As hotel chains continue to be impacted by the deadly coronavirus, both Hyatt and Shangri-La are extending the status of elite-level members living in Australia, among other countries.
Rival programs including Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy are instead providing relief for those living in Greater China: here's what you need to know.
World of Hyatt prolongs perks
Eligible members of Hyatt’s World of Hyatt loyalty program may qualify for an extra year of elite status, based on their current tier and its expiry date: plus, more time to use other perks they’ve unlocked such as one-off upgrades, hotel club lounge passes or free nights.
World of Hyatt elite memberships extended
For World of Hyatt members living in the Asia Pacific region – including Australia and New Zealand – the chain is offering both an extra year of elite status, and an extension on the expiry dates of other perks such as upgrade certificates, in response to the coronavirus.
Those holding Discoverist, Explorist or Globalist World of Hyatt tier which remains valid throughout 2020 will continue to enjoy that status and the benefits it provides throughout 2021.
As Hyatt’s elite memberships for each calendar year remain valid until February 28 of the following year, this means that eligible travellers whose status was valid throughout 2020 – carrying an expiry date of February 28 2021 – will now keep their tier until February 28 2022.
“Now more than ever, it’s a priority for us to stay close to our World of Hyatt members, understand how their lives are impacted and help,” said Amy Weinberg, Senior Vice President at World of Hyatt.
“Extending the expiration of elite tier status and benefits for our members is one of the ways we can care for our most loyal guests, so they have one less thing to worry about during this incredibly difficult time.”
To be eligible for the extension, World of Hyatt members need to have had an Asia Pacific address attached to their membership account as at February 18 2020 – preventing others from temporarily changing their address to take advantage.
Members without an address on file will also be eligible if their account language preference was set to Chinese, Japanese or Korean as at February 18 2020, as well as members who enrolled through Hyatt’s WeChat Mini App.
Those due to lose their status on February 28 2020 will not receive a complimentary extension, unless further elite status has been earned in the usual way. However, other members who regularly travel to Asia may receive special consideration from Hyatt, with the chain still planning its next move.
“World of Hyatt is also working to evaluate tier and benefit extensions for global members who travel frequently to the Asia Pacific region,” the company confirmed in a statement.
Upgrades and free nights extended
Some World of Hyatt members qualify for extra perks beyond their ‘everyday’ tier perks such as Suite Upgrade Awards, Club Access Awards and Free Night Awards – these being digital certificates which all carry an expiry date.
Hyatt has confirmed that all Suite Upgrade Awards, Club Access Awards and Free Night Awards that expire in 2020 will have their expiry date pushed until December 31 2021, for eligible members.
As with the elite status extension, this courtesy is being extended to those living in the Asia Pacific region with an Asia Pacific address on their membership account (as at February 18 2020); or, whose account was set to Chinese, Japanese or Korean on the same date; or, who signed up via the WeChat Mini App, with no address on file.
Members living elsewhere – such as in North America or Europe – do not currently qualify for this extension, unless offered at a later date in recognition of regular travels to Asia Pacific.
Shangri-La Golden Circle stretches status
Shangri-La – which is based in China where close to half of its properties are located – is instead extending the validity of all current Golden Circle elite memberships by one year.
“We value the relationship we have with you and would like to extend our warmest gratitude for your continuous support to Shangri-La,” reads an email sent to the program’s Jade and Diamond members this week.
“In view of the current COVID-19 situation, we understand that your travel plans may be impacted. As such, we are delighted to extend your Golden Circle (Jade/Diamond) status with us.”
Members should check their inbox for this message which also shares their new status expiry date. Alternatively, each member’s digital card – which can be accessed via the Shangri-La mobile app – should also now display the extended expiry date.
Most of Shangri-La’s 100+ hotels are located in Asia Pacific, except for five hotels in the Middle East, three in Europe, two in Canada and two in Africa.
Other hotel chains offering relief for elite members
While the status extensions offered by Hyatt and Shangri-La are more widespread, some hotel loyalty programs are also extending perks – and in some cases, points – for members living in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
- Hilton Honors: Members living in Greater China will have their status extended by one year from its current expiry date – up to March 31 2022 in some cases – while Hilton Honors points for these members will not expire until at least December 31 2020.
- IHG Rewards Club: The elite status expiry of members living in Greater China is being extended by one year, from December 31 2020 until December 31 2021. Plus, IHG Rewards Club points will not expire until at least December 31 2020.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott Bonvoy members in Greater China who earned their 2020 status from travels in 2019 – with a current expiry of February 2021 – will have that extended until February 2022. Members with Suite Night Awards (upgrade credits) in their account will also have these extended until December 31 2021, while these members' points won't expire until at least February 2021.
Executive Traveller also contacted Accor Live Limitless for comment, but had not received a response by the time this article was published.