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 full series of articles can be found here:
- Review: Is Accor Live Limitless the best hotel loyalty scheme?
- Review: Is Hilton Honors the best hotel loyalty scheme?
- Review: Is IHG One Rewards the best hotel loyalty scheme?
- Review: Is Marriott Bonvoy the best hotel loyalty scheme?
- Review: Is Radisson Rewards the best hotel loyalty scheme?
The 10-second summary:
Strong points – excellent top-tier Globalist benefits, high quality portfolio in Europe and Asia, attractive suite and club room upgrade awards, valuable Milestone Rewards including guaranteed suite upgrades from 20 nights, UK footprint expanding, potential from Mr & Mrs Smith integration
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, losing Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties
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 in late 2022. 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.
In the last two years I’ve 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), Grant Hyatt Berlin (review), Hyatt Regency Nice (review), Alila Jabal Akhdar Oman (review) and Park Hyatt New York (review) amongst others.
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).
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 have a small concern over the Hyatt Regency brand, which is being spread too thinly in London. The Churchill and Blackfriars hotels are very impressive and cannot, in any way, be compared with the new Regency hotels at Westfield Stratford and Albert Embankment.
Losing Small Luxury Hotels of the World to Hilton is less of a blow than I expected. SLH properties were often cheaper booked outside of the Hyatt system and benefits for elite members were thin. Redemption pricing was often too high or only tiny base rooms were available. For the same reasons I am not hugely excited about the Mr & Mrs Smith integration in mid 2024, but let’s see!
I am generally 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.
The suite upgrades you earn as Milestone Awards, starting at 40 nights, 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: someone who does 60 nights to earn Globalist could select five suite upgrade awards. You could use these to stay 35 nights per year in a suite (five x 7 day ‘suite upgrade’ stays) which would earn you back more than half of the 60 elite 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.
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 to 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.