On today’s edition of Reader Questions we want to shine some light on how to use Hyatt Explorist Club Lounge Access Award of which four are available each year to Explorist members.
When World of Hyatt rose from the ashes of Hyatt Gold Passport it came with a whole barrage of changes and complicated rules, most not exactly to the liking of the members.
With the top tier level Globalist now requiring 60 nights per year to be achieved and 55 to be maintained this is out of reach for many folks and so some will drop (or already dropped) to the lower level called World of Hyatt Explorist. Explorist is a new mid tier level which still requires 30 qualifying nights per year and the only tangible benefit is the use of four Club lounge access awards annually (at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts at the time of reservation).
This is where the reader’s question comes into play:
Is it possible that I can use “club access certificates” for an award stay (100% point redemption) or a points & cash reservation?
How about an award reservation placed by means of promotional awards?
The answer to this is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as I learned when looking at the Terms & Conditions of the new program.
‘Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards are valid on nights for which the Member has paid an Eligible Rate or has redeemed points for a standard-room Free Night Award, Suite Free Night Award, or a Points & Cash Award, up to a maximum of seven (7) consecutive nights.’
At the same time there is the following display of this benefit in the tier description linked above:
And while we feel all safe and rested, Hyatt strikes and burst our bubble again with a caveat to the previously linked T&C for Explorist members:
Not valid in connection with any Free Night Award other than those identified above [Free Night Award, Suite Free Night Award, or a Points & Cash Award], including, without limitation, Hyatt Credit Card premium and anniversary Free Night Awards, 5-brand Free Night Awards, Category 1-4 Free Night Awards (defined below) or any other promotional Free Night Award. Breakfast will not be provided to a Member at participating hotels or resorts without an accessible Club lounge. Club lounge access is subject to availability and space limitations.
The bolded free night options deriving from promotions and the Hyatt credit card can not be used in conjunction with the Club Lounge Access Award. That’s already a big bummer because often times you want to use these awards at some really nice properties where it could actually be worthwhile to facilitate the Club Lounge and the amenities that come with it (evening cocktails as well as breakfast). Hyatt however restricts this even more in making this award capacity controlled, meaning hotels can apply black out dates.
We had readers contact us in the past saying they ran into issues with this ‘availability’ matter and to be completely honest all these restrictions are really foul play by Hyatt.
To sum this up for all readers: Yes, you can use the Club Lounge Access Awards with award reservations, however they need to be paid with points or points & cash.
Why am I so negative about these awards? Because Hyatt Explorist is a status that can not be acquired by stays, only by staying 30(!!) nights on an eligible rate, either paid or cash & points. As a reward for this Hyatt gives you four Club Lounge Access Awards and continues to throw sticks between your legs. Thirty nights is a huge burden for a mid tier status, in fact it is totally unreasonable and especially so when the benefits are marginal.
There is nothing in the Hyatt Explorist status that I would consider a compelling pro-Argument to pursue that status. I had readers and friends ask me about it and I recommended 100% of them to rather look at other chains where they can aquire a top tier status with that amount of nights/stays (like Starwood or Hilton based on stays). It pretty much reflects the entire World of Hyatt Program as it is and while I will renew my Globalist status with 60 nights this year I think one has to really plan ahead to get value for money with Hyatt in the time to come.