(Update: Now live) Huge (mostly positive) changes to Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards

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Update 1/3/24: These Hyatt Milestone Rewards changes are now live. You can transfer suite upgrade awards and club access awards to others, plus there are now Guest of Honor Awards that can either be gifted to others or redeemed by yourself.

Don’t worry if you don’t see Guest of Honor Awards in your account yet even though you’re eligible. It seems like this new feature is in the process of being rolled out across all eligible accounts rather than it becoming available for everyone at exactly the same time, but I imagine you should see it on your account by the end of the day, if not sooner.

Hyatt Guest of Honor awards

Here’s Greg’s original post.

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Today, World of Hyatt has announced big changes coming January 1st 2024 to their Milestone Rewards (these are rewards that you earn after completing 20 nights within a calendar year, and every 10 nights thereafter).  There are four central themes to these changes: 1) More sharing: Most Milestone Rewards will be shareable with others; 2) More choice: Members will have more opportunities to pick which Milestone Reward they prefer; 3) More perks for very frequent guests (e.g. 100 nights or more); and 4) Do-it-yourself: Many benefits will now be useable online without having to call Hyatt.  Most of the changes are positive, but there are a couple of things here that irk me.  Read below for details.

a magnifying glass on a paper

Table of Contents

Overview

Starting January 1 2024, World of Hyatt is introducing a number of changes to their Milestone Rewards.  Here’s a summary:

  • Almost all Milestone Rewards will be shareable.  This means, for example, that Globalists can share their Club Access Awards with friends.
  • More choices: Most Milestone levels will now offer choices in addition to automatic rewards.  Once you earn a choice reward, you have 90 days to make your selection.
  • More perks for very frequent guests: Milestone Rewards, which currently top out at 100 nights, will be awarded up to 150 nights
  • More online capabilities.  Starting January 1, online and in the app, we will be able to gift Milestone Perks to other Hyatt members; and we will be able to apply milestone perks to reservations.  One exception: the ability to apply Suite Upgrade Awards won’t be online starting January 1st (I’m sure it’s coming eventually, though).
  • New/Changed Milestone Awards:
    • Guest of Honor: The ability to give someone (including yourself) Globalist status for a single stay, up to 7 nights, will become a Milestone Reward starting at 40 nights, rather than an unlimited Globalist Perk.  It will work with both paid and award stays (in 2023 and prior, Guest of Honor was only valid on award bookings).  Additionally, the giver will receive an elite qualifying night upon completion of the stay.  Those who have earned Globalist status in 2023 for the 2024 elite year (or have lifetime Globalist status) will start 2024 with 5 Guest of Honor Awards.  Additionally, those with lifetime Globalist status will receive 5 Guest of Honor Awards on March 1 of every year beginning in 2025.
    • The Ultimate Free Night Award (earned at 150 qualifying nights): Good for one free night in any Category 1-8 hotel, Category A-F all-inclusive resort or participating Miraval resort.
    • Miraval Extra Night (a choice beginning at 100 nights): Stay one night at a Miraval resort to receive a complimentary second night (in other words, this works like a “Buy One, Get One” coupon). This works with either paid nights or award nights.
    • FIND Experience Credit: FIND credits up to $300 will be available as a choice at various Milestones.  These can be used individually or combined on any FIND experience around the globe.
    • 2K Next Stay: Earn 2,000 Bonus Points on your next stay at a Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Caption by Hyatt or UrCove hotel.  Your next stay must be within 180 days of selecting this award.

Here’s Hyatt’s new Milestone chart:

a chart with points and text

And here’s my stab at comparing the current Milestone chart to the new one side by side:

Elite Nights Earned 2023 Milestone Reward 2024 Milestone Reward
20 Nights
Automatic: 2 Club Access Awards N/A
Pick 1: 2K Next Stay Award
2 Club Access Awards
$25 FIND Credit
30 Nights
Automatic: 1 Cat 1-4 Free Night and 2 Club Access Awards 1 Cat 1-4 Free Night
Pick 1: 2K Next Stay Award
2 Club Access Awards
$25 FIND Credit
40 Nights
Automatic: 1 Guest of Honor Award
Pick 1: 5K Bonus Points 5K Bonus Points
$100 Hyatt gift card 1 Suite Upgrade Award
$150 FIND Credit $150 FIND Credit
50 Nights
Automatic: 2 Suite Upgrade Awards N/A
Pick 1: 5K Bonus Points
2 Suite Upgrade Awards
$150 FIND Credit
60 Nights
Automatic: 1 Cat 1-7 Free Night 1 Cat 1-7 Free Night
2 Suite Upgrade Awards 2 Suite Upgrade Awards
My Hyatt Concierge My Hyatt Concierge
2 Guest of Honor Awards
70, 80, 90 Nights
Automatic: N/A 1 Guest of Honor Award
Pick 1: 10K Bonus Points 10K Bonus Points
1 Suite Upgrade Award 1 Suite Upgrade Award
$300 FIND Credit
100 Nights
Automatic: N/A 1 Cat 1-7 Free Night
Pick 1: 10K Bonus Points 10K Bonus Points
1 Suite Upgrade Award 1 Suite Upgrade Award
Miraval Extra Night
110, 120, 130, 140 Nights
Automatic: 1 Guest of Honor Award
Pick 1: 10K Bonus Points
1 Suite Upgrade Award
Miraval Extra Night
150 Nights
Automatic: Ultimate Free Night Award
Pick 1: 10K Bonus Points
1 Suite Upgrade Award
Miraval Extra Night

Completely separate from elite status, Milestone Rewards are available to everyone and are based on the number of nights you stay in a calendar year. Most awards are valid for the rest of the calendar year in which they are selected and 14 months beyond.  The Ultimate Free Night award, Miraval Extra Night Award, and the 2K Next Stay Awards are good for 180 days.

Key Takeaways

40 elite nights becomes very desirable

At 40 nights, members will receive both a Guest of Honor award and the ability to choose a Suite Upgrade Award.  Unfortunately, you still won’t be able to combine these benefits for a single stay, but you could use each of these benefits for yourself:

Globalist Benefits (via Guest of Honor) start at 40 nights

Top Tier Hyatt Globalists get free breakfast, waived resort fees on all stays, waived parking fees on award stays, and more.  Today, you need to earn 60 elite nights to get to Globalist status.  That won’t change.  What will change is that you’ll get a Guest of Honor award after 40 elite nights.  Before reaching 60 elite nights and Globalist status, you can optionally use that award on your own stay so that you can enjoy Globalist perks on one stay of up to 7 nights.

Suite Upgrades Awards start at 40 nights

With the new program, you can earn a Suite Upgrade Award (good for up to a 7 night stay) after only 40 nights.  Previously, the first opportunity to get Suite Night Awards was at 50 nights.

Guest of Honor becomes more flexible

The new Guest of Honor Rewards will be much more flexible than the old Globalist Guest of Honor benefit.  Here’s what’s new:

  • You will be able to apply a Guest of Honor Reward to a paid booking.
  • You will have the chance to earn a Guest of Honor Reward before achieving Globalist status and could apply it to your own stay so that you can enjoy Globalist benefits even before you’ve achieved 60 nights.

Guest of Honor givers get something back

This is totally new: when your Guest of Honor reward is applied to another person’s stay, you will earn one elite night credit at the end of that stay (the person using the Guest of Honor stay will receive credit for each night of the stay).

70, 80, 90 Nights gain $300 FIND experience option

Today at each of these Milestone levels, you can pick either 10K Bonus Points or 1 Suite Upgrade Award.  The new option to instead choose a $300 FIND credit is a welcome addition.  I often fail to use all of my suite upgrade awards as it is, so when I reach 70 nights (which has happened in the past), I would just take the 10K points.  Going forward, I’ll seriously consider the $300 FIND experience credit instead.  You can find FIND here.

100+ Nights is where the best new stuff is found

I don’t imagine that I’ll be enjoying these new perks (100 nights is a huge bar!), but they’re pretty nice…

Miraval Extra Night

These awards are choices at 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, and 150 nights.  The idea is that you book a night with points or cash in a standard room for 1 or 2 people and you’ll get a second night free. I’ve loved my stays at both Miraval Arizona and Miraval Berkshires and would love to return.  The only problem is that they’re very expensive with standard award pricing at 65,000 points per night, double occupancy.  With these Miraval Extra Night awards, the price for a 2 night stay drops in half so that the average would be only 32,500 points per night during standard pricing.  That would be very reasonable.

The Ultimate Free Night Award

This award requires a staggering 150 nights.  The Ultimate Free Night Award is good for one free night in a standard room, double occupancy, at any World of Hyatt bookable property.  This includes: Category 1-8 hotels, Category A-F all-inclusive resorts, and any Miraval resort.

a table with numbers and a number of points

To see what The Ultimate Free Night Award can be worth, take a look at the unified award chart shown above.  The column that applies is the left-most column titled “Room”.  Category 8 hotels go up to 45,000 points when Peak priced; Category F hotels go up to 58,000 points Peak; and Miraval goes for up to 72,000 points Peak.  Therefore, The Ultimate Free Night Award can be maximized by using it on a peak priced Miraval room that would otherwise cost 72,000 points.

My Muted Reaction

Overall, this is all good news right?  I mean, you could argue that Globalists lose something because they’ll no longer be able to make unlimited Guest of Honor bookings, but I doubt many people ever book more than 2 or 3 per year (apologies if you’re one of the exceptions).  So, if this is almost all good news, why am I not super excited?  I’m a big fan of Hyatt’s elite program, especially for top-tier elites.  I should be ecstatic that they made it even better.  Right?  Well, yeah, I am happy about the changes, but I’m not excited…

The problem is that I had some high expectations that weren’t met.  The biggest hope I had was that Category 1-7 awards would be changed into 1-8 awards.  Sure, there’s that thing they call “The Ultimate Free Night Award” which covers Category 8 and beyond, but  Hyatt placed it forever out of reach (to me) at 150 nights.

Another issue that I had expected to see progress on is with stacking rewards.  We can’t combine Suite Upgrade Awards with Guest of Honor awards or with Free Night Awards.  Sadly, as confirmed with Hyatt reps, that isn’t changing.

Okay, enough sad-face stuff, let’s talk about what I am happy about:

  • Members will get legitimately good benefits starting at 40 nights
  • Much more can be done online!
  • For Globalists, like me, the Club Access Awards were useless (except in very rare situations where we booked multiple rooms and the hotel didn’t extend Globalist benefits to all rooms).  Now we’ll be able to gift them to others.  I could definitely see myself doing that.
  • I really like that I’ll earn an elite night credit when gifting Guest of Honor stays (but I wish I could earn one night for each night of the stay instead!)
  • I also love that Guest of Honor bookings are no longer tied to award stays.  Sometimes cash rates are low and it’s better to book that way.
  • If I get to 70 nights, I’ll be happy to find a use for FIND credits

How about you?  What are you most excited or most disappointed about?  Please comment below.

FAQ

Many of the FAQ items listed below are copied directly from Hyatt (found here). I have (and will continue to) add additional items based on reader questions.

Where can I find Hyatt’s official information about these changes?

How do I earn Milestone Rewards?

Milestone Rewards are earned starting at 20 Tier Qualifying Nights in a calendar year and for every 10 qualifying nights up to 150. You can also reach some Milestone Rewards based on the number of Base Points you earn in a calendar year. Learn more about Tier Qualifying Nights and Base Points here.

How do I choose Milestone Rewards?

Choose your award online or in the World of Hyatt app in your Account, via a link in the email you’ll receive offering a choice or call a Global Care Center. You have 90 days after the Milestone was achieved to make your choice.

What will the expiration date be for each award?

180 days from issuance:

  • 2K Next Stay Award
  • Category 1-4 Free Night Award
  • Category 1-7 Free Night Award
  • The Ultimate Free Night award
  • Miraval Extra Night Award

Remainder of calendar year + 14 months:

  • FIND credit
  • Club Lounge Access Award
  • Suite Upgrade Award
  • Guest of Honor Award
  • My Hyatt Concierge

Complete terms for all awards can be found here.

Which Milestone Awards are giftable?

  • Guest of Honor Awards
  • Club Lounge Access Awards
  • Complimentary Suite Upgrade Awards
  • Category 1-4 Free Night Awards
  • Category 1-7 Free Night Awards
  • Miraval Extra Night Awards
  • Ultimate Free Night Awards

How do I gift an award?

Eligible Awards can be transferred to another World of Hyatt member’s account from your account on Hyatt.com or on the app. In your account under your Available Awards tab, choose the option to gift your award. You can also call a Global Care Center to gift an award. You will need the last name and World of Hyatt number of the person you choose to gift.

Instead of gifting my award, can I just book an award stay on behalf of someone else?

Yes, for some awards, you can book award stays on behalf of someone else. Free Night Awards, certain Room Upgrade Awards, Points + Cash Awards, and Guest of Honor Awards are eligible to be booked in the name of another person.

Does the recipient of the award have to be a World of Hyatt member?

Yes. If they are not a member, they can enroll here first.

I gifted an award to someone, but they don’t need it anymore. Can I get it back?

If you transferred an award to another member’s account, no. An award can only be gifted one time and cannot be transferred back. Transfers are not rescindable or reversable.

If you booked an award reservation on behalf of someone else–and they cancel the reservation in accordance with the applicable property’s cancellation policy–the award (or points redeemed for the award) will be credit back to your account as the member who made the reservation.

How long will it take for an award to appear in my account after I’ve chosen it

Please allow up to five business days for an award to appear in your account.

I’m a Lifetime Globalist–am I eligible for any of the Milestone Rewards?

As a Lifetime Globalist, you are eligible to earn Milestone Rewards by completing eligible activity.  Additionally, you will be given 5 Guest of Honor Rewards each year.

I don’t like any of the Milestone Reward options available. Can I get points instead?

When points are a choice in Milestone Rewards, you can choose points as your award. (Every milestone offers the ability either to choose Bonus Points or to select an award that offers the opportunity to earn Bonus Points.) Otherwise, you’ll need to choose from the options provided. Once an award is chosen, it cannot be exchanged for any other award. If you elect an eligible award, you can also gift the award to another member.

What is a Guest of Honor Award?

Guest of Honor is an award that bestows Globalist in-hotel benefits to the recipient on an eligible paid or award stay, up to seven nights. This includes (as more fully described and subject to the limitations in the program terms):

  • Waived resort fees, including on eligible paid stays
  • Club Access or free breakfast for up to four registered guests (two adults and two children)
  • Room upgrades, subject to availability
  • Elite check-in and late checkout
  • Premium Internet
  • Bottled water
  • Free parking on award nights

While Globalists receive a 30% point bonus on eligible spend, Guests of Honor stays will not. (Guest of Honor benefits are limited to “In-Hotel Benefits,” as described in the World of Hyatt program terms. Elite tier point bonuses are not an In-Hotel Benefit.)

When someone else uses your Guest of Honor award, you will get one Tier Qualifying Night credit when they check out. (Please note that the Tier Qualifying Night credit will go to the member who first gifted the award, even if the Guest of Honor award gift recipient later redeems the Guest of Honor Award on a reservation they’ve booked for another person.)

Do I get free parking with my Guest of Honor stays?

Guest of Honor Awards provide the recipient with the same in-hotel benefits as are provided to Globalists. While Globalists receive free parking on nights for which they’ve redeemed a free night award, Globalists do not receive free parking on a paid night’s stay.

How is Guest of Honor changing?

Guest of Honor is moving from a Globalist benefit to an award that is earned through Milestone Rewards. The first Guest of Honor Award is earned when a member stays 40 qualifying nights or earns 65,000 Base Points in a calendar year.

Unlike the legacy Globalist Guest of Honor benefit, Guest of Honor Awards will be usable on Eligible Rate paid and award stays for up to seven nights. Guest of Honor still bestows Globalist in-hotel benefits for the registered guest on the reservation.

Because Guest of Honor Awards can now be earned at 40 qualifying nights in a calendar year (before Globalist status is earned), you can choose to make yourself the Guest of Honor and experience the benefits of Globalist status by using the award on your own stay.

Additionally, when your guest checks out of their Guest of Honor Award stay, you will receive one Tier Qualifying Night credit as a thank you for sharing your award. (Please note that the Tier Qualifying Night credit will go to the member who first gifted the award, even if the Guest of Honor award gift recipient later redeems the Guest of Honor Award on a reservation they’ve booked for another person.)

Guest of Honor Awards can be gifted (through your account or by calling a Global Care Center) to another World of Hyatt member. Once gifted, that member can book their own Guest of Honor stay through Hyatt.com or by calling a Global Care Center. You can also book your Guest of Honor’s stay for them by calling a Global Care Center.

I am a current Globalist or Lifetime Globalist as of December 31, 2023. How will the changes to Guest of Honor impact me?

All members who are Globalist or Lifetime Globalist as of December 31, 2023, will receive five complimentary Guest of Honor Awards in their account in January 2024. These complimentary Guest of Honor Awards expire on February 28, 2025.

Should a Lifetime Globalist as of December 31, 2023, or a Globalist as of December 31, 2023, who has a tier expiration of February 28, 2025 or later, gift or apply all of their Guest of Honor Awards, they may then use the legacy Globalist Guest of Honor benefit for Free Night Awards as described in the terms until February 28, 2025, by calling a Global Care Center – except that Globalists who have a tier expiration date later than February 28, 2025, may use this benefit until February 28, 2026. (In all cases, all available Guest of Honor Awards must be gifted or applied to a reservation first.)

Should a Globalist as of December 31, 2023, have a tier expiration of February 29, 2024, and gift or apply all of their Guest of Honor Awards, they may then use the legacy Globalist Guest of Honor benefit for Free Night Awards until February 29, 2024, by calling a Global Care Center. (All available Guest of Honor Awards must be gifted or applied to a reservation first.)

Unlike the new Guest of Honor Awards, the legacy Globalist Guest of Honor tier benefit will continue to apply to Free Night Award stays only.

If I make Guest of Honor bookings now (in 2023) for 2024 stays, will those count against our initial allotment of five for the year?

No.

What happens when Guest of Honor bookings are cancelled?

There will be two ways to gift Guest of Honor Rewards: 1) Call Hyatt to apply the reward to someone else (I’ll call this “the old way”); 2) Transfer the reward to another person and then they can apply the reward directly to their own booking (“the new way”)

When a Guest of Honor booking is cancelled, the Guest of Honor reward returns either to your account or to your friend’s account depending upon how it was booked:

  • With a booking done “the old way,” the Guest of Honor reward returns to your account
  • With a booking done “the new way,” the Guest of Honor reward will be returned to your friend’s account.  Your friend will not be able to return the reward to you (but they could make a booking for you or for someone else “the old way”)

Will the Ultimate Free Night Award be good at all-inclusive and Miraval resorts?

Yes.  The Ultimate Free Night Award can be used for a standard room at all Category 1-8 hotels and resorts and Category A-F All-Inclusive resorts that participate in World of Hyatt and offer standard-room accommodations. It can also be used at Miraval for single or double occupancy in a standard room.

The Ultimate Free Night Award is not applicable for redemption at Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt.

How does the 2K Next Stay Award work?

After choosing 2K Next Stay as your award at the 20 and/or 30 qualifying-night Milestone, you have 180 days to stay and check out of an eligible stay at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Caption by Hyatt, or UrCove hotel. Upon checkout, you will receive 2,000 Bonus Points. You do not need to attach the award to your stay; it will automatically activate for stays at these brands.

If you choose this award at both the 20 night and 30 night milestone and have two awards associated with your account at one time, you will earn 2,000 Bonus Points per eligible stay. You will need to complete two distinct, eligible stays to earn 4,000 Bonus Points.

This award cannot be gifted or transferred, but once earned, the points can be. More information on transferring points can be found here.

Can I exchange any of my existing Club Access Awards for something else?

No program award – including Club Access Awards – is exchangeable.

Can a Suite Upgrade Award be used with a Free Night Award?

Category 1-7, Category 1-4, Ultimate Free Night Awards, and other promotional Free Night Awards cannot be combined with Suite Upgrade Awards. You can use a Suite Upgrade Award on nights for which you have paid an eligible rate or have redeemed points for a standard-room or club free night award or a standard-room Points + Cash award.

What is FIND and how do I use that credit?

FIND is a marketplace that offers access to curated wellbeing experiences. After choosing the FIND credit as your Milestone choice, you will receive an email with a certificate code. Sign into the FIND platform with your World of Hyatt member number and add your certificate code to the “Manage your gift certificates” section within your account homepage.

Are FIND awards combinable? For example, if I select multiple FIND credits, can I apply more than one credit to a single experience purchase?

Yes, you can apply multiple FIND credits to your purchase of a single FIND experience.


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