World of Hyatt extends all elite status and expiration of rewards
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the travel industry, one major question has been how it'll impact loyalty program elite status and perks. Will airlines adjust their qualification requirements or simply extend the validity period? How will hotels modify their elite status schemes? And what about expiring perks like companion certificates or free night awards?
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We've seen some programs — like Qantas and Hilton — announce sweeping changes, and today, we have another major announcement from a popular hotel chain.
The World of Hyatt loyalty program has just announced some major changes for its members:
- All elite status tiers as of March 31, 2020 are being extended, with a new expiration date of Feb. 28, 2022.
- All earned rewards set to expire between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020 — including suite upgrades, club access and free-night certificates — will be extended through Dec. 31, 2021.
- Forfeiture of points due to inactivity has been suspended through Dec. 31, 2020.
Let's take a closer look at each of these and how they'll affect you.
Extended Hyatt elite status
One of the most exciting aspects of this announcement is the extension of World of Hyatt elite status. If you held Globalist, Explorist or Discoverist status with Hyatt as of March 31, 2020, your status will be automatically extended through all of 2021, regardless of the number of qualifying nights you complete this year. There is no action you need to take — these extensions should be reflected in your account by April 15, 2020.
At this point, this status extension doesn't included new milestone rewards for elite members, as these are based on qualifying nights or base points earned during the year. However, when I asked about additional incentives for stays later this year, a World of Hyatt spokesperson provided the following statement:
"As COVID-19 continues to evolve, we continue to monitor and plan around this dynamic situation. We are aiming to provide members with more opportunities to increase status and earn Milestone Rewards throughout the year (such as with global promotions, World of Hyatt Credit Card offers, etc.). We will share more information with you once it becomes available."
This announcement makes World of Hyatt the second major hotel program to offer an elite status extension to all worldwide members, following Hilton's similar announcement on March 25, 2020. IHG Rewards, on the other hand, has only announced reductions in qualification requirements at this time, while Marriott Bonvoy has only committed to elite status extensions for members residing in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
READ MORE: Complete guide to hotel elite status during coronavirus outbreak
However, we do expect further adjustments to these programs as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the hotel industry.
Another nice announcement involves perks like upgrade certificates and free night awards (including those from the World of Hyatt Credit Card). All of these unused rewards with an expiration date that falls between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020 — including those that haven't been earned yet — will be automatically extended. They will have a new expiration date of Dec. 31, 2021.
Even though this doesn't require any action on your part, it's important to note that it'll happen on a rolling basis. If you have an unused award, the expiration date won't be updated until the month it was originally slated to expire — no later than the 20th day of that month.
For example, if you have a free-night certificate set to expire on Oct. 27, 2020, you won't see the new expiration date until sometime in October — at which point it'll have a new expiration date of Dec. 31, 2021.
RELATED: Best uses of Hyatt free-night certificates
Last month, we reported that Hyatt was offering 10,000 points for expiring free night certificates, and if you utilized that option, your reward would be considered "used" and thus not eligible for this extension. However, if you didn't opt to convert your certificate and had it expire in March, you'll be issued a new one on April 20, 2020 — with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2021.
Finally, if you have used one of these rewards for an existing reservation but wind up needing to cancel it, a spokesperson has confirmed that these awards will also be extended automatically. There's still a lot of uncertainty involving the coronavirus outbreak, so if you ultimately need to cancel a stay because of extended travel restriction or adjusted flight schedule, your reward will remain at your disposal through the end of 2021.
It's worth noting that this is notably more generous than offers from other programs at this time. Hilton has only extended the validity of free-night certificates issued through Aug. 30, 2020, as these will have a new expiration date of Aug. 30, 2021. And while Marriott has extended all Suite Night Awards expiring in 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021 — which matches Hyatt's offer — expiring Bonvoy free-night certificates have only been extended through Jan 31, 2021.
Forfeiture of points
Previously, Hyatt had announced that it was suspending points forfeiture for members through May 31, 2020 (Hyatt points don't expire, but they are forfeited without qualifying activity for 24 consecutive months). This is now being extended through Dec. 31, 2020, giving members several additional months to earn World of Hyatt points and keep their existing balances in tact. There are a number of ways to keep your points and miles from expiring, but it's nice to see this extension for members.
Other steps Hyatt is taking
Along with these extensions for members, Hyatt is also taking additional steps to support members during the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak. The program has extended its flexible change and cancellation policy to apply to all stays with an arrival date through June 30, 2020, and it's also adding this flexibility for all new reservations booked between April 2, 2020 and June 30, 2020 — for any future arrival date.
All of these reservations can be changed or canceled for no charge up until 24 hours prior to arrival — including nonrefundable rates. The only exclusions are new reservations booked at Destination Residences and those booked under a special event rate after April 1, 2020. In addition, reservations made through third-party booking sites and for conventions may have their own policies.
RELATED: Horror stories from booking through third-party sites
Finally, the program has shared that members now have access to select mindfulness content through the World of Hyatt app thanks to its new, strategic partnership with Headspace. This is naturally a stressful time for many, so you can log in to your Hyatt app to access meditations, sleep sounds and other complimentary resources to support your well-being. The program also plans to roll this content out to more than 200 hotels across the Hyatt portfolio in the months to come.
It's great to see the World of Hyatt program stepping up to ease its loyal members' concerns related to elite status and expiring perks, as these have all been extended for at least a year. All of the above should be automatically reflected, so there's no action required on your part. While we hope that travel will begin returning to normal in the coming months, it's nice to know that your Hyatt status and perks will be waiting for you when it does.