In case you missed it, Hyatt is rolling out a new loyalty program this week. Lots of changes are being made and folks will be getting used to the new structure for a while. While there’s been a bit of teeth-gnashing here and there about the changes, I think they’re largely positive for business travelers/road warriors. My personal experience has been that Hyatt is great at delivering on promised benefits. I spend quite a bit of time on the road. I don’t want to have to plead with a property to honor my benefits as an elite member. I’ve literally never had to do that at a Hyatt.
It will take some time to figure out if Hyatt’s emphasis on experiences will be a rewarding new feature. In the interim, those of us who analyze changes to death are busy reading the tea leaves to figure out what’s next. I had a good friend Haung reach out to me late last week with a question about the new program.
One of the new features is a heavier emphasis on free nights. To wit:
- All Diamond members who are being awarded Globalist status on March 1st will receive a free night valid at any Hyatt hotel in the world.
- Anyone staying 30 nights this year will receive a free night at a category 1-4 hotel.
- 60 nights will earn you another free night at any hotel in the system (with no restriction on the category).
- Folks who stay at 5 unique brands starting March 1st will receive a free category 1-4 hotel night, and another when they stay at 10 unique brands.
One of the chief concerns surrounding these free nights is that they need to be consumed (meaning, reserved and stay completed) within 120 days of their award. As a business traveler, that will be tough for me at times. There are definitely 4-month stretches where I don’t take a vacation, even just a night away with my wife. Lord knows I wish that was the case (so does my wife)! At other times, I’ll have a pre-planned vacation and it’s unclear to me whether these nights will be able to be “substituted”into an existing reservation. I tend to think they will, but we won’t know that for a bit.
Anyway, back to Haung’s question. It seems the program will allow these nights to be transferred to a family member or friend. He was curious if it will be possible to not only give these free nights away, but also bestow “Guest of Honor” benefits with them.
For those unfamiliar, Guest of Honor is a program Hyatt came out with over a year ago that allows Diamond members to give a guest their Diamond benefits on an award stay. The Diamond (soon-to-be Globalist) member needs to book the award out of their account and request the Guest of Honor benefit. In turn, their guest receives such benefits as guaranteed late check-out, lounge access and free breakfast. It really is a great benefit of the program, one I truly enjoy when I give someone a free trip.
I’m happy to report a positive answer from my contact at Hyatt:
On the Guest of Honor front, the program will continue to work as it does today. If a Globalist transfers a Free Night Award to another party the recipient of the Free Night Award will be treated as a “Guest of Honor” at the applicable hotel or resort with the booked reservation for the award night – the person will receive all in-hotel benefits that would have been provided to the Globalist had the Globalist redeemed the free night award for him or herself.
You’ll need to request that the Guest of Honor benefit be applied to the reservation when you transfer the night.
The Final Two Pennies
I’m glad to hear it’ll be easy to transfer both the free nights and the Guest of Honor benefit to someone else. I hadn’t given much thought to the question until Haung posed it to me. I am still a bit concerned about using up the free nights, but I do give away a handful of free nights a year to friends and family. So, those nights might become theirs. I understand that’s not everyone’s desire. It will also take some time for us to figure out if Hyatt will be flexible in the redemption of these free nights.
For example, I’ve gotten 30-day extensions on expiring free nights in the past. Will 120 days be a hard 120? Will we be able to use these for a night on an award reservation we’ve already booked? All good questions.
The post Reader Question: Can You Give Away The Free Nights You Earn With The New World Of Hyatt Program? was published first on Pizza in Motion