Oct282016

Did Marriott help Hyatt weed down its top tier elite members for 2018?

Hyatt Gold Passport ceases to exist in 2017 and transforms into World of Hyatt. The miles & points blogosphere is awash in crocodile tears when the news came out yesterday.

WoH_Logo_RGB_MainSky_Primary

My question is

“Did Marriott help Hyatt weed out its top tier elite members for 2018 to make room for Starwood Preferred Guest emigrants when SPG ceases to exist?”

I have been a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond elite member since 2008. It will be significantly harder and more expensive to qualify for free breakfast and suite upgrades with 60 nights in a calendar year or $20,000 (+ room tax) in annual hotel spend to earn ‘Globalist’ status – the 2017 Diamond elite level. That is more than double the hotel spend compared to the possibility of earning Hyatt Gold passport Diamond elite on 25 one-night stays. Hyatt Gold Passport Points and Cash stays currently make the Diamond elite goal possible for under $2,000 in annual hotel spend.

My initial thoughts when seeing three new elite tiers for World of Hyatt and qualification requirements were about 75 nights elite qualification for Marriott Rewards Platinum. The takeover of Starwood Hotels by Marriott closed in September with notice that Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards  and Starwood Preferred Guest will merge into a new program sometime in 2018.

Effective September 23, 2016 Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. merged to create one lodging company. Following the merger, the SPG Program and the Marriott Rewards program and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program (collectively, the “Rewards Program”), will continue to operate as separate programs until a newly combined loyalty program is launched, which is expected to take place no earlier than 2018.

Until then, the SPG Program and the Rewards Program will each have separate terms and conditions, including those governing how members will manage their accounts, book reservations, achieve elite status, earn and redeem points, the expiration of points as well as the ability to use points with third-party partners such as airline frequent flyer programs. Stays at hotels that participate in the SPG Program and the Rewards Program will continue to count toward earning points and achieving elite status in the program with which the applicable hotel is affiliated.

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/legal/spg_terms.html?language=en_US

Starwood Preferred Guest allows members in 2016 and I assume all of 2017 to qualify for SPG Platinum with 25 stays or 50 nights. These are the same elite qualification requirements in 2016 for Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond. Marriott Rewards currently requires 75 nights for Platinum elite. It seems like Hyatt Hotels has placed itself at a disadvantage for 2017 when there will likely be many Hyatt Gold Passport Diamonds switching to SPG in 2017 to earn Platinum elite in 2018 with 25 hotel stays. You will have whatever tier level in 2018 equates to SPG Platinum, but then you are stuck with the new top elite criteria for 2018 hotel stays with the newly combined mega-Marriott-Ritz-SPG rewards program. At that point in time, World of Hyatt may look like the more lucrative hotel loyalty program.

A betting person might wager the new 2018 Marriott-Ritz-Starwood program top elite level maintains a stays requirement. Or lowers to 60 nights for Marriott loyalty top elite and matches the new World of Hyatt elite qualification for Globalist.

But, I am sure there would be many other wagers for the new program remains at 75 nights to earn top elite in the future Marriott loyalty program.

Hyatt’s competitive advantage in releasing their new elite criteria and associated hotel loyalty program benefits now in what is potentially a far more expensive goal at 60 nights to qualify for top elite in 2017 than 25 stays or 50 nights with Starwood Preferred Guest. Hyatt frequent guests need to choose if they want to stay with World of Hyatt in 2017 or move to another hotel program like SPG.

For frequent guests planning a hotel brands change from Starwood to Hyatt, shifting stays to Hyatt Hotels needs to happen beginning January 2017 to have 12 months for reaching the Globalist elite 60 nights annually during 2017. World of Hyatt is ready to scoop up some profitable frequent guests for 2017 and potentially many more for 2018 after the new Marriott hotel loyalty program details are announced sometime this next year.

World of Hyatt FAQ on new 2017 elite benefits and program changes.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. I would bet on Marriott mid tier to actually increase more than platinum decreasing. 60 for gold or 85 for platinum with a revenue shortcut for high spenders. Marriott gold at fifty nights has always matched SPG and Hyatt top tier at fifty nights. Now that Hyatt is going to sixty, Marriott might as well too given that they have more properties now

  2. I am never going to quality for the highest of elite levels with ANY hotel program; I simply don’t stay enough nights (or enough times) during the year to do so. That said, I *am* SPG Gold based upon the number of stays YTD (but not if it were based upon the total number of nights). At this point, who knows what my travel plans will be for 2017, but I will aim for qualifying once again as SPG Gold . . . Hyatt? I’m a member, but have no status, as I prefer Starwood. In theory, I *might* make “Discoverist” status based upon 10 nights (doubtful I’d do it on 25,000 base points/$5,000 spend), but I know I won’t make elite status with both SPG and Hyatt — for me, it seems better to hang onto SPG status and see what changes the fully merged Mariott-SPG-Ritz program will make. Then, and only then, will I be able to decide whether or not to switch loyalty to Hyatt.

  3. There are a lot of Hyatt Diamonds that will be leaving to go to Spg or Marriott-Feeling betrayed by Hyatt’s surprise announcement.

  4. I was planning next year’s trips and coaxing people to my schedule and Hyatt. Thanks to this I can save the hassle and just stay with the same plan this year with SPG. 2018 will be interesting.

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