Boy, did the internet have some drama when Hyatt made this announcement last week. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re getting to the end of 2020 and we’re also creeping closer to a vaccine. That means travel brands are starting to think about how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Hilton jumped out in the lead amongst hotel brands when they chopped elite qualification requirements in half. That was over a month ago, and I had expected we would already have seen other big brands jump in. With the announcement by Hyatt last week, we seem to be picking up some momentum.
Hyatt Cuts Elite Status Requirements In Half
World of Hyatt announced that all three elite tiers will be easier to earn next year, whether you earn based on nights or Base Points:
- Discoverist – Stay five Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 12,500 Base Points
- Explorist – Stay 15 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 25,000 Base Points
- Globalist – Stay 30 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 50,000 Base Points
World of Hyatt credit cardholders get a 5-night bump to get started on all three of these tiers. That means Globalist for as little as 25 nights (or even less, stick with me). This combines nicely with the fact that Hyatt has extended their Bonus Journeys promotion to the end of February, 2021.
Along with triple points on all stays (and quadruple points on resort stays for World of Hyatt cardholders) you’ll also earn double night credit for all stays through the end of February. That means if you have the World of Hyatt credit card, you’d only need 13 nights in the promotion period to qualify for Globalist. If you didn’t have the World of Hyatt credit card and apply for it now, you’ll actually get 10 elite-qualifying nights to get started, meaning you only need 10 nights between now and the end of February to earn Globalist status in 2021.
But Wait, There’s More!
Okay, this next part isn’t quite as good. Hyatt offers a program called Milestone Rewards that actually deliver many of the most popular benefits. If you want Globalist suite upgrades, arguably the best elite benefit Hyatt offers, you’ll need to stay at least 50 nights over the course of 2021 to earn some. And, if you want a Globalist concierge, you’ll need to stay 60 nights. Still, Globalist for 10 nights will come with some pretty great perks, including a generous free breakfast benefit and free suite upgrades at time of check-in (based on availability, of course).
Is The Sky Falling?
I had to double-check, but the sky is not falling. You may wonder if I’ve gone a bit crazy. That happened years ago, but on this I’m perfectly clear-headed. World of Hyatt has been a really popular loyalty program for quite some time. Heck, there was serious outrage when World of Hyatt rolled out because of how much Hyatt loyalists loved Hyatt Gold Passport, its predecessor. As it turned out, World of Hyatt wasn’t the end of the world. Lots of those same folks are huge fans of World of Hyatt now. And, a fair number of travel bloggers and other folks I know in the travel community just about lost their minds when this was announced.
The gist of the argument was that there would be so many Globalists as part of these new requirements that Hyatt properties would ignore program rules and stop honoring all the benefits (because that’s what Marriott did). My response on that one was pretty straightforward. I’m not going to condemn a loyalty program for something I think they might do wrong in the future, especially when that program has an exceptional reputation for honoring the benefits members earned.
Am I worried that a whole slew of new Hyatt Globalists are going to crowd me out of an upgrade when I check-in to a hotel. No, I’m really not. For starters, travel will still be significantly depressed in 2021. A lot of Globalists won’t be traveling. And, Hyatt’s best benefit, Globalist Suite Upgrades, are your way to secure a suite at the time of booking, not at check-in. That’s what I do when a stay is important, when traveling with my family. A random one-night stay for work? I’ll be just fine if one of you newly minted Globalists take a suite upgrade from me.
The Final Two Pennies
These moves by Hyatt were expected, at least by me. The outcry rings hollow to me (sort of like the outcry on American Airlines’ recent gift promotion). Hyatt has always done a great job of honoring the benefits they promise. Keep in mind that Hilton has already cut their requirements in half and I expect Marriott to do the same. That means a good number of elites will “stay home” choosing to level up in the program they already have elite status in.
Hyatt is still my favorite, and I’ll continue to focus on them first and foremost. If you had a choice of chains next year, I still think Hyatt will come out with the strongest value proposition when the dust settles. Now, to figure out how to get 60 nights in 2021……
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