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Is World of Hyatt the best hotel loyalty scheme? (Part 1)

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This is the sixth and last of our overview series of the main hotel loyalty schemes.  Each scheme will be covered over two articles.  One will list the basic facts of the scheme – basically “How does World of Hyatt work?” – whilst the other will be my subjective view of what is of particular merit.

The full series of articles can be found here:

World of Hyatt is the smallest and newest of the global hotel loyalty schemes. Launched in early 2017 to replace Hyatt Gold Passport, it covers 1,200 hotels globally under brands including Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, Caption, Alila, Thompson Hotels, Miraval, Destination By Hyatt, jdv, The Unbound Collection and Andaz. The World of Hyatt home page is here.

Hyatt has added Small Luxury Hotels of the World to its marketing system, allowing you to earn and spend points at upmarket independent hotels. It also acquired a number of mass-market all-inclusive hotels in 2021, including the Zoetry, Breathless and Secrets brands. The small Dream group was acquired in 2022.

Is World of Hyatt the best hotel loyalty scheme?

What is the geographic spread?  Historically you used to struggle to find a Hyatt in the UK, but the situation has changed a lot.

In recent years the two established London hotels have been joined by two Hyatt Place properties (one at Heathrow, one at Aldgate reviewed here) and the upmarket Great Scotland Yard, part of The Unbound Collection (review here). It has also taken a number of hotels from IHG, including two hotels in the Westfield Stratford complex, the Crowne Plaza at Albert Embankment and the Crowne Plaza opposite Blackfriars station.

The brand also gained two hotels in Manchester which defected from IHG and has just added SCHLOSS Roxburghe, a resort in Scotland. There is also a new build hotel in Cambridge.

The addition of the Small Luxury Hotels group to World of Hyatt was the real transformation in UK coverage.  Whilst not ‘officially’ Hyatt properties, you can now earn and redeem your points at numerous upscale London boutique hotels including Dukes and The Franklin.

There are now some impressive UK country house properties which came with the Small Luxury Hotels deal.  Monkey Island, Stoke Park, Langshott Manor etc etc …. if you can earn the points, your weekend break options are now fantastic.

The chain is also expanding directly.  Recent openings have included Lisbon, Prague (reviewed here, it’s great), Ibiza, Santorini, Sardinia, Madrid (reviewed here), Krakow, Malaga and Bordeaux. It is returning to the La Manga Club in Murcia in Summer 2023.

More importantly, the hotels Hyatt has are generally excellent. Park Hyatt is arguably the most luxurious hotel chain that is run by a multi-brand group.

Do I use them?  Yes I do, because they are very good hotels.  I spent probably 20 nights at Park Hyatt Hamburg over the years visiting family there, although this hotel closed at the end of 2022.  I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Berlin (review), Hyatt Regency Amsterdam (review) and Andaz Prague (review) last year, and all were uniformly excellent.

I have had some spectacular redemptions in Asia over the years using the ‘suite upgrade’ rewards and was disappointed to have to cancel an Alila stay in Oman in 2020. If they had more properties, I would use them more.  If it were easier to earn Hyatt points in the UK, I would use them a lot more.  I constantly plead with them to become an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner in Europe, where there are no dedicated Hyatt credit cards.

Hotel Reisen exterior
Hotel Reisen, Stockholm

Elite membership levels

Whilst the bizarre elite tier names were very confusing when first launched, people seem to have got used to them – although I’m still not sure what percentage of casual members could tell you that the top tier is called Globalist!

The tiers are:

  • Discoverist – requires 10 nights or 25,000 base points. Benefits are premium internet, a free bottle of water daily and a 10% bonus on base points.
  • Explorist – requires 30 nights or 50,000 base points. Additional benefits are 20% bonus on base points, two vouchers for free Club Lounge access and a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel (valid for 180 days) when hitting or re-qualifying for Explorist.
  • Globalist – requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points. Additional benefits are room upgrades, including standard suites, and guaranteed Club Lounge access or free breakfast where no lounge is available. Resort fees are waived where charged. You receive a free night voucher for a Category 1-7 hotel (valid for 180 days) when hitting or re-qualifying with 60 nights.

Hyatt also has attractive ‘milestone rewards’

Hyatt has additional ‘milestone rewards’ which you pick up as you go, based on the number of nights you do each year. If you received free or matched World of Hyatt status then you would NOT receive these and would miss out on suite upgrade vouchers, bonus points and lounge passes.

You receive two suite upgrade vouchers to use on paid or reward stays for completing 50 nights, and another two at 60 nights. These are confirmed at the time of booking and are valid for stays of up to seven nights making it the most generous suite upgrade benefit in the industry.

Additional milestone bonuses trigger at 20 nights (two lounge passes) and 40 nights (5,000 points or $100 credit).

For very heavy Hyatt stayers, you will receive either 10,000 bonus points or an additional suite upgrade voucher when hitting 70, 80, 90 and 100 nights per calendar year.

Hyatt Brand Explorer is also worthwhile

All members can earn a free night voucher for a Category 1-4 hotel via ‘Hyatt Brand Explorer’ when staying at five different brandsThis is a lifelong promotion which began on 1st March 2017 – I have triggered one free night so far and am working towards my second. It’s a worthwhile little extra which many people ignore.

Reward nights count towards elite status.

The full list of elite benefits is here.

World of Hyatt does offer lifetime Globalist status. However, the target of 1m base points – requiring $200,000 of hotel spend – is exceptionally high.

Hyatt Regency Churchill

How do you earn World of Hyatt points?

World of Hyatt gives 5 points per $1 spent, plus an elite bonus if applicable.  See the Hyatt site here.

Hyatt runs regular promotions although they do NOT offer ‘back to back’ offers as you get from Hilton, IHG Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.  See our ‘Hotel Offers‘ page for any current offers.

Hyatt has a partnership with American Airlines for its elite members, launched in 2019.  AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members will earn one AAdvantage bonus mile for every $1 spent at Hyatt.  World of Hyatt Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist members will earn one World of Hyatt bonus point for every eligible $1 spent on qualifying American flights.  If you fly American Airlines transatlantic on expensive premium tickets, you could do very nicely from this partnership. You can learn more here.

What are World of Hyatt points worth?

We have an article dedicated to working out what World of Hyatt points are worth which you can find here.

Our mid-point valuation is 1.3p per point although you can easily beat this.

How do you spend World of Hyatt points?

Hyatt retains a reward chart, unlike most of its peers. You can see it here.

Redemption rates for hotels run from 3,500 points in Category 1 at off-peak periods (the cheapest properties, mainly old US hotels) to 45,000 points in Category 8 at peak periods.

Category 8 is only used for partner hotels, mainly Small Luxury Hotels, and a handful of premium hotels such as Park Hyatt New York.  Apart from these, you won’t pay more than 35,000 points for any Hyatt-operated property. There are separate rules for the new all-inclusive hotels.

Firstname Bordeaux hotel
FirstName Bordeaux

There are no discounts for extended redemptions, unlike the ‘five for four’ deals run by Hilton and Marriott.

Hyatt lets you book suites and club rooms online for points. This is a substantial improvement since you previously had to call with no idea if rooms may be available or not. The number of additional points required is usually modest. Here is an example of how I used a small number of points for a suite upgrade in Paris, which also got me lounge access.

There are no blackout dates. If a standard room can be bought for cash, it is available for points.

A 5-star 25,000 point Category 6 redemption would typically require an Explorist (base) member to spend $4,150. Unlike Hilton, which has a similar premium, Hyatt promotions tend to be less generous so it is harder to reduce this spending target.

It is worth noting that Hyatt has a very generous offer for redeeming points for in-hotel spend. 65,000 points gets you $1,000 of credit, which is 1.3p per point. This is better than many room redemptions.

Do World of Hyatt points expire?

Hyatt points will expire after two years of total inactivity on your account. I wrote a full article on Hyatt’s expiry policies, and ways to stop it happening, here.

Can you upgrade Hyatt stays using points?

Yes. Hyatt allows you to upgrade to a suite or club room using points. A ‘premium’ suite will cost 9,000 points per night, a ‘standard’ suite will cost 6,000 points per night whilst a club room is 3,000 points per night. You need to book a room at Best Flexible Rate to upgrade and a lot of top hotels do not participate.  If a hotel has made suites available for this offer it can represent excellent value.

Review world of hyatt

Are ‘cash and points’ redemptions available?

Yes, Hyatt offers ‘cash and points’ rooms. However, these do not generally offer good value.

You pay 50% of the standard points rate and 50% of the flexible room rate. This makes ‘cash and points’ disproportionately expensive because most hotels have discounted cash deals priced well below the flexible rate.

Can you transfer World of Hyatt points into airline miles?

World of Hyatt points can be transferred to a large number of airlines including Avios. The transfer ratio of 2.5 : 1 is not bad. However, given that you can get a one-night upgrade to a suite for just 6,000 Hyatt points, I would use them for that.

Hyatt points are tough to earn if you are UK based and should not be transferred to airline miles unless you are sure you will never use them for a room.

Can I earn Avios directly without collecting points?

No. You need to earn points and then convert them when you hit the minimum threshold.

Credit card partnerships

Can you get elite status with a UK credit card? No

Is there a World of Hyatt credit card in the UK? No

Is Hyatt an Amex Membership Rewards partner? No

Bottom line – virtually the only way for a UK resident to obtain Hyatt points is to stay in their hotels. That is a very radical approach in 2023!

Purchasing and transferring points

You can buy World of Hyatt points for $24 per 1,000 via this link. This is not cheap, but can actually represent a deal if using the points for a suite or club room upgrade (6,000 and 3,000 points per night). 

Over the last few years Hyatt has become more aggressive in offering 25%-40% bonuses when buying points, reducing the cost further. I have done this a couple of times when it was cheaper to buy points than book a room for cash. Over Easter 2023 I will be at Thompson Central Park New York, where buying points has saved me around 30% vs paying cash. Any current offers will show here.

Points can be transferred to other members by filling in this form here and emailing it to Hyatt. There is no charge for this. However, as I found out to my cost a couple of years ago, you can only do it if both members have had a stay within the last 12 months. This means that you cannot save expiring points by transferring them.

My opinion

In Part Two of our World of Hyatt review tomorrow I will give my personal opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the scheme.

World of Hyatt update – January 2024:

Get bonus points: World of Hyatt is not currently running a global promotion

New to World of Hyatt?  Read our overview of World of Hyatt here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on what we think World of Hyatt points are worth is here.

Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from Hyatt and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (12)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Thywillbedone says:

    “I constantly plead with them to become an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner in Europe, where there are no dedicated Hyatt credit cards.”

    Grateful that you keep asking. I wonder how they assess the viability of such a move – do they properly survey the market? A broad customer survey would surely be a logical first step…

    • Azza says:

      It is very snnoying – I know you can’t really compare the US card market to the UK but the Chase card gives a big sign-up bonus, good earning rates and even free night stays on anniversary and spend.

      It’s not like they’d be causing value harm to the scheme if something similar was brought out over here given the coverage and probable take-up of the card compared to the US market.

      Would easily be my brand of choice if it was possible to earn points elsewhere other than stays.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Given they would be starting from scratch as there is no established points transfer rate for UK£, they get to choose, and could set one that means they are not bleeding anything on the deal. I really can’t see any downside for them…?

  • Gordon says:

    I have been a fairly loyal Hyatt member for many years now. But I agree if there was an option to earn points & complementary nights other than stays it would cement my loyalty.

    • VALittleRed says:

      Agreed, would also be good if they offered a program something like IHG does with Intercon Ambassador for a yearly fee. But a UK credit card would be a good start, maybe that comes with some status nights thrown in?

  • Jose Marques says:

    There’s a lovely hotel in Funchal Madeira Quinta da casa branca part of Hyatt

    • E says:

      It’s part of SLH so it’s part of that alliance and, as Rob says, not ‘officially’ Hyatt.

  • aseftel says:

    It’s a bit tangential to the loyalty scheme I suppose, but Prive has brought me over to Hyatt several times now. Getting room upgrades locked in at the time of booking really differentiates the program.

  • RobH not Rob says:

    Re Chase . . . . they are rather aggressive with their banking offerings in the UK of late – does anyone think a UK credit card with points earning possibilities may follow soon ?

    They would be a shoe in with Hyatt or IHG surely.

  • Joe says:

    By far the best program in terms of upgrades and benefits ime. Yeah yeah yeah can’t get points easily in Europe. But they give you so many for your stays that if you’re genuinely doing 60 nights with them you’ll have enough soon enough anyway

    • Stu_N says:

      I’ve had a (targeted) 2,000 points bonus on a 2 night stay for Jan-March then the 3,000 bonus on every second night for March – June so should do quite well out of them.

  • Andy says:

    Nice programme but I overlooked one T&C that really disappointed me. I stayed 41 nights with Hyatt in 2022, but the actual checkout for the second of the longer stays was in 2023. I assumed nights spent in a hotel bed in 2022 would be credited in 2022…but could stay all of Dec and checkout Jan 1 and the nights are credited in the year you check out.

    Missed my free night and status upgrade by only 1 night in 2022 and only 2 nights at the start of this year…sore one! So beware if you are on the cusp and calculating how many nights you need!

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