Is Hyatt throwing a wobbly?
Last week came the announcement that Hyatt’s plans to buy Starwood had fallen through and that (at least for now) it was to be consigned to the world of ‘small’ hotel chains whilst Marriott absorbed Starwood in to its family which is growing to over one million rooms.
About 48 hours after this, Hyatt launched a promo on Twitter. The plan, it seemed, was to locate people who were unhappy with the loss of high value stays with Starwood and speed them to the top tier of status with Hyatt – Hyatt Diamond. Diamond it should be noted is usually achieved by 25 stays or 50 nights.
In exchange, Hyatt Diamond goes out to impress:
- Upgrades to Regency/Grand Club – offering breakfast and evening snacks
- Upgraded rooms
- 4 confirmed suite upgrades per annum
- Welcome bonus points or amenities – snacks/wine etc.
Well, as always seems to happen these days, the promo went viral with people re-tweeting the offer, posting it on Facebook and of course, blogging about it.
By Friday morning I had DM’ed Hyatt on Twitter hoping that they might make me an offer for Diamond status through 2018 as I have already done my bit for their bottom line with 27 stays this year meaning that I will stay Diamond until Feb 2017.
Hyatt invited me to send off proof of a stay with a competitor chain and my status with them. This was pretty easy as I had been at the Hilton in York two weeks before and held Diamond Hilton HHonors through my British Airways Gold Guest List status.
Whilst I waited to see what happened, there were lots of posts from people who had been matched to Diamond from Starwood Gold and Platinum (10 and 25 stays respectively), plus Marriott and even Intercontinental. Seems the only thing that would not bump you to the top was Club Carlson status.
For a long time Hyatt had a status match programme – most travel companies that offer status do – which required x number of stays before getting status. Effectively a short cut to elite with Hyatt – x was a moveable feast but required a reasonable amount of cash to be laid down to earn status. Never did x = 1 like it did last Friday.
Predictably yesterday morning I received the bad news that Hyatt wasn’t really interested in my business – I presume as it already thinks it has it.
Giving away the top tier of your programme to an elite from a competitor who simply has to show one stay with the competitor weakens the programme in my view. It makes Hyatt look panicked over the Marriott/Starwood merger. Directly for me, it makes the suite upgrades harder to get. Hotels have already reclassified some big rooms as suites to avoid having to give actual suites to elite members using their upgrades. There are reports this week that one hotel is writing to Diamond Gold Passport members weeks in advance of their stay saying that the lounge is too full to accommodate them when they arrive, whilst still selling rooms where the lounge is included. Some properties are already restricting what the ‘free breakfast’ means where they don’t have a lounge – allowing only a sub-set of items from the normal buffet. All of these strike me as being responces from properties that Gold Passport is being too generous with their profits. Giving elite status away to someone who earned it via their credit card is simply insulting in my view. In the UK you could have paid £99 for your black Priority Club card, stayed once for £39 at a Holiday Inn and got Diamond Status with Hyatt. That’s a bargain in anyone’s book.
With a whole swathe of new elites in its Clubs and pipping other elites for the best rooms, it directly dilutes the experience for loyal guests. Status match programmes must drive business, but please Hyatt, can you think a little about those who did it the hard way, year-after-year?