Of all the hotel chains, I have spent the most nights with Hyatt. Over the past ten years, I have spent approximately two years of my life at their properties worldwide, yet I am not going to requalify this year.
Again, these points are based on my personal experience and problems I have had with Hyatt.
Leave your comments below. What do you like and not like about Hyatt and Hyatt Gold Passport.
Pros of Hyatt Gold Passport
– Four suite upgrades to Diamond members
– Breakfast for Diamond members always
– Easy program to understand
– Relatively good coverage in the United States
– Ability to earn points for dining & spa when not staying
– Using points for club & suite upgrades
– Awards for rooms/club rooms/suites
– Diamond amenity in North America
– Uniform lower end properties
– Generally good Diamond treatment
– Benefits apply for ALL bookings even when not eligible for stay credit/points
– Club & Bed type guarantee for Diamonds
– Reasonably priced top & low awards
– No blackout dates
– Lifetime elite status
– Stay certificates
– No elite guarantees
Cons of Hyatt Gold Passport
– No space available suite upgrades to Suites
– Really small chain
– International foot print very limited
– Limited award options no cash + points, no discount for multiple nights, no award savers etc
– Essentially only Diamond status worthwhile
– Diamond customer service not good
– International price point
– Diamond Amenity only in North America
– Rates which qualify for point based upgrades at non-resort and resort properties
– No Diamond amenity choice outside of North America
– No cash back
– Limited promotions
– Confusing brands Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, Hyatt House & Hyatt Place
– Unstable website
– Lack of discount programs
– Problem resolution lacking
– Award stays don’t count toward status
– Lifetime elite status requirement
Pros of Hyatt Gold Passport
Four suite upgrades to Diamond members
Diamond members get four suite upgrades yearly and upon qualifying for the first time. These can be used for stays up to 7 nights and don’t require you to book anything else than a qualifying rate.
Breakfast for Diamond members always
This is the only program that absolutely always guarantees a breakfast at all properties for Diamond members and you don’t have to choose it as an amenity.
Easy program to understand
The program is rather uncomplicated and thus easy to understand. There are not many earning options and burning points are limited as well.
Relatively good coverage in the United States
After buying Amerisuites and Summerfield suites, the Hyatt’s coverage in United States is acceptable.
Ability to earn points for dining & spa when not staying
You can earn points for dining & spa expenses when not staying at properties.
Using points for club & suite upgrades
You can use points for club & suite upgrades. 3000 points for Club and 6000 points for suite upgrade for up to 4 days. Requires you to book a daily rate at non-resort properties and a view room and resort properties.
Awards for rooms/club rooms/suites
You can redeem for regular rooms and club rooms right on Hyatt.com. You need to call to book a suite using points. At lower tier properties, the number of points required between a room and a club room is only 2000 to 3000 points.
Diamond amenity in North America
The Diamond amenity choice in North America tends to be very good. You can choose between a food/beverage amenity like a bottle of red wine and a cheese plate or 1000 bonus points. These are in addition to club access, if one exists, or breakfast.
Uniform lower end properties
Hyatt entered the lower end market by purchasing Amerisuites and Summerfield suites brands. Especially all the former Amerisuites that are now called Hyatt Places are identical room wise.
Generally good Diamond treatment
Diamond members tend to be treated quite well at all Hyatt’s full service properties.
Benefits apply for ALL bookings even when not eligible for stay credit/points
Hyatt is one of the few chains, where all the benefits apply regardless of how the stay was booked. All the benefits apply even on Priceline or Hotwire stays.
Club & Bed type guarantee for Diamonds
You will get set amount of points if the Club lounge is close plus a full breakfast or if your bed type is not what you booked.
Reasonably priced top & low awards
The category 6 awards are capped at 22K points per night and the lower end 5K points per night at category 1. The lower end and the higher end tend to be rather reasonable. I do have a problem with some of the awards in the middle, however.
No blackout dates
If standard room is available for purchase, it is available using points as well. This is very clear and haven’t seen any problems.
Lifetime elite status
Hyatt has a lifetime Diamond status that is based on the number of membership years and number of base points earned.
Hyatt offers stay certificates that you can use to save on accommodation cost.
No elite guarantees
Hyatt is one of the few chains that doesn’t penalize properties for walking i.e. Diamond members. Both Marriott and Hilton have very clear procedures in case their higher status member is walked. Hyatt doesn’t.
Cons of Hyatt Gold Passport
No space available suite upgrades to Suites per terms and conditions
The terms and conditions only mention best available room that Diamond members are entitled to. Quite a few properties do upgrade Diamond members beyond what is required by the terms and conditions, but there are hotels that are following the T&C’s to the letter.
Really small chain
Hyatt only has around 500 properties worldwide. This is less than half the number of Starwood properties and about eight to tenth the number of InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton or Marriott.
International foot print very limited
Hyatt has less than 125 properties outside of North America. The chain is absent from many international markets.
Limited award options; no cash + points, no discount for multiple nights, no award savers etc
While at the same time the program is easy to understand, the award options are very limited. There are no cash & points (Hilton, IHG & Starwood), no discount for multiple nights awards (Hilton, Starwood & Marriott) or award savers (IHG & Marriott).
Essentially only Diamond status worthwhile
Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum basically gives you a complimentary internet access and that’s it.
Diamond customer service not good
There used to be a dedicated Diamond customer service line that was manned with customer service agents that only handled Diamonds. This was dismantled couple of years ago. Now, there is a still Diamond customer service phone number and it might get you through faster, but there are no longer Diamond customer service representatives. Hyatt supposedly cross trained the reservations agents to be able to handle customer service and Diamond calls as well. For the most part, I think that this is ok as long as you don’t have any complicated issues.
International price point
Hyatt’s properties outside of the North America tend to be Grand and Park Hyatt’s at relatively high price point. Hyatt, for the most part, is missing the mid-priced options internationally.
Diamond Amenity only in North America
Internationally, the Diamond amenity points or selection is completely missing. You cannot choose between points or amenity, and there is no choice what the amenity is. My Diamond amenity has been as bad as three green apples.
Rates which qualify for point based upgrades at non-resort and resort properties
You can use points for upgrades, but you need to pay a Hyatt Daily Rate at non-resort properties or View/deluxe room at resort ones. You cannot use a discounted rate.
No cash back
You cannot get cash back for booking Hyatt hotels using online cash back sites like Ebates or MrRebates.
Hyatt used to have excellent promotions, but nowadays not so. Right now there is no Hyatt promotion going on and they haven’t even announced a next one.
Confusing brand structure Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, Hyatt House & Hyatt Place etc.
Hyatt only uses other name than Hyatt for Andaz properties. All the other brands are tied to the Hyatt “mother” brand for the good or the bad. All the other major hotel chains have distinct brand identities like Sheraton vs St Regis.
Hyatt has the most unstable corporate website that I have ever come across. United’s website used to be bad, but even then it wasn’t down as often as Hyatt’s. It is not uncommon for the website for being down for hours on Monday afternoon US time for “scheduled maintenance”.
Lack of discount programs
There are quite a few ways to save on Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood stays using number of discount problems that they offer. Hyatt is really missing on these.
I have never had a very good outcome after contacting the “consumer affairs” for problem resolution. If your hotel fails to adhere to the standard or otherwise is unable to meet the guest’s need, the corporate should be able to resolve the issue expediently.
Award stays don’t count toward status
Hyatt’s main competitors Starwood and Hilton both counts these, but Hyatt doesn’t.
Lifetime elite status requirement
Hyatt’s requirement of $200K Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points is onerous compared to Starwood or Marriott.
Hyatt used to be my main hotel chain that I frequented. Over the past two years, the promotions that they have run have gradually become worse and worse to the point that this is the first year that I am not going to requalify since I became a Diamond back in 2004.
It is still a reasonable option for those that mainly travel within the United States, but the international foot print is very limited. The prices tend to be on the high side compared to local options and other international chains.