March 15, 2012 will be the last day to earn miles for Hyatt stays or redeem Gold Passport points for miles in four airline programs including Air Canada Aeroplan, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Frontier EarlyReturns and US Airways Dividend Miles.
There seems to be a trend in the hotel loyalty world of dropping North American airline partners while foreign carriers are added to hotel partnerships. Perhaps this has something to do with the focus on international development of hotel brands while the USA sits on the economic backburner for the time being. Hyatt announced that 170 new hotels in the pipeline will be 70% outside North America.
Marriott Rewards dropped American Airlines as an airline partner in 2011 and recently added Russia’s Aeroflot.
Hilton HHonors dropped Southwest Airlines for 2012, but Latin American travelers have the choice of Avianca/Taca LifeMiles.
The good news is there are still 30 airline partners with Hyatt Gold Passport. In my opinion, when it comes to points-to-miles exchanges, the value of Hyatt Gold Passport points is more than airline miles and I would not trade points for miles without an instant redemption opportunity for a high priced airline reward.
The real opportunity for me of the Hyatt Gold Passport airline partnerships are the occassional high value miles bonuses for hotel stays. And over the past couple of years Hyatt Gold Passport has allowed members to earn both points and miles on several of the bonus promotions.