In my previous article, I outlined ‘the facts’ of the World of Hyatt loyalty scheme. This article is my personal opinion, highlighting areas where I think you might want to focus.
The 10-second summary:
Strong points – excellent top-tier Globalist benefits including guaranteed suite upgrades, high quality portfolio in Europe and Asia, attractive suite and club room upgrade awards, Small Luxury Hotels adds excellent European redemption options
Weak points – no credit card partners in the UK, only a limited number of directly run European properties, exceptionally hard to earn status given Hyatt’s small footprint outside the US
The longer version:
I have stayed in some beautiful Hyatt properties in the past. The wooden wedding chapel in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo is breathtaking. The suite I was given at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai was beautifully decorated. The Park Hyatt Hamburg (review) is one of the best city hotels in Europe, and the Park Hyatt Zurich is impressive. I have also enjoyed two stays at the Grand Hyatt in Berlin. My great stay at a Hyatt Place in Dubai 18 months ago was a real eye-opener into how nice a ‘budget’ hotel could be.
I visited the Hyatt in Nice before it became a Hyatt – it is easily the best hotel in the city. The new Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca looks excellent. Park Hyatt is a ‘real’ luxury chain in a way that Marriott’s The Ritz-Carlton and InterContinental are, taken overall, not.
I am also very excited about the addition of Small Luxury Hotels of the World to the Hyatt ‘system’. You can now redeem at some great UK countryside hotels such as Monkey Island, Luton Hoo, Langshott Manor and Ashdown Park as well as many other niche European properties.
I am, therefore, very positive about World of Hyatt because it allows you to experience properties like this without paying a huge price. Living in the UK, though, you cannot get away from the fact that World of Hyatt points are incredibly hard to earn.
There is no UK credit card and they are not an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Even the base earnings rate of 5 points per $1 is not generous – the £1,000+ I spent at Park Hyatt Hamburg over the Bank Holiday last weekend earned me under 6,000 points. This is less than 20% of the points needed for a top category redemption.
If you have a one-off Hyatt stay coming up, I would seriously consider taking Avios points instead of World of Hyatt points. See here for how to do that. You may struggle to earn any more!
If you ARE in a position to do regular Hyatt stays, I am a big fan of the 6,000 points ‘suite upgrade’ award. This used to be good for up to 4 nights, but now you need 6,000 points per night. Even this is not a bad deal, depending on much standard rooms cost. You can also book ‘premium’ suite upgrades at many hotels for 9,000 points per night. The suite award is confirmed at the time of booking so you know what you are getting. It may even be worth buying World of Hyatt points during a promotion in order to take advantage of this deal. The hotel needs to make reward space open for this deal, however – it is not automatic just because suites are available for cash. You can only request the upgrades by telephone.
Being able to redeem for a club room for a small points premium is also a good deal. Effectively all your food and drink needs for the trip can be covered with this if the spread is suitably generous!
‘Cash and Points’, introduced in 2014, was also a welcome innovation. It allows you to make a redemption at off-peak times with just half the usual number of points which is a relief if you struggle to earn them in the first place. This feature took a big hit recently, however, as the ‘cash’ portion was substantially increased. You now need to pay 50% of the ‘flexible’ rate, which makes this a less attractive redemption than doing ‘all points’.
For elite Globalist members, the four suite upgrades per year are a great benefit – especially as these can be confirmed in advance and for up to seven days per stay. Given that you now need 60 nights in a year to hit Globalist, across a global portfolio of 850 hotels (excluding Small Luxury Hotels), I’m not sure how many people will be claiming this benefit. Hyatt made it slightly easier from 2018 by including reward stays in ‘qualifying nights’.
I really have no big issues with the World of Hyatt scheme, although I would never be able to earn status – given their network – even if I wanted.
I like earning their points when I can, and I hoard them carefully given how hard it is to get them. Of course I would like a credit card transfer option, and of course I would like more properties closer to home, but Hyatt has a solid programme with (because of the suite upgrades) arguably the most valuable top tier benefits. If only there were more of them ….