Hyatt Eliminating AARP Discounts

Hotels offer all kinds of discounted rates to consumers — from advance purchase to corporate to senior to AAA, there are many ways to save money off the “sticker price” of a hotel stay.

Hyatt-Rate-Options

While I understand the concept of a senior discount, for example, I’ve always been a bit puzzled by discounts for being a member of a club anyone can join at a low cost, like AAA, AARP, etc. What incentive does a hotel chain have to offer someone a discount because they spend $16 a year to join a club?

It’s one thing if there were exclusivity contracts and therefore clubs like AAA and AARP only offered discounts at one or two hotel chains, which could actually impact where someone stays. But in practice most major hotel chains offer these discounts, which makes you wonder how exactly they’re coming out ahead.

It seems like at least one hotel chain may be having a similar thought. Via Miles from Blighty, it looks like Hyatt will be eliminating discounts for AARP discounts as of February 1, 2016. While it’s not published anywhere yet (here’s the AARP page listing the 10% off benefit at Hyatts), it’s reflected when you search for availability.

Hyatt-AARP-Discount

For example, plenty of hotels show the discount for the night of January 31, 2016:

Hyatt-AARP-Discount-1

But starting February 1, 2016, I don’t see the AARP discount available at any properties:

Hyatt-AARP-Discount-2

Hyatt will continue to offer senior citizen discounts, though that’s only for guests who are 60+ years old. While the senior citizen discount has an age requirement, there’s no requirement to join the AARP, meaning it was much more widely useful.

Hyatt-Senior-Rate

Hyatt seems to continue to offer AAA members discounts as well.

Oh well, at least the AARP discount is being eliminated for Hyatt and not the British Airways discount, which is the single greatest benefit of an AARP membership, in my opinion.

AARP-Discount

Bottom line

It’s interesting to see Hyatt eliminate one of these discounts but not the other. While Hyatt will no longer offer an AARP discount, they will offer a senior citizen discount, AAA discount, etc.

It was always my understanding that these kinds of discounts were just a mutual agreement between the hotel and the club — it allows hotels like Hyatt to get more guests, and allows clubs like AARP to get more members. In other words, I don’t believe any money was changing hands between AARP and Hyatt for the privilege of working together.

I’d be curious to know what prompted this.

Did you ever use an AARP discount for a stay at a Hyatt?

Comments

  1. I would say that your attitude about AARP and AAA benefits is due to your naïve life. In the case of AARP, they do considerable good for the senior community. Yes, you can join when a little younger but that isn’t the intent. Offering discounts to the elderly isn’t something to look at your bottom line and say “boy, we can claw back that money” from those on limited budgets. AARP and AAA have typically negotiated these discounts for their groups to enhance the package they offer. Taking away these discounts then weakens the two programs and then some will be less likely to join and it becomes a snowball effect. Bottom line: Pretty Republican to you to not feel any pain for the elderly being stripped of one more help they get. Why does there need to be an incentive to the hotel other than public relations and goodwill? It doesn’t surprise me a spoiled 20 something wouldn’t be bothered by this.

  2. @Lucky, What if you already have a reservation at AARP discount for nights after Feb 1,2016? Will they still honor the rate?

  3. @ Robert — Hyatt is continuing to offer senior discounts. They’re not taking away anything from the “elderly” here.

  4. If Hyatt continues to give senior discounts, then no harm, no foul for the poor elderly. Mighty Democrat of Robert to feel that those members of the AARP who are actually not poor elderly.should receive a discount for joining AARP. Perhaps Obama can mandate that all citizens must join an AARP plan or pay a penalty so that all Americans have equal access to AARP discounts.

  5. Of course I used it. 9/10 it was cheaper than other rates. And to the first commenter I think that argument would resonate more if hyatt were doing away with senior discounts. I actually think this move might protect the community as it prevents people like me from using and thus diluting a benefit.

    Lucky-personally I do love the benefits of AARP, but like the commercial says you don’t know AARP if you think I joined just for them. Since I was a teenager I read their publication (formerly modern maturity) with great voracity and continue to participate in the community. It’s an amazing bridge to a different generation and a great source of information if you have aging parents or just want to be prepared for the next chapters.

  6. @Robert, maybe read the article. They aren’t eliminating discounts for the elderly, they are eliminating them for the political lobby group AARP, which has strayed so far from their original purpose that 20 somethings are members of the group. So they are not stripping a benefit from the elderly, they at stripping it from the middle aged and younger.

  7. If true, I would say that it is yet another devaluation of Hyatt as a hospitality company — an accelerating trend in what appears like a race to bottom.

  8. I thought you had to be 50 to join AARP? With the prevalence of discount mechanisms, Hotwire, etc. the need to belong to an organization for travel has diminished. AAA used to be more useful before the internet age and mobile phone mapping and Tom Toms. I am quite sure AARP is useful for many things maybe just not travel discounts so much anymore. A quick search shows that Hyatt was only added to the AARP discount plan in 2011 so it wasn’t a long term arrangement.

  9. “…I’ve always been a bit puzzled by discounts for being a member of a club anyone can join at a low cost, like AAA, AARP, etc. What incentive does a hotel chain have to offer someone a discount because they spend $16 a year to join a club?…”

    At first I was surprised at your naivety for someone immersed in the travel industry. But then you’re not so much in that general world as just the miles/points/travel hacking areas.

    The rates aren’t just thrown out there for goodwill. The corresponding organizations promote the discounts, typically highlighting the participating travel providers on the organization’s website, literature, etc. with links to book with the providers. This is advertising and promotion for the travel provider.

    Although it’s not clear why you think the cost of an organizational membership has any bearing on discount agreements with outside parties, note that while the AARP Associate membership may only be $16, the starting AAA membership runs around $70/year for one person (I think it varies slightly depending on location), about $40 for an additional member…so a married couple are paying $100 or so per year. And the Plus and Premier go up from there…my Plus membership with my wife is about $165 per year.

  10. I booked AARP rate for my upcoming Hyatt Regency Hakone stay, but was told AARP rate does not qualify to use diamond suite certificate. Then I rebooked it using regular rate.

  11. FWIW, the AAA membership isn’t “cheap” – a Classic membership can run $59, with a Premier membership over $100. Now, it’s been quite useful to me, since I do a fair amount of travelling via car.

    However, to your point, even AAA for example has a preferred rental car company – Hertz gets discounts, plus additional free drivers, no under 25 surcharge, etc. There may be “codes” which work with other companies though. But for hotels, it’s a wider range.

    WR

  12. Can’t have a blog in 2016 without people lobbing unnecessary political grenades at a discontinuation of a relationship between two private businesses, can we?

  13. @Raulf said: “I booked AARP rate for my upcoming Hyatt Regency Hakone stay, but was told AARP rate does not qualify to use diamond suite certificate. Then I rebooked it using regular rate.”

    It is reports like these that expose just how ridiculous is the bloggers’ gushing about the 4 DSUs PER YEAR that HGP Diamonds get. The reality is that the HGP DSU is the most restrictive and limited of all top-tier suite upgrades.

    Using the AARP rate, I booked a harbor-side deluxe (premium) room on revenue for one night, followed by 2 award nights in a standard room at Conrad Hong. When I checked in 5 days ago, I was automatically upgraded to a gorgeous harbor-side suite as HH a Diamond for all 3 nights! No questions about which rate I’d booked nor about the fact that 2 of the 3 nights were award nights…

  14. I have tried for months to access the AARP-British Airways discount and have never been able to logon, even when trying from three different computers. I have no problem logging onto AARP’s site, it’s their BA link that won’t let me logon. I emailed the third-party company about it and they deny any problems. I spoke with AARP tech support and they say there’s nothing they can do.

    Arrgghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. @Raulf – That is strange, I was able to book Hyatt Ziva Cancun using AARP rate and also used my Diamond upgrade to the Pyramid Suite.

  16. Perhaps this change only affects bookings (vs. stays) after 1/31? I just booked Hyatt Regency Kyoto a few days ago for later in the year using the AARP rate. Out of curiosity I just went back and checked and as of today the rate is still bookable. Also, I noticed that their senior rate is for 62 or older, not 60.

  17. We were aarp members for years but they just became too partisan so we stopped paying the $16 AF. Not surprised that Hyatt dropped them too.

  18. I actually have a harder time understanding a senior rate than an AARP rate. At least with AARP, two private organizations have entered into a contract. On the other hand, when I turn 60 in a couple years, I’m not sure why I suddenly should get a $600 Park Hyatt room for 10% less just because I had a birthday. I can see senior discounts on necessities but for luxury hotels? I can see it as a PR thing, but like a lot of other things these days it seems to have turned into an entitlement thing.

  19. An entitlement? So 2 private organizations forming a contract you get, but 1 private organization offering a small discount you think is an entitlement? I’ll try to make this as simple as possible: broadly speaking, seniors are retired and have less income than younger people who are still employed, so organizations offer discounts to try to get their business. Radical concept, I know. Those crazy leftist businesses trying to make money! I notice nobody complains about the business class fare discounts as a crypto-socialist pact with the devil.

    Also LOL at all these “radical leftist Obama healthcare entitlement” comments. If you aren’t leaving seniors in the street to starve and die, you’re a Marxist. Not that anyone here knows what that means.

  20. travel4b, maybe Hyatt has figured out that their 60+ guests are less wasteful or in some other way benefit the hotel. And maybe there are some seniors who expect a discount but I don’t think you can generalize to all. When I am a senior I will appreciate a discount but certainly won’t expect it.

  21. @tara – that was pretty much the point I was making and was not generalizing about seniors but rather my personal opinion about a overall culture of entitlement. I, too, will appreciate a senior discount but won’t expect it.

    @Lisa – not sure where to start here, but if there was a comment earlier in the thread about “radical leftist Obama healthcare entitlement” I sure missed it. 🙂 You missed my point entirely so please re-read it. Maybe it’s the circle I run in but if you have enough money to book a room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo you really don’t need a 10% discount merely for being of a certain age. Breaks for things like your heating bill if you are poor, senior or working, I get; breaks for travel luxuries I don’t. As for the starving and dying in the streets remark that was just plain over the top!

  22. I have both AAA and AARP. One interesting note is the rate is ALWAYS the same, so if you have one just for the discount you are over subscribed. Just go with AAA as its good with Hyatt AND SPG.

  23. @Paul,

    Apparently not always. I just checked the Kyoto Hyatt and while the AARP rate is discounted 10% the AAA rate is the same as the Hyatt daily rate.

  24. I would assume that prolific postings by multiple travel blogs about the “no-brainer” of <50YO signing up for AARP (for $16/yr) solely to gain discounts had at least some effect.

    I'm not typically a ranter of "how dare you publicize this – they'll kill it!!!" hyperbole. But this one was unsurprising.

  25. @Raulf & @ DCS, Hyatt Diamond Suite upgrades can be used with any rate that qualifies to earn points and nights, including AARP rate and even points and cash rate. Hyatt has a different suite upgrade that any HGP member can utilize. That suite upgrade which is available to all requires the use of the Hyatt daily rate or above. This is a perk available to any general member of HGP. Unfortunately, even as an HHonors Diamond I am unable to reserve a suite upgrade at booking, something that any HGP member can do. Hyatt allows me to reserve a suite 4 times per year when it is important to me. In addition I am often assigned to a suite without use of a suite upgrade certificate in Hyatt hotels where I have repeat stays. On several occasions I have been assigned to the Presidential suite for short stays. In Asia, HHonors Diamond and even when only Gold , landed me upgrades to suites, but in US HHonors Diamond results in treatment equal to how low level Plats are treated by HGP. I suppose that if I had no self respect I could successfully beg for an HHonors upgrade, but respect received from begging is ridicule not respect.

  26. @Ken: “Hyatt allows me to reserve a suite 4 times per year when it is important to me.”

    ….subject to AVAILABILITY, just like any other top-tier elite suite upgrade. Translation, it does not matter whether you request the suite at booking or at check-in; the necessary condition is that it be AVAILABLE when the request is made — a simple concept that those pushing this “confirmed” notion fail to grasp.

    I cleared HH Diamond suite upgrades 12 of 12 times in 2014, 13 of 15 in 2015 and better 90% of the time since 2012, meaning not only that complimentary HH Diamond suite upgrades are plenty AVAILABLE at check-in, but also that unlike HGP DSUs, they are (a) good on any eligible stay, including pure AWARD stays, (b) they are good for stays of any duration and not capped at 7 nights, (c) they are UNLIMITED and not limited to just 4 certificates/yr.

    The notion that playing by a program’s rules constitutes “begging” is simply stupid and explains why so many HH Diamonds come here and bitch about having never been upgraded to a suite. Well, hello! Wise up and use your brain! I will not repost the list of hotels outside of Asia where I got upgraded in 2015, but I “begged” none for the suite upgrades. Lastly, to compare any elite status with HGP Plat is simply laughable because HGP Plat is “elite” in name only. On the contrary, based on available evidence, I would say that HGP Diamond is at best equivalent to HH Gold (which is why bloggers think it is as good as “Diamond”) because they both clear about the same number of upgrades — four — a year and have free breakfast. HH Diamond is significantly above (with “Diamond force” and unlimited suite upgrades and club lounge access)… 😉

  27. @DCS, the fact remains that when I made my room reservation for my partner’s birthday celebration, Hyatt confirmed my suite. Had I chosen to celebrate the occasion at a Hilton hotel, we would have shown up at the hotel and I would have had the opportunity to grovel at the feet of an hotel desk clerk to obtain a suite upgrade. You may think that your groveling skills would impress your guest, but I’m sure my partner will be much more impressed as we enter our suite while you and your guest stand in the lobby negotiating your rights with a desk clerk. You keep referring to the fact that the HGP suite upgrade must be available when booked. There is a big difference between availability when booked and availability at checkin. I have NEVER booked an hotel room with Hyatt to be told that a suite upgrade was not available, but I have on many occasions checked into hotels that were totally sold out and no upgrades of any kind were available at checkin. Confirmed upgrades with Hyatt are indeed more valuable than a hope and a prayer with Hilton. I expect a business with which I spend significant amounts to show me respect. I do not consider the opportunity to negotiate my benefits with some low level employee as a proper show of respect.

  28. @Ken — The fact remains that you were able to reserve the suite because there was AVAILABILITY. You do not know that there would not have been availability even at check-in. Got that?

    Besides, if being with your partner in a suite meant that much to you, you probably should simply have booked at suite rather than to play the upgrades lotto….That’s what I would have done.

    Just 4 “confirmed” upgrades a year would do me no good as I would use them up by the end of the first quarter every year. Also, not having the ability to get suite upgrades on pure (points-only) award stays would be a big blow for me. HGP DSUs are the most limited/limiting/restrictive/restricted top-tier elite suite upgrades and that should be evident to most except for those who blindly follow the claims of travel bloggers.

    You stick with your 4 HGP DSUs a year; I will stick with my UNLIMITED, good on stays of any length, including awards stays, complimentary HH Diamond suite upgrades…

    G’day.

  29. @DCS, you state that if the suite upgrade meant that much to me I probably should have booked the suite rather than playing the upgrade lotto. You made my point for me. If I chose to stay at Hilton, I had to either put out big money for the suite or play the Hilton upgrade lotto. By choosing Hyatt, if the suite is available for purchase, it is available for an upgrade, CONFIRMED at booking – no Hilton lotto necessary. I was able to book a CONFIRMED Park Hyatt suite for $125 and some points per night. No lotto. By your own statement you would book the suite (at some outrageous rate) to avoid the Hilton upgrade lotto. Read your own words, the almighty DCS would choose to pay the going suite rate when the suite was important to him, because there is no way to CONFIRM an Hilton suite upgrade at booking. Face the reality that CONFIRMED upgrades offer a tremendous benefit that Hilton doesn’t match. I am a Diamond member of both programs, willing to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each and use them accordingly.

  30. @Ken — There has to be AVAILABILITY for HGP DSU or any other elite upgrade to fly. Actually, with a 90+% success rate clearing complimentary HH Diamond suite upgrades over 3 years and getting better at it, I would have taken my chance waited until check-in for my suite upgrade. By the same token you could have wanted to secure that suite at booking and failed because of lack of AVAILABILITY.

    However, I have also pointed out many of the limitations of HGP DSUs that make it unsuitable for my pattern of staying:
    — I had three stays in 2015 that were more than 7 nights long — I would not be able to use a single DSU for such stays, and yet I was upgraded all three times for the duration of each stay (longest was 9 nights at Conrad Hong Kong in June-July).
    — I just did 3-night pure AWARD stays (i.e. points-only) at WA Beijing, Conrad Hong Kong and Hilton Shanghai and was upgraded each time ( automatically at WA and Conrad). DSUs would have been no good on such “pure” award stays.
    — I did 15 stays in 2015 and got upgraded 13 times. That’s 9 times more than I would have been upgraded with just 4 DSUs/yr, before I had to start paying out of pocket to see the inside of a suite again.

    Stick with your “confirmed” HGP DSUs, I will stick with my complimentary HH Diamond suite upgrades. I have never tried to do a status match to become a HGP Diamond because I find that as loyalty program HGP is a work-in-progress, at best; a joke, at worst.

    G’day!

  31. Senior citizen discount is 62

    RATE TYPE
    Best Available Rate search does not include affiliated or senior rates.

    To qualify for the Government Rate, you must be a federal U.S. government employee. Active U.S. government identification must be presented at check-in. This rate is not valid for government contractors. Government employees may only book one room at this rate during their stay.

    To qualify for the AAA rate, you must be an active member of AAA Motor Club. Membership card must be presented at check-in. AAA members may only book one room at this rate during their stay. International and Canadian AAA members are eligible for AAA Member Rates at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

    To qualify for the Senior Citizen Rate, you must be 62 years of age or older. Valid identification must be presented at check-in. Senior citizens may only book one room at this rate during their stay.

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