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Chasing elite status with an airline or hotel can be a fool’s errand. Why pay extra to earn free perks when you could have just spent the same amount of money on those benefits without the additional step?
That’s not to say elite status is worthless – far from it. But not all elite statuses are made the same, and when it comes to hotels, Hyatt has – hands down – the best hotel elite status for top-tier members.
It’s not the easiest hotel status to earn because you can’t get it just by opening one of the best hotel credit cards. But top-tier Hyatt Globalist status is incredibly valuable and it’s possible to fast track earning it with The World Of Hyatt Credit Card.
I found that the perks result in actual cash savings and aren’t just fluff, like imaginary upgrades or a free snack at check-in. For example, on a recent family trip, I stayed at the Park Hyatt Washington DC, home to the Blue Tavern which has earned a Michelin Star. We got $360 worth of free breakfast for 9 people. Now compare that to IHG’s top-tier Spire status, which doesn’t even include free breakfast!
A lot of hotel elite status benefits are fairly universal across the major chains. Things like early check-in, late check-out, and extra bonus points are standard.
Hyatt has 3 different elite status levels: Hyatt Discoverist, Hyatt Explorist, and Hyatt Globalist. The first 2 tiers aren’t especially valuable, although you can earn useful club upgrades, and a free night after 30 nights (Hyatt Explorist status). Where it really gets good for Hyatt loyalists is at the Globalist level.
Most hotel elite status is fairly easy to earn with a credit card. For example, you can earn mid-tier or higher elite status with these cards:
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
The problem is when elite status becomes easy to earn, the hotel chain is forced to water down the benefits. If everyone gets free breakfast, that gets expensive quickly.
Joseph argues that Hilton has the best mid-tier elite status (Hilton Gold status). But once you start comparing Hilton Diamond (or other top-tier statuses) to Hyatt Globalist, I feel Hyatt comes out on top. Here’s why.
Free Breakfast & Even Room Service Sometimes
I love a good breakfast and Hyatt has the most generous free breakfast policy for top-tier elites. You get Club lounge access if the hotel has one. And if not, you’re usually entitled to free breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant for up to 2 adults and 2 children.
The way the benefit works does vary by hotel. Some locations, like the Park Hyatt Tokyo, even include room service as part of the perk.
There isn’t any other top-tier status that comes close to this!
Earn Multiple Free Nights at Certain Tiers
There are plenty of credit cards that come with annual free night certificates, including The World Of Hyatt Credit Card. But World of Hyatt is the most generous hotel loyalty program when it comes to handing out free nights as a standard part of their program (here’s a post on all the ways to earn Hyatt free night certificates).
You get a Category 1 to 4 free night certificate after earning 30 elite night credits (or 50,000 base points) and a Category 1 to 7 free night certificate after earning 60 elite night credits (or 100,000 base points).
Even though these certificates are a bit more restrictive than standard award nights booked with points (you can’t apply confirmed suite upgrades or confirmed Club upgrades to them), they can easily get you hundreds of dollars in free stays.
Meaningful Upgrades & Confirmed Upgrades
Currently, you get 4 confirmed suite upgrades after earning 60 elite night credits (or 100,000 base points) that are valid for up to 7 nights each. However, starting March 1, 2019, you’ll earn 2 confirmed suite upgrades after 50 elite nights (or 80,000 base points) and another 2 suite upgrades after earning 60 elite night credits (or 100,000 base points).
These confirmed upgrades can be applied to free nights booked with points (not free nights booked with certificates), cash + points stays, or eligible cash rates.
Also, as a Hyatt Globalist, you’re eligible to be upgraded to the best available room at check-in, including suites. And while this is a standard perk for hotel elite status, in my personal experience, I’ve had much better luck getting upgraded as a Hyatt Globalist than say a Hilton Diamond elite.
With Hilton, I’ve often been upgraded to a room with a better view or some similar upgrade that isn’t really an upgrade. Hilton also regularly offers to sell me a decent upgrade, rather than just move me. With Hyatt, they either upgrade you or they do it without the nickel and dime-ing.
Free Parking & Waived Resort Fees
Fees are the main thing that keep hotel awards from being truly free. They always get stuck on the bill somewhere.
But Hyatt waives resort fees for all award stays. And they go a step further for Globalist members by waiving resort fees on all eligible rates. In popular destinations, like Las Vegas or Hawaii, this could easily save you $35+ a night.
Globalist members will also get parking fees waived on free night stays where the parking can be charged to the room. I’ve saved $60+ a night in valet parking fees thanks to this perk when I stayed at the Hyatt Centric Times Square.
Easy to Share With Friends & Family
Hyatt has a built-in “Guest of Honor” benefit available to Globalist members that allows your friends and family to take advantage of your elite status perks. But it’s only valid for award stays booked with points or a free night certificate. So, unfortunately, cash or points + cash stays won’t qualify.
You can use this benefit if you’re staying on the same reservation or even if you’re not traveling with your friends or family. I’ve taken several family trips where this perk has allowed us to save nearly $200 per room in breakfast and parking costs. That can really add up!
The biggest hindrance to using this perk is Hyatt’s points transfer process. You can transfer points between accounts for free, but you have to fill out this form and email or mail it in. So the transfer is far from instant and you can only make one transfer every 30 days.
The transfer terms also say that you can only make a transfer “in order to have a sufficient number of points to redeem a particular award.” Although in practice, I’ve made many different transfers and never had to confirm what award they were for.
It’s fairly easy to earn elite status with many hotel chains. You can get Hilton top-tier status just by opening a card like the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, and Hilton has frequent status match or status challenge opportunities. But when a hotel hands out top-tier status like candy on Halloween they have to water it down because it becomes expensive to maintain.
In contrast, Hyatt Globalist status is much harder to earn, which is why it is so valuable. Hyatt’s top-tier elite status perks like free breakfast, free upgrades, and free parking can’t be beaten!
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For rates and fees of the Hilton Ascend Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, click here.