requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points. 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 1-7 hotel (valid for 180 days) when hitting or re-qualifying with 60 nights.

A Globalist member would 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.  Two are triggered at 50 nights (before you reach Globalist) and another two at 60 nights.

Additional bonuses trigger at 20 nights (two lounge passes) and 40 nights (5000 points or $100 credit).

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.

Reward nights count towards elite status.

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

How do you earn World of Hyatt 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 although they do NOT offer ‘back to back’ offers as you get from Hilton, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy.  See our ‘Hotel Offers‘ page for any current offers.

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

Hyatt has a new partnership with American Airlines, due to launch later in 2019.  AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members will earn one AAdvantage bonus mile for every $1 spent at Hyatt.  World of Hyatt Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist members will earn one World of Hyatt bonus point for every eligible $1 spent on qualifying American flights.  If you fly American Airlines transatlantic on expensive premium tickets, you could do very nicely from this partnership.

How do you spend World of Hyatt points?

Redemption rates for hotels run from 5,000 points in Category 1 (the cheapest properties, mainly old US hotels) to 40,000 points in Category 8.  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.

Category 8 is only used for partner hotels, mainly Small Luxury Hotels.  You won’t pay more than 30,000 points for any Hyatt-operated property, even the most luxurious Park Hyatt hotels.

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 Radisson Rewards 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.

Do World of Hyatt points expire?

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 Hyatt stays using points?

Yes. Hyatt allows you to upgrade to a suite or club room using points. A ‘premium’ suite will cost 9,000 points per night, a ‘standard’ 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 a lot of top hotels do not participate.  If a hotel has made suites available for this offer it can represent excellent value.

Are ‘cash and points’ redemptions available?

Yes, Hyatt offers ‘cash and points’ rooms.

‘Cash and Points’ was devalued last year when the ‘cash’ element was changed to 50% of the flexible room price.  This replaced the previous, frankly nominal, cash portion.  This turned ‘Cash and Points’ from an outstanding deal to something which is actually worse value than using ‘100% points’.

Can you transfer World of Hyatt points into airline miles?

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 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 – virtually the only way for a UK resident to obtain Hyatt points is to stay in their hotels. That is a very radical approach in 2019!

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 dealif using the points for a suite or club room upgrade (6,000 and 3,000 points per night).  Over the last couple of years Hyatt has become more aggressive in offering 30%-40% bonuses when buying points, reducing the cost further.

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 later this week I will give my personal opinion on World of Hyatt.

World of Hyatt update – May 2021:

Get bonus points: Hyatt’s current promotion is ‘Bonus Journeys’, which runs until 15th June 2021. You can learn more in our article here.

New to World of Hyatt?  Read our two-part overview of World of Hyatt here and here and our article on expiry rules here.

Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.

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

Comments (19)

  • Joachim says:

    Hyatt recently lost a nice sweetspot (I’m referring to P&C).

    Despite the changes outlined in the article, I think coverage issues remain. And even if Hyatt has properties where I wanna go, their rates may be out of my price range.

    Bloggers love Hyatt. Aspirational properties, excellent elite recognition.

    But I suspect there are many folks like me who stay at a nice Hyatt property now and again but just don’t see WoH as a “workhorse” program for everyday use.

  • Londoner says:

    Purchasing points can represent very good value though. Staying at Hyatt Regency Tokyo for 5 nights in November where the cash price was 250 gbp per night. I had that reduced to around 200 gbp with the best rate guarantee, however, I could book the same room for 12.000 points per night and during the 40 % bonus points promotion that ended yesterday, we only had to pay 168 gbp for 12.000 points/night. They are also very generous with suite availability, and we were able to book the Atrium suite for a few nights for 20.000 points (purchased for 279 gbp) instead of the cash rate of over 2.500 gbp.

  • Stu N says:

    Any experience of whether third party booking sites earn points at Hyatt? I have a stay coming up at one of their brands.

  • Josh says:

    Globalist requires 55 nights in 2019, not 60.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Typo: “Great Scotland Yard because the third ‘official’ Central London Hyatt.”

  • Lady London says:

    Half-OT Has Scotland Yard at Lambeth SE1, just south of Lambeth Bridge, turned into a Hyatt then? My other half worked there for a year. Haven’t been south of the river for awhile, wonder where Scotland Yard went to if not there anymore, was a very convenient location with amazing views of key London sights from the street there.

    • Lady London says:

      PS “Hollow laugh” when I compare IHG Spire to Globalist. No comparison. Just a shame about the lack of Hyatt footprint.

      • Andrew says:

        IHG rewards club has never pretended to be about recognition; it’s all about points. It’s been like that for years, it’s not going to change, and people’s complaining about it is boring and a waste of time. If you want recognition then forget about IHG. Anyway, Spire is ludicrously easy to achieve compared with top level Hyatt (or any other programme). I’ve renewed Spire with fewer than 20 nights this year.

        • Rob says:

          I spent £1k at a Hyatt last week and got 5,800 points which is less than 6% of the top tier requirement ….

    • Rob says:

      This is OLD Scotland Yard at Embankment, just behind Corinthia.

  • Russ says:

    I like Hyatt but their lack of card/miles earning opportunity just about stops me ditching Marriott.

  • Tom says:

    Hyatt Regency in Kyoto is excellent. Spent 4 nights there last year.

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