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, UK footprint expanding, Small Luxury Hotels added excellent European redemption options
Weak points – no credit card partners in the UK, still only a limited number of directly run European properties, hard to earn status given Hyatt’s small footprint outside the US, addition of mid-market ‘all inclusive’ hotels risks diluting the brand
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) was one of the best city hotels in Europe before it closed last year. My stay at a Hyatt Place in Dubai a few years ago was a real eye-opener into how nice a ‘budget’ hotel could be.
Last year I had excellent stays at Andaz Prague (review) which could easily have a Park Hyatt or Mandarin Oriental sign on the door, Hyatt Regency Amsterdam (review) and Grant Hyatt Berlin (review). In the next few months I’m planning to take a look at the Nice and Cannes properties using the generous £100 American Express cashback credits currently available.
The loss of the Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca was a shame but the new 7Pines in Ibiza and Sardinia should fill the gap, as well as the new property in Santorini. The AMR acquisition also brought some smarter all-inclusive options alongside the mass-market ones, including Zoetry Mallorca (ex Hilton Sa Torre).
Taken more broadly, Park Hyatt is a ‘real’ luxury chain in a way that Marriott’s The Ritz Carlton and InterContinental are, taken overall, not. The New York hotel is now the classiest points option in the city (review here).
I was also excited about the addition of Small Luxury Hotels of the World to the Hyatt ‘system’, although if I’m honest I haven’t got around to redeeming at one yet. You can now spend World of Hyatt points at some great UK countryside hotels such as Monkey Island, Langshott Manor and Ashdown Park as well as many other niche European properties.
The directly run UK network is also picking up too. We’ve recently seen the luxurious Great Scotland Yard in London, the new budget Hyatt Place in Aldgate (review) and six hotels picked up from IHG – two in Manchester, two in London Stratford plus the Crowne Plaza hotels at London Blackfriars and Albert Embankment.
I am very positive about World of Hyatt because it allows you to experience high end properties 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. Spend £1,000 inc VAT and you’d only earn 5,000 points if you had no status, whilst the better (not the best) upscale hotels in the portfolio come out at 30,000 – 35,000 points per night.
It’s a real problem for Hyatt. It’s hard to encourage people who focus on rewards to start moving across nights, even when the hotels are excellent, because there are no easy ways of topping up smaller quantities of points.
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 article shows how I took advantage of this deal in Paris.
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 suite upgrades – it is not automatic just because suites are available for cash.
Being able to redeem for a club room for a small points premium is a good deal. Effectively all your food and drink needs for the trip can be covered with this if the spread is suitably generous. Being able to book suites and club rooms online is a positive recent improvement.
Even standard redemptions are often a great deal. Hyatt has ‘last room availability’ – if a standard room is available for cash, it will be available for World of Hyatt points. Some hotels have a very narrow definition of what they classify as a standard room, however.
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. Look at it like this: for someone who does lots of seven night stays, you could stay 28 nights per year in a suite (four x 7 day ‘suite upgrade’ stays) which would earn you back half of the 60 nights you’d need to retain Globalist. It’s a virtuous circle.
There are lots of other positive quirks to being a Globalist – no resort fees, no hotel parking fees, guaranteed upgrade to best available room on arrival including ‘standard’ suites and free lounge access or free breakfast. There is even ‘guest of honour’ which allows a Globalist to redeem a reward night for someone else with that person being guaranteed Globalist benefits.
Whilst earning World of Hyatt top tier status is very tough if you are UK based, I still like earning their points when I can, and I hoard them carefully given how hard it is to get them. In recent years I have been buying points up my annual cap each year, because there is real value here – especially with upgrades.
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 ….
Don’t forget Hyatt Prive
Whilst not strictly points related, there is another excellent Hyatt feature to mention. Hyatt has a scheme called Hyatt Prive which is available via luxury travel agents, including our partner Bon Vivant.
The benefits at participating hotels are huge – $50-$100 of hotel credit (even – at most brands – if you are just staying one night), free breakfast and an upgrade guaranteed at the time of booking. You earn your usual points and elite night credit on top.
Hyatt Prive benefits are available at ALL hotels branded Park Hyatt, Andaz, Alila, Thompson Hotels and Miraval Resorts. It is available at selected hotels branded The Unbound Collection, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Destination Hotels, Hyatt Centric and Joie de Vivre.
World of Hyatt update – March 2023:
Get bonus points: World of Hyatt is not currently running a global promotion.
New to World of Hyatt? Read our overview of World of Hyatt here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on what we think World of Hyatt points are worth is here.
Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.
You will receive a 25% bonus when you buy Hyatt points by 25th March 2023.
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.