Here are the updated pros and cons of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. The main change in 2014 was the introduction of Points + Cash awards and in 2015 the internet is going to be free for all.
What are your opinions of the pros and cons of the Hyatt Gold Passport? Please leave your comments below.
You can access Hyatt’s webpage for Gold Passport here.
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
– Partnership with MGM’s Mlife
– Using points for club & suite upgrades
– Awards for rooms/club rooms/suites
– Free internet soon for all (NEW)
– Uniform lower end properties
– Generally good Diamond treatment
– Benefits apply for ALL bookings even when not eligible for stay credit/points
& Bed type guarantee for Diamonds
– Reasonably priced top & low awards
– Points + Cash awards that count towards elite status
– No blackout dates
– Lifetime elite status
Cons of Hyatt Gold Passport
– No space available suite upgrades to Suites
– Really small chain
– International foot print very limited
– Limited award options:
no discount for multiple nights, no award savers etc (Cash & points introduced in 2014)
– Essentially only Diamond status worthwhile
– Bed type guarantee gone (NEW)
– Diamond customer service not good
– International price point
– Best available room Diamond benefit (NEW)
– Rates which qualify for point based upgrades at non-resort and resort properties
– Limited promotions
– Confusing brands Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, Hyatt House & Hyatt Place
– Targeted promotions (NEW)
– Unstable website
– Lack of discount programs
– Problem resolution lacking
– Award stays don’t count toward status
– Lifetime elite status requirement
– No elite guarantees
– Points expire
– No airline partnership
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. The good thing is that these can be confirmed at the time of booking.
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.
Partnership with MGM’s Mlife
Hyatt and MGM announced partnership, where Gold Passport members get matching Mlife status and can earn stay/nights credits and points towards their Gold Passport membership. MGM Mlife members got matching benefits when staying at Hyatt properties. Read more about this partnership here.
Using points for club & suite upgrades
You can use points for club & suite upgrades. 3000 points for Club and 6000 points for suite upgrade per day
. Requires you to book a daily rate at non-resort properties and a view room and resort properties.
The point requirement for upgrades used to be up to four days at the base rate. Now it is PER DAY.
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 4000 points.
Free internet soon for all (NEW)
Hyatt made an announcement recently (read more here) that all guests staying at Hyatt hotels worldwide, regardless of the booking channel or whether they are Gold Passport members, would get a complimentary internet access.
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.
& 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. Bed type guarantee is now enhanced away.
Reasonably priced top & low awards
The category 7 awards are capped at 30K 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.
Note that the higher end awards went up from 22K to 30K per night, but I would still say that these are ok value.
Points + Cash awards that count towards elite status
Hyatt made Points + Cash awards available in 2014. Unlike regular awards, Points + Cash will count as a qualifying stay and are qualifying for all the promotions.
Seems that Hyatt Gold Passport would rather have people redeeming for Points + Cash than points. Maybe the property gets just the cash amount and the Gold Passport gets to write down the points liability?
This award type is not going to be always available.
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.
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. Marriott, Hilton and IHG has eight to ten times the number of properties compared to Hyatt.
International foot print very limited
Hyatt has less than 150 properties outside of North America. The chain is absent from many international markets.
Limited award options;
no discount for multiple nights, no award savers etc
While at the same time the program is easy to understand, the award options are limited. There are 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 (internet is soon FREE for everyone).
Bed type guarantee gone (NEW)
Hyatt enhanced the Diamond member bed type guarantee away (read more here)!
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 has 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.
Best available room Diamond benefit (NEW)
Diamond members are eligible for best available room per the program T&C’s. Some properties (looking at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur now) claim that certain rooms are actually suites and don’t willingly upgrade Diamond members to them.
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.
Hyatt used to have excellent promotions (remember the Faster Free Nights?), but nowadays not so. Hyatt will soon announce their first promotion for 2015.
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.
Targeted promotions (NEW)
In 2014, Hyatt was introducing some promotions that were targeted. Especially the fall 2014 main promotion was initially targeted only for certain members, but eventually everyone could sign up by just calling Gold Passport.
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, Hilton and now also IHG counts these, but Hyatt doesn’t. Wouldn’t surprise me if Hyatt would start counting them soon as well. The only other holdout is Marriott.
Lifetime elite status requirement
Hyatt’s requirement of $200K Hyatt spend that is credited towards Hyatt points is onerous compared to Starwood or Marriott.
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.
Hyatt Gold Passport points didn’t used to expire at all. Hyatt has now introduced expiry after 24 months of inactivity. Read more here.
No airline partnership
Both Starwood and Marriott has introduced partnerships with airlines for some matched benefits. Starwood launched Crossover Rewards with Delta (read more here) and Your World Rewards with Emirates (read more here). Marriott has RewardsPlus partnership with United (read more here).
The Points + Cash was really worthwhile benefit introduced in 2014 and many non-members that book using OTA’s are happy that soon everyone staying at a Hyatt will enjoy free internet access. I would just hope that the booking of Points + Cash award would be available without having to call customer service.
IHG, Hilton and SPG also offer qualified stays and nights for award stays, but Hyatt does not. I believe that it would be time for Hyatt to offer this benefit as well.