Hyatt unveils details of “More Possibilities” promotion

While the promotion hasn’t officially been “published” yet, Hyatt has forwarded me the details of their upcoming promotion, entitled “More Possibilities.” The details are as follows:

We are excited to announce the Hyatt Gold Passport global bonus point promotion, More Possibilities. With More Possibilities, members can earn 3,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points after every three eligible nights (up to 45,000 bonus points) at any Hyatt hotel worldwide from March 1 through May 31. Points are redeemable for free nights, room upgrades, and now dining and spa services.

Plus, Hyatt Credit Cardmembers will receive a 20 percent point bonus – that’s 600 more bonus points after every three nights. With these additional bonus points, Hyatt Credit Cardmembers can earn a maximum of 54,000 bonus points during the promotion.

To register, please visit hyatt.com or call 1-800-228-3360 on February 15. Registration ends April 30, 2013.

So while you have to be earning points in the right increments, this basically equates to 1,000 bonus Gold Passport points per night.

To put this promotion into context, during Hyatt’s fall promotion last year they offered up to 65,000 bonus points after 35 nights, plus the potential for the 20% bonus through the Hyatt Visa card. During their spring promotion last year they offered up to 44,000 bonus points after 16 nights, plus the potential for the 20% bonus through the Hyatt Visa card.

So when maxing out the promotions (not including the Hyatt Visa bonus), in the course of a year we’ve gone from earning 2,750 bonus points per night, to earning ~1,850 bonus points per night, to earning 1,000 bonus points per night. And this doesn’t even begin to consider the “good old days” of Hyatt’s “Faster Free Nights” promotion.

At the end of the day I have two thoughts on the promotion.

First of all, it shows once again the value of the Hyatt Visa card. I don’t actually spend a dime on the card, though it’s worth it for the annual free night certificate and 20% bonus on promotions, which has consistently been offered since the card’s introduction.

But beyond that I think the Gold Passport program is really slipping here. I really like Hyatt and I think they do a phenomenal job of managing customer expectations. But they went from offering amazing promotions and making several positive changes to the program (confirmed suite upgrades, guaranteed 4PM check-out, etc.), to becoming complacent over the past year or two.

During this period Starwood started counting award stays towards status and added suite night awards and complimentary breakfast for Platinum members, which has really revolutionzed the program, and I think it’s time for Hyatt to be innovative and make the next move.

I’m not saying they necessarily have to offer better promotions, but they need to do something, be it adding cash & points or counting award nights towards status.

But maybe that’s not even in their best interest. Usually when a program starts falling behind a bit I tend to think the people running it are idiots. I know for a fact the people running Gold Passport are bright and always on top of things, and I’m sure the introduction of the Hyatt credit card a couple of years ago has placed pressure on what they can offer. After all, it’s tough not to deflate a points currency when the number of points in circulation increases exponentially. And to that end I have to at least give them credit for not devaluing the award chart substantially as of yet.

So I’m disappointed in the promotion, though also realize that what’s in our best interest may not be in their best interest as they probably focus on monetizing the credit card portion of the Gold Passport program.

How do you guys feel about this promotion?

Comments

  1. Hyatt’s promo isn’t exciting but it’s far better than Starwood’s and Hilton’s.

    Starwood added Continental breakfast when you give up your points amenity. Hyatt already had full breakfast without giving up the points amenity.

    Starwood added upgrade priority within 5 days of arrival, up to 10 nights per year, for 50 night Platinums. Hyatt already offered all Diamonds confirmed suites at booking — not just right before arrival — 4 times a year up to 7 nights each. They don’t exclude 25 stay Diamonds.

    Starwood added award stays counting towards elite status, but saved the best bennies for folks with higher night thresholds.

    Hyatt ‘seems’ dormant because it was already better. And hasn’t seemed as innovative recently.

    So yeah it would be nice to ‘do something’ to seem fresh. But which program is actually BETTER?

    Starwood has more top properties, and more properties generally. But then Hilton has more properties still. That matters for choosing a program, but doesn’t really speak to the qualities of the program itself.

  2. @ Gary — Don’t disagree with any of your points, but I think there are a couple of other things worth mentioning:
    — Yes, with Hyatt you can confirm suite upgrades further out, but you can’t do so on award stays. I think we’d both rather use suite upgrades for our “aspirational” stays, which are often on points, where we can’t apply an upgrade with Hyatt but could with Starwood. Even just changing this policy and allowing upgrades on awards would add a HUGE amount of value to the program, in my opinion.
    — I think Hyatt NEEDS to have a stronger program than Starwood given how much smaller their global footprint is. Starwood has a natural advantage purely with the number of properties they have, so I think Hyatt has to have the edge.

  3. Wanted to make the same point Gary did–Hyatt’s 3,000 points after three nights is better than Starwood’s current 2,000 points after four nights, right?

    Lately it seems like beginning-of-the-year promos are weaker than those run later in the year. The hotels know their top guests will direct their stays to their hotels out of necessity to re-earn status. It’s later in the year, after status thresholds have been met, that hotels do more to sweeten the deal.

  4. “you can confirm suite upgrades further out, but you can’t do so on award stays.”

    Sure you can, with points. Any member can. And Hyatt charges 50% more points for the suite rather than 100% more like Starwood.

    I agree – and noted in my comment above – the Starwood has more properties and in general more aspirational properties than other chains.

    I agree also that I want to use “suite upgrades for our “aspirational” stays, which are often on point” — but if I care about the suite I don’t want to lock in planes to fly half a world away without knowing that I will get it. So I’d rather evaluate a paid rate + confirmed suite upgrade (or upgrade on points — no hotel award matches the value Hyatt offers in suite upgrades on paid nights with points) or an award for 50% more points than hope that 5 days out the room I want will be available.

    Still, Hyatt would help themselves with additional innovation (hey, ditching Portico White Ginger was a start…).

    But I don’t really think it’s fair to suggest that Starwood has pulled *ahead* of Hyatt. They’ve innovated — something they really needed to do — and definitely improved the program last year (recent announced changes to cash and points notwithstanding). But they didn’t bring the benefits up to Hyatt level. They merely closed the gap.

  5. The only think that matters about hyatt and gold passport is that the best properties remain 22k points. That’s the only reason people use the program, and as long as that’s there, and we can xfer from ultimate rewards, then we dont’ have a right to complain about anything.

  6. @ Gary — Agree as well, though they also have the minimum three night restriction in place for booking a suite award. At least half of my aspirational stays are one to two nights, so that’s not an option there.

  7. Another angle to consider – I have always seen the most generous point promotions as putting deflation pressure on that currency in the long run. This is especially true when consistent generous promotions are rolled out – is there any wonder we feel that US Air has been ripe for a devaluation after all of their points purchasing offers, or IHG doing a double devaluation the last two years while consistently offering an 80k points bonus on their card those two years?

    If anything, by keeping the promotions realistic, Hyatt is keeping their currency stable and their redemption rate steady. It means less points in for me as a diamond for my nights, but I also have supply of UR points if needed for a redemption as well.

  8. It’s time for Hyatt to start counting award stays toward status. Hilton has done it for at least the last 10 years. Starwood has done it for the past year. Hyatt has the smallest footprint, requires as many stays as Starwood for top tier, but doesn’t do it.

  9. Thanks for the detail. Considering Hyatt’s low award threshold for top tier properties (22,000 pts/night; I have a friend who’ll be spending 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney next month when the rack rate is $700+), I can understand why their promos have declined in earning potential and it doesn’t bother me. Their program is still the best for my travel patterns.

  10. Hmm. ‘Best Spring Promotion’ is now something like ‘Best one-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby’. Can’t say I’ll be defending any of ’em….

    I’ve earned Hyatt Diamond with leisure stays for the last few years. But now that it takes 45 nights to earn 45k bonus points…. (Isn’t that what Gary got from one complaint, when his suite went missing in SFO?)… it makes more sense to stock up on points with a credit card.

    And as for on-property benefits, at the Hyatts I care about, I can get better-than-Diamond benefits through Amex FHR/Visa Signature/Chase LHR for most paid stays. And as for awards, I can put up with buying the odd breakfast.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying, for many leisure travelers, going for Diamond made sense a couple of years ago. I’m not sure that it does so much, any more….

  11. “Points are redeemable for free….. and now dining and spa services.”

    Is this new and at what rates?

  12. Hyatt Gold Passport has gone from being the best loyalty program in the industry having Faster Free Nights and Gx bonus offers to offering the absolutely most lackluster promos out there. This offer is truly sad and lacking incentive. Hilton’s current promo is double points which amounts to Diamonds earning 30 points per night per dollar spent. An AXON or GLON Category 7 redemption at 4 or 6 nights is a great redemption possibility at a plethora of hotels. The Hyatt promo is equivalent to something akin to the old Gx bonus offers. And then one has to look at the relatively higher nightly rates compared to Hilton.

    I like Hyatt and they have some spectacular hotels, but my loyalty is not blind, nor am I willing to blindly spend $300 a night for any Grand Hyatt hotel, when I can book a Hilton hotel at many more locations and a more competitive rate.

    It seems there are some whom will praise Hyatt irrespective of their lack of compelling hotel promos and more expensive rates. Perhaps when Hyatt’s bottom line stops dropping, maybe they will then consider bringing FFN back, but I realize this is not to be expected. Hilton, Marriott, and SPG all offer more locations and more compelling reasons to book their hotels.

  13. @ Antonio — Nope, the card just has to be linked to the Gold Passport account in order to qualify. There’s no need to pay with it.

  14. I am actually surprised that Hyatt needs to offer promotions at all. Being able to offer less and less incentives is a strong sign how well they are doing in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

    People are spending their money with Hyatt because they think they get value for money and it’s not the points carrot that make them choose Hyatt. How much better can you do as a hotel?

    Personally, I don’t like the preferred treatment for Hyatt Credit Card holders but has that kept me away from Hyatt? I spent over 50 nights last year with Hyatt and Hyatt is just worth every dollar spent.

    Hyatt looks after me very well wherever I stay. My Personal Line Rep makes things even better – why would I need a promotion to stay at Hyatt? I would be stupid to spend my money elsewhere…

  15. Lucky,

    Is there any evidence anywhere that the Hyatt credit card is churnable? I haven’t had one for about 14 months but would only consider getting a new one if I could get another two free night bonus offer…

  16. @ Erik — With Chase there’s always an element of “YMMV” to whether or not you get the bonus. Usually you have to wait a few years before you can get the bonus again, so aside from isolated, odd cases, I haven’t heard of it being churnable.

  17. @Brad, …”Wanted to make the same point Gary did–Hyatt’s 3,000 points after three nights is better than Starwood’s current 2,000 points after four nights, right?”

    Starwood offers 18,000 points after 20 nights (1/15-04/15/2013) and that brings an average of 900 points per night or 3,600 points for four nights. Not that bad compared to 4,000 pts for four nights at Hyatt.

    Beginning from last year end until Feb 28, 2013, I stayed at Le Meridien and earns additional 2,000 bonus points per stay/night. Adding both promotions up gives me 2,900 bonus spg pts per stay/night, or 11,600 bonus pts for four nights (you have to change hotels every night to earn this amount). I have not included the spg 1,000 delta mile bonus stay or the SPGPLUS (500 additional bonus pts) stay/night with Sheraton or Westin.

    In terms of free nights, Marriott is currently offering one free nights for two stays (at Category 1-4). Btw, Best Western offers one free night (valid until 6/30/13)for three stays and, for targeted customers (I did not receive this offer), one free night for one stay. In case someone knows how outsiders can earn this Best Western 1 for 1 promotion, please share with us.

    When I plan to convert spg pts into airline miles, I again like spg much better than hyatt.

    ====
    I am not arguing Starwood and/or Marriott are beter that Hyatt (although I do think they are). I am figuring where I should stay this year for myself.

    After giving up my Hilton diamond status last year (still maintaining Marriott and SPG platinum), I have additional 50 nights this year. That is why I kept my eye open on Club Carlson and Hyatt, among others. I would rather choose Club Carlson triple points promotion (ending 3/15/13) than Hyatt promotion. After I read Lucky’ analysis and analyzed Hyatt award stays, I decide to give up Hyatt at least this time. However, I have not decided where to stay the extra 50 nights this year.

    The trully outstanding merit worth mentioning for Hyatt is, Hyatt points never expire, even if I leave it dormant for 3 years already.

  18. @SMK77,
    I agree with everything you said (based on my limited stays at Hyatt). But I would like to give you a simple reason why some business travelers like me cares so much about pts and award stays — my employer reimburses my business trips but I have to pay for my family’s leisure/vacation trips. That is why I intend to maximize the former in terms of points and minimize the latter in term of money. I am willing to sacrifice the comfortableness in my business trip in exchange for more points or more award stays.

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