7 secrets to the World of Hyatt program — how many do you know?

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As straightforward as many loyalty programs market themselves to be, there are always a handful of tips and tricks that many of us are unaware of — or perhaps maybe forgotten. Some involve their hotel credit card, some are booking loopholes, some include properties you’ve probably never heard of.

World of Hyatt is an MMS reader favorite — most readers email or comment that it’s their favorite hotel loyalty program, and we love it too! Below are a few “secrets” to Hyatt that don’t tend to be marketed very well — perhaps on purpose! If you’ve got any additions, leave a comment and I’ll add them if I deem them worthy in my infinite wisdom.

I used some of these tips on my latest Hyatt excursion to Colorado. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

World of Hyatt secrets you probably didn’t know

More unique all-inclusive resorts

When you think of an all-inclusive resort, you probably imagine drowsily vegetating on a Caribbean beach chaise, acquiring a wicked tan on your wrist from your plastic “unlimited margaritas” bracelet.

That’s what most hotel chains offer. Marriott’s all-inclusive hotels are limited to the Caribbean, Central America, or Mexico, in very touristy areas. Hilton is a bit better, though its all-inclusives are largely restricted to the Caribbean and Mexico. While Hilton does offer a couple in Egypt and Turkey, they’re still quite cookie-cutter.

Hyatt’s also got all the sun-soaked booze-binging all-inclusive hotspots, like Mexico, Baja California, and the Caribbean. But it’s also got some very unique properties, such as:

  • Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary (a monastery in the Himalayas)
  • Calala Island (basically your own private island off the coast of Nicaragua)
  • Ventana Big Sur (built in the middle of the California redwoods)
  • Diamonds Dream of Africa (on the coast of Kenya, near a giant nature reserve) — note that this is listed as all-inclusive on the SLH site, but I can’t find any indication of this feature through Hyatt. I emailed the resort, so I’ll update when I get a response

Keep an eye on these SLH hotels, as well, as they’ll hopefully all trickle into the World of Hyatt portfolio.

Use Hyatt points to upgrade to a suite on paid stays

You probably already know that you can use Hyatt points to book standard rooms, standard suites, or premium suites at most hotels. But did you know that you can guarantee yourself a suite on paid stays using Hyatt points??

When you pay cash for a stay with Hyatt, you can pay a flat points rate to upgrade yourself to a club room, standard suite, or premium suite:

  • Standard suite upgrade: 6,000 points per night
  • Premium suite upgrade: 9,000 points per night
  • Regency Club/Grand Club upgrade: 3,000 points per night

You can get bonkers value for your Hyatt points this way. Just note that you may need to book a room rate above the standard rate to be eligible for a points upgrade — it varies by hotel.

As a hasty example of what you can save, let’s look at the Park Hyatt Chicago. Base rooms here go for about $400 after taxes. The hotel doesn’t stipulate on the website the minimum room category to qualify for a points upgrade, but let’s play it safe and say it’s a King Bed Lake View room (three room categories higher than the standard room). This room costs ~$443 per night after taxes.

With 9,000 points, you should be able to upgrade to a premium suite, like the Executive Suite. This room costs ~$920 per night!

In other words, you could get $479 in value from just 9,000 Hyatt points. That’s a value of 5.3 cents per point. Considering we estimate Hyatt points value to be about 1.5 cents each, that’s incredible.

Just note that you’ll have to call 800-544-9288, or direct message Hyatt Concierge to use your points to upgrade. They should be able to tell you which base room qualifies for an upgrade, as well.

Find hidden reward night availability

I recently wrote about this here — read that post for a full explanation.

Hyatt’s Pay My Way tool is a method you can use to essentially trick Hyatt into showing you more reward availability than they claim. This is only the case for certain hotels, as they like to play games with their room inventory.

The Andaz Maui is the perfect example. Hyatt guarantees you can use your points for a free stay as long as the hotel is selling standard rooms. The Andaz Maui will only sell standard rooms if you’re booking an undisclosed number of nights. Currently, I find it to be nine. In other words, if you’re not booking nine nights, you can’t book with points. That is mean-spirited.

With Pay My Way, you can sidestep this minimum-night mandate. After you figure out your hotel’s minimum stay requirement, just select that number of nights and click “Pay My Way” under the room price. You can now book your room with a mix of cash and points. Choose the nights you want to pay with points, and use cash for the remainder of the stay. Then, direct message Hyatt Concierge on Twitter and ask them to cancel the nights that are paid. They’ll do it for you lickety-split!

Earn elite status and thousands of dollars in perks without stepping foot in a hotel

The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with an automatic five elite night credits per calendar year. But it also offers a perk altogether unique in the hotel credit card space: For every $5,000 you spend on your card, you’ll earn two elite night credits. Remember these two things for the info below.

1. Hyatt Globalist status

Hyatt Globalist status is the best hotel elite status you can get. Its benefits are fantastic (free breakfast, free parking on award stays, 4 pm late checkout, etc.). But it’s the ecosystem in which this elite status lives that makes it really worthwhile.

For example, Hyatt Globalists are entitled to suite upgrades at check-in. The rate at which you’ll receive a suite upgrade with Hyatt vs another hotel brand like Marriott or IHG with comparable elite status is worlds apart. Hyatt is much more willing to upgrade elites than other hotel chains.

Globalist status requires that you earn 60 elite night credits in a calendar year. However, Hyatt has slashed its elite status requirements for 2021. You’ll need to stay just 30 nights to qualify for Globalist status! With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you could theoretically spend your way to Globalist status this year by spending $65,000 on your card in a calendar year. That sounds obscene, but I’ve got several contractor friends who could do that in their sleep. If that sounds like you, this is a great card to have!

2. Milestone Rewards

Hyatt Milestone Rewards are incentives to stay with Hyatt. You’ll earn incremental rewards after completing a certain amount of stays. Here are the ones that are worthwhile, as well as the amount of money you’d have to spend on your World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn them without staying at a Hyatt hotel:

  • One Category 1-4 free night award after 30 nights ($65,000 in spend)
  • 5,000 Hyatt points after 40 nights ($90,000 in spend)
  • Two Suite Upgrade Awards after 50 nights ($115,000 in spend)
  • One Category 1-7 free night award and two more Suite Upgrade Awards after 60 nights ($140,000 in spend)

Again, I know that looks ridiculous for a normal person. Most of us prefer to rack up our elite nights by actually staying with Hyatt. But the point is that it’s POSSIBLE to earn these rewards from your couch. And they are worth many thousands of dollars. I flew to Mexico for a day and paid $950 in cash because I wanted them so badly. And I’ve already saved about $2,500 since earning them!

Earn Hyatt points when you fly

I’m putting this here because I didn’t even hear about it until recently.

There are a number of ways you can earn Hyatt points without stay with Hyatt. You can read all the ways to earn Hyatt points here. But one unique way comes as a benefit of Hyatt’s partnership with American Airlines (link your accounts here). If you have any level of Hyatt elite status, you’ll earn 1 Hyatt point for every dollar you spend on American Airlines flights. Note that this is in addition to the American Airlines miles you accrue for your flight.

It works the other way, too. If you have both Hyatt and American Airlines elite status, you’ll earn 1 American Airlines mile for every dollar you spend at Hyatt hotels.

Earn free nights by staying at different hotel brands

Hyatt’s Brand Explorer, or “5-Brand Free Night Award,” gives you a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel after you complete an eligible stay at five different Hyatt brand hotels. Yes, award stays count. Here’s a snapshot of my account, where you can see the current Hyatt brands that qualify.

It’s fun when hotels gamify their loyalty programs. As you can see, I’ve earned one Brand Explorer free night, and I need to visit four more brands before I get another.

The benefit is unfortunately once-per-lifetime (AKA it doesn’t reset after you’ve visited all Hyatt brands).

Favorable airline transfer rates are a trap

This is more of a tip instead of a trick.

You can transfer Hyatt points to airlines at a rate of 2.5:1. That sounds ghastly — and it is — but it’s way better than you’ll get for most other competing hotel points. For example, IHG points offer a transfer rate of 5:1 (twice as bad as Hyatt). And Hilton points generally transfer at a rate of 10:1 (4x worse than Hyatt).

The only more favorable transfer rate is Marriott, which converts to airline miles at a 3:1 ratio — but when you transfer in increments of 60,000, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 airline miles (e.g. 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 airline miles). That means you can transfer Marriott points to airlines at a rate of 2.4:1 — 0.1 points better than Hyatt.

However, you should really never do this, as Hyatt points are worth significantly more than other hotel points. Let’s take a look at the opportunity cost for transferring hotel points to airlines, just to visualize the value:

If you value Hyatt points as we do, you’d only want to transfer Hyatt points as a last resort. If you need a couple thousand more miles to top off your airline account for an expensive award flight, it could come in handy. Transfers must be made in increments of 1,250 points, with a minimum of 5,000.

Bottom line

So, how many’d you know?? Remember to leave a comment if you’ve got a Hyatt trick you want your fellow MMS readers to know. And subscribe to our newsletter for more posts like this delivered to your inbox once per day.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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