Free Internet access for elite members and no blackout dates for award nights are two of the biggest changes Hyatt has made to the Gold Passport program.
The modifications were announced last month and members have welcomed the enhancements with open arms. Platinum and Diamond members will now be able to use the Internet for no additional fee. Other new benefits include a dedicated check-in area for elite members (not available at Hyatt Place or Hyatt Summerfield Suites) and Platinum members will now be given the best room available within the category booked at check in. Diamond members will also receive the best room available, including Regency Club or Grand Club rooms (excluding suites), in addition to four suite upgrades per year on paid room nights when staying seven nights or less. The suite upgrades can be made at time of booking and exclude Premier, Presidential and Diplomatic Suites. And if Diamond members are unable to access the Regency Club or Grand Club lounge, they will receive complimentary breakfast for each registered guest plus 2,500 bonus points.
One FlyerTalk member wrote, “It has just been confirmed for me that Hyatt will be offering free Internet for elites WORLDWIDE. That’s huge. I often do without Internet at international hotels, both Starwood and others, because 20 to 30 euros a day is simply beyond my price point.”
It has not been the practice for hotels that charge for Internet access to waive the fee for elite members and Hyatt’s move may cause other programs to reconsider their Internet fee policies.
To celebrate the changes, Hyatt is offering a sweepstakes and writing contest to Gold Passport members residing in the U.S. and Canada. You can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 10,000 free nights and write an essay for a chance to win a million miles and a year’s worth of Hyatt hotel stays. Entries must be received at www.thebigwelcome.com by May 13, 2009.
To register for the sweepstakes, you will need to fill out a short five-question survey about your membership status in other frequent guest programs, your travel patterns and interests. Only one entry is allowed per person. Each day between April 2 and May 12, 2009, 239 daily prizes of a one free night award will be awarded randomly from all eligible entries received during the previous week and non-winning entries will carry over into subsequent drawings so the earlier you enter, the more chances you will have to win. Free night awards will be valid through June 30, 2009.
Hyatt is also running a writing contest and the writer of the winning entry will receive 365 free nights and one million miles from your choice of Hyatt airline partners. For a chance to win the opportunity to stay for one full year for free at Hyatt hotels, you will need to answer the question, “How would you spend 365 free nights at Hyatt to create an unforgettable experience?” in 250 words or less. Hyatt’s agency personnel will narrow down the pool of entries to up to 20 semi-finalists. From the fine print, entries will be judged on “a 100-point scale as follows: 40 points for originality; 40 points for creativity; 10 points for incorporation of Hyatt brand attributes and 10 points for organization/clarity and grammar. Entrants may earn up to five bonus points for submitting a photo, original drawing, video or audio file that embellishes their essay.” Visitors to www.TheBigWelcome.com can vote online for the top five entries between May 26 and June 2, 2009 and the final winner will be chosen by a second panel of Hyatt judges.
The sweepstakes is also open to Hyatt members in Europe and Asia and Pacific. There will be separate prizes awarded for all three regions (North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific) including the grand prize.