This coming March, World of Hyatt will replace Gold Passport as Hyatt’s loyalty program. The new program is drawing mixed reactions, and naturally how you feel about the program probably varies based on what type of guest you are. In theory benefits for guests spending 55+ nights per year with Hyatt are increasing, while benefits for those who earn Diamond status based on 25 stays per year are decreasing.
I’ve shared my overall thoughts on the changes, though in this post I wanted to address a question I was asked by reader Joseph, regarding the terms of World of Hyatt Globalist suite upgrades.
What’s changing with top tier suite upgrades at Hyatt?
Presently Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members receive:
- The best available room at check-in, excluding suites
- Four confirmed suite upgrades per year, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for up to seven nights at the time of booking on a cash or Points + Cash stay
Meanwhile under World of Hyatt, Globalist members will receive:
- The best available room at check-in, including standard suites
- Four confirmed suite upgrades per year, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for up to seven nights at the time of booking on a cash, Points + Cash, or points stay
But, will the unlimited suite upgrade benefit for World of Hyatt Globalist members really be as straightforward as it sounds?
Comparing the T&Cs of Hyatt’s old & new upgrade policies
Under the Hyatt Gold Passport program, here’s how Diamond room upgrades are defined:
Diamond members will receive the best available room (excluding suites), including Regency Club or Grand Club rooms, at the time of check-in.
As you can see, they don’t include suites, though the terms are otherwise very straightforward. You get whatever the best available non-suite is as at check-in.
However, under World of Hyatt, here’s how Globalist room upgrades are defined:
Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including standard suites and rooms with Club lounge-access. The best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay. The “best room” may, but will not necessarily be, of a room type/category higher than that booked by the Member. Best-room-available benefit includes only standard suites (where available), which are defined as rooms within each participating hotel’s or resort’s introductory suite category. Specialty, Premier, Presidential, Diplomatic, and other suites other than standard suites are not included in this benefit. Not valid at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, or Hyatt Residence Club hotels and resorts or at M life Resorts.
As you can see, there’s a lot more language involved here, and also a lot less certainty — “determined by the hotel,” “will not necessarily be,” “hotel or resort in its own discretion,” “may vary from stay-to-stay.”
Now, I’m not sure if this is just Hyatt corporate covering their rear, or if the new terms are actually intended to allow so many ways for hotels not to honor the intent of the benefit.
How does this compare to other hotel chains?
Perhaps the gold standard of unlimited suite upgrades is SPG. Their terms state the following:
Platinum members receive upgrades to the best available rooms, including Standard Suites, subject to availability for the entire length of stay at time of check-in. Not offered at Aloft® or Element℠ hotels.
That seems pretty straightforward, no? That’s not to say that hotels always follow the guidelines, but when they don’t, the guest is definitely in the right.
Meanwhile brands like Hilton and Marriott don’t promise unlimited suite upgrades, but rather give hotels the discretion of upgrading guests to suites if they want to. Here’s how Marriott’s terms read:
Complimentary Room Upgrade: Based on room availability at check-in and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites. All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.
Here’s how Hilton’s terms read:
At Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Canopy™ by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, and DoubleTree by Hilton™ properties, Diamond HHonors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability at the time of check-in (excludes Napua Tower at Grand Wailea and Imperial Floor at Rome Cavalieri). Upgrades for Diamond HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites, as identified by each property. Upgrades exclude executive suites, villas and specialty accommodations (which may include, but not limited to, “Vista” and “Villa” accommodation types), subject to the discretion of the hotel. Group reservations and certain rates are not eligible for suite accommodations and may not be eligible for complimentary upgrades. All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis for the entire stay, as determined at the time of check-in. Preferred rooms are identified by each individual property and may vary within each brand. Upgrades will be given only for one room for the member, regardless of additional rooms the member may have purchased at or after the time of booking. The following brands do not offer complimentary upgrades: Embassy Suites™, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hampton by Hilton™, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, Home2 Suites by Hilton®, and Hilton Grand Vacations®.
Is Hyatt offering top tier suite upgrades like SPG or Hilton/Marriott?
This is the crux of what Joseph is asking me, I think. Is Hyatt actually intending to add a suite upgrade policy similar to Starwood’s, where the member is entitled to the suite as long as it’s available at check-in, or is it intended to be at the hotel’s discretion, where every suite could be empty but the hotel can still deny you a suite upgrade, like Hilton and Marriott?
The answer is that I’m really not sure. I guess my overall thought process is as follows:
- I genuinely think Hyatt management means well and wants their hotels to offer top tier elite members suite upgrades when they’re available
- At the same time, the way the language is currently written, I don’t think Globalist members are necessarily entitled to suite upgrades even when those rooms are available; that’s to say that if a hotel denies you a suite upgrade even though several are available, I don’t think there’s much recourse
If Hyatt had stopped after the first sentence with the new terms, I’d be confident they were intending to mimic Starwood’s policy:
Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including standard suites and rooms with Club lounge-access.
However, I think the rest of the terms send the opposite message:
The best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay. The “best room” may, but will not necessarily be, of a room type/category higher than that booked by the Member. Best-room-available benefit includes only standard suites (where available), which are defined as rooms within each participating hotel’s or resort’s introductory suite category.
At this point it’s all speculation, and once World of Hyatt launches I suspect we’ll quickly have data points as to how this benefit will be executed in practice. Like I said, I think Hyatt is training hotels to honor this benefit as much as possible, though the real test will be on the individual hotel level.
What do you guys think — based on the terms, is Hyatt intending to offer Globalist members unlimited complimentary suite upgrades in the same way that Starwood does, or are they instead giving hotels the discretion to provide suite upgrades, similar to Hilton and Marriott?