Suites are the benefit of hotel status that I enjoy the most. I don’t really care if I end up in a suite for a one-night stay in Kansas City, for example. But, when I take my family to Paris, I want the extra space so we’re not all crammed into one room. The four of us don’t sleep in one room and share one bathroom at home, so the ability to spread out on vacation is a treasured one for me (I can neither confirm nor deny that my lovely bride has a propensity for, ahem, snoring at night).
That’s why I value the Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade awards so highly. 4 times a year when I want, I can ask Hyatt to upgrade me at the time of booking. Now, it’s subject to availability, but I’ve had good luck using them. And, I have the certainty before I book my hotel whether I have a suite or not (for free, I might add).
Via View From The Wing we learned this morning that Hyatt is making a change to the Suite Upgrade awards that they give to Diamond members each year. Here’s what Hyatt has to say about the change:
Suite awards issued on or after March 1, 2016 must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award. Suite awards not redeemed prior to the expiration date of the award will be forfeited.
Suite awards issued prior to March 1, 2016, must be redeemed by making a reservation no later than the last day of February 2016 for future reservations. In the event one of these Suite awards is redeemed for stay dates beyond the expiration date and the reservation is cancelled after the last day of February 2016, the Suite award will be forfeited.
Translation: Going forward, Diamond members won’t be able to use their suite upgrade awards past their expiration (which I assume will be the last day of February a year after issuance). In the past, Diamond members only had to redeem their Suite Upgrade awards prior to the end of February, not complete the stay. Now, they’ll need to finish the stay before the end of February.
Which leads to another issue. If you don’t get new Suite Upgrade awards until the beginning of March and you can’t use last year’s for March reservations, I’m essentially never using a Suite Upgrade award for a spring break trip again, since those have to be booked much further out than a week or two.
They’ll still let you use existing Suite Upgrade awards past the end of this coming February, but no longer in the future.
I value Diamond status with Hyatt most highly amongst all the major programs, and those Suite Upgrade awards are one of my favorite benefits. These changes make this benefit a little less special for me. That’s a bummer, since I’ve spent my last 3 spring breaks at a Hyatt hotel.
As Gary says, I think Hyatt could dampen the downsides of this change by awarding Suite Upgrade awards once a member qualifies/re-qualifies for Diamond status as opposed to waiting until March. That requires a bit of tech work on their part, but doesn’t seem a Herculean feat. Especially for families, having access to suites in March and April is a key time for travel.