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Hotel elite status is a great way to make your travels more rewarding and less stressful. Each of the major chains offers several perks to loyal members, but just how much are the different tiers worth? Is one program more rewarding than another? And is it even worth pursuing elite status at all?
Today we’ll dive into the status hierarchy of one of the most popular programs for award travelers: World of Hyatt. The goal is simple: assign a specific value to each elite tier to help you determine whether or not to pursue (or maintain) Hyatt elite status in 2022.
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Before getting deep into the numbers, it’s important to note that our analysis represents just one way to decide how much the World of Hyatt elite status program is worth.
You may find some benefits worthless, while you may value others much more than we do. Also, given Hyatt’s relatively limited worldwide footprint, the program may not even be a feasible option based on your typical travel patterns. Feel free to adjust our calculations based on your individual situation.
The final dollar amounts we landed for each tier represent the value you’d get after reaching that status level and continuing to qualify every year. If you’re starting from scratch, you won’t enjoy any benefits until you reach Discoverist status.
This brings us to the key assumptions we’re making for all in the series:
We’re also assuming that your stays are split evenly between full-service properties (like Andaz and Hyatt Regency) and limited-service properties (Hyatt Place and Hyatt House).
As always, feel free to adjust these assumptions to fit more closely with your typical stay patterns.
Three other notes: First, we’re basing the value of any bonus points earned on TPG’s most recent valuations, which valued Hyatt points at 1.7 cents apiece. Second, we’re also rounding the values to the nearest $5 to make the calculations a bit easier.
Finally, most of the below perks are not provided at the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) properties currently integrated into the World of Hyatt program. Even though you can earn points and elite night credits for stays at these hotels, the only elite status perk you’ll enjoy is bonus point accrual.
There are three status tiers in the World of Hyatt loyalty program each offering different perks. Here’s a quick overview:
|Qualifications||10 nights or 25,000 base points ($5,000 in spending).||30 nights or 50,000 base points ($10,000 in spending).||60 nights or 100,000 base points ($20,000 in spending).|
|Elite points bonus||10%.||20%.||30%.|
|Late checkout (as available at some locations)||2 p.m.||2 p.m.||4 p.m.|
|Room upgrade (as available at check-in)||Preferred room within type booked.||Upgraded room excluding suites and rooms with Club lounge access.||Including standard suites.|
|Guaranteed availability||72 hours.||48 hours.|
|Club access or breakfast||✓|
|Free parking on award stays||✓|
|Waived resort fees (some brands excluded)||✓|
|Early check-in (when available)||✓|
|Guest of Honor||✓|
|American Airlines bonus||✓||✓||✓|
|MGM Rewards status tier match||Pearl.||Gold.||Gold.|
With all that in mind, how much value does the World of Hyatt program provide to its elite members? Here’s what we found.
The lowest tier in the World of Hyatt program is Discoverist status, typically earned after 10 nights or 25,000 base points ($5,000 in spending). Remember, It’s also included as an automatic benefit on the World of Hyatt Credit Card and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card.
For this analysis, we’ll assume that you complete 12 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Hyatt properties.
|Bonus points||A 10% point bonus when staying at Hyatt properties results in an additional 0.5 points per dollar spent.
With 12 nights at $150 per night, you’d spend a total of $1,800, earning you 900 extra Hyatt points.
|Upgrades to preferred rooms||Space-available upgrades to preferred rooms within the same category, including ones with a preferred view or location. Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, Hyatt Residence Club and MGM properties are excluded.||$60.|
|Bottled water||Enjoy a complimentary bottle of water each day of your stay.||$10.|
|Premium internet||Hyatt gives all guests complimentary internet, but Discoverist members can access premium internet for free.||$10.|
|Late checkout||Discoverist travelers enjoy 2 p.m. late checkout upon request, though it’s subject to availability at Hyatt resorts and not available at Hyatt Residence Club or M life resorts.||$25.|
|Elite reservation line||You can call a dedicated elite reservation phone line as a Discoverist member.||$10.|
|Pearl status with MGM Rewards||This gives you a number of benefits when staying at MGM properties, including complimentary self-parking and complimentary tickets to select MGM Rewards concerts in Las Vegas.||$25.|
|Bonus points on American flights||Earn one bonus Hyatt point for every $1 you spend on qualifying American Airlines flights when you link your two loyalty accounts.
We’ll assume a relatively conservative value of $500 worth of flights, which equates to 500 bonus Hyatt points.
Explorist status is the second tier in the World of Hyatt program and is typically earned after 30 nights or 50,000 base points ($10,000 in spending).
Since the World of Hyatt Credit Card awards cardholders five elite night credits and another two for every $5,000 you spend on the card in a calendar year, you can effectively “buy” Explorist status without any stays by simply spending $65,000 in a year on the card. However, we assume that most travelers would qualify with a combination of the two.
For this analysis, we’ll assume that you complete 36 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Hyatt properties.
|Bonus points||A 20% point bonus when staying at Hyatt properties results in one additional point per dollar spent.
With 36 nights at $150 per night, you’d spend a total of $5,400, earning you 5,400 extra Hyatt points.
|Four Club lounge access awards||Earn two at 20 elite-qualifying nights (or 35,000 base points) and the remaining two when you reach 30 nights (or 50,000 base points) and qualify for Explorist status. These Club Upgrade certificates are valid for the same period of time that your applicable status is valid.
A single Club Upgrade can be used on a stay of up to seven nights, and they are valid on eligible paid room rates and rooms booked using points. Unfortunately, they can’t be used on free night awards like the Category 1-4 certificates offered to Hyatt credit cardholders.
|Upgrade to the best available room||Unlike Discoverist members, Explorist travelers are eligible for upgrades to the best available room at check-in, up to but excluding suites and rooms with lounge access. This is also not applicable at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Residence Club and M life resorts.
We’ll assume a valuation of $20 per night at the full-service locations.
|Bottled water||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$35.|
|Premium internet||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$35.|
|Late checkout||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$75.|
|Guaranteed availability||Explorist members are guaranteed a room when making a paid reservation at least 72 hours before arrival. Like with the comparable benefits offered by other chains, Hyatt places a host of restrictions on this, including blackout dates and periods of “extraordinary room demand.” These rates also tend to be exorbitant.||$20.|
|Elite reservation line||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$25.|
|Gold status with MGM Rewards||Enjoy waived resort fees when booking direct, complimentary enhanced room upgrades, complimentary valet parking and more.||$75.|
|Free night in Category 1-4 property||When you reach the 30-night threshold during the year and officially qualify for Explorist status, you’ll earn a free night award in a Category 1-4 Hyatt property. Unfortunately, your reservation must be booked and completed within 120 days of issuance, so it’s much more restrictive than the similar certificates that can be earned by holders of the World of Hyatt Credit Card.||$150.|
|Bonus points on American flights||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$25.|
|AAdvantage elite status offers||From time to time, Hyatt elite members are offered the chance for targeted, fast-track opportunities to earn AAdvantage elite status. This isn’t a guarantee, but snagging American status more quickly than the standard requirements could be valuable.||$25.|
The top tier in the World of Hyatt program is Globalist status, typically earned after 60 nights or 100,000 base points ($20,000 in spending).
Again, as noted above, you earn 5 elite night credits just for holding the World of Hyatt Credit Card and can earn additional elite-qualifying nights by spending on the card, so this may allow you to close the gap.
For this analysis, we’ll assume that you complete 72 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Hyatt properties.
|Bonus points||A 30% point bonus when staying at Hyatt properties, giving you an additional 1.5 points per dollar spent.
With 72 nights at $150 per night, you’d spend a total of $10,800, earning you 16,200 extra Hyatt points.
|Room upgrades||Like Discoverist and Explorist members, you’re eligible for room upgrades at check-in as a Globalist traveler, and this includes standard suites. Like the similar perks mentioned earlier, this isn’t available at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Residence Club and M life resorts. We’ll value this perk at $35 per night for the full-service locations.||$1,260.|
|Club lounge access and/or free breakfast||Globalist members enjoy access to Club lounges, where available. At properties without a Club lounge, they receive complimentary full breakfast for each registered guest (up to 2 adults and 2 children) in the hotel’s restaurant. This even includes room service at a handful of properties like the Andaz Amsterdam and Park Hyatt New York.
Given that it extends to a family of four and includes club access, we’ll value this perk at $25 per night at the full-service properties.
|Bottled water||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$70.|
|Premium internet||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$70.|
|Early check-in||Globalists get priority access to available rooms when checking in early.||$50.|
|Late checkout||Hyatt also allows Globalist members late checkout privileges but extends it to 4 p.m., offering some valuable flexibility if you need to depart later in the afternoon.||$150.|
|Waived resort fees||World of Hyatt members (including those without elite status) don’t have to pay those pesky resort fees on award stays. However, the program waives resort fees for Globalist members on all stays (excluding Residence Club properties and M life resorts). This can save you quite a bit of money if you frequently visit locations like Hawaii or the Caribbean, where these fees are very prevalent.
We’ll assume that five of your nights are spent at applicable properties with an average fee of $25 per night.
|Complimentary parking on free night awards||Globalist members get complimentary parking at hotels that run their own paid parking service (a.k.a. can be charged to the room) on award stays. These fees can be quite high at resorts or big-city properties, and you often have no choice but to use these facilities.
We’ll assume that you utilize this four nights per year with a daily parking rate of $25.
|Guaranteed availability||Globalist members have the same guaranteed availability benefit offered to Explorist members but a shorter timeframe to invoke it (48 hours instead of 72). The same restrictions apply.||$25.|
|Elite reservation line||Same benefit, but we can’t see Globalist members using this more frequently.||$25.|
|My Hyatt Concierge||In addition to the elite reservation line, Globalist members can utilize a more tailored concierge service, assisting with not only reservations but any special request. If you frequently need this type of dedicated agent, it can be quite valuable.||$50.|
|Guest of Honor||Hyatt’s Guest of Honor benefit allows Globalist members to redeem points for a friend or family member. The person staying on the reservation can use their elite status privileges for the duration of the stay.||$50.|
|Four Suite Upgrade awards||Earn two Suite Upgrade Awards at 50 elite-qualifying nights (or 80,000 base points) and another two upon reaching 60 nights (or 100,000 base points) and earning Globalist status. Rather than hoping for an upgrade at check-in, these certificates allow you to confirm a suite at booking.
Each one covers a stay of up to seven nights. Like the club upgrade awards, they can be used on paid stays and standard award stays (including Points + Cash reservations) but don’t apply to awards booked with free night certificates. They are valid through the end of the year in which they were earned, plus an additional 14 months.
Keep in mind that you must redeem them andcomplete your stay before the expiration date.
|Free night in Category 1-4 property||Same benefit as Discoverist.||$150.|
|40-night threshold bonus||When you reach 40 elite-qualifying nights (or 65,000 base points), you’re eligible for a milestone bonus: either 5,000 Hyatt points, a $100 Hyatt gift card or a 10,000-point discount on a FIND Experience redemption. We’ll assume you select the Hyatt gift card here, as the bonus points aren’t quite as valuable and the FIND Experiences aren’t the best use of points.||$100.|
|Free night in a Category 1-7 property||In addition to earning a free Category 1-4 night when surpassing the requirements for Explorist status, you’ll also earn a free night in any Hyatt property when reaching Globalist. This free night is valid for 120 days from the date of issuance.||$300.|
|Added threshold bonus||Another perk for Globalist members is provided by going above and beyond the 60-night threshold for qualification. For every ten additional nights you complete in a calendar year (up to 100 total nights), you can select either 10,000 bonus points (worth $170) or an additional suite upgrade award. Since we’re assuming 72 nights, you’ll surpass the first of these thresholds.||$200.|
|Gold status with MGM Rewards||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$100.|
|Bonus points on American flights||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$50.|
|AAdvantage elite status offers||The Hyatt and American partnership also offers Globalist members the potential for shortcuts to elite status — including a match to Executive Platinum status for some in late 2019. Incredibly enough, this even included the Systemwide Upgrades that Executive Platinum flyers earn when qualifying the hard way.
While this doesn’t appear to be a universally-available perk of Globalist status, it may be offered as a future targeted perk.
As mentioned at the outset, all of the numbers above represent values for those of you who have already earned these status levels.
However, many may be starting from scratch. If this is the case, you won’t enjoy any benefits until you have completed 10 nights and earned Discoverist status. After that, you won’t enjoy additional benefits until you hit 30 nights to earn Explorist status. So, how can you quantify this climb up the ranks?
We’ve attempted to answer this by converting the above calculations into a value per night, as follows:
For Explorist status, we removed the value of the Category 1-4 and Club Upgrade Awards ($250) since they are fixed values once you reach certain thresholds (as opposed to variable perks that become more valuable as you complete more nights). Meanwhile, for Globalist, we removed the Suite Upgrade Awards, two free night awards and all milestone bonuses, which dropped the value by $1,550.
You can then use these numbers to calculate the value you’d get from the program as you move up the Hyatt elite status ladder.
For example, say you expect to stay 75 nights. With these numbers, you’d get no benefits for the first 10 nights, enjoy Discoverist benefits for the next 20 nights (at a rate of $12.92 per night), then enjoy Explorist benefits for the next 30 nights (at a rate of $21.25 per night), and finally enjoy Globalist perks for the remaining 15 nights (at a rate of $47.22 per night).
In addition, you’d gain access to multiple additional perks like upgrade certificates and free night awards as you progressed up this elite status ladder. As a result, if you’re starting with no status and plan to complete 75 nights in 2022, you’d be able to get $3,254.17 in value from the World of Hyatt program.
Given these values, is it worth pursuing elite status (or the next tier of elite status) with World of Hyatt? As with any analysis we undertake here at TPG, there isn’t an easy answer to this, as it depends entirely on your individual situation. However, here are a few over-arching questions that can help you arrive at a decision:
When you’re pursuing elite status, it’s critical to think about how much you’ll be traveling in the future. If you push hard to earn Explorist status, for example, the valuable perks outlined above only apply when you actually travel.
Many of you may wind up within striking distance of the next tier, so be sure to consider whether the benefits are worth pushing for it. There’s no sense in going out of your way for perks that don’t matter to you.
When deciding on a hotel loyalty program, make sure it has properties where you travel the most. There’s really no point in pursuing elite status with a hotel chain if you can’t feasibly stay at one (or more) of its properties regularly.
While it is expanding its footprint with the SLH partnership and Apple Leisure Group acquisition, Hyatt’s footprint is still a far cry from the several thousand properties that Hilton, Marriott and IHG boast. This is especially prevalent in Central and Eastern Europe, where Hyatt has little to no properties in major cities like Prague and Budapest. Thankfully, the company has announced plans to add new properties all over Europe in the coming years.
On the flip side, Hyatt has a solid presence here in the U.S. You’ll find properties in most major cities and even alongside major highways. The coverage isn’t quite as good as Marriott or Hilton, but it should be enough to suffice for most business and leisure travelers.
All that said, make sure there are Hyatt properties in or around destinations that match your travel style. For example, if you travel to a major city frequently and prefer to stay in luxury hotels, make sure one of Hyatt’s luxury brands has a presence there.
If you find Hyatt doesn’t have your desired type of hotel near the places you travel most, consider pursuing elite status with a program that does.
There are many tradeoffs in this hobby, and one of the most common is deciding whether to use your preferred airline or hotel chain when it’s not the most convenient or cheapest. Would you stay at a Hyatt Regency if there was another brand that was cheaper and/or more convenient to where you need to be? If the answer is no, it may not be worth going out of your way to earn elite status with Hyatt (or elite status with any hotel chain, for that matter).
As mentioned above, the World of Hyatt Credit Card and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card offer automatic Discoverist status and the ability to earn additional elite night credits through spending. The consumer card also includes five automatic elite nights per calendar year. As a result, you may be better off applying for one of these cards and utilizing the benefits or supplementing qualifying stays with spending rather than worrying about qualifying (or requalifying) the hard way.
These questions are also not easy to answer, as many different factors come into play with each of them. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile exercise to evaluate your own situation as you determine if Hyatt elite status is for you.
American Airlines and Hyatt have a partnership that brings reciprocal benefits to elites in the AAdvantage and World of Hyatt programs.
Hyatt elites can earn 1 bonus point per $1 spent on qualifying American flights, while all American elites can earn 1 bonus mile per $1 spent on qualifying Hyatt stays and experiences. Those with status in both programs will earn bonus points on both American flights and Hyatt stays.
Further, American’s invite-only Concierge Key elite members are eligible for a status match to Hyatt Globalist elite status. Other American elites can fast-track to World of Hyatt status at a faster rate than other members. These fast-tracks are usually offered on an invite-only basis and sometimes include outright status matches.
If you’re an American flyer, this could make switching your hotel stays to Hyatt even more rewarding.
You’re going to walk away with a solid stash of World of Hyatt points whether you’re earning status organically or through a credit card. So, you should make sure you value Hyatt points before chasing Hyatt elite status. Otherwise, you could be left with a stash of points you can’t use.
Unlike most of its competitors, Hyatt has continued to publish a standard award chart. This means award stays are priced predictably and you won’t be met with any crazy-high dynamically priced hotels when redeeming.
We’ve found that most Hyatt hotels are very reasonably priced, too. This has led TPG to value World of Hyatt points at a high 1.7 cents per point value, which is the highest of any hotel points currency. Regardless, you should find your own cent per point value before choosing to earn Hyatt points or status. After all, you don’t want to be left with points you can’t use.
The World of Hyatt program is a favorite of many travelers. However, given the limited footprint of Hyatt’s various brands, it may not be a viable option for everyone, even though the program provides some significant value to its loyal members. That being said, all signs are pointing to a significant expansion of the program’s portfolio of properties.
Hopefully, this analysis has helped you decide whether to pursue Hyatt elite status in 2022.
Additional reporting by Nick Ewen and Andrew Kunesh.
Featured photo of the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa courtesy of Hyatt.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.