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Review: 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.

The full series of articles can be found here:

World of Hyatt is the smallest of the global hotel loyalty schemes. Launched in early 2017 to replace Hyatt Gold Passport, it covers 1,350 hotels globally under brands including Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, Caption, Alila, Thompson Hotels, Miraval, Destination By Hyatt, jdv, The Unbound Collection and Andaz. The World of Hyatt home page is here.

Recent acquisitions include a number of mass-market all-inclusive hotels in 2021, including the Zoetry, Breathless and Secrets brands, and the small Dream group in 2022.

The Mr & Mrs Smith marketing group was acquired in 2023, which will see some ‘Smith’ hotels bookable via Hyatt from mid 2024. This has come at the cost of losing the partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Is World of Hyatt the best hotel loyalty scheme?

What is the geographic spread?  Historically you used to struggle to find a Hyatt in the UK, but the situation has changed a lot.

In recent years the two established London hotels (Andaz, The Churchill) have been joined by Hyatt Place properties (one at Heathrow, one at Aldgate reviewed here) and the upmarket Great Scotland Yard, part of The Unbound Collection (review here).

It has also taken a number of hotels from IHG, including two hotels in the Westfield Stratford complex (now Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House), the Crowne Plaza at Albert Embankment (now Hyatt Regency) and the Crowne Plaza opposite Blackfriars station (now Hyatt Regency).

The London pipeline includes a Hyatt Place near Paddington and a Park Hyatt in Battersea (both 2024) and a Hyatt Regency at Olympia.

The brand also gained two hotels in Manchester which defected from IHG (Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House) and has recently added SCHLOSS Roxburghe, a resort in Scotland (review coming next month). The pipeline includes two hotels in Leeds (2024) and Edinburgh.

The chain is also expanding in Europe.  Recent openings have included Lisbon, Prague (reviewed here, it’s great), Ibiza, Santorini, Sardinia, Madrid (reviewed here), Krakow, Malaga and Bordeaux. It returned to the La Manga Club in Murcia in 2023. The acquisition of the Lindner chain led to a huge jump in the number of hotels in Germany.

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 spent probably 20 nights at Park Hyatt Hamburg over the years visiting family there, although this hotel closed at the end of 2022.  I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Berlin (review), Hyatt Regency Amsterdam (review), Hyatt Regency Nice (review) and Andaz Prague (review) in the last couple of years and all were uniformly excellent. Last October I finally made it to Alila in Oman after my 2020 plans got postponed, and returned to Park Hyatt New York.

(Rhys covered Andaz Bali and Grand Hyatt La Manga last year, click for those reviews, and will be heading to the new Montenegro property on Kotor Bay in a few weeks.)

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.

World of Hyatt review

Elite membership levels

Whilst the bizarre elite tier names were very confusing when first launched, people seem to have got used to them – although I’m still not sure what percentage of casual members could tell you that the top tier is called Globalist!

The tiers are:

  • 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.

Hyatt also has attractive ‘Milestone Rewards’

Hyatt has additional ‘Milestone Rewards’ which you pick up as you go, based on the number of nights you do each year. If you received free or matched World of Hyatt status then you would NOT receive these and would miss out on suite upgrade vouchers, bonus points and lounge passes.

Milestone Rewards starts at 20 nights. Free night vouchers kick in from 30 nights and suite upgrade vouchers, valid on paid or reward stays, start from 40 nights. Suite upgrade vouchers are confirmed at the time of booking and are valid for stays of up to seven nights making it the most generous suite upgrade benefit in the industry.

Following recent changes, you can keep earning Milestone Rewards on up to 150 nights per year.

World of Hyatt review

Hyatt Brand Explorer is also worthwhile

All members can earn a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel via ‘Hyatt Brand Explorer’ when staying at five different brandsThis is a lifelong promotion which began on 1st March 2017 – I have triggered one free night so far and am working towards my second. It’s a worthwhile little extra which many people ignore.

Reward nights count towards elite status.

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.

How do you earn World of Hyatt points?

World of Hyatt gives 5 points per $1 spent, plus an 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 Honors, IHG One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.  See our ‘Hotel Offers‘ page for any current offers.

Hyatt has a partnership with American Airlines for its elite members, launched 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. You can learn more here.

What are World of Hyatt points worth?

We have an article dedicated to working out what World of Hyatt points are worth which you can find here.

Our mid-point valuation is 1.2p per point although you can easily beat this.

Firstname Bordeaux hotel

How do you spend World of Hyatt points?

Hyatt retains a reward chart, unlike most of its peers. You can see it here.

Redemption rates for hotels run from 3,500 points in Category 1 at off-peak periods (the cheapest properties, mainly old US hotels) to 45,000 points in Category 8 at peak periods.

Category 8 is only used for a handful of premium hotels such as Park Hyatt New York. Some Small Luxury Hotels were also Category 8 and it is possible that top Mr & Mrs Smith hotels will sit here too.

Apart from the handful of Category 8 hotels, you won’t pay more than 35,000 points for any Hyatt-operated property. There are separate rules for the new all-inclusive hotels.

There are no discounts for extended redemptions, unlike the ‘five for four’ deals run by Hilton and Marriott.

Hyatt lets you book suites and club rooms online for points. This is a substantial improvement since you previously had to call with no idea if rooms may be available or not. The number of additional points required is usually modest. Here is an example of how I used a small number of points for a suite upgrade in Paris, which also got me lounge access.

There are no blackout dates. If a standard room can be bought for cash, it is available for points.

A 5-star 25,000 point Category 6 redemption would typically require an Explorist (base) member to spend $4,150. Unlike Hilton, which has a similar premium, Hyatt promotions tend to be less generous so it is harder to reduce this spending target.

It is worth noting that Hyatt has a very generous offer for redeeming points for in-hotel spend. 65,000 points gets you $1,000 of credit, which is 1.2p per point. This is better than many room redemptions.

Review world of hyatt

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. However, these do not generally offer good value.

You pay 50% of the standard points rate and 50% of the flexible room rate. This makes ‘cash and points’ disproportionately expensive because most hotels have discounted cash deals priced well below the flexible rate.

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.

World of Hyatt review

Can I earn Avios directly without collecting points?

No. You need to earn points and then convert them when you hit the minimum threshold.

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 2024!

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 deal if using the points for a suite or club room upgrade (6,000 and 3,000 points per night). 

Over the last few years Hyatt has become more aggressive in offering 25%-33% bonuses when buying points, reducing the cost further. I have done this a couple of times when it was cheaper to buy points than book a room for cash and I find myself buying the maximum (55,000) points each year during a good bonus period.

As an example, I have just booked Park Hyatt Paris Vendome for September. This is selling for €1,485 per night (£1,270) but you can purchase the 45,000 points required for $816 (£650) when a 33% ‘buy points’ bonus is running. The savings you can make in Ibiza, Santorini etc during peak season are substantial. Any current offers will show here.

Points can be transferred to other members by filling in this form here and emailing 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. This means that you cannot save expiring points by transferring them.

My opinion

In Part Two of our World of Hyatt review tomorrow I will give my personal opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the scheme.

Comments (24)

  • aseftel says:

    Privé was the real hook for me. The ability to lock in an upgrade at the point of booking puts it far ahead of competitors’ programs.

    • Tom says:

      Room upgrades are not worth much to me as I do not “hang out” in a hotel room more than I have to. I look for:

      Free breakfast
      Executive lounge
      Early checkin/late checkout
      No crappy resort or other junk fees

      • Kpworldtravels says:

        But Prive does provide you with all that and upgrade and hotel credit. So not sure what you are complaining about ?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I also don’t get that view

          You might not hang out in it much but it’s nice to have a proper sofa or space for two proper suitcases without knocking into them

          Or a bath or a proper walk in shower

          A room away from the bins, a balcony, sea view or whatever else an upgraded room provides.

          • Rob says:

            For me, I if it’s a HfP trip, I am in the room working from 6pm to midnight, even if I do tourist stuff during the day. I want the space.

          • Tom says:

            Depends. If I am out all day and half the night, then a room is really just a bed and a shower. And instead I want features that save me money.

            But if like Rob I spend all day working in a hotel room then I might see it differently.

            Also at a top property there should be no bad rooms anyway.

  • tw33ty says:

    Hyatt is very good, they tend to be a cut above the other groups, but the footprint is much smaller.

    If Hyatt had a bigger footprint, I’d pick Hyatt every time.

    Hopefully they will buy up a few more groups like they did in Germany with lindiner hotels group.

    • Gordon says:

      Hyatt have a fair amount of properties in Mexico and the Caribbean now, after their purchase of the apple Leisure group, Rob has mentioned them in this article. I have visited their Ziva, Zilara and secrets AI resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean and they are cost effective.

  • Expat in SJC says:

    Best scheme if you actually stay in hotels. Globalist perks are consistent and very impressive especially since this year’s changes. Footprint, even in the US, can be limited. Hyatt Regency’s on the whole tend to be tired. Still best scheme for top tier status.

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