Oct302016

Hyatt Diamonds on the soles of our shoes

Hyatt Hotels big news on Thursday, October 27, 2016 sparked much ado about Hyatt Diamonds these past few days. On March 1, 2017 Hyatt Gold Passport transforms into World of Hyatt with significantly more costly requirements to reach top tier elite status at 60 nights annually or more than $20,000 in hotel spend. Currently members can reach Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond with 25 stays, which potentially means as few as 25 hotel nights.

The news from Hyatt has not shaken me. Hyatt has not been too useful a program for me as my travels have expanded to new places these past few years. Hyatt is nowhere to be seen in most of the countries I have been traveling. There are no Hyatt Hotels in Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, New Zealand. And the room rates are generally far higher than I want to pay in the places I have stayed with Hyatt Hotels.

This year I stayed 7 nights at Hyatt Regency New Orleans through an OTA rate that was $700 compared to the $2,000+ rate on Hyatt’s website.

Earlier in the year I stayed on a Points + Cash rate at Andaz Amsterdam for 12,500 points + $150 and upgraded to a suite with a Diamond suite certificate for the category 6 hotel. In retrospect, considering I purchased Hyatt points through Daily Getaways for around $11 per 1,000 points, that was probably the highest room rate I have ever paid for a hotel room at about $280. On one hand, the published room rate for the Andaz Amsterdam suite was $1,000+. On the other hand…personally, my most expensive room ever.

After that Andaz stay I moved to the perfectly suitable Ramada Apollo in Amsterdam for 3,000 points + $55. That is equivalent to an $85 room night.

The location of Andaz Amsterdam in the historic canal district was its prime selling feature. The city view from my high floor room was far better at the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam. I saved a lot of money on my hotel for tram tickets into city center and paid for all my meals and museums with the money saved on my other nights at Amsterdam hotels.

Hyatt Hotel Reward Category Reality Check

I went through the Hyatt Gold Passport hotel reward category lists a couple days ago.

683 hotels are currently listed in the Hyatt Gold Passport seven reward categories.

Hyatt reward nights tables Oct-16

Hyatt Hotels Reward Nights

Category 1 = 175 hotels = 25.6%

Category 2 = 196 hotels = 28.7%

Category 3 = 145 hotels =  21.2%

Category 4 = 70 hotels =  10.3%

Category 5 = 57 hotels = 8.4%

Category 6 = 32 hotels = 4.7%

Category 7 = 8 hotels = 1.2%

The good news is Hyatt has maintained a high proportion of hotels as category 1 and 2 rewards. The reality check is nearly all these hotels are Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties. Albuquerque, Dallas, Tulsa, and a couple of Hyatt Regency properties in Virginia around Dulles IAD airport are category 1. Asia is your best bet for category 1 upper upscale Hyatt Regency hotels.

I have stayed at 5 of the 32 category 6 Hyatt hotels and 1 of the category 7 hotels over the past eight years.

All nice places, but I also stayed in those same cities at other adequately nice hotels for a fraction of the price. As a Diamond member I can be persuaded sometimes to spend more for the Diamond elite benefits like free breakfast and a potential suite upgrade. While a suite at the Andaz Amsterdam for $280 is a significant discount on the prevailing $1,000+ room rate, I can stay three to five nights in a comfortably upscale Amsterdam hotel through other hotel loyalty programs like Best Western and Wyndham Rewards.

Hyatt Gold Passport has been a good deal for me over the past decade, but I don’t see practical hotel stay value in my travels to be concerned with high elite status anymore in the new World of Hyatt. The most common complaint about Hyatt is its limited global footprint with only 683 hotels. This is in contrast to Best Western, Choice, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham, each with 4,000 to 8,000+ hotel properties for earning and redeeming points. These six hotel chains combined have more than 30,000 hotels. That is extensive hotel coverage in most any place most of us travel.

Hyatt has given notice to its loyalty members. Pay up and stay up to play up to the new World of Hyatt top-tier elite benefits. Hyatt Hotels wants brand advocates and a high spend clientele to form the bulk of their top tier elite membership. The Globalists’ reward is more benefits in World of Hyatt.

In the new World of Hyatt I will likely drop from a Diamond member to an Explorist. Seems like a good time for me to explore all the other hotel options with the sparking memory of the years with Diamond elite experiences at Hyatt Hotels.

I am a hotel value seeker. I don’t have diamonds on the soles of my shoes. I budget my travel carefully so I can travel to more places more often. There are so many other hotel chain brand alternatives at less than the average hotel price Hyatt charges in their various brands. Still, I still find better value and convenience in finding lodging with hotel loyalty programs compared to Airbnb in places I travel.

Hyatt will likely see most of their least profitable Diamond members move on to other hotel loyalty programs in 2017. Too many other choices for value travelers will mean many Hyatt Diamond elite members not rich enough to walk around with diamonds on the soles of their shoes will become Hyatt Diamonds on the soles of their shoes. World of Hyatt will be left with a far more profitable Globalist elite tier.

To me, that signals a concentration of high spenders Hyatt can market as a selling point, if (when) they put their brand on the marketplace for hotel chain consolidation.

Loyalty Traveler – Hyatt Hotels 2016-Q2 hotels by brand and average daily rate (Oct 19, 2016).

Loyalty Traveler – Did Marriott help Hyatt weed down its top tier elite members for 2018? (Oct 28, 2016).

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 think the move mostly makes sense to reward top spenders and be a great program for those who really do go out of their way to book Hyatt (given their smaller footprint). I also get that a lot of Diamonds are there by match/challenge, not necessarily nights spent which is why we dont see everyone going to the top tier automatically.

    But I think the biggest gap is that Explorists don’t get lounge access. After 30 nights and 2nd to top tier status, they should follow Hilton and Marriott Gold and offer a breakfast perk of some kind. Given their smaller footprint, they should try to incentive us to choose them when they aren’t the most convenient option.

    But looking forward to a suite at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point where I spend most weeks!

  2. I am glad I did not make an effort in last year to switch spend from SPG Platinum to Hyatt. For someone like me who stays around 30-50 nights in hotels, Hyatt does not have the foot print that works for the areas I visit. So these changes make it less likely that I will stay in Hyatt in the future. As you say there are other hotels they are just fine (or actually better if like small boutique hotels) or the Hyatt itself can be booked at a better rate through a consolidator. If the reward scheme was more viable for me It might sway me towards using them more, but looks like not.

  3. Hyatt has gutted the platinum and most diamond status members. NO real benefit left in the new tiers unless you stay 60 plus nights. And Hyatt credit card really of no value. Bothered that Hyatt touted this as a benefit to its members when they should have apologized and explained they were cutting benefits and raising the bar on the tiers.

  4. I like your post. One of the first blogs to not say something along the lines of exciting new perks coming to Hyatt…. instead you lay it out. The new program will be less rewarding. Possibly missing enough value to drive many to strive for status.

    I might argue that this program may not necessarily attract high spenders but the Hyatt House traveller that looks for temporary residence in a Hyatt Summerfield/ place etc long term stay.

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