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The accidental Explorist: How I earned Hyatt's second-highest status ... and then kept going

Nov. 08, 2021
9 min read
The exterior of Hyatt Place Lakeland Center.
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It's always a good idea to sign up for airline and hotel loyalty programs, even those you don't plan to participate in very much. It's free and easy to do so, and you might as well have those accounts open and active if and when you do end up traveling.

That's why, despite being an avowed Marriott loyalist, I signed up for Hyatt's points program back in 2003. My stays with Hyatt were so infrequent, though, that I eventually lost track of my number.

When it came time to review the Thompson San Antonio hotel back in May, however, I decided to start fresh (RIP my old Hyatt points) and get a new World of Hyatt number before my stay. At the time, I had no desire to go after Hyatt status because I was still mostly loyal to Marriott. In the end, I had a lovely two-day stay at the hotel ... then promptly forgot about the 6,961 World of Hyatt points I earned.

But it wasn't long before I realized I could maximize Hyatt's lower qualification levels for 2021 to earn mid-tier Hyatt elite status, with a shot at top-tier Globalist status if my travel plans aligned. This plus various promotions meant I could rack up a good amount of World of Hyatt points in the process.

Let's take look at how I earned Hyatt Explorist status with minimal effort this year -- and how I plan on reaching Globalist status by the end of the year.

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Reduced elite requirements for 2021

Somehow I missed that in November 2020, Hyatt slashed elite status requirements by 50% for the 2021 qualification year. I should have paid more attention because this is a pretty sweet deal to get valuable Hyatt elite status for next year, but since Hyatt wasn't my program at the time, I just let that news whiz by me. Here's a look at the reduced requirements:

  • Discoverist: Stay five tier-qualifying nights or earn 12,500 base points ($2,500 in spending).
  • Explorist: Stay 15 tier-qualifying nights or earn 25,000 base points ($5,000 in spending).
  • Globalist: Stay 30 tier-qualifying nights or earn 50,000 base points ($10,000 in spending).

Related: 7 strategies you can leverage to snag valuable Hyatt Globalist status in 2021

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How my stays added up

After the two-night Thompson stay in San Antonio and a summertime three-night stay for work at the Hotel 50 Bowery in New York City, I got an email from Hyatt congratulating me on my new Discoverist status.

Next up, I booked a three-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile after doing a review of French Bee's inaugural flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Paris Orly Airport (ORY). Unfortunately, I checked out the day before the Bonus Journeys promotion began (more on that below), so no triple points for me.

That said, I did earn triple points for stays at the Hyatt Place New York City/Times Square, the Hyatt Union Square New York and the Hyatt Place San Antonio Airport/Quarry Market.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

It was the extended stay at the Hyatt Place San Antonio Airport in August that really moved me up the status ladder.


Number of nights

Elite status reached

Thompson San Antonio2
Hotel 50 Bowery3Discoverist
Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile3
Hyatt Place New York City/Times Square2
Hyatt Union Square New York1
Hyatt Place San Antonio Airport/Quarry Market11Explorist
Hotel Figueroa1
Hyatt Place Nashville1
Hyatt Regency Boston1

Stacking bonus points and nights from promotions

Then I learned about World of Hyatt's Bonus Journeys promotion, which started on July 7. Once I registered, I started earning triple points on all my stays of two or more nights between July 20 and Sept. 15. This was on top of the bonus points earned when you book a room and charge it on the World of Hyatt Credit Card, as well as those earned for holding Hyatt elite status.

Normally, World of Hyatt members earn 5 points per $1. However, under the now-ended Bonus Journeys promotion, it went up to 15 points per $1, excluding elite bonuses. World of Hyatt Credit Card holders were able to further maximize the Bonus Journeys promotion by charging Hyatt purchases to their card, boosting their points haul to a combined 19 points per $1 spent. For example, a $500 hotel stay would earn a total of 9,500 Hyatt points:

  • 5 points per $1 via the standard earning rate = 2,500 points.
  • 10 points per $1 via Bonus Journeys = 5,000 points.
  • 4 points per $1 from the Hyatt credit card = 2,000 points.

This doesn't include the 10% bonus for Discoverist, 20% bonus for Explorist and 30% bonus for Globalist elite status. Using the $500 hotel stay, that added up to 10,440 points for Discoverist, 11,400 points for Explorer and 12,340 points for Globalist.

Related: The most award-friendly hotel program: Everything you need to know about World of Hyatt

Earning extra perks

But there's more. I also managed to stay in five different Hyatt brands in 2021, earning me a free night valid at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel.

My stays at the Unbound Collection's Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles and Hyatt Regency Boston have me well on my way to earning another free night once I experience five additional Hyatt brands.

On top of that are Hyatt's milestone rewards, which are awarded based on achieving a certain number of eligible nights with the program or a number of base points earned. Thanks to that, I've already earned two club access awards and am within 8,000 points of the 50,000-point reward of another free night award, plus two more club access awards.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

World of Hyatt has many, many fans at TPG, so I feel bad that it took me this long to see the light. But now, I'm just happy to be on Team Hyatt with so many of my TPG colleagues.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

Going for Globalist

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

I had one-night stays at the Hyatt Place Nashville, the Hotel Figueroa in September and the Hyatt Regency Boston in November. Thanks to all those stays, I am now only five nights away from the promised land of Globalist status.

Coming up are two-night stays at Hyatt Places in Washington, D.C., and Scottsdale, Arizona, along with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Place Birmingham/Hoover in Alabama. If all goes according to plan, by the end of 2021 I will have gone from not having an active World of Hyatt number to unlocking Globalist status.

Why am I going for Globalist? It's all about the perks, including:

  • 30% bonus points on eligible purchases.
  • Club access or a free breakfast.
  • Room upgrades that include standard suites.
  • A 4 p.m. checkout.
  • Guaranteed availability within 48 hours.
  • Free parking on free night awards.
  • Waived resort fees.
  • Priority access to rooms with an early check-in.
  • Ability to gift Globalist status to your guests when staying on your points.

These perks will give me the ultimate flexibility for my stays, will save me money and allow me to earn even more Hyatt bonus points on stays.

There's still time to earn Hyatt elite status

It's not too late to start or accelerate your own journey toward Hyatt's elite status. These 50% reduced qualification thresholds are available until Dec. 31.

Discoverist elite status is awarded after just five nights this year and the perks really start to accelerate around the Explorist level as you start to unlock some of the milestone awards.

If you are close to a threshold -- or have a lot of travel coming up that will get you close to a status threshold -- it can certainly make sense to do some extra nights to get you over that hump.

Even if you don't want to spend money to stay at some of the lower-cost Hyatt brands largely to rack up some nights, you can also use points. The current Hyatt award chart has properties starting at 5,000 points per night.

The Thompson Washington DC. (Photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

I've got Hyatt Globalist status virtually within my grasp with just a couple of nights to go. And while I doubt I'll requalify once the requirements go back to 60 nights, this status will last me through February 2023.

Even if I can't keep Hyatt Globalist status forever, I plan to at least stay at the Explorist level since 30 nights per year should continue to be doable and Hyatt has converted me into one of its loyal members.

Related: How a successful status challenge rekindled my love affair with Hyatt

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.