The bad business environment in the hospitality industry will likely be a prolonged issue and various hotel loyalty programs have already reacted, offering members to extend membership status for free or by easing qualification requirements in the coming year.
Both Hilton Honors and the World of Hyatt program have been on the forefront of putting customer friendly policies in place that will make obtaining status for the coming two years – all the way into 2023 – extremely easy.
You can access all the airline & hotel Covid-19 loyalty policies through our list here.
It’s easy to see why these companies decide that it’s better to present a clear path forward for customers as we’re soon entering 2021 and a new earning year for loyalty programs begins on January 1st.
While pretty much all programs have renewed their members status for the coming year there have been questions about the regular qualification thresholds in the coming year that’ll count for 2022 and into early 2023.
It’s widely expected that there won’t be many improvements business wise in 2021 compared to what we’ve seen this year and that the industry as a whole will take several years to recover to levels we’ve seen in 2019.
So what have the big players done so far?
Hilton Honors currently has both a double status nights promotion as well as a rollover campaign, transferring all nights consumed in 2020 to 2021.
They have also reduced the amount of nights required for status qualification in the coming year by 50%
Hilton has also already extended members tier status until March 2022.
World of Hyatt has just announced that the program will reduce requirements for their status levels next year by half, just like Hilton did.
Hyatt also has a current promotion (Bonus Journeys) offering triple points and elite rollover nights into the next membership year which they extended until the end of February 2021.
This presents some very lucrative opportunities as it means that you can stay 15 nights between early January and late February in order to requalify for Globalist. Even less if you’ve already stayed in the past few months with Hyatt and/or have the Hyatt Credit Card that comes with additional nights.
Marriott has extended member ties until until 02/2022 and also dumped 50% of required nights into members accounts in order to qualify for a higher tier this year.
Apart from that they haven’t announced anything further yet and the last promotion has also expired without replacement. The have no rollover nights either so right no there is zero incentive to stay with Marriott. I think they need some serious re-thinking of their policy otherwise customers will leave in droves.
What does this all signal for the loyalty industry in the year(s) to come?
Every General Manager I’ve talked to in the past few weeks has shown reserved optimism but also realism that there won’t be a significant improvement of business in 2021.
Even as the industrialized world is nearing a rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine this won’t be a guarantee for travel to be restarted anytime soon, let alone resume levels we’ve seen previously prior to this pandemic.
Countries will still be vigilant with many travel ban, border closures or severe travel restrictions remaining in place. Any country that has a lengthy quarantine requirement is basically killing all inbound business/leisure travel.
Hotels (if open at all) are currently trying to keep at least a medium occupancy rate by running local promotions and with that keep their rooms fresh and staff on payroll. Profits are pretty much out of the window for the time being.
Keep in mind that all this is the result of the pandemic. We haven’t even felt any recession yet and it’s just amazing that the stock market is doing as well as it does at the moment. Gives you the feeling of treading on very thin ice on a lake.
The travel industry will be disrupted for years and at least as far as loyalty programs are concerned it’ll be a relatively easy way to re-/qualify if one can make the reduced thresholds work. Those who haven’t announced similar policies to Hilton and Hyatt yet will be under a lot of pressure to do so very soon.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t make any sense to chase status if you’re not ending up staying at hotels the rest of the time of if the properties you’re frequenting have reduced their service offerings. This is especially bad in North America where properties are taking full advantage of the cutbacks the chains afford them. Much different situation in Europe and Asia,