How to get top-tier Hyatt elite benefits without status

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Among the major hotel chains, Hyatt’s top tier elite status (Globalist) is arguably the best… if you can get it.  Unfortunately, Hyatt also makes it prohibitively difficult to reach that status level.  Fortunately, there are ways to get the same Hyatt elite benefits without jumping through those hoops.  Read on for full details.

Hyatt Globalist requirements

To earn Hyatt Globalist status, you must complete 60 qualifying nights (or earn 100,000 base points, or organize 20 qualifying meetings).  To renew status you “only” need 55 nights.  Given that Hyatt has far fewer properties than competing chains like IHG, Hilton, or Marriott, 60 nights (or 55 nights) is a heck of a hurdle even for very frequent travelers.

Globalist benefits

Here are my favorite Hyatt Globalist benefits, along with Hyatt’s description of each:

  • Club Lounge / Full Breakfast: “Relax in the Club lounge with continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. Or, enjoy complimentary full breakfast daily for each registered guest (up to 2 adults and 2 children) at Hyatt hotels and resorts without a Club lounge.”
    Hyatt Diamond benefits without status
  • Room upgrade: “Enjoy an upgraded room based on availability at check-in, up to standard suites.”
    Hyatt Diamond benefits without status
  • 4 pm late checkout: “Extend your stay until 4:00 PM upon request (subject to availability at some locations).”
  • Free Parking: “Enjoy complimentary parking on free night awards (available where parking can be charged to your room)”

Additionally, when you complete 60 qualified nights (or earn 100,000 Base Points), you get a free night award in a category 1-7 Hyatt hotel or resort plus 4 suite upgrade awards that can be applied to paid or award stays.

Hyatt Globalist benefits without status

With Hyatt, it is possible to forgo Globalist status altogether and still get the benefits that Globalist elites enjoy.  Here’s how…

Guest of Honor

The best way to get Globalist benefits without status is to take advantage of Hyatt’s Guest of Honor program.  If you have a friend with Hyatt Globalist status they can book an award stay for you via Hyatt’s Guest of Honor program and you should receive all of the benefits of Globalist status during your stay.

Hyatt Guest of Honor

A downside to this approach is that the points will come out of your friend’s Hyatt account.  While that could be great for you, there’s a good chance that your friend won’t like it.  Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.  Unlike most other points programs, Hyatt lets members transfer points to others, for free.  All you have to do is fill out Hyatt’s Point Combining Request Form (found here) and email it to worldofhyatt@hyatt.com.  There is a slight restriction: you can only transfer or receive points once every 30 days, so plan accordingly.

The only major benefit that this approach doesn’t give you is the ability to apply a suite upgrade certificate.  If a suite is important to you, then have your Globalist friend book a suite award for you.  Suite awards cost 60% more points than standard room awards (found here) and they require a minimum 3 night stay.

Second Guest Approach

UPDATE: This approach is NOT recommended. Hyatt has recently sent emails to Globalists who have booked stays this way warning them that their accounts may be closed down if they continue to book reservations for others without showing up in person.  See: Hyatt cracks down on second guest approach to sharing status.

Another way a Globalist friend can share their elite benefits is by booking a room and adding your name to the reservation.  They’ll still be considered the primary guest, but if they make it explicit that you should be allowed to check-in, then you can stay at the hotel without them and still enjoy their elite benefits.

There are a few big advantages to this approach over Guest of Honor reservations:

  1. This approach can be used to book paid stays, award stays, or cash & points stays (Guest of Honor works only with award stays).
  2. When booking paid stays, you can use your own credit card upon check-in so that there is no need to exchange points or cash with your Globalist friend.
  3. Your Globalist friend will get elite night credits for the stay.  This is great because in this way you are helping your friend to re-qualify for Globalist status.  So they should have a big motivation to want to book stays for you.
  4. If your Globalist friend has any suite upgrade certificates that they’re willing to use for your stay, they can do so.  Suite upgrade certificates cannot be used on Guest of Honor stays.
  5. Your Globalist friend will earn points for the paid portion of your stay.  Whether this is a good thing or bad thing depends upon whether you think they ought to earn rewards for their help in booking your stay.

On the other hand, there is a huge disadvantage to this approach: it’s not exactly sanctioned by Hyatt.  See warning above.  When I’ve done things like this I’ve been completely transparent with the hotel about what we were trying to accomplish.  Most hotels are fine with it.  But technically, they don’t have to let you do this.  In fact, there have been some reports (primarily regarding hotels in Asia) where people were not allowed to check in at all when trying to do so under a friend’s reservation.  If you have a friend book a stay for you in this way, I highly recommend contacting the hotel ahead of time to make clear what you’re trying to do and to check if they’re OK with it.

UPDATE: This approach is NOT recommended. Hyatt has recently sent emails to Globalists who have booked stays this way warning them that their accounts may be closed down if they continue to book reservations for others without showing up in person.  See: Hyatt cracks down on second guest approach to sharing status.

Real World Example

I had the opportunity to try out both approaches described above (Guest of Honor and Second Guest approach) at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel.  While there were a couple of hiccups, overall it worked out great.  Please see the full story here: Borrowing Hyatt top tier status: Experimenting with two approaches.

Free breakfast at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel thanks to borrowing status from a friend.

Other Options

If you don’t have a friend with Globalist status, there are other options for getting Globalist-like benefits:

Club Lounge Access

If your primary goal is to get club lounge access, there are a couple of easy options:

  • Book a Regency/Grand Club award stay.  You can find the award chart here.
  • Book a paid stay and use points to upgrade.  Hyatt charges 3000 points per night to add club access to your paid stay.

Alternatively if you have a friend with Exporist status (that’s a mid-tier status below Globalist), they may have club upgrade certificates that they wouldn’t mind using on your behalf.  They could then book the hotel, apply the club upgrade certificates, and add you as a second guest.

Suite Stay

If you want to stay in a suite, your options include:

  • Book a Suite award stay.  You can find the award chart here.  Hyatt’s suite award stays require a minimum of a 3 night stay.
  • Book a paid stay and use points to upgrade.  Hyatt charges 6000 points per night to upgrade your paid stay to a suite.

Free Breakfast and other Perks

Most premium and ultra-premium credit cards offer an option for booking high end hotels which results in getting great perks during your stay.  For example, with Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you get a room upgrade when available, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, noon check-in (when available), free wifi, and a unique property benefit (usually a credit towards dining or spa services).

For examples of what you may expect through these programs, see: Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection vs Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.

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