Earlier this week, Hyatt surprised us with the news that they were going to make elite status ridiculously easy to earn in 2021. They cut in half the requirements for earning status in 2021 and they extended their double elite night promo through the end of February. Usually, you need to spend 60 nights at Hyatt hotels within a calendar year to earn their awesome top-tier Globalist elite status. But now, if you plan right, you can earn that same status with only 15 nights (or less if you have their credit card) and that status will last two full years! I covered these topics here:
- Overview: Wow! Hyatt slashes 2021 elite status requirements & extends lucrative promos
- In-Depth: Ludicrously easy path to Hyatt Globalist status (top-tier status for 2 years!)
For those who never would have earned Globalist status otherwise, this is all great news. For those who already have Globalist status (or already had plans to get it), the news sparked fear. Will a huge influx of Globalist members water down our benefits? Will Hyatt reduce Globalist benefits because it’s too expensive to provide them to so many people? In this post I’ll provide my best guess of what will happen. My high-level advice: don’t worry — it won’t be as bad as you think.
Influx of Globalist members?
There’s no doubt that many points & miles blog readers will jump on this and thereby increase the ranks of Globalist members. Keep in mind, though, that most of these new elites are people who didn’t before stay at hotels enough to earn high level status and they probably won’t do so after qualifying for Globalist in 2021 either. In other words, yes there will be many new elites, but you won’t necessarily run into them more often when you travel. The exception is when staying at hotels that are often praised in points & miles blogs. There, you will undoubtedly have more elite competition than before. I’ll address whether that really matters later in this post.
Outside of the points & miles crowd, my bet is that Hyatt’s moves will, at best, get their elite ranks back to pre-COVID levels. I expect that the vast majority of top tier elites are business travelers. Given that most business travelers are now Zoom meeting-goers, these elites would be very unlikely to spend anywhere near 60 nights in Hyatt hotels in 2021. Hyatt’s move to double elite nights through Feb 2021 was intended to encourage people to book their hotels during a time when hotel occupancy is in the toilet. And their move to cut in half 2021 elite requirements makes sense. It’s reasonable to expect that travel won’t resume at anywhere near previous levels until, at best, mid-2021. Long story short, my bet is that Hyatt’s top tier elite ranks (outside of the points & miles crowd) will actually decrease a bit, but not by nearly as much as would have happened had they not halved the 2021 requirements.
The idea that Hyatt will have to reduce their top-tier benefits is predicated on the belief that their Globalist ranks will swell out of control and that those new Globalists will use those benefits a lot. In the above section I argued against both of those possibilities. I bet that even if the number of Globalist members grows out of control (which is unlikely in my opinion), most of those new elites will use the benefits sparsely. Without business travel, there just aren’t that many people who spend lots of time in hotels.
Even if I’m wrong about the number of elites and the amount of usage of the benefits, I don’t believe that Hyatt will cut those benefits in any way. Those elite benefits are the reason many people prefer to stay with Hyatt. During a travel recession, it makes more sense than ever for hotels to do what they can to encourage customers to come and to return. They’d be shooting themselves in the foot if they were to reduce those benefits now.
More perk competition?
A reasonable fear is that an influx of Globalist members will mean that there will be more competition for the same perks. Here’s a summary of Globalist perks:
- 30% point bonus
- Waived resort fees on all stays
- Room upgrade at check-in, including suites
- 4PM late check-out (subject to availability at hotels with a casino, Destination Residences, and Hyatt resorts)
- Club access or free breakfast
- Free parking on award stays
- Guest of Honor bookings
- Book awards w/ insufficient points
- Free Exhale classes during paid stays
The only perks that are likely to be affected by having more Globalist members are as follows:
- Room upgrade at check-in, including suites: Competition could make it much harder to score a great upgrade at check-in.
- 4PM late check-out (subject to availability at hotels with a casino, Destination Residences, and Hyatt resorts): This perk tends to be most valuable at resorts. If there’s more competition for late check-out at these “subject to availability” properties, there will likely be fewer granted requests.
- Club access: Sometimes hotel club lounges can be overcrowded. An influx of Globalist members can certainly make that worse.
All of these are legitimate concerns. My bet is that they will be most problematic at Hyatt hotels that are raved about in points & miles blogs. Off the top of my head, I think this means more competition in the near term at Ventana Big Sur and Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas (opening soon), and once Hawaii more fully opens up at Grand Hyatt Kauai and the Andaz Maui.
In my opinion, the biggest problem will be for those who fail to get a nice upgrade at check-in. Fortunately, Milestone Rewards provide an answer to that…
In addition to elite status levels, Hyatt provides rewards to those who achieve various numbers of elite nights each year:
|Elite Nights Earned||Milestone Reward|
|20 Nights||2 Club Access Awards|
|30 Nights||1 Cat 1-4 Free Night and 2 Club Access Awards|
|40 Nights||5K bonus points or $100 Hyatt gift card or 10K Find Experience Savings|
|50 Nights||2 Suite Upgrade Awards|
|60 Nights||1 Cat 1-7 Free Night and 2 Suite Upgrade Awards and Access to My Hyatt Concierge|
|70, 80, 90, and 100 Nights||10K Bonus Points or 1 Suite Upgrade Award|
The requirements for earning Milestone Rewards hasn’t changed for 2021. Yes, the Bonus Journeys’ double elite night promo will help people earn Milestone Rewards for stays through the end of February, but my bet is that few people will value these high enough to mattress-run their way to these perks.
In my mind, Suite Upgrade Awards are the key to overcoming the problem of having too much competition for upgrades at check-in. These can be applied at the time of booking to a stay booked with cash or points in order to upgrade as many as 7 nights with one certificate.
I think this is fair. Those who earn Globalist status in 2021 with only 30 elite nights will get most Globalist perks, but won’t get these suite upgrade awards unless they spend 20 more nights at Hyatt hotels before the end of 2021. This means that those of us who earned suite upgrade awards this year will have a while to use them with little competition for time-of-booking upgrades.
While I understand the fear of devaluation, I don’t believe it is a likely outcome. Yes there will be some situations where upgrades will be harder to come by, but overall I don’t expect this to be a big problem except at Hyatt hotels that are very popular with the points & miles crowd (hello Ventana).
Disagree with my conclusions? Please comment below.
[…] Hyatt’s Elite Devaluation (On My Mind) […]
Hyatt benefits offer more excuses than perks.
I agree. If there’s any downside for existing globalists, it will be suite upgrades at the dozen or so popular and aspirational Hyatt resorts that see many Americans. This may not even be true if these properties do a brisk convention business, which presumably will be depressed for at least another year. Otherwise, the net inflow of leisure oriented globalists and outflow of business oriented globalists is likely to be unnoticeable to the average Hyatt customer.
I think you’re neglecting a key element of why they’d do this.
When travel resumes, Hyatt wants to make sure it gets your business, and if you can get to Globalist easy, or earn it, you’re more likely to use them.
Even at 30 nights, that would mean 6 x 5 night trips or 4 x 7 night trips a year. Big numbers to get to without business travel to pad the stats. Add in the fact that a lot of business travellers who don’t know/don’t want to do matress runs to bridge the gap and won’t be requalifying, you take out a number of elites eligible for upgrades. On a related note, those who are already Globalist would still have their suite upgrades and would still be at the front of the line for the properties where a suite is very desirable.
100% agree that the popular luxury hotels like Ventana, Park Hyatts and Andaz etc are going to see a larger share of elites. These promos may be the only chance for some to get Globalist status and if you are going to go through the trouble of mattress runs you probably aren’t looking to just stay at Hyatt Houses in 2021.
Which brings me to my last point. This influx of elites won’t affect 90% of the stays but for the 10% that actually matter, it’s going to be watered down. For the people that really care about this stuff, the goal is still going to be 50-60 elite nights for those suite certificates.
“Even at 30 nights, that would mean 6 x 5 night trips or 4 x 7 night trips a year.”
Don’t forget the Hyatt Credit Card; 5 nights every year for having it plus 2 nights for every $5,000. in spend. It really helps.
@PeterSFO if you apply for the World of Hyatt credit card by December 31, 2020 you’ll receive 10 elite qualifying nights in 2020 and 10 elite qualifying nights in 2021. Then do a mattress run for 10 nights, checking out in January or February 2021 and you’ll receive double elite night credits, 20 elite night credits for your 10 night stay. 10 for the credit card + 20 for the January/February check out gets you to the 30 elite qualifying nights you need for Globalist next year.
So if I do 60 nights in 2021 I get status for 2021 and 2022. Do I get 4 suite upgrade certificates for both of the years or just the one for 2021?
Milestone rewards are awarded once, at the time you earn them. So you’d get four total.
As a follow-up, do we know when suite upgrades earned in early 2021 will expire? I had read that existing certs were being extended, but should we expect extensions for anything earned next year?
The suite upgrade awards earned in 2021 will last through Feb 2023
I fthink this is a good way for them to get more people into the hotels, so a little win win for everyone. On the other hand, I feel that it’s much easier for someone who doesnt want to do mattress run and get the amex bonvoy cards and get platinum for a year. It’s not as nice as globalist but it covers the basics for very little effort…
I have probably only stayed at Hyatt a couple times in the last 5 years. Top tier status sounds quite appealing, and we are getting more to a family situation in which Hyatt could make more sense.
I still am unlikely to jump on a ~$1K mattress run, and am unlikely to get the Hyatt CC. But what I might do, since I live close to a few cheaper Hyatts, is offer to “initiate” a mattress run for a colleague who is more likely to mattress run for the status, but does not live close to a Hyatt. Then in return for my time/gas/”trouble”, I can convince him to give me Guest of Honor if/when I actually do stay at a Hyatt before Feb 2023.
Some Hyatts will allow a “second guest” to check in for the primary guest. Technically, the primary must show up at the front desk at some point and present ID/CC. But often it will work out, probably especially these days when hotels are desperate for business. I have never once had a problem checking in “for” my wife, or v.v.
I am currently talking to some Hyatt managers about a discounted mattress run deal for people like us, and I am making progress. There are a lot of cheap Hyatts near ORD, not far from me and they are sucking wind.
Leave it to toomanybooks to pursue this. Too bad I don’t live near Chicago but thank you!
There is a possibility some of them will allow a “phantom stay” where you do not have to show up in person, but scan/fax an authorization to charge your CC in exchange for a booked stay. Some may require a person to show up and accept the room key. Likely they would charge about $10 more per night, as this is riskier for them; suppose you could prove you were not in Chicago that day and disputed the charge, which apparently happens. CC company would stiff them. Still working it; phantom stays/mattress runs are considered really REALLY weird by many people, who immediately think it’s some kind of scam.
toomanybooks, your discounted mattress run negotiations sounds interesting. If you need more folks in your negotiation group I might be good for a roughly 8 nights stay.
Let me know if you make any progress. Sounds interesting!
About 5 years ago Hyatt status matched from other hotels. I matched Hilton diamond to Hyatt Diamond (Globalist now). Probably many people did also. What was the impact on Globalist?
I agree with you, Greg. Since our world is miles and points, sometimes I think we forget that the majority of the world’s population is not wrapped up in the miles and points world. I’m always amazed when I’m checking into a hotel and the front desk agent asks a guest if they want to join the loyalty program and the guest says no!
We have a friend who flies (pre-Covid) a few times a year, primarily on Delta. He belongs to SkyMiles and even has a Delta Amex. But he’ll sometimes fly United to meet us for travels. He doesn’t have a Mileage Plus account nor does he want one. Same with hotels. I always book his room when he travels with us, and if the hotel program allows, collect his points. He just doesn’t care.
The obvious loss is auto upgrade to a suite. Now it’s a race to check into the hotel first and get the suite.. the part I’m most nervous about that isn’t discussed is how the hotels are handling perks as an alternative because the clubs are closed. I recently stayed at a Hyatt that gave us $30/person bar credit and free breakfast in their restaurant because the club was closed. (They had free liquor in the club when it was open 🙁 ) I can’t imagine them doing this that much longer…
I am a Marriott guy but come Feb will be Globalist for the first time. I have the card and a couple stays already so it’s hard to really consider <10 nights in 2 months a mattress run. However, I’m also a points freak. My thinking is that the number of new Globalists will be quite minuscule. Even 10 nights ( best case ) in hotels for the average/normal person is astronomical in "only two months". In addition, I believe without being such a freak, having the awareness of these promos or the value ( diminished or otherwise ) of status is far from common knowledge. I agree with all you said in this post, I just think there will not be a deluge of new elites. If I’m wrong and there are, please consider this my apology to those Hyatt loyalists who actually earn it and now have to deal with the likes of me. Travel on my friends.
Hi Greg, thanks again for a nicely analysis. I think you have a very good point. I’m one of those who’s never had Globalist status and is thinking about it and truth be told, even if I have it, I wont be using it ‘much’, but still think it’s worth it to have for 1.5 years (writing off first 9 months of 2021) as I’ll be traveling to Asia end of this year and next year also. I do have a quick question–if I get attain the min.30 nights, I’m taking the only ‘suite upgrades’ I’ll get will be a standard suites upgrade at check in and depends on availability? Please confirm. Thanks!
I’m not Greg, but your assessment is correct. You will need 50 nights to get 2 confirmed ahead of time suite upgrades, and 60 nights to get another 2.
The other thing I would add as a reason not to worry is competition. Hyatt’s competitors, like Marriott and Hilton have also engaged in generous Covid related initiatives that are pulling people in a different direction and may not impact Hyatt elite numbers greatly. I, for one, would love to take advantage of this and get Hyatt Globalist, but I’ll also have almost 10 Marriott Free night certs, 5 or 6 Hilton free weekend nights that have now become free anytime nights and more coming from credit cards in the coming year. Those nights, combined with limited ability to plan anything yet as most of the world is still not allowing visitors, makes it kind of pointless for me to pursue Hyatt globalist.
What initiatives by Marriott are you referring to? Last year I was a Titanium and this year and next I’m a Platinum but unless I missed something, I don’t see any double elite nights, double nights for credit card holders, or top tier access without spending restrictions. Hyatt is offering top tier for simply holding their credit card and staying 10 nights. What comparable offer is Marriott offering for current mid to high tier elites?
I wouldn’t say comparable, but the competition has made several changes that draw business, so my point was that there probably isn’t a huge universe of people who are now going to flood into Hyatt elite ranks.
For example, Marriott adding 15 elite credits for business credit card holders and gifting half of the elite nights required at each tier puts people in a position where there is a stronger incentive to make a few more stays to lock up Marriott status. And while Marriott isn’t issuing stay bonuses like Hyatt, they have lowered pricing and lowered award prices to off peak, which have at least some effect on drawing bookings and keeping people occupied chasing their Marriott status. Hilton’s broadening of the use of weekend night certs to any night of the week, extending elite status and cancellation policy changes aren’t so great, but they all draw stays for various types of folks who want to stay where they already have status or have a free night to use etc. IHG, Radisson, Accor, etc have all made at least some effort to make stays more attractive as well which also has the effect of taking large swaths of people out of the pool of potential Hyatt elite chasing.
I think the de-valuation fear is overblown by Miles and Points junkies. Reality is that for next year or so most hotel will have reduced breakfast benefits and with social distancing limited access to club.
That is also why status-chasing right now is a bad idea. Yes, you’ll get status through 2022 in some cases, but the restrictions won’t let up: no buffet; no lounge, no upgrades (“our suites are closed, sorry.”)
Good analysis, and I’d double down on a couple of things:
I think the recovery in travel is likely to be a slow increase over time due to the amount of time that it will take to actually roll out the vaccines, incomplete uptake of the vaccine in the USA leading to some countries only allowing vaccinated individuals to visit, financial reduced circumstances of many people, and the fact that many businesses have adapted to on-line meetings. It may take years before travel reaches its previous levels. (There’s a counter-argument to this — that they’ll be a huge pent up demand for travel, but I think that will only have a major effect in limited destinations around holiday times).
Take me as an example. I’m considering doing this despite the fact that I’m not sure I’ve ever stayed in a Hyatt hotel in my life. While I’m a fairly frequent leisure traveler I generally seek out independent hotels which are either quirky and cheap or historically significant. My play here is that I’d get the credit card and do the nights in Jan / Feb then use points (including UR points, which I have in abundance) to splash out on a few really nice stays in Europe and Asia in late 2021 and, more realistically, in 2022.