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Is World of Hyatt the best hotel loyalty scheme? (Part 2)

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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

Hyatt Regency Churchill

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.

World of Hyatt

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 ….

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 (13)

  • Ian M says:

    I wish Hyatt would launch a UK credit card or at the very least become a Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner. I’ve got Hilton Diamond and Bonvoy ambassador and would love to move a lot of stays over to Hyatt if I knew I could back up my stay earnings with credit card spend. Why are they so disinterested in tapping into the UK market?

    • Rob says:

      No idea. I am diarised to have a chat with the new WOH EMEA head soon though.

      • Lady London says:

        Would be great to know what is Hyatt’s strategy and where the UK fits. Would be nice to know that too for Amex, actually!

        Other than Mandarin Oriental and Fairmont (which i am a bit worried about the future of as owned by Accor) Hyatt is where I’d be happy to stay more and (let’s leave the Park Hyatts out) feels a bit more reachable.

    • RussellH says:

      Given the earning rate on hotel bills, the points / £1 earned from a Visa / M/Card would, I would have thought, look pretty uninspiring. I would guess at 1 point for £2 or even £3.
      And what proportion of the UK population have even heard of Hyatt?
      So, would they actually get as many as very few thousand sign ups for the card?

      Look at how difficult both Hilton and Marriott have found it to get back into the market with Visa / M/Card. I am just glad I have kept both my Hilton and Marriott cards since way back when!

      [I have only stayed at one Hyatt – Hyatt Regency Mainz – which impressed all of us. Finest location ever for a hotel during a trade show – a very brisk 5 min walk, or a pleasant 10 min stroll along the bank of the Rhine to the convention centre

      Rob, do you have any idea about how many customers a co-branded card needs to even break even?

      • Rob says:

        A lot more than they used to, is the answer.

        An Amex deal makes more sense – Hyatt gets to sell lots of points and broaden their reach, Amex gets some new customers.

        • Ian M says:

          Yep Amex deal makes perfect sense. Fingers crossed. Work some magic on them Rob :))

  • NigelT says:

    The WOH footprint in UK is way better than a few years ago when there were just two. Now we have 5 Hyatt’s and of course SLH. So getting better but I can no longer justify Globalist. The Hyatt Prive rate through Emyr is a good alternative for upgraded experience. Perhaps you could ask the EMEA WOH why Prive rate is not valid to upgrade with points. Agree there are some fabulous properties – just back from Andaz Singapore with QR QSuites.

    • Rob says:

      We had a 2nd PH Hamburg room last week for 1 night as the inlaws stopped. Standard room at Euro 229 but booked via Emyr as Hyatt Prive. Upgraded to junior suite with club access PLUS Euro 85 food and beverage credit PLUS free breakfast. Exceptional value.

      • Lady London says:

        That’s people who know how to run hotels and recognise good customers. Patchy to get that in IC and even RC now.

        Park Hyatt? in Baden-Baden always used to be recommencer as a properly run very disceet hôtel. When i was very young and working nearby in a lowly hotel position and before I came to the UK, I used to watch all the mink coats and extremely elegant soignée German ladies come and go on the arm of their husbands, kinda with my nose pressed up against the glass.

        One day I’ll stay there!

        • Russ says:

          Wonderful story Lady London and I’m sure you’ll get there. And don’t take any flack if you booked on points, those you saw probably were on point bookings too!

          • Lyn says:

            I don’t think Hyatt would dream of giving any flack if booked with points! Hyatt really do seem to consistently offer excellent customer service, and I think that is what makes them stand out amongst the other reasonably approachable hotel brands with loyalty schemes.

            We have just stayed at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile and were very impressed. Points bookings weren’t showing on the web-site but as Hyatt have “last room availability (for the same type of room)” I asked Hyatt Europe customer service if they could make a room available for us using points for both the room and club lounge access. Which they did, and they may have somehow flagged us for special attention, because we were kindly invited, along with top level Hyatt members (which we are not) to a VIP cocktail party. The hotel’s customer service was impeccable, from every member of staff, and we could easily see why when we had a chance to talk with the hotel manager and other senior managers at the party. The other party guests also mentioned the staff and customer service as the reason for their loyalty to Hyatt.

  • Russ says:

    So as we’ve come to the end of the reviews which is the best?

    I like Hyatt but earning ops mean they’re better suited for occasional long weekend breaks than frequent business trips, Marriott, I like their travel packages but don’t feel appreciated anymore. Hilton has good promos but earning miles is hard unless I go through an OTA so your status is stuffed, Accor, nope, needs to feed me breakfast, Copthorne & Millenium needs to get its advertising finger out. MO and Shangri-la, YES! but try finding one on the M25.

    • ankomonkey says:

      All things considered, for my travel patterns (usually with kids, rarely stay in a UK hotel), Hilton (with HH Gold) wins for me. Marriott have treated us well, but I think we’ve been lucky and stayed at some of their better properties. With kids the convenience and cost saving of the Hilton free breakfast always beats out IHG/Accor. Hyatt are rarely where we want to go, and Radisson just aren’t aspirational.

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