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Hyatt Extends Its Loyalty Program Benefits For One Year

MACAU, MACAU - JULY 18: Signage for the Grand[+]GETTY IMAGES

Hyatt hotels is giving its World of Hyatt loyalty program members a one year extension on the elite benefits that they earn.

In a message shared with travelers on Thursday, the Chicago-based hotel chain announced elite status and benefits earned in the World of Hyatt loyalty program would be extended a full year to expire in 2022.

Typically, elite status with most hotel chains is earned annually as a function of how much a traveler stays or spends within the network. An Explorist at Hyatt, for example, which is a middle-tier in the World of Hyatt loyalty program, can earn his or her status after spending 30 nights at the hotel over the course of the year. In exchange, that person earns a 20% bonus on earned-loyalty points, member-only rates, waived resort fees and a variety of other perks only for Hyatt’s elites.

That status, however, needs to be maintained every year — which means that every year the Explorist needs to spend at least 30 nights (or jump through similar hoops) in a Hyatt hotel in order to continue receiving benefits.

Now, however, Hyatt is effectively giving its loyalty program members the year off. Any status earned through the 2019 year and employed through 2020 can now effectively be used through 2021. And while that 2019 status would formerly expire in early 2021 if the traveler didn’t requalify, now it’ll expire in 2022.

Additionally, Hyatt is also expanding its waiver policy around booked hotels for all of its members. For travel through June 30 of 2020, Hyatt bookings can be changed or canceled for free without penalty.

Hyatt currently has just under 900 hotels in its portfolio of properties and over 100,000 employees, making it one of the largest hotel chains worldwide. It is also one of the largest hotel chains to officially extend elite status as a result of the coronavirus. So far, Wyndham and Marriott, the two largest chains by number of hotels, have yet to issue any guidance around extending elite status. Late in March, Hilton Hotels extended status and a variety of elite benefits by a full year while Best Western led the pack with an extension prior to that.

With Hyatt now formally coming out with an extended elite benefits policy, Marriott and Wyndham may now feel more pressure to make a similar move. With so many members and their fates at stake though, the two biggest chains may end up taking a more cautious approach and seeing how deep the impact of the coronavirus is on the travel industry before formalizing a loyalty plan.
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