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6 ways World of Hyatt should improve its loyalty program

March 23, 2022
9 min read
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Hyatt is doing a lot of things right.

World of Hyatt is one of the few hotel loyalty programs that still uses a set award chart and hasn't announced plans to remove it. And top-tier Hyatt Globalist status provides some excellent perks, including Guest of Honor bookings and waived resort fees.

In short, there are many reasons travelers love the World of Hyatt program. And since I earned Globalist status for the first time last year and am working to requalify this year, I've started to see the appeal of Hyatt myself as I interact with the World of Hyatt program and stay at Hyatt brands.

But, despite its popularity, there's still room for the World of Hyatt program to improve. So, in this guide I'll discuss some of the top ways I'd like to see Hyatt improve its loyalty program.

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Facilitate online bookings for all awards

The club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Cape Town. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

I don't like talking on the phone. And when I'm overseas, calling can be costly if the country I'm in blocks calls over Wi-Fi. So, I'd rather do everything I need to with a program online, through the program's website, email or social media.

But, if you want to book three types of awards with Hyatt -- Guest of Honor awards, club lounge access awards and suite upgrade awards -- you'll need to call Hyatt.

Previously, you could chat or use social media to get some of these awards booked. But, as I learned recently, Hyatt Globalists can't use social media or chat to book Guest of Honor awards anymore.

Granted, when I called to book a Guest of Honor award for a friend recently, an agent picked up almost immediately and the entire call lasted about 16 minutes. But I'd appreciate it if Hyatt would allow all awards, including Guest of Honor awards, club lounge access awards and suite upgrade awards, to be booked online similar to the way guests can book other stays online.

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Related: How to redeem Hyatt points for upgraded rooms and suites

Offer a premium card

The Park Hyatt Sydney. (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

I signed up for the World of Hyatt Credit Card in late 2020 and expect to keep the card for the long term. After all, each year I get a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort and five qualifying night credits toward my next tier status. These perks easily justify the card's $95 annual fee. Plus, I get the ability to spend on my card to earn more qualifying night credits and a second free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort each year.

However, other programs offer premium hotel credit cards with elevated perks. So, I'd like to see Hyatt offer a premium card. And unfortunately, the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card didn't fill this gap.

For example, I'd like to see a premium Hyatt card that offers higher earning rates at Hyatt properties, additional rates with extra perks for cardholders and access to extra promotions. A premium Hyatt card could also offer an annual Hyatt travel credit for use at select brands.

Related: Credit card showdown: World of Hyatt card vs. World of Hyatt Business card

Improve space-available upgrades

A suite at the Hyatt Regency JFK Airport at Resorts World New York. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

World of Hyatt elite members are eligible for an "upgraded room based on availability at check-in at participating locations," according to the tiers and benefits page. In particular, each World of Hyatt elite status tier is eligible for upgrades as follows:

  • Discoverist: Preferred room within type booked, where preferred is defined as "rooms on higher floors, corner rooms or rooms with more appealing views."
  • Explorist: Upgraded room excluding suites and rooms with club lounge access.
  • Globalist: Including standard suites.

But upgrades aren't available at Caption by Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Destination Residences and Hyatt Residence Club hotels and resorts.

And although Hyatt's terms and conditions state, "Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including standard suites and rooms with club lounge-access," the terms go on to note that "the best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay."

So, a hotel can effectively exclude any of its rooms or suites when deciding the "best room available." And, even when staying at an eligible property that is still selling upgraded rooms and standard suites through the Hyatt app when I arrived at the hotel, I've mostly gotten upgrades within the type booked or one-category upgrades as a Globalist.

I appreciate that hotels may want to exclude some rooms and standard suites from upgrades. But I'd like Hyatt to find a way to encourage properties to include most available rooms into the "best room available" calculation.

I'd also like to see Hyatt House, Hyatt Place and Caption by Hyatt participate in elite upgrades. Doing so would provide consistency and be a nice perk for elite members opting to stay at these usually lower-category brands.

Related: Tips to get hotel room upgrades

Offer a 4th or 5th night free on points

The Hyatt Place Melbourne / Palm Bay in Florida. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards offer a fourth or fifth night free when redeeming points for your stay. Marriott provides a fifth night free to all members when redeeming Marriott points for a stay of five nights or longer. Meanwhile, IHG Rewards provides a fourth night reward to select IHG Rewards cardholders when redeeming IHG Rewards points for their stay. And Hilton Honors provides a fifth night free to its Hilton Honors elite members when they redeem Hilton points for their stay.

I usually aim to redeem Marriott and Hilton points in five-night increments and IHG points in four-night increments. But Hyatt doesn't offer any similar perk. As such, I often find myself redeeming Hyatt points for shorter stays. I'd love to see Hyatt add a fourth- or fifth-night-free perk for its members -- or potentially just its elite members or Hyatt credit card holders -- to encourage extended award stays.

Related: Can I mix hotel points and free night certificates to get a 4th or 5th night free?

Continue to grow its footprint

If you're visiting Johannesburg right now, you'll have your choice of two suburban Hyatt Houses if you want to stay with Hyatt. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

One obvious shortcoming of World of Hyatt, when compared to other popular hotel loyalty programs, is the number of participating hotels, especially outside the United States. You may only find one or two Hyatt properties, even in popular international destinations. And in some major cities or destinations, you may not find any Hyatt hotels.

For example, there are only 19 Hyatt hotels in Canada currently. And there are just 24 Hyatt hotels in all of Africa. Many popular countries for travelers, including Peru, Israel and Sri Lanka, have just one Hyatt hotel. If location and property type are important to you, you may find that Hyatt comes up short.

Related: 100 new properties to join World of Hyatt as Apple Leisure Group deal closes

Offer a flexible dates calendar for paid stays

As a traveler who often has flexible dates -- or who may split my time in a destination among multiple hotels -- I appreciate when a program allows you to see daily rates on a calendar. Luckily, World of Hyatt added this ability for point redemptions around the same time it implemented peak and off-peak points redemptions.

(Screenshot from hyatt.com)

But you can only see award rates on a calendar, not paid rates. So, I'd like Hyatt to add a calendar search function for paid rates. Of course, you can use a third-party site, such as Google Hotels, to see prices on a calendar. But these third-party sites often show lower rates from online travel agencies that usually won't earn Hyatt points or be eligible for elite benefits.

Related: Hyatt's best-kept secrets: Incredible hotels you'd never know belonged to World of Hyatt

Bottom line

Again, although this story focused on areas where Hyatt can improve, Hyatt is doing many things right.

Indeed, many Hyatt elite members rave about the program. For years, I figured they were overhyping the program and its customer service. But, although I haven't had any over-the-top experiences with Hyatt yet, now that I'm staying at Hyatts and using the World of Hyatt program, I can certainly see why many frequent travelers find that Hyatt provides the best experience for them.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
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.

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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more