Hyatt Restructuring Their Loyalty Program

In the world of loyalty programs, nothing seems to ever stand still. Proving that point, Hyatt has decided to completely restructure their Gold Passport program. Now called the World Of Hyatt program, the new layout comes with good and bad changes. 

Let's start with the World of Hyatt logo... Just no Hyatt, this logo looks like a 3 year old was handed a computer with a text editor and told they had 2 minutes to come up with a brand. 

The logo is just plain bad. Letters align to almost feel like it is supposed to spell something... But it doesn't. Large amounts of space have been added between the letters in the word OF. Looking at some of the advertising campaigns for the new program, Hyatt is using the space to place objects that are supposed to represent... well i don't really know. All I can say is this is a terrible logo.

Aside from aesthetics, the program is getting some major changes.

Most obvious is the addition of a 3rd tier of status. Under the Gold Passport program, Hyatt only had Platinum and Diamond status, now they have added a 3rd level. Of course all of the levels have also changed names, so we need to contend with that as well. The new levels will be called:

  • Discoverist
  • Explorist
  • Globalist

Yeah, they are once again really weird names. Wondering if these are status levels or just  Not sure I really get it, but that's what we have to work with now.

Discoverist tier is most like the old Platinum status, but things are a little easier to achieve under the new World of Hyatt program. Discoverist will be achieved after only 10 nights at Hyatt properties, where the old program required 15 nights.

Explorist is a new tier, it kicks in at 30 nights at Hyatt properties.

Globalist is closest to the old Diamond status. Globalist has a higher bar to entry at 60 nights, vs the old 50 night requirement. What we need to keep in mind here is that the old program used to allow for you to make 25 stays to gain diamond status. This was by far the most cost effective way to gain top tier status. Stay requirements are going away in the new program though, which means only nights slept on property will count anymore, not number of stays. This is a huge blow to the program and people like us who try to get the most for as little money as possible.

Earning rates are changing too. Discoverist drops the old 15% bonus points down to only 10% now under the new program. Explorist lands at 20% bonus points, and Globalist like the old diamond status, still earns 30% bonus points.

There are a whole range of new features, free nights and major changes coming with this program. If you want to keep up with all the changes, head over to the new World Of Hyatt webpage.

Booking A 4 Night Stay, Only Pay for 2 Nights

People often wonder how to travel as much as I do, yet not have money pouring out so fast that I'm in debt up to my eyes. The formula isn't a secret, it's just not well advertised. We all know by now I use points and miles to get extremely low cost trips around the world, but often I need to pay for hotels. Using the tools at your disposal can and just did cut my hotel price in half.

I've spoken about the advantages of keeping the high end Citi Prestige card around in your wallet. Even after the announcement from Citi that many features are going away, it still remains my travel go to card for now. The big reason for that is the 4th night free benefit. If you book a hotel through Citi's Concierge service, they will refund you the cost of the 4th night. That means that for any stay 4 nights or longer, you'll get 1 of those nights back. Staying for 8 nights? Do a mid week hotel switch and get 2 nights free, as they don't allow you to use it twice on a single stay.

Additionally, the card benefit can be paired with promotional pricing from hotels, and I just did that on my stay in South Africa. The hotel I'm staying at is running a promotion to stay 3 nights and get the 4th night free. Even though both the hotel and Citi promise the 4th night free, they can still be combined. Booking at the hotel reduces the daily price across the board instead of refunding a single day. That means that you still pay for four nights, but the cost is reduced on all of them equal to the cost of the 4th night.

Citi will then take the overall price of the stay, average it for a per day cost and refund 1 days worth of charges. That means this is almost like staying for 4 nights and only paying for 2. Almost a half price deal, it's not exactly 50% since the Citi benefit kicks in on the reduced rate, but it is close to a half price deal.

This is the trick, look for the deals hotels make available. Hotels are trying to drive traffic to their properties and will offer these great promotions. Combining promotions can give huge returns in pricing.

These companies are giving majorly reduced prices on high end hotels, might as well take advantage of those deals if you can. This is hoe I do it, combine offers and deals as much as possible to get massive price reductions, it lets me stay at high end hotels for no more than I would pay at a Holiday Inn.

Grab a great credit card, find some great deal and travel the world... you won't regret it!

Starwood's New "More For You" Promotion

Starwood finished their last promotion at the very end of July. Now we are getting close to September and Starwood is just releasing the details of their next promotion called "More For You."

Set to go live on September 12th, you'll be able to sign up for the promotion on that date that is planned to run through December 18th of this year. With the new promotion, you will be able to earn 2x normal base points on any weekday stay of two or more nights. If you are staying at a Starwood hotel on the weekend, then you'll be able to earn 3x normal points if you are staying at least 2 nights.

Weekends are counted as Friday and Saturday nights around the world with the exception of the middle east where Thursday and Fridays are considered weekend stays.

While we wait for the promotions signup to go live on September 12th, Starwood is running a contest on the promotions website. The contest allows you to enter your SPG member number and choose a card that represents each of the hotels under the Starwood brand. if you choose correctly, you could win a prize. If you lose, you get one entry into the larger contest which allows you to win a second time.

If you want to play the pre-promotion game, head over to the More For You webpage to see if you can win. The website allows you to play once a day until the promotion goes live. Go try you luck, I didn't win anything the first 2 days, but we shall see if I win in the coming days... assuming I remember to play daily.

Hotel Data Breach Compromises Guest Information.... Again

In what sounds like a broken record, yet another hotel group has been hit by computer system malware, possibly compromising many guests personal and credit card information. This malware did not target a specific hotel brand, but instead a group that physically owns a number of hotels. Overall the number of impacted hotels is 20.

In the hotel world, each building may be part of a larger brand such as Marriott, IHG, Hyatt, or Starwood to name a few (these were all brands included in this breach). While they may on the surface look like each building is owned by that brand, in reality each hotel is often owned by a group or by individuals that use the brand for advertising and some back end booking systems. In this case, the group that actually owned each property was hit by a malware attack. 

Since this was a property owner and not the brand, this breach was unique in that it crossed 4 different hotel brands. Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and IHG hotel groups were impacted by this breach, a total of 20 individual hotels. Take a look below for the full list of impacted hotels.

  • Boca Raton Marriott - Boca Raton, FL
  • Dallas Fort Worth Marriott - Fort Worth, TX
  • Equinox Resort - Manchester Village, VT
  • Hotel Chicago - Chicago, IL
  • Hyatt Centric - Santa Barbara, CA
  • Intercontinental Tampa - Tampa, FL
  • Le Meridian Arlington, Arlington, VA
  • Renaissance San Diego - San Diego, CA
  • Royal Palm - Miami, FL
  • San Diego Marriott - La Jolla, CA
  • Sheraton Music City - Nashville, TN
  • Sheraton Pentagon City - Arlington, VA
  • The Hotel Minneapolis - Minneapolis, MN
  • The Westin -  Pasadena, CA
  • The Westin - Philadelphia, PA
  • The Westin - Snowmass Village, CO
  • The Westin D.C. City Center - Washington D.C.
  • Westin - Fort Lauderdale, FL

That is the entire list of impacted hotels. I've actually had stays booked with the Arlington Le Meridien for an event I was attending, but we stayed with friends instead... maybe a good move in the end due to these breaches.

Many of the impacted dates reach all the way back to March of 2015. So if you stayed at any of the hotels in the last year and a half, you might want to keep a close watch on your credit report for a while.