Hyatt Fires Rep Who Leaked Redemption Changes

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Hyatt Fires Rep Who Leaked Redemption Changes

Million Mile SecretsHyatt Fires Rep Who Leaked Redemption ChangesMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Yesterday, View From The Wing wrote about a post on MilePoint by chanp, who received an email from his Diamond Private Line Representative (PLR) about changes to the Hyatt reward program.

Private Line Representatives are specially trained reservation agents who are assigned to take care of high-value Hyatt customers.

The most important change was that 25 hotels would require more points to redeem  and 18 hotels would require fewer points to redeem for a reward night from September 1, 2011.

A few hours later at 10:28 pm, Jeff Zidell, a Vice President at Hyatt posted on MilePoint (bolding mine):

It appears as though one of our Customer Service Representatives released information prematurely. Our intent is to always post information here and in other similar forums as soon as possible, so our most engaged customers get information in the timeliest manner.

In this case, the proper procedures were not followed. While this is unfortunate, our goal is to always be completely transparent.

There are indeed some changes to Hyatt Gold Passport, which were originally planned to be announced this week and next. This includes several new benefits and changes to the award chart.

As an aside, I wonder if Jeff  Zidell really posted on MilePoint or FlyerTalk or if a member of the Hyatt social media team posted on Zidell’s behalf.

Anyway, this quick response was a strong sign that Hyatt wasn’t very pleased about this information leaking out.

A similar series of posts appeared on FlyerTalk as well.

The next day, Hyatt Gold Passport Concierge wrote about the changes to the program on MilePoint and FlyerTalk in addition to confirming the changes in award redemption levels at hotels.

The main changes included a new 4:00 pm guaranteed check out for Hyatt Diamond members at non-resorts and casinos, a “nightly room refresh” (seriously?) and a new welcome amenity of either a USD$5 credit in the Guest Market at Hyatt Summerfield Suites, a complimentary beverage at Hyatt Place, or 500 points.

View From The Wing later posted the list of hotels which had either increased redemption rates.

The good news was that none of the really desirable Park Hyatts such as the Park Hyatts in Paris, Tokyo, or the Maldives increased their redemption rates.

The Andaz Wall Street became a category 6 hotel which requires 22,000 points to redeem for a free night.  The Hyatt in Hua Hin, Thailand increased to a category 4, as did the Park Hyatt in Goa, India.

So far, so good.  Right?

Well, today evening, there were posts on MilePoint and FlyerTalk indicating that the Hyatt PLR who gave her customer the heads-up about the upcoming changes was fired for releasing information prematurely.

Now, I don’t know if this is true, since I read it on the internet, 😉 but I was a bit conflicted with this news.

On the one hand, I feel that the PLR went above and beyond in helping her customer by giving advance notice of the upcoming changes.

On the other hand, this information may have been embargoed by Hyatt and was not to be shared until the announcement date.  So I can see why Hyatt was upset that this sensitive bit of news leaked out early.

But did they really need to fire (if true) the Private Line Representative whose sole purpose in sharing the information was to help her customer?  Was Jeff Zidell annoyed at having to post a clarification on MilePoint and FlyerTalk at 10 pm?

What do you think?  Should Hyatt have fired the Private Line Representative who provided excellent customer service?

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It might not be that significant when the transaction is hotel rooms purchased with points, but a similar activity if, say, purchasing shares of a company with cash, would effectively be insider trading.

Million Mile Secrets

@zzd – I agree that insider trading should be a punishable activity, but I’m not sure firing one of the best Hyatt reps who was only helping her customers and not profiting form the information was warranted.

They may be concerned about fairness among all of their customers. If one member has an unfair knowledge advantage, she or he may be able to use that information to book rooms before the redemption rates increase, which would thus deplete availability, so some other clients might be out of luck if they attempt to book the same rooms once the information is released to the public. Those other clients might then be outraged that the rooms they wanted to book are no longer available the day the information is released.

We also don’t know how the PLR’s are trained. If they are told repeatedly and consistently that they may not release this type of information, and then go ahead and do it, yes they should be fired for doing it even once.

Matters of trust are very important. If an employee leaks this to “help a client”, what else would they leak? How about letting their client know where a VIP will be staying so that their client can get close to someone famous, see where this is heading…..?

If you can’t trust your employee, you have to release them. Harsh, but true.

Million Mile Secrets

@boisterousbob – Fair point. We don’t really know how they are trained, though my personal view is to give someone the benefit of the doubt for a good faith effort to help a customer, but I can see your point as well.

what amazes me is hyatt thinks this is some kind of big announcement? you are kidding me rightt! this change is a nothing change, from a program that has been a nothing program this year. glad i dont work there

I think that they should have put her outside under some heat lamps as punishment.

Million Mile Secrets

@Gene – We need to have a sarcasm alert icon on the blog!

@phil – I agree that the change isn’t a really significant change. Late check out at 4:00 pm is nice, but it is not an earth shattering revelation. However, I do think that Hyatt has one of the best loyalty programs available currently.

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