Does The Introduction Of World Of Hyatt Violate The Terms Of Gold Passport?

Last week we first learned about World of Hyatt, which will replace Gold Passport as Hyatt’s loyalty program as of March 1, 2017. All members will be transferred over to the new program and given status based on their 2016 stay activity with Gold Passport. Personally I’m conflicted about the new program, and there are things I both love and hate.

Regardless of how you feel about the program as such, Tokyo Hyatt Fan brings up an interesting point about how Hyatt seems to be violating the terms & conditions of the Gold Passport program with how they’re making these changes. Specifically, the Gold Passport terms & conditions state that Hyatt can end the Gold Passport program, but only if they provide written notice to members at least six months in advance:

3. The Hyatt Gold Passport program may continue until such time as Hyatt Gold Passport at its sole discretion elects to designate a program termination date. Hyatt Gold Passport has the right to end the Hyatt Gold Passport program by providing written notice to then Active Members six (6) months in advance.

The new World of Hyatt program was first revealed on October 27, 2016, at which point they announced that the program would remain in effect through February 28. After that it would “transition to a new program,” World of Hyatt.

So even if we are to assume that a press release counts as “written notice to members” (which is questionable), this means that they could only introduce the program as of April 27, 2017, at the earliest, at least per their terms.

Tokyo Hyatt Fan suggests emailing Hyatt or contacting the Better Business Bureau or taking this to small claims court in Delaware for any loss of benefits. Personally I think that’s silly, because current Diamond members who don’t plan on requalifying next year have something to gain with the new program being introduced sooner.

Once the new program is introduced, all top tier Globalist members will receive a free night at any Hyatt hotel in the world. Furthermore, Globalist members will begin receiving unlimited complimentary suite upgrades. If you know you won’t be able to requalify for Globalist, you should be happy about getting the status sooner rather than later.

Grand-Hyatt-Hong-Kong-Grand-Suite - 12
Globalist members will enjoy unlimited complimentary suite upgrades

Still, it’s a bit surprising to see that Hyatt is violating their own terms with the introduction of the World of Hyatt program…

I’m (obviously) not a lawyer, so perhaps I’m missing something. To some degree this is perhaps all semantics. They’re able to change program benefits without any sort of advance notice, so it’s not that we’re entitled to any particular benefits for six months. Rather it seems that it’s just discontinuation of the program as such that they need to provide six months notice of.

If they said “we’re changing the name of Gold Passport” while also changing the benefits, no advance notice would be required. However, they’re going out of their way to advertise that they’re “transitioning to a new program,” so…

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To our lawyer-type readers, what say you?

Comments

  1. I still can’t believe at how tacky the “World of Hyatt” slogan and logo is. Every time I look at it…. it’s “wtf”?!?!?!? This can’t be serious….and yet it is.

  2. Despite the removal of the stays road to qualification and the crappy branding this is the first of the “Enhancements” that are actually good

  3. I’m not a lawyer, but Hyatt can point to the enhanced benefits for current diamonds when matched to Globalist. Technically, there is no change in qualification requirements since those that qualify based on 2016 are already matched to Globalist. only folks with legitimate gripes would be Current Platinums with less than 30 nights and get only discoverist status, which isn’t as good as Platinum, but even those differences in benefits are minuscule.

  4. Class action suit incoming. $5 million settlement. $4.95 million to attorneys in fees and we all get a voucher for a free bottle of water

  5. LOL I love what MG says its so true. I would say the biggest problem is they have to prove damages. A name change in and of itself would not be considered a material change. If there were other changes that were material, you would have to prove damages. But sounds like it stipulates they can change benefits without notice. Bottom line if people are interested read the difference between material vs non material breach of contract. Now I guess the complaint to the BBB/ emailing Hyatt might get you something. But I am sure that Hyatt ran this by their legal department. In this sue happy world who knows maybe someone will sue them.

  6. Glad they did not say it was terminated and instead transitioned instead. I would not have been happy to have to use all my points in 6 months before termination of the program. Not happy about eliminating stays but have to accept it. I have been loyal to Hyatt but will use the next few years to use points ina variety of programs and will probably go more to Hilton where I will have Gold.

  7. Not a lawyer but it seems like three main things are being taken away from Diamonds and others:

    1) 1,000 point welcome for Diamond
    2) 2,500 bonus for closed club lounges
    3) ability to re-qualify with 25 stays for diamond or 10 stays for platinum.

    Wonder if this news could somehow force Hyatt to maintain these three items until end of April thereby giving folks two extra months to earn some extra points and more importantly hit 25 stays. Doing 25 stays by end of April is a lot more feasible then by end of February.

  8. @MG. And how much work would you do for that “free bottle of water?” Absolutely nothing? How much time and money would you risk for that? Absolutely nothing? That’s what I thought.

    are companies worried about a thousand people suing individually in small claims court over unfair things that take a small amount from many customers but can lead to big money for them? No.

    Does that threat and fear of class actions keep companies in line? Yes.

    By the way, even if there was a class action, the members can always chose to opt-out of it and pursue their own fight. But most people would rather have the free bottle of water than the time and hassle of getting a lawyer (who they would have to pay) and going to court. Or, more likely, arbitration, where the arbitration companies have begged and bribed to get written into those contracts by telling the huge companies things like “95% of the time we side with the business!”

    Stop begrudging the lawyers. If the gov’t won’t intervene-and politicians can be bought-they’re often the only ones protecting consumers.

  9. @Margaret: I know you prefer hourly motels to Hyatt hotels, but from a legal perspective, what does Frank think of this?

  10. I am still bothered that Hyatt wasn’t more honest about this. Apologize and explain reductions and reasons. Instead they claimed this was listening to members and benefiting members. A misrepresentation on top of a breach of terms. Will someone bring a class action? I would say more likely than not. If Hyatt was benefitting members it would have kept the existing program and adding a “super tier” at the top. That would have been listening.

  11. @A It was a tongue-in-cheek post meant to get a chuckle…not to prompt the typical argumentative reply.

    Hope your day gets better!

  12. Although not happy, I can live with the changes in benefits, but for goodness sake, please Hyatt, change your logo, and the names of the levels. They just suck.

  13. Lol. Lawyers that right stuff like that are dicks. Read that section again. Note that operative words are “may” and “right.” Those aren’t restrictive terms. On first glance it looks like this term restricts Hyatt’s ability to end the program without noticee, but it does nothing of the sort. It just states what the company “may” do and “hasthe right” to do. So that whole term is absolutely meaningless. They could say they “may send a member to the moon” or “have the right to give a member a million bucks” without ever fulfilling those things. It’s legalise BS.

  14. I’m surprised people are buying this “unlimited suite upgrades” for Globalists line. It’s hard enough already getting a suite using a DSU. You think the properties that are gaming the heck out of the system now to avoid giving away suites for free will give even more of them away beginning March 1???

  15. As TokyoHyattFan is blocking the negative comments in his blog, re-posting it here. His legal argument is made on the basis that “replacing” implies “termination”. If Hyatt follows this argument, they could cancel his Diamond status in May 2017 (i.e. he would still get the Diamond benefits from January to May), then let him start at zero status, zero points, and zero qualifying nights in June 2017 in the new program. Otherwise, this part of the Gold Passport Terms does apply:

    Hyatt Gold Passport may change the program rules, conditions, benefits, or awards pertaining to the program at any time without notice.

    The counterargument to Hyatt terminating their old program is that we keep all our points, our accounts, our account number, and they give Diamond members that had qualified with less than 60 nights in 2016 still a full year of Globalist until Feb 2018 (i.e. we got way more than 6 months notice). It’s a mere change of conditions and benefits combined with a rebranding. No termination of the program and accounts has happened.

  16. I am a Diamond member for 12 consecutive years, and mostly made it on stays, not nights.
    The new program is the worst ever, and I for one, will stop staying at Hyatt.

    SPG is still a great program, and with Marriott now behind, it will thrive.
    In hindsight, I made the mistake of choosing Hyatt (Thank you Hyatt!)
    over SPG. If I would have gone the SPG route, I would have now become a “lifetime” platinum the highest at SPG!

    Goes to show that Hyatt management care less for loyalists like me 🙁

  17. I just spent 2 hours between Hyatt and the Hyatt Chase card trying to understand why I lost over 8 nights of awards. They are robotic even on escalating the call. I truly hate this hotel chain and plan on never using them again!!!!!

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