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World of Hyatt: What’s the Strategy for Canadians?

As I wrote about last week, World of Hyatt’s decision to lower elite requirements for 2021, combined with a lucrative promotion that grants double elite nights through February 2021, has brought the program into much sharper focus for travellers based in Canada.

Nevertheless, given the significant upfront cost, diversifying into Hyatt and mattress-running your way to top-tier Globalist status might not be the right move for everyone.

In this post, I’d like to explore what type of traveller would derive value from pursuing Hyatt Globalist status for the next two years, what ought to be your best strategy for maximizing Globalist status if you do fit the bill, and how I’m personally approaching the Hyatt strategy as someone who’s already fairly loyal to Marriott and Hilton.

In This Post

Recap: Easy Path to Hyatt Globalist Status

All the Hyatt loyalists I know have been singing the praises of the World of Hyatt program for years. Elite treatment is excellent, suite upgrades are proactive, and, well, there’s no chance of getting #Bonvoyed.

Nevertheless, in the past, participation in World of Hyatt was challenging for Canadians for two reasons: there was no easy way to earn points through credit cards (besides dabbling with US credit cards), and there was no easy way to earn elite status given Hyatt’s limited global footprint.

Well, now, there’s a pretty compelling shortcut to top-tier Globalist status for the next two years, which makes things a bit more interesting.

As I outlined in the previous post, World of Hyatt has halved elite requirements for 2021, meaning that the usual 60 qualifying nights required for Globalist have now been reduced to 30.

Furthermore, the Bonus Journeys promotion through February 2021 provides double elite qualifying nights on every stay, as long as the checkout date is in January or February 2021. This means that you only need to stay a total of 15 nights within this period in order to earn Hyatt Globalist status for the rest of 2021, all of 2022, and until February 2023.

It’s important to note that this pathway to Globalist status can be described as “easy”, but only in relative terms.

It’s certainly easy compared to staying 60 nights at Hyatt properties during normal times, but there’s still going to be a fair bit of out-of-pocket expense involved if you weren’t planning to travel and stay at a Hyatt hotel anyway.

That’s because the proposed method for earning Hyatt Globalist through this opportunity is by booking a 15-night “mattress run” with a checkout date at some point in 2021.

I hope some of you made bookings at the Hyatt Place Toronto/Mississauga or Hyatt Place Calgary Airport when I wrote about the relatively cheap $71–75/night rates last week, because as of now both properties have increased their base room prices (though they are still pretty reasonable):

So if you booked last week, you’re looking at $1,237 out-of-pocket for two years of Hyatt Globalist status. If you book now, it’s $1,340. Either way, the question remains: is this a good deal for you?

Is It Worth Spending $1,200+ on Hyatt Globalist Status?

While I’m personally pretty excited by this opportunity at Hyatt Globalist status, I don’t think dropping $1,200+ on hotel elite status will be the right move for everyone. It really boils down to your travel style, how much you like to stay at nicer hotels during your trips, and the extent to which your existing hotel loyalty programs are meeting your needs.

First off, if you generally prefer to book budget accommodations and tend to be more cost-conscious when you travel, then you likely won’t take much interest in this opportunity to earn Hyatt Globalist.

You’d be better off focusing on using budget-friendly strategies like fixed-value points currencies and gift cards to offset the cost of your lodgings, and you’d most likely concentrate your efforts in earning and redeeming hotel points within one loyalty program only – and for Canadians, that program is likely to be Marriott Bonvoy.

Even if you do like to stay in a range of mid-market and high-end hotels when you travel, there’s still the question of whether you should even bother with Hyatt when Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors are more closely within reach.

(Recall that, just like Hyatt, Hilton Honors points are best earned through US credit cards; however, the Amex US Hilton cards are much more accessible as a newcomer to the US market than the Chase Hyatt Visa and Chase Ultimate Rewards points.)

Platinum Elite status within Marriott Bonvoy can be finessed with a little bit of legwork, whereas Hilton’s top-tier Diamond status can be earned instantly by signing up for the Amex US Hilton Aspire Card. Having both of these elite statuses is already plenty – so under what circumstances would it make sense to pursue Hyatt Globalist as well?

Alila Ubud, Bali

In my opinion, spending $1,200+ on Hyatt Globalist if you weren’t previously involved with the program is very much a luxury purchase. Just like a Gucci bag or a discounted business class ticket, the answer to the question of “is it worth it?” will depend on the individual.

If you’re feeling “on the fence” about this opportunity and are questioning the value in it, I’d say that there’s a good chance you’d be better off sticking with Marriott and Hilton – after all, both chains already have more than their fair share of aspirational hotels to aim for already.

But if you’ve always been interested in trying Hyatt hotels, but never wanted to diversify away from Marriott and Hilton because of a lack of elite benefits, then the $1,200 price point can seem quite attractive in exchange for what you’re getting.

If that describes you, then there are a few more considerations to think about before taking the plunge.

Which Hyatt Hotels Interest You?

If you do want to make the leap and diversify your hotel game into Hyatt, it’s worth perusing through the Hyatt website or app to see which properties might interest you for your travels in 2021 and 2022 as a Globalist member.

Since we’ve established that you’re most likely going for Globalist if you have a taste for the luxury side, I think it’s fair to say that your attention would be mostly focused on Hyatt’s premium brands: Park Hyatt, Alila, Andaz, Miraval, and Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Personally, with my newly-minted Globalist status, I’d love to build upon my solitary but satisfying Park Hyatt experience in Cambodia thus far and try out the locations in places like Auckland, Bangkok, Kyoto, New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto over the next two years.

I’m also keen to try out the Alila and Andaz brands for the first time, although I haven’t picked out specific locations for those just yet. Hyatt loyalists – your recommendations are welcome in the comments.

If you’re considering dropping top dollar on Globalist status, then first take a moment to think about the trips you’ll likely take in 2021, 2022, and early 2023, and how they might fit together with Hyatt’s more streamlined global footprint compared to many of its peers.

Park Hyatt Sydney

30 Nights or 60 Nights?

In last week’s post, I highlighted the fact that even though Hyatt’s elite requirements have been halved for 2021, the thresholds for earning Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards have not been reduced.

That means that staying 15 nights by early 2021, and thereby racking up 30 elite qualifying night, will be enough to earn Globalist status, but not enough to earn the full set of Milestone Rewards that are usually associated with Globalist status.

By reaching 30 elite qualifying nights, you’d earn a total of four Club Lounge Access awards, plus a Category 1–4 free night certificate.

Then, only if you reached 60 elite qualifying nights would you earn the full set of an additional four Suite Night Upgrade awards, a Category 1–7 free night certificate, and a $100 Hyatt gift card (or 5,000 Hyatt points).

It’s worth thinking about which of these two major thresholds would be right for you: spending $1,200+ to meet Globalist with 30 elite nights, or spending $2,400+ to go for the full set of Milestone Rewards.

Andaz Singapore

Since Hyatt’s Suite Night Upgrade awards can be used to confirm a suite upgrade in advance for a single stay of up to seven nights long, earning a total of four Suite Night Upgrade awards can be very valuable on paper: you’d be able to pre-confirm suite upgrades on up to 28 nights at some of Hyatt’s best hotels.

But how often do you actually spend seven consecutive nights at a hotel? And how much do you value the ability to confirm a suite upgrade in advance, knowing that your top-tier Globalist status is likely to bring you a very nice upgrade upon check-in anyway? These are important questions to ask when assessing the potential value of the Suite Night Awards.

The Category 1–7 free night certificate also seems attractive at first glance, but if that’s the only reason you’re aiming for 60 elite nights, then it doesn’t really make sense: you’d probably be able to spend that $1,200+ difference (or $1,100+ if you factor in the gift card as well) on the cash rate at the property anyway.

Personally, after thinking it over, I’ve decided to only mattress-run my way to 30 qualifying nights (with a 15-night stay), instead of 60 qualifying nights (with a 30-night stay).

Even though Hyatt’s suite upgrade instruments are extremely strong compared to other programs, I’m not sure they’re worth an additional $1,200+ in my case (keeping in mind that I’m still going to be maintaining my loyalty to Marriott and Hilton over the next few years as well). I think having Globalist status alone will be enough for me to derive great experiences out of my little stint with Hyatt.

Chase Hyatt Visa + Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you choose to pursue Hyatt Globalist status over the next few months, then you should definitely consider pairing that status with entering the Chase credit card ecosystem in the US, in order to gain easier access to World of Hyatt points and redeem them for free nights at a good value.

After all, without easy access to Hyatt points via a co-branded card or a transfer partner, then you’ll be looking at paying the cash rate for your Hyatt stays over the next few years.

You’d still derive significant benefits from Globalist status, of course, but a portion of those benefits (i.e., free breakfast, a one-category room upgrade, early check-in and late checkout subject to availability, and a US$100 property credit) could’ve also been obtained simply by booking through Hyatt Privé at many of Hyatt’s top brands.

The incremental benefit of your Globalist status (i.e., lounge access, a standard suite upgrade, a confirmed late checkout – but no property credit) therefore might not be quite as strong as you had originally imagined.

Alila Yangshuo

Instead, if you’ve built up your US credit card portfolio to a point where you have a shot of being approved by Chase (which typically takes around 12 months of credit history), then you now unlock the possibility of redeeming Hyatt points for free stays all while enjoying top-tier benefits. The incremental benefit, both in terms of cash savings and the perks you enjoy while you save that cash, is much more significant.

In my case, I’ve earned a fair chunk of Chase Ultimate Rewards points over the years through applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Preferred. I still have about 100,000 Chase UR points at the moment, which I now plan to transfer over to Hyatt and redeem at a good value in conjunction with Globalist benefits. 

Of course, in addition to transferring Chase UR points, I’m also eyeing the Chase Hyatt Visa, which is the true essential companion to anyone looking to maximize their Hyatt hotel stays:

  • I’d earn 50,000 Hyatt points to redeem for hotels (25,000 points upon spending US$3,000 in the first three months, plus 25,000 points upon spending US$6,000 in the first six months).
  • I’d be able to earn a solid return of 4 Hyatt points per US dollar spent on my paid stays at Hyatt hotels.
  • I’d earn a Category 1–4 free night certificate on every anniversary of holding the card, as well as a second Category 1–4 free night certificate if I meet a US$15,000 annual spending threshold.
  • I’d earn five elite qualifying nights just for holding the card every year, as well as two elite qualifying nights for every US$5,000 spent, in case I wanted to re-qualify for Globalist organically in 2022.
    • Plus, if you apply by December 31, 2020, you’ll earn 10 elite qualifying nights for 2021 as a special bonus, meaning that you only need to mattress-run your way to 10 more nights (and thus earning 20 elite qualifying nights) to earn Globalist.
    • And if you can spend US$15,000 on the card in 2021, that results in a Category 1–4 certificate and a further six elite qualifying nights – meaning you only need to mattress-run your way to seven more nights (and thus earning 14 elite qualifying nights) to earn Globalist.

However, I’m currently falling afoul of Chase’s infamous “5/24 rule”: Chase will not approve an application for a new credit card if you’ve opened five or more personal cards over the past 24 months.

I’ll have to wait until April 2021 until I’m eligible to apply for the Chase Hyatt Visa, at which point I’ll definitely be adding it to my portfolio to complement my Globalist status.

If you’re interested in making a play for Globalist status and you’ve built up your US credit history to a point where you’re eligible to get your first couple of Chase cards, then it’d be a natural next move to apply for, say, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Hyatt Visa in order to earn a stash of points to redeem on Hyatt hotels.

And even if you’re very early in the US credit card game, you might want to plan around entering the Chase ecosystem around one year from now – when your Globalist status would still be paying dividends well into 2022 and early 2023.

Conclusion

In terms of hotel loyalty programs for Canadians, it’s quite rare that we see an opportunity as compelling as World of Hyatt’s current promotions to meaningfully diversify into a program outside of Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Best Western Rewards.

At the same time, spending $1,200+ on a 15-night Hyatt stay to earn Globalist status for two years isn’t going to be the right move for everyone – it’s very much a luxury purchase for those of us who are interested in experiencing nice hotels along our travels, and would like to further expand our palate in that respect.

Hopefully our discussion here has been helpful in distilling whether or not it makes sense for you to pursue Hyatt Globalist status, and if so, some of the further considerations that should go into your strategy.

I myself am looking forward to exploring a new chain in earnest along my travels in 2021, 2022, and early 2023, and combining Globalist status with my Chase credit cards in order to maximize Hyatt points for good value too.

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