HomeHotel LoyaltyWorld of HyattIs this an unethical use of one of Hyatt's new benefit changes?

Is this an unethical use of one of Hyatt’s new benefit changes?

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After considering one of the recent changes made to the World of Hyatt program, I can see a way to use the change in a way that could benefit our household but that isn’t in the spirit of how the benefit is supposed to work, so I’m now considering the ethics behind using the change/benefit in this way.

What I’m considering isn’t illegal and, as far as I can tell, doesn’t breach any of the World of Hyatt rules, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something that any of us should be doing, so I thought I’d see what the TFM readership thinks – let me know in the comments please.

Using the Guest of Honor benefit

As we discussed a couple of days ago days ago, some aspects of the World of Hyatt program are different in 2024 with major changes having been made to the program’s Milestone Rewards and with tweaks having been made to the Guest of Honor benefit as well.

The change that I’d like to highlight in this article is this one:

In 2024, the recipient of a Guest of Honor booking will continue to earn elite night credits for their stay just as they always have, but now, the World of Hyatt member who gifts the Guest of Honor booking will also earn one elite night credit per Guest of Honor stay that was gifted and redeemed.

Historically, the Guest of Honor benefit has been a nice way by which Hyatt’s top-tier elites could treat their friends and family to a very nice stay (they get to enjoy all of the top-tier elite’s benefits for the duration of their stay) and other than the joy that the top-tier elite may get from doing something nice for someone else, there was nothing for the status holder to gain.

As the rule change highlighted above shows, that’s no longer the case and this opens up a couple of interesting (but possibly unethical) opportunities.

Option 1 – When a single night booking is being made for two people (one of whom has Guest of Honor gifting privileges)

  •  A World of Hyatt Globalist with Guest of Honor privileges gifts the second person who will be joining them on the 1-night stay (e.g their spouse) a Guest of Honor booking.
  • This second person makes a 1-night Guest of Honor booking
  • Both people enjoy Globalist benefits during the 1-night stay.
  • Both people get an elite night credit.

In this case, both people get an elite night credit for a stay where, ordinarily, only one elite night credit would be issued. And the only downside to this arrangement that I can see is that the Globalist member probably won’t earn their Globalist bonus (30%) on the cost of the stay (unless the GoH benefit now also includes that bonus – I’m not sure about this).

Option 2 – When a multi-night booking is being made for two people (one of whom has Guest of Honor gifting privileges)

  • A World of Hyatt Globalist books all but one of the nights that are needed.
  • The Globalist member gifts the second person who will be joining them on the stay a Guest of Honor booking.
  • This second person books the final night that is needed using a Guest of Honor certificate.
  • The two reservations are merged at check-in (which means that a room change should not be required)
  • Both people enjoy Globalist benefits during the whole stay
  • The Globalist member earns the same number of elite nights as if they had booked the whole stay and the second person gets an elite night credit that they wouldn’t have otherwise earned.

The only downsides to this arrangement that I can see are:

  • If using a Suite Upgrade Award, the suite may have to be vacated for the final night.
  • The Globalist member probably won’t earn their Globalist bonus on the cost of the stay.

If a Suite Upgrade award isn’t being issued, the downsides here seem to be limited.

The quandary

I don’t mind playing with rules when the program writing the rules clearly plays with them as well, but generally speaking, I also don’t like to use the rules of a program in a way that they were clearly not designed to be used.

I see the miles and points hobby as one big game and as much as I like to ‘win’ at that game, I also prefer to win without ‘cheating’.

The Guest of Honor benefit was clearly not designed to be used on bookings that include the person gifting the Guest of Honor privileges and that’s why I’m a little unsure on the ethics of using the benefit in either of the ways outlined above.

The gain from misusing the Guest of Honor benefit in the way that I’ve described isn’t exactly huge (there are other clearly unethical ways to gain a lot more), but for some it could be the difference between player 2 earning elite status or remaining statusless so the gain may not be entirely insignificant.

Bottom line

Usually, when someone asks whether doing something is unethical, they already know the answer (it’s yes!) and they’re simply looking for someone to tell them that it’s ok to go ahead anyway. But that’s genuinely not the case here.

As a household, we probably wouldn’t gain very much from Joanna (player 2) earning a few more elite night credits as she usually travels with me and so doesn’t need her own elite status. That hasn’t, however, stopped me from wondering whether or not using the new version of the Guest of Honor benefit in the ways I’ve described is ethical or not so I’d like to know what you think – let me know below.

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  1. Nice catch. From a practical standpoint I’d say that in most cases it won’t make a whole lot of difference since most lower elite tiers with Hyatt don’t offer particularly great benefits. Even if someone did this a dozen times it wouldn’t make Globalist suddenly in reach for the GOH recipient.

    From an ethical standpoint I’d say that doing this a couple of times is pretty much acceptable but doing so dozens of times is blatant abuse.

  2. They’ve talked about using the Guest of Honor benefit on your own booking to get Globalist status “for a night” if you’re not otherwise a Globalist. (Indeed, you get your first GOH certificate at 50 nights…) I don’t think this is _that_ different. They seem prepared for creative uses, anyway.

    I’d bet in the long run they’d save more money not providing a second set of Globalist benefits to a “true” GOH booking than the elite night would cost them.

    It doesn’t offend my ethics.

  3. Look at it another way: with a “normal” use of the GOH certificate, it’s going to cost them an extra elite night (for you) and a set of globalist benefits. If you use it on a stay that would otherwise be a globalist stay as a “trick”, then the same certificate is really only going to cost them the extra elite night, since they’d be providing the globalist benefits either way.

    That doesn’t seem unethical at all to me, although perhaps poor value in most circumstances.

  4. I had an issue with the second scenario but it had nothing to do with GOH benefits. I booked a 3 night stay at a boutique Hyatt and used my points to pay for part of the booking.

    Some time later, I decided to extend my stay an extra day and called the hotel direct to add the extra day. The agent tried but said the system would not let her do that because I had used points for part of the cost. (Made no sense to me either.) I called the main Hyatt number and an offshore agent told me basically the same thing but suggested I cancel the booking and rebook it. I didn’t want to do that because it was a big graduation weekend and I was afraid the room might be gone before the rebooking took.

    So I called the hotel back and got the same story, different agent. She said she would just book a separate day and we could just tell the desk that we would be staying in the same room and we didn’t need to change rooms (it was a junior suite, both bookings, identical category).

    The third day we reminded the desk not to have the room cleaned as we were staying another night, same category. After some back and forth, she called her manager to the desk who told us we had to check out at 11, remove all our belongings and check back in at 4:00. Said our room had been assigned to another party as part of a group and we had to move. She had upgraded our second booking to the “Presidential suite”. We had grad party and catering supplies, 2 weeks of travel clothes etc and for one night it was not worth the hassle.

    We said fine, easy solution: Give the upgrade to the other party. Problem solved.

    But no. She said the other party wasn’t eligible for the upgrade and she couldn’t give it to him. Totally dug in her heels. My husband pretty much lost it and told her if she wanted us to move out she would have to get the regional manager to physically move us. Failing that, feel free to call the sheriff to do it. I went to bar at that point.

    Anyway, the big boss called us the next morning and said he had sorted it and we could stay in that room. He apologized but said the desk agent was just following policy and without a manual override, which the agent wasn’t authorized to do, the system would not have allowed the other party getting the upgrade.

    We did some free drinks and and a few stink eyes from the desk clerk.


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