Depending on your travel habits and who’s paying for your trips, this could be a good thing or a very very bad thing.
Forbes is reporting that effective 2017, applicable to the 2018 elite qualification cycle, the Hyatt Hotel Group has completely revamped the way their loyalty program currently works.
On a superficial level, the branding and marketing of the currently (rather oddly named) ‘Gold Passport’ loyalty program will go out the window – which is not necessarily a bad thing. The look and feel of this particular aspect of the brand seemed a bit dated and almost tacky which was at odds with their (newish) hip and sleek Andaz brand. First to the guillotine is the name itself – Gold Passport faces the chop in lieu of ‘World of Hyatt’ – which seems more apt to us. There are changes to the naming tiers, logos, color scheme and types of marketing materials that will be introduced as well; more on that below as we delve into some of the meatier issues of this change.
So beyond the soft aspect of the change, it seems as though Hyatt has ripped out the core of their old program completely and replaced the terms and conditions of the new World of Hyatt scheme with something that very closely resembles some of the bigger airline Frequent Flyer changes of late. That is to say, they are moving to a revenue spent model which directly affects how you earn and spend points, and how you can qualify for elite status and work your way up the ladder.
Many people in the airline world saw these changes as a huge downgrade and devaluation of the program that existed before the revenue based model was introduced and they wouldn’t be wrong in saying so. And it wouldn’t be wrong to also say that the same would apply to this change at Hyatt.
In short, it just got a lot harder to redeem points and to earn or upgrade on status.
Forbes sums up the whole change in a very basic summary:
To earn status, however, it will no longer be possible to qualify using stays at Hyatt properties. Instead, the number of nights or the amount of cash spent now qualifies the member.
Forbes goes on further to say, per the Hyatt press release from a few days ago:
To quality for top-tier Diamond status in 2016′s Gold Passport program, for example, one could either stay at a Hyatt hotel 25 times or stay for 50 nights — 25 one-night stays, effectively would be the same as one 50 night stay. Qualification for top-tier status with the new program in 2017 (going into effect in 2018), one can only qualify by earning nights — which have been raised from 50 to 60 — or by earning 100,000 points. Points are earned at a rate of 5 per dollar spent, though elites will get bonuses.
So earlier on in this post we said we’d hold off on giving you what the new marketing and names for the World of Hyatt will look like. We thought it’d be best to show the new tiers alongside the new qualification numbers alongside this nifty table Hyatt Group provided in their press release announcing this new development:
In the interest of full honesty, neither Joey or I are elites with Hyatt nor do we tend to stay at their properties that frequently (though we are a fan of the Andaz San Diego). So with that out of the way, we can say that this change (read: devaluation) doesn’t affect us that much nor does it inspire much of any emotion. But we can say that had we been long time Hyatt elites, we’d be a bit peeved at these new rules that seem equal measure stingy and equal measure (almost deliberately) confusing.
Further down the Forbes article, the reporter clarifies:
Formerly, for example, 25 stays at the least expensive Hyatt property for $79 used to produce the same Diamond status as 50 nights at the $479/night Park Hyatt in New York City. By adding revenue as part of the equation, Hyatt — and by extension the rest of the industry — can more effectively preserve the highest tier of elite status for the highest spenders.
So there you have it. On the one hand, when you actually do hit the top tiers of elite status, you’ll be well looked after as they’ve just vastly diminished the number of people who can qualify, On the other hand, for those who don’t travel as much for work (because let’s face it, who’s paying full fares either on the ground or in the air out of pocket) it’s a real hit to the purchasing power.
Surely there must be a balance between the two? If you agree, what’s that loyalty program for you?