Reader cipas raised an interesting topic in the “Ask Lucky” forum:
I’m regular reader and read about Hyatt Seattle award night blocking back in few month ago.
I have similar case in South Korea properties and wondering what will be the best option to approach high-level personal in Hyatt Corporation.
First, Grand Hyatt Incheon was formally Hyatt Regency Incheon, renovated, build new tower and became Grand Hyatt.
When they opened new tower, they arranged all of the standard rooms in old tower, which is east tower. So in new tower, there aren’t any standard category rooms.
Now, during weekend of all year they are closing east tower, saying it’s not operating East tower during weekend for efficiency reason. Which makes NO standard room available for award night during weekends.
Do you think this is allowed? or against franchise contracts with Hyatt?
Second, Grand Hyatt Seoul announced they have new policy for summer (peak) season.
Grand Hyatt Seoul states that Hyatt Corporation allowed them to run-like-resort property during summer season and can apply Hyatt Resort policy.
Which allows them to NOT honor any guarantees of Diamond & Platinum benefits.
It is happening now and was happening since July.
Interesting, interesting, interesting!
Hotels are getting creative with restrictions
The business side of the hotel industry — especially when it comes to loyalty programs — is outrageously complex. In many ways it actually makes the airline industry look simple by comparison.
For the most part, the major hotel chains simply have management contracts for “their” hotels. Hyatt, Starwood, etc., get a percentage of revenue (or compensation using some other metric), and in exchange they market the hotel, staff it, provide guidance/standard operating procedures, etc.
The fact that hotels have different owners is one of the reasons guest experiences can differ significantly based on where you stay. Some hotels clearly don’t fully “buy into” the loyalty programs, and that’s why elite benefits at some properties are lackluster. And then there are others that “get it.”
The challenge is that when hotels are full and room rates are quite high (as is the case right now), it’s easy for hotels to try and get “creative” to limit having to dish out perks and free nights (even though they’re compensated by the hotel loyalty program for those).
With that in mind, let’s tackle these specific issues.
No standard rooms for sale at Grand Hyatt Incheon?
The hotel has two towers, and apparently they’re shutting down one of them on weekends due to low demand.
Technically all the standard rooms are in one tower — coincidentally, the one which is shut down.
The “standard room” at this hotel is a Grand Twin/King room, which is bookable for 8,000 points per night.
However, on weekends the most basic room for sale is the Grand Deluxe King room, which is renovated, slightly larger, and located in the other tower.
So is it legit for the hotel not to make award nights available across the board on weekends, given that there are technically no standard rooms available for sale?
The Hyatt Gold Passport T&Cs say the following regarding redeeming points for standard rooms:
Hyatt Gold Passport Free Night Awards apply when standard rooms are available at the Hyatt Daily Rate. Standard rooms are defined by each hotel and are not subject to blackout dates. Hyatt Gold Passport Free Night Awards cannot be redeemed for packages.
Per the terms, the hotel is allowed to define what constitutes a standard room. Which they’re defining in this case as a Grand Twin/King room. However, the terms also state that these rooms are “not subject to blackout dates.” If these rooms aren’t available on any weekends, then clearly they’re imposing blackout dates.
So yes, I do think the hotel is violating Hyatt T&Cs. I actually don’t think it’s intentional, though. Presumably if there’s low demand on weekends they’d be happy to have people redeem points there. But the way the system is set up, you can only redeem points for a standard room, and because of how it works out, those aren’t available on weekends.
I do think it’s an oversight, though agree it violates the terms. Because there are very clear blackout dates here.
Grand Hyatt Seoul claiming to be a resort?
Now this is really low, if true. Hyatt resorts technically don’t have to honor late check-out. 4PM Diamond check-out is guaranteed at all non-resorts, and subject to availability at resorts. Here’s how the Hyatt T&Cs define that benefit:
Diamond members receive a 4:00 PM late checkout (local hotel time) on day of departure at most Hyatt properties. 4:00 PM late checkout is subject to availability at hotels with a casino (including Grand Hyatt Macau and Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila) and Hyatt resorts. A detailed list of Hyatt resorts can be found at hyattresorts.com.
In this case Hyatt is defining resorts as those properties listed at hyattresorts.com. What the selection process is like I’m not sure of, as presumably there are some internal criteria used to identify that.
That being said, the Grand Hyatt Seoul is not listed on that page, and therefore can’t arbitrarily decide on weekends that they’re a resort, in my opinion. And regardless, it would be a real stretch to call it a resort.
While I think the Grand Hyatt Incheon award blocking on weekends is unintentional, what the Grand Hyatt Seoul is doing is shameful and intentional (assuming it’s actually the case and not one misinformed agent making up rules).
Hyatt Gold Passport is a really well run program, and ultimately I think Hyatt does among the best job of delivering a consistent experience. I think the first situation described above is unintentional (and perhaps even a technology limitation), while the second situation is clearly a very customer unfriendly hotel policy, as opposed to something coming from higher up.
I’ll follow up directly with Hyatt Gold Passport on both of the above, and will report back with any updates.
What do you make of the above two situations? Are either policies excusable? Do you think they’re intentional?