World of Hyatt announced a pretty achievable fast track path to elite status last night. I’ve got the details and (of course) my opinion. First, let’s get to the meat of the offer.
All Hyatt credit card members are eligible for this fast track offer. You do need to register, but have until September 30, 2017 to do so. That means folks who don’t even have the Hyatt credit card yet could apply for it, be approved and sign up before the end of the September.
How Do You Qualify?
Between September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, stay the following amount of nights:
- To qualify for Explorist status, cardmembers must complete 10 nights (normally 30 nights)
- To qualify for Globalist status, cardmembers must complete 20 nights (normally 60 nights)
Status earned through this offer will be valid through the end of February, 2019. You might recognize these numbers, as it’s the same math as a fast track path I wrote about recently for employees of certain large companies.
What Does Elite Status Earn You?
Here’s a chart that lays out the status benefits from the recent rollout of their new program:
It’s important to note that earning status through the fast track path means you won’t earn the free nights and suite upgrade awards. Those are only earned if you stay 30 nights or 60 nights in a calendar year.
This offer is really achievable for road warriors and probably still in reach of mileage junkies and occasional travelers.
Should you do it?
Boy, talk about a YMMV sort of question. I think the suite upgrades are a big part of the value from Globalist status. Free breakfast, resort fees and bonus points are certainly nice benefits as well. I think I’d probably shoot for 20 nights if you were thinking about this offer. I’m not sure there’s enough juice in the squeeze for 10 nights to earn Explorist.
Now, for that opinion part…..
I see two schools of thought here. What’s absolutely certain to me is that Hyatt is lagging behind where they wanted to be on elite qualification/re-qualification.
From a business standpoint, I’d probably do exactly what they’re doing. I’d offer incentives to entice more people to qualify for elite status. Regardless of what you think about how Hyatt got here, the right business decision is to start figuring out how to influence incremental spending.
Is that fair to folks who already stayed 30 or 40 nights with Hyatt so far this year? Well, no. But, life isn’t fair.
From a customer perspective, I think this move is going to hurt Hyatt’s reputation with loyal guests. It won’t influence my behavior at all. I intended to hit 60 nights. As a high-spend Hyatt customer, I welcome the free nights and suite upgrade awards. And, as a lifetime Globalist, I value getting double the amount of free nights and suite upgrade awards.
As you can imagine, I speak with a lot of travelers throughout the year. When the program changes were announced, most people divided into two camps. There were folks that took a “wait and see” approach and other folks who wanted to burn it to the ground. The latter group of folks were mostly people who qualified on stays. It’s clear to me that Hyatt believed these customers were too expensive to continue supporting at the same level.
By giving away status for a much smaller commitment, Hyatt risks alienating the “wait and see” crowd, especially if they’ve stayed somewhere between 4o and 50 nights already this year.
The Final Two Pennies
United Airlines has said publicly that they’re waiting for American Airlines to finish rolling out Basic Economy. They believe when that happens, United Airlines will make more money because both airlines will offer an equally crappy base product.
I believe Marriott intends to make elite status less rewarding or harder to achieve in the near future. I wouldn’t rule out them doing both. There were no instant devaluations when they merged with Starwood. That was just about a year ago. There’s been no word on whether Marriott will honor Starwood Preferred Guest lifetime status.
I think there’s a real chance that Marriott is waiting a bit to see how the market develops. Maybe not specifically how Hyatt fares, but that will certainly be something they’re looking at. The hotel chains are in the process of making it harder to cancel hotel reservations. If they’re willing to push that envelope, they’re surely looking at loyalty spending.
I believe the hotel loyalty landscape will look reasonably different a year or two from now. In short, I don’t think the changes at World of Hyatt will be the last teeth gnashing loyal hotel guests make in the next 18 months.
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