Hyatt will ditch its longstanding Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program next year, replacing it with a new ‘World of Hyatt’ scheme offering brand new status tiers, changes to existing benefits and some new perks to match.
However, some members will need to spend up to six times as many nights in Hyatt hotels to reach a comparable status under the new program to what they already hold today: here’s what’s changing and how it affects you, the traveller.
All-new Hyatt elite status tiers
From March 1 2017 when World of Hyatt kicks in, the traditionally-named Platinum and Diamond elite tiers are out the window, replaced by new ‘Discoverist’, ‘Explorist’ and ‘Globalist’ levels atop the basic ‘member’ tier.
Existing Platinum and Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport cardholders will be transitioned to the new tiers based on their level and current expiry date as at the end of 2016.
Platinum guests with a status expiry of February 2017 will, in fairness, drop to the entry-level ‘member’ tier come March 2017, while Diamond travellers with the same expiry date will become mid-tier Explorist members.
If your wallet packs a Diamond card expiring in 2018 or beyond, you’ll instead be matched to the top-tier Globalist level, although if you’re a Platinum member with a 2018 expiry, you’ll shift down the ranks to the Discoverist level: two notches below Globalist.
New ways to qualify for Hyatt elite status
Under Hyatt Gold Passport, members could reach the elite levels after a certain number of stays or a certain number of nights, rewarding both frequent visitors who stay for shorter periods and guests who might visit less often but spend more nights overall at Hyatt hotels.
World of Hyatt axes the ‘stays’ qualification method, instead introducing two other ways of hitting elite status: base points earned throughout the year (being points earned from Hyatt hotel stays, excluding any bonus points), and meetings and events held at participating hotels.
Guests can also continue to qualify based on the number of nights spent with Hyatt, with the new qualification levels per calendar year as follows:
- Discoverist: 10 qualifying nights or 25,000 base points or three qualifying meetings.
- Explorist: 30 qualifying nights or 50,000 base points or 10 qualifying meetings.
- Globalist: 60 qualifying nights or 100,000 base points or 20 qualifying meetings. Existing Globalist members can also retain their membership after 55 nights.
To compare, Diamond status currently requires 50 qualifying nights or 25 qualifying stays (which can each be of just one night), meaning you’ll need to spend 10-35 extra nights in Hyatt hotels every year to reach the new top tier.
With Platinum status currently delivered after 15 eligible nights or five eligible stays, that makes the Explorist tier twice as hard to reach based on nights or up to six times harder to achieve than Platinum from overnight stays.
The new base point qualification also awards Globalist status after spending US$20,000 (A$26,300) at Hyatt hotels each year; Explorist from a US$10,000 (A$13,150) spend and Discoverist after spending US$5,000 (A$6,575), with five ‘base points’ earned per US dollar spent.
Earn free nights by exploring Hyatt brands
Members of any tier can earn a free night at a category 1-4 hotel by staying with five distinct Hyatt brands from March 1 2017, such as Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt and Andaz.
Better yet, stay with Hyatt’s full range of brands and you’ll earn a second free night, also for use at hotels within categories 1-4.
Stays prior to March 1 2017 won’t count towards your tally of brands, however.
Earning bonus points: improvements and cuts
Travellers who reach the new top-level Globalist tier will earn 30% more points on hotel stays – up from Diamond’s 25% boost – while Explorists will net a 20% points bonus, also an increase over the current 15% bonus given to Platinum members.
However, reach only the first-level Discoverist tier and the bonus you’ll get drops to 10%, compared to 15% for Platinum at present.
Non-status members will continue earning five points per US dollar spent at Hyatt (or the equivalent in a hotel’s local currency), on which these bonuses will be calculated for tiered members.
Complimentary room upgrades now include suites
Globalist members will enjoy free space-available upgrades at check-in to standard suites, if available: an improvement over the current Diamond perk which excludes free suite upgrades.
Separately, Globalist guests will also receive four confirmed suite upgrades each year after qualifying or requalifying, which can be used to lock-in a suite from the moment a booking is made.
After staying for each of 70, 80, 90 and 100 qualifying nights in a calendar year, Globalist members will too be able to choose an additional confirmed suite upgrade or 10,000 bonus points to use as they wish.
Mid-level Explorist cardholders will instead enjoy room upgrades to a higher category than they’d booked with the exclusion of suites and Club-level rooms, while Discoverists will receive a ‘preferred’ room within the category they paid for, such as one with an improved view or on a higher floor.
Free bottled water, ‘resort fee’ waivers, Club lounge visits, hotel parking
All members at the Discoverist tier and above will receive complimentary daily bottled water, while all World of Hyatt members are exempted from ‘resort fees’ on free nights, with Globalist members exempted from these fees altogether, including on paid stays.
When Globalists do use their points or other awards to secure a free night, they’ll also receive free car parking at any hotel that allows parking to be charged to the room account: another new perk.
As with Diamond cardholders, Globalist members will continue to enjoy complimentary hotel Club Lounge access during their stay or free breakfast at hotels without a lounge, while Explorists will gain free access to hotel Club Lounges up to four times every year.
Top travellers lose their ‘welcome amenity’
Under the new scheme, hotels are no longer required to provide a ‘welcome amenity’ to top-tier travellers, such as wine, fruits or chocolates.
Some hotels may continue to offer this at their discretion, but like many unwritten benefits, it’s not to be expected.
Enjoy a free night when you reach Explorist, Globalist
Qualify or retain the Explorist tier by way of nights or base points and you’ll receive one free night at a category 1-4 hotel, although this isn’t offered to members who qualify through hosting meetings or events.
Reach or retain Globalist membership in the same way and you’ll get a further free night, valid at properties up to category seven, not just category four.
Status benefits cut at M Life hotels
Through a partnership with MGM in Las Vegas, Hyatt currently allows Gold Passport members to match their Hyatt tier to the equivalent level of the separate M Life loyalty program for recognition and rewards at hotels such as Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo and Luxor.
That partnership continues under the new scheme, but top-tier Hyatt Globalist guests will only be matched to M Life Gold status, rather than M Life Platinum as with Hyatt Diamond.
In practical terms, that means losing priority valet and taxi services at participating M Life hotels and a drop from 30% to 20% bonus M Life points on spend in Sin City.
Explorists will also be matched to M Life Gold – as offered currently with Hyatt Platinum – while Discoverists instead receive the lower M Life Pearl tier: losing hotel priority check-in and VIP access to both nightclubs and pool day clubs.
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