How I’m earning two years of top-tier Hyatt elite status after just 11 nights
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My only travel thus-far in 2021 was a 30-mile drive to an airport Hyatt Place hotel where I checked in, spent less than five minutes in the room and was automatically checked out 11 days later just one night away from having top-tier Hyatt Globalist status for two years.
Why in the world would someone check into a hotel for 11 nights and only spend five minutes in the room? Because of the value of the status it unlocks.
Globalist status in the World of Hyatt program is arguably the most valuable hotel elite status tier out there. When fully maximized, TPG has that status level valued at over $5,000 per year. While I think the true value for most travelers these days will be a few notches lower than that, the value is still massive because of waived resort and parking fees, free (full) breakfast for up to two adults and two children per room, lounge access, suite upgrades and more.
I’ve had top-tier Hyatt status in the past, and can confidently say it is a not only valuable, but also enjoyable status level to hold. But — staying at World of Hyatt properties 60 nights per year to earn the coveted Globalist status has been out of range for me over the past couple of years. Until now.
Here’s how I’m earning Hyatt Globalist status that’s valid all the way through Feb. 2023 with just 11 paid nights in a Hyatt property, or just 41,250 spent Hyatt points.
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Qualification rules cut in half
Because life and travel are not yet normal, Hyatt has cut the normal elite qualification thresholds in half for 2021. For Globalist status, that means you can earn it with 30 eligible nights spent at Hyatt properties in 2021, instead of the usual 60 nights.
Not only that, but nights stayed under the Bonus Journeys promotion from Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 counted both toward 2020 elite status earnings and 2021 status earnings. So, not only are the requirements halved in 2021, but you may already have a running head start on status this year with stays from late last year.
Additional shortcuts to status
That same Bonus Journeys promotion that began in October of 2020 has now been extended through the end of February 2021 (though new registration is now closed). That means that eligible stays made from Jan. 1 – Feb. 28, 2021 count double toward 2021 status qualifications for those registered for the promotion. For every one night you spend during the first two months of the year, you’ll earn two toward 2021 elite qualification, so just 15 eligible nights spent at Hyatt properties during that timeframe could shoot you from zero to Hyatt Globalist hero.
But — it gets better than that.
Having the World of Hyatt Credit Card normally confers five elite-qualifying nights per year. That drops the number of nights cardholders need to hit Globalist status in 2021 to 25 — or just 13 if you do them all in the first two months of the year. However, those who got approved for a new World of Hyatt card account toward the end of 2020 actually got 10 elite-qualifying nights in both 2020 and again in 2021.
That leaves those lucky cardholders needing just 20 nights in 2021, or 10 if the nights are completed in January or February while stays count double toward elite status.
Finally, bear in mind that the World of Hyatt card also awards two additional elite-qualifying nights for every $5,000 you spend on the card. And this fits nicely with the current welcome bonus: Earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and an additional 25,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first six months of account opening.
Stacking the opportunities
But wait, there’s more.
Spending that few nights at a Hyatt to earn top-tier status is insane in all the best ways. However, you can stack on another promotion to log those nights without spending any of your precious cash. Another deal now running through Feb. 28 gives you 15 – 25% of your redeemed Hyatt points back for those who registered in time (registration is currently closed). Award nights at a Category 1 Hyatt, of which there are many across the country, are just 5,000 points per night.
That amount effectively drops the true cost to 3,750 points per night for World of Hyatt credit cardholders — though remember that this is a rebate after the stay, not a discount at the time of booking (so you’d need to full number of points when making the reservation).
You can probably see where this is all going. Here’s what I did.
I had two night credits from late in 2020 (booked on points at the Miraval Austin) count towards my 2021 account activity since they fell under that promotion that counted stays in late 2020 and toward 2021. Next, my World of Hyatt credit card gave me five nights toward 2021 elite status, putting me at seven out of a needed 30 nights.
When I checked into the Hyatt Place in Houston, I told the check-in agent I really wouldn’t be there much, so feel free to assign me the worst room available. (To say I wouldn’t be there much was an understatement, but it was also true.) This was not her first rodeo and she quickly deduced I was doing this for the elite status, which was more than fine with her.
In fact, she told me the hotel was actually quite full with others doing similar stays (or check-ins, as the case may be) for status.
While I’ve seen stories of people getting stays for $30 – $40 per night in places like Mexico or India, I’m not in those countries at the moment. My stay was still a pretty good deal at $60 per night plus taxes and fees. Once my check-out posted after 11-days, I wiped out the entire all-in $772 stay with fixed-value credit card points, resulting in no cash out-of-pocket cost and a little over 10,000 World of Hyatt points earned at a value of around $170.
About a week after check-out, the 11 bonus nights posted to my Hyatt account, bringing me to 29-night credits in 2021, with just one night to go to unlock Globalist through Feb. 2023.
Since we are still mostly sitting tight at home, the earliest I may use want to my Globalist perks at the moment is for a potential mid-March ski trip, so I’m not rushing yet to book that final needed night right now in case I end up with a real use for it. Alternatively, I may unlock it just through spending on my World of Hyatt credit card.
I enjoy my Marriott Platinum status and naturally requalifed in 2020, even though status was extended into 2022 without any required requalification. However, after losing Hyatt Globalist status a couple years ago, I have really wanted it back.
Obtaining it after just checking into a hotel for 11 nights — an admittedly strange endeavor — was a deal too good to pass up. I know I’ll more than recoup that investment of the $772 worth of fixed-value points I redeemed later 2021, through all of 2022 and even into early 2023.
Note that the thresholds for Hyatt’s milestone awards, such as free night awards and confirmed suite upgrades have not been reduced, so while you can early Hyatt Globalist status with a very small number of nights if you stack opportunities, that doesn’t change when you earn the milestone awards along the way.
But the free full breakfasts (sometimes even available via room service), the fee waivers, the space-available upgrades and more, are fully conferred with this incredibly fast way of unlocking Hyatt Globalist status. I’m looking forward to once again living the good life at Hyatt hotels in the coming years.
Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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