Hyatt reached out to me with news of a change that top-tier Globalist members will definitely embrace:
World of Hyatt is extending the validity period for suite upgrade awards that members earn when they satisfy tier qualifying night or Base Point earning requirements within a calendar year, as well as for the 4 Club Lounge access awards that Explorists earn per year. For 2018 and beyond these awards will be valid through the member’s tier expiration date at the time they are earned, as opposed to 365 days. This means members’ awards earned in 2018 will expire February 29, 2020.
Upon achieving Lifetime Globalist status, members will receive four suite upgrade awards valid through the remainder of that year plus 14 months. Annually, Lifetime Globalists will receive four suite upgrade awards on or around March 1 valid for the remainder of that year plus 14 months. In addition, Lifetime Globalists who stay 60 qualifying nights or earn 100,000 Base Points in a calendar year will receive four additional suite upgrade awards that are valid for the remainder of the year they are earned plus 14 months
This is a welcome change. When Hyatt announced their new program almost 2 years ago, this was one of the potentially negative details. By having the suite upgrades expire on a rolling 12-month basis, they were actually putting members in a position where they had to think when they wanted to finish qualification for Globalist each year. I honestly do think this was something of an oversight. They likely wanted to shorten the validity period to 12 months. When it was suggested internally to make it a rolling 12 months, I’m guessing they didn’t contemplate this scenario. From there, I’m guessing it took a bit of tech to re-wire things, and I’m sure it wasn’t #1 on their list.
They’ve also improved the suite upgrade expiration for lifetime members. I’m definitely happy about that.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Hyatt continues to make incremental improvements to World of Hyatt. There were a bunch of sad folks when the program was announced. As a top-tier business traveler, the new program is actually better for me in many ways. But, I recognize my travel patterns aren’t the same as everyone else.
Two big changes they made recently were counting free nights towards status achievement and extending the life of free night awards. I personally think both of these changes were more meaningful than the expiration of suite upgrade awards. By allowing free night redemptions to count towards status, they make mid-tier status easier to achieve for folks who used to qualify for Diamond with just 25 stays. It’s not the same. But it is easier for folks who used to be loyal to Hyatt to come back and be loyal again.
Hyatt went a step further when they made these changes and retroactively bumped up people’s status based on last year’s award activity. Some top-tier elites ended up with bonus points or free nights. That move went a long way with me. Hotels are big businesses and are going to make changes that members don’t like from time to time. I get it. Going back to bump up status was a thoughtful addition.
More recently, they’ve expanded their footprint a bit by adding Oasis, a luxury home component for paid and award stays.
The Final Two Pennies
I’m happy to see the progress Hyatt has made over the past two years. As expected, Marriott is making elite status harder to achieve by eliminating the path to elite status using stays versus nights that SPG used to employ. They also tried to stick it to SPG Lifetime Platinum members in the new program. Marriott pivoted and finally did the right thing.
Elite status is getting harder to earn. In some ways it’s also getting more rewarding. I want to dig in deeper on this overall. But I feel like the gap between Hyatt and SPG/Marriott may have closed a bit as it relates to elite status.
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