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Over the past six months, all the major hotel chains have taken steps to keep their more loyal customers happy and to make it easier for their elites to use the benefits afforded to them, but none has done more than Hyatt. Now, as chains like Hilton, IHG, Radisson, and Marriott start to roll back some of the positive moves they made earlier in the year, Hyatt is back with more good news for its fans.
World Of Hyatt Loyalty Benefits Extended
Points Expirations Extended
Under normal circumstances (remember those?), World of Hyatt points expire if a member’s account lies dormant for 24 months but back in April Hyatt announced that no World of Hyatt points will expire before 31 December 2020. Hyatt has now extended that deadline to 30 June 2021.
Suite Upgrades & Club Lounge Access Awards Extended
April 2020 saw Hyatt announce that all unused Suite Upgrade and Club Lounge Access awards with expiration dates between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 would have their expiration dates extended to 31 December 2021. Now, with little sign that travel is picking up, Hyatt has announced that all unused Suite Upgrade and Club Lounge Access awards that are set to expire on 28 February 2021 will also have their expiration dates extended to 31 December 2021.
Free Night Awards Extended
Up until now, Hyatt had only agreed to extend the validity of unused free night awards with expiration dates between 1 March and 31 December 2020. Following yesterday’s announcement, all free night awards earned in 2020 with a 2021 expiration date will have their validity extended through 31 December 2021. This includes awards earned through Hyatt’s milestone rewards as well as the free night certificates offered by the World of Hyatt credit card.
As was the case back in April, Hyatt has confirmed that there is nothing that World of Hyatt members need to do with their various award instruments to get their validity extended – extensions will be applied automatically.
Hyatt Award Chart Changes
Peak & Off-Peak Seasons
One of the big pieces of positive news that Hyatt announced earlier this year was that it was postponing the introduction of peak and off-peak seasons into its award chart until 2021. Now Hyatt has confirmed when that change will come into effect.
July 2021 will be when the World of Hyatt moves to off-peak, standard, and off-peak pricing…
…and as all reservations made before off-peak/peak season pricing is introduced will be priced at the current rates, Hyatt fans now have at least another 9 months in which to book award nights without having to worry about peak-season pricing – that should allow for bookings deep into 2022.
New Award Chart Changes
We usually see hotel loyalty programs making changes to their award charts at the beginning of the year but the World of Hyatt has just announced that 12 of its properties will be going down a category on 29 October 2020 and 4 properties will be moving up a from “mid-March 2021”.
29 October 2020 Category Changes
- Stonebridge Inn, A Destination Hotel from category 5 to 4
- Wailea Grand Champions Villas, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
- Wailea Ekolu Village, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
- Wailea Ekahi Village, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
- Lichenhearth, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
- Parker New York from category 6 to 5
- Grand Hyatt Vail from category 7 to 6
- Mauna Lani Point, A Destination Residence from category 7 to 6
- Wailea Elua Village, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
- Kaanapali Alii, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
- Vail Residences at Cascade Village, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak, A Destination Hotel from category 8 to 7
Mid-March 2021 Category Changes
- Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport from category 2 to 3
- Hyatt House Nashville/Downtown-SoBro from category 4 to 5
- Mar Monte Hotel part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt from category 4 to 5
- Park Hyatt Aviara from category 5 to 6
Although Hyatt hasn’t confirmed this, it would appear as if this will be the maximum extent of Hyatt’s award chart changes for 2021.
Hyatt Flexible Booking Policy
Hyatt had the opportunity to follow the likes of IHG, Hilton, and Radisson by rolling back its flexible booking policy but it chose not to do so. Hyatt’s booking policy remains as follows:
Existing reservations booked prior to 1 July 2020
“With some very limited exceptions, existing reservations booked before July 1, 2020 can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations. Reservations made after April 1, 2020 at Destination Residences or under the Special Event Rates are subject to the cancellation policy disclosed at the time of reservation.”
New reservations booked from 1 July 2020
“With some very limited exceptions, reservations booked on July 1, 2020 or beyond – for arrival dates through July 31, 2021 – can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.”
I’m not going to go into great depth with my thoughts here because the merits of what Hyatt has announced are self-evident.
It’s great to see Hyatt choosing to continue to offer flexible bookings across all its rates (across most of its portfolio) and it’s nice to see elite benefits being extended and points expirations pushed back as it becomes clearer that no one is rushing to travel right now.
Throughout most of the current crisis, Hyatt has led from the front when it comes to taking care of its customers and in doing so it has cemented its reputation as having the only hotel loyalty program that genuinely seems to care about its members. Between the various elite benefit extensions, elite status extensions, points expiration extensions, flexible cancellation policies, and the incredibly generous promotions (see here and here), it’s very hard to find fault with what Hyatt has done so far.
I said at the very beginning of this crisis that travelers should take note and remember how various hotels, airlines, and loyalty programs treat their customers throughout this incredibly tough period and the reward or punish them as appropriate. Based on what I’ve seen to date, Hyatt deserves a lot of kudos for how it has acted and, taking my own advice, I’ve already started to “reward” the hotelier with my future bookings.
Although I have lifetime top-tier Marriott Bonvoy status and no Hyatt status at all, all my current bookings are for stays with Hyatt. There isn’t a single Marriott booking in sight.
Hyatt has announced that it is extending the expirations of various elite benefits and free night certificates and it has confirmed that World of Hyatt points expirations will now not come back into force before July 2021. Added to all of that the hotelier has confirmed that changes to its award chart will be minimal and that we can expect to see the delayed introduction of off-peak/peak award pricing in July next year.