Hyatt Continues Trend of Pushing Customers to Book Direct
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
With online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Priceline taking commissions as high as 30%, it’s no surprise that hotels are on a mission to push them out of the booking process and get more customers to book direct. However, hotels have been playing unfairly and removing basic amenities from travelers in the process.
On Monday, we learned that the Hyatt Place brand will remove free breakfast as a standard amenity and instead only offer it to World of Hyatt members who book directly with Hyatt. This is a significant devaluation for travelers who prefer to book hotel rooms through online travel agencies and other third party booking options.
But Hyatt’s move isn’t the first strike against OTAs. Hotel chains have made it practically impossible to show any form of loyalty to them without booking directly. Most hotels are no longer awarding elite points or honoring any elite benefits for guests who book through third parties. In response, OTAs have upped their own rewards programs. For instance, Hotels.com offers members one free night for every 10 nights booked through the website or app. However, without loyalty recognition in the form of perks like free breakfast or suite upgrades, their programs will never be able to fully rival those of major chains.
Hotels are also encouraging more travelers to book direct by offering lower member-exclusive rates through their sites. With all of the major chains — Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott/SPG — you can save between 3-10% by booking one of these rates. That being said, there are still many instances where third parties are offerings even lower rates. In those cases, hotels are supposed to match the lower rates with their Best Rate Guarantee programs, but as TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Richard Kerr recently demonstrated, these “guarantees” are becoming more marketing gimmicks than true low price matches.
Rather than add incentives for guests that book directly, major hotel chains are simply removing amenities that were once standard. Kimpton’s former loyalty program, Kimpton Karma, did the right thing by rewarding even the lowest tier rewards members with “Raid the Bar” beverage credits for booking directly and offering all guests — regardless of how they booked their stay — free Wi-Fi. But that program has folded into IHG Rewards and that added benefit is no more (note, Kimpton still offers all guests free internet).
Only time will tell what amenity hotels will take away next for those who don’t book direct. Maybe we should keep an eye on that in-room coffee…
Featured image of breakfast at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees