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At the beginning of the year, Hyatt was the first to announce they would be making several customer-friendly moves including flexible cancellation policy for guests, extending elite status by a year, and extending the expiration dates for…well, everything that was due to expire. Well, they’re at it again. Let’s take a look at the details.
EXTENDING LOYALTY BENEFITS
The following changes can best be described by Amy Weinberg, senior vice president, World of Hyatt:
We are actively listening to member feedback and understand their need to have peace of mind when booking travel, and because of this, our adjusted policies and generous promotions ensure members can continue to enjoy a rewarding experience with us.
Listening to member feedback, that’s an interesting concept (yes, we’re looking at your Marriott Bonvoy). 😉
So, here are the major changes for the World of Hyatt (WOH) program:
- WOH is suspending the forfeiture of points through 30 June 2021
- All unused Hyatt suite upgrades and club upgrade awards that were due to expire on 28 February 2021 will now be extended through 31 December 2021
- All unused free night awards that were earned in 2020 with 2021 expiration dates will now be extended through 31 December 2021
- WOH will delay introduction of the ‘peak and off-peak’ award chart until July 2021. Initially, it was to be introduced in March 2020, then early 2021 due to the pandemic, and now the program has moved it back another 7 months.
HOTEL CATEGORY CHANGES
Historically, Hyatt has made significant changes to hotel categories in March of every year but this year the program has announced changes will be minimal. In other words, each hotel will remain in its current category and be redeemable for the same number of points in 2021 as it was in 2020, except for the hotels below.
The following hotels will be moving down in category as of 29 October 2020:
- Stonebridge Inn, A Destination Hotel (Category 5 to 4)
- Wailea Grand Champions Villas, A Destination Residence (Category 6 to 5)
- Wailea Ekolu Village, A Destination Residence (Category 6 to 5)
- Wailea Ekahi Village, A Destination Residence (Category 6 to 5)
- Lichenhearth, A Destination Residence (Category 6 to 5)
- Parker New York (Category 6 to 5)
- Grand Hyatt Vail (Category 7 to 6)
- Mauna Lani Point, A Destination Residence (Category 7 to 6)
- Wailea Elua Village, A Destination Residence (Category 8 to 7)
- Kaanapali Alii, A Destination Residence (Category 8 to 7)
- Vail Residences at Cascade Village, A Destination Residence (Category 8 to 7)
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak, A Destination Hotel (Category 8 to 7)
The following hotels will be moving up in category as of mid-March 2021:
- Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport (Category 2 to 3)
- Hyatt House Nashville/Downtown-SoBro (Category 4 to 5)
- Mar Monte Hotel part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt (Category 4 to 5)
- Park Hyatt Aviara (Category 5 to 6)
As always, WOH will refund members the point difference for any existing reservations at hotels requiring fewer points as of 29 October 2020.
Personally, I think Hyatt deserves all the credit in the world for these customer-friendly moves in a time that has a lot of uncertainty.
For context, several other major hotel loyalty programs still have certificates and points due to expire by the end of the year (or shortly thereafter) and have made no attempt to work with their most loyal customers.
However, overall, these announcements are extremely positive. Hopefully other programs will jump on board and do the same.
What do you think about these changes?