Hyatt announced this morning that they’ve rolled out special rates that are only valid for members of their loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport, when booking through their website or app.
The discount is up to 10% and appears to be for rates other than fully prepaid, which I like. My plans change enough that I rarely book fully prepaid rates, so this is a definite plus for me (and likely many other travelers).
For now, it’s available in the US, Canada and Australia and subject to availability. No surprise that it’s not available worldwide though I do find it odd that they included Australia and nowhere else. Not sure what the criteria are for availability, but I took a peak at a few hotels I stay at.
At the Hyatt Regency in Denver, a property I stay at quite a bit, the rate is comparable to the AAA refundable rate:
At the Hyatt Regency Reston, VA the member discount isn’t as good as AAA:
These were only a few searches I ran so I can’t say authoritatively how often the discount will be available. But, the half dozen properties I checked for a handful of random dates all showed some availability for the member discount.
This isn’t the first time Hyatt has offered discounts to members of their loyalty programs for direct bookings. Hyatt rolled out “My Elite Rate” rates back in 2014. These were for elite members of Hyatt Gold Passport, so a bit more restricted than this new rate available to even general members. Alas, My Elite Rate was retired at the end of 2014. If I had to guess, it was too lucrative to get widespread buy-in from the hotels.
A slimmed down version of My Elite Rate was rolled out last year, dubbed “My Hyatt Rate”. I guess the test went well enough that they’re now ready to roll it out systemwide.
One of the primary purposes of these sorts of programs is an effort to further erode the hold online travel agencies (OTAs) do on hotel inventory. While OTAs offer a macro view to customers on rates available across a specific market, they come at a cost to hotels. For the big chains, those numbers are rumored to be believed in the 10-15% range. That can be a significant chunk of money to the chains. They’re likely still making good money even paying the OTAs, but given that these are public companies, eliminating or reducing these fees is impactful to shareholders.
Hyatt also noted that they have some technical enhancements coming out that sound pretty helpful:
Plus, later this year, the enhanced Hyatt mobile app will provide guests who book direct the ability to make on-demand requests by communicating instantly with Hyatt on services like Messenger or text messaging.
I view this as a big plus since I rarely like hopping on the phone to make or change travel plans.
Bottom Line It For Me, Ed
These rates are a welcome addition. I would still expect AAA rates to be competitive or less than these, but everyone’s not a member of AAA. I get a ton of value out of AAA given the total amount I travel, but this opens up an easier option for folks to join Hyatt Gold Passport for free and have access to lower rates.
I view the messenger/text capability Hyatt’s talking about as a huge plus. These are the sorts of areas I expect SPG to win at. They’re very good at the tech side of things, with a highly functioning website and app. For me, the ability to message with someone to change a reservation will make my life much easier.