A central issue and general concern for many of our readers has been the revamp of the Hyatt Gold Passport program effective March 1, 2017 and the high requirements for their new top tier Globalist.
The new program ‘World of Hyatt’ requires 60 nights stayed each calendar year starting in 2017 to qualify for the Globalist tier (55 nights to requalify once you reach Globalist status, including current Diamond members transitioned to the Globalist tier in 2017) while the option to qualify via stays has been eliminated entirely.
Re-qualifying with 55 nights isn’t much more than the current night requirement of 50 Nights. For travelers who used to qualify through stays (25 stays required for Diamond status) and had mostly one night stays see themselves confronted with a choice to either significantly add additional nights to their annual Hyatt relationship or retire to another program post 2018 (existing Diamond members who qualified this year  will be transferred to Hyatt Globalist until February 2018.
I’m personally in exactly this situation due to the fact that I would like to keep top tier status with Hyatt Gold Passport, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors. That’s a significant amount of stays every year (min 80 stays) but doable with a high travel frequency. I have approximately 100 Hotel nights per year but not all of my destinations have one of these chains available and some not at a reasonable price or location so I sometimes find myself staying at independent hotels (usually booked through an OTA) or sometimes IHG.
For example, this year I have 18 stays and 27 nights with Hyatt at this point which is pretty much the same of what I had in the previous years (usually ending up with 25-27 stays / 35 nights).
I have 2 more stays booked with Hyatt for this year and could absolutely squeeze in 5 more but I have to make said decision of what to do in the coming year. I see it as absolutely unreasonable to complete 55 nights with Hyatt alone, even when staying a lot in Asia where Hyatt has a decent presence, though the properties aren’t cheap (compared to Hilton and Starwood).
There is a backdoor option though, and I will explain the correlation between the missing 5 stays and the qualification in the next year.
It is possible to qualify for Hyatt Diamond once more and for the very last time with 25 stays but only during the two month period of January / February 2017 before the new program kicks in on March 1st.
There was some talk about this in the recent weeks and I considered it, but the information on the Hyatt website is ambiguous about it. I would not take my chance solely based on hearsay and decided to send an email to Gold Passport VP Jeff Zidell for clarification. I received the following reply from a manager at Hyatt:
I have extensive travel planned in the first two months of next year where I would be spending approximately 12 stays at Hyatt properties. The remaining 13 stays would be leisure check-ins into nearby Hyatt Hotels wherever I will be at the remaining time when not traveling. That would come at a cost for these really unnecessary stays paired with the effort involved for doing this.
But is it really worth it?
It would give me Hyatt Globalist Status until February 2019. I expect the number of Globalist members to dramatically decrease in 2018 and the corresponding treatment at hotels to be better (especially suite upgrades). Also, at the time I complete these stays the Diamond Amenity Welcome Bonus of 1000 Gold Passport Points (500 at limited service Hyatt properties) is still in effect, which will also be eliminated post March 1st and replaced with a free night Cat 1-4 after reaching thresholds.
I expect paying around 1500$US for these 13 stays I’d do in excess of the once I have booked. That being said I could save myself the additional 5 stay this year that I could divert to more lucrative promotions such as the Hilton App Visa/Double Points promo.
Should you do it?
That depends on your personal situation, taking the factors into account I mentioned above as well as if you have the opportunity (time and financially) to check in at Hyatt properties close to your home at a reasonable rate. If you live in Europe this will be tough unless you live close to Amsterdam or Heathrow Airport where they have relatively cheap Hyatt Place properties.
It might very well be that Hyatt realizes in late 2017 that they’re losing too much business with this new hard line and offer a promotion offering double night credits or even go back to setting a stay barrier. If you do this stay marathon during JAN/FEB and this happens later down the road, you might get upset. Be prepared for that!
I don’t think Hyatt is doing themselves a favor with this new program structure but I’m sure they had their reasons for it (maybe not, few things with Hyatt really make sense). On the positive side you would have peace of mind for pretty much two years after your Diamond/globalist is clocked in. On the other hand, it would require a lot of effort and cost.
If you can afford both and don’t see it as too much of a burden, do it. Otherwise stay away since Hyatt isn’t the holy grail, and there are other decent programs out there such as Hilton HHonors which consistently offers better promotions and more properties.