I have recently written a couple of articles comparing major hotel chains. If you would like to revisit those, you can:
- Click here to compare Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors
- Click here to compare IHG Rewards and Hilton Honors
In both situations, I reckoned that Hilton Honors was the stronger hotel chain loyalty program. The logical next step would be to compare Hilton Honors with World of Hyatt… except for frequent travellers there simply IS NO comparison. World of Hyatt is clearly better, but why?
There is an obvious trade-off between the ease of reaching a relevant level of elite status (meaning that there are more elites competing for a limited number of upgradable rooms) and the benefits associated with such status. Hyatt makes it HARD to reach elite status. Although the requirements have been reduced for 2021, you normally require:
- 60 nights for GLOBALIST
- 30 nights for EXPLORIST
- 10 nights for DISCOVERIST
Reward stays (and free night certificate stays) count for elite status purposes.
You can also earn elite night credits from the co-branded Hyatt credit card:
- 5 nights annually for holding the card
- 2 nights for every $5,000 spent on the card
Earning Lifetime Status
You can become a lifetime Globalist by earning 1 million base points. There are no shortcuts – award nights and credit card spend are irrelevant – you must simply spend $200,000 pre-tax with Hyatt…
Globalist status is what everybody wants to be! Globalist members receive:
- Free breakfast
- Guaranteed 4 pm late check-out
- Guaranteed executive lounge access
- 30% bonus points
- Upgrades to the best available room (including standard suites)
- Parking fees waived when staying on award nights
- Resort / Destination fees waived
- An assigned Concierge who will handle any requirements you might have
It is easy to gloss over a list of elite benefits, but Hyatt does much of the above better than anybody else.
- Marriott and Hilton are gradually eroding their breakfast benefit
- Only Hyatt truly guarantees a 4 pm late check out – the other chains have opt-outs that hotels often take advantage of
- A Hyatt concierge is far more competent and helpful than a Marriott Ambassador
- Resort fees and parking fees are waived – no cop-outs
Globalist members can also spend their points on Guest of Honor reward bookings for family or friends. Those guests will be treated as if they were a Globalist member.
Even though the list of status benefits is already attractive enough, World of Hyatt has de-coupled some benefits from a member’s level of elite status, and instead provides rewards during the year based on the number of nights stayed.
- 20 nights – 2 Club Lounge access awards for stays of 1-7 nights
- 30 nights – 1 free night certificate at a Category 1-4 hotel (valid for 6 months) and 2 Club Lounge access awards
- 40 nights – your choice of a $100 Hyatt gift certificate, 5,000 points or a 10,000 point discount on a FIND experience
- 50 nights – 2 Suite Upgrade Awards for stays of 1-7 nights
- 60 nights – 1 free night at a Category 1-7 hotel (valid for 6 months) and 2 Suite Upgrade Awards
- 70 nights – your choice of 1 Suite Upgrade Award or 10,000 points
- 80 nights – your choice of 1 Suite Upgrade Award or 10,000 points
- 90 nights – your choice of 1 Suite Upgrade Award or 10,000 points
- 100 nights – your choice of 1 Suite Upgrade Award or 10,000 points
Those Suite Upgrade Awards are the BEST perk available from any major hotel chain. At the time of booking your stay, you can CONFIRM a suite upgrade. It doesn’t matter whether redeem points or book a standard room with cash.
Value of Points
World of Hyatt members earn 5 base points per US dollar spent. You earn points on your pre-tax room rate and other eligible room charges, including food/drink charged to your room.
Members with elite status can earn tier bonuses ranging from 10-30%. This is lower than the competition – Hilton and IHG offer 100% bonuses for example – but is clearly compensated for by the better at-hotel benefits.
World of Hyatt tends to run two, sometimes three, major promotions each year. These can range from a simple 500-1,000 points per night (in various formats) or can offer double/triple points.
World of Hyatt is fairly unique in that it allows members to book almost ANY room type using points at a fixed price, from the standard room up to premium suites. However, World of Hyatt will be implementing an off-peak / standard / peak award pricing structure in July 2021.
Hyatt has assigned its hotels to one of 8 award categories.
Standard Room Rewards
Regency Club (Executive Lounge) Rewards
Standard Suite Rewards
Premium Suite Rewards
Why World of Hyatt is my favorite program
Hyatt’s treatment of top-tier Globalists is legendary. You can generally expect to be treated well at any full-service Hyatt brand – and even better internationally!
But when you absolutely MUST have a special stay, you can use your Suite Upgrade certificates to guarantee the suite upgrade at the time of booking. And when you want to take care of friends or family staying without you, the Guest of Honor program will meet your needs.
On the points side, I can’t remember the last major devaluation of Hyatt’s award chart. Apart from the addition of Category 8 to cater for the truly luxurious hotels added via the Small Luxury Hotels partnership, the top Hyatt hotels have charged 30,000 points per night for as long as I can remember. Moreover, Hyatt is not like the other hotel chains where the vast majority of hotels increase in award category. I often find just as many appealing hotels move down a category as up…
So… the combination of elite benefits and a very stable “award currency” makes World of Hyatt the best choice.
Why World of Hyatt Doesn’t Work for Everybody
For frequent travellers, 60 is just a number to aim for. But for people who travel far less, 60 nights is simply out-of-reach – that’s 2 months out of 12 spent sleeping at a Hyatt!
Even if you might manage 60+ nights per calendar year, Hyatt has a much smaller footprint than the other hotel chains. You’ll probably find a Hilton or Marriott wherever you travel, but a Hyatt is far more difficult.
Hyatt also offers fewer shortcuts to status than the competition. You won’t get Marriott’s 15 elite nights, or Hilton’s Diamond for everybody…. simply by signing up for the right credit card. Yes, you can “manufacture spend” your way to Hyatt Globalist status, but putting $200,000 or more through a credit card is not for the faint-hearted or casual traveller…
So, what happens when Globalist status is out of reach? Well, you are left with a solid award chart (and earn/burn ratio), but you won’t really receive elite benefits that move the dial for you, especially when you can take out the Aspire credit card and get your breakfast and lounge access guaranteed (or not!) at Hilton hotels you’ll find everywhere…
The Bottom Line
Globalists love Hyatt. Everybody else sticks with a different hotel chain. And many people are fine with that…
As a frequent traveler who stay 100+ nights in hotels, I choose my stay in this order…
Hyatt > Hilton > Independent Hotels > Marriott.