Late last week Hyatt changes best rate guarantee benefit. And this change, like much of their recent changes, isn’t a positive one.
Hyatt has been on a role lately. It feels like, for a while now, Hyatt has been making changes to its programs and policies. And, unfortunately, many of these changes haven’t been well received. The biggest, and most noticeable one has been the change from Gold Passport to the World of Hyatt.
World of Hyatt, as we all know, introduced a huge number of changes to Hyatt’s loyalty program. It was a massive devaluation for all but top tier members. But that wasn’t all that happened, World of Hyatt also made it much more difficult to obtain status with the program. Especially since Hyatt has a much smaller global footprint than its competitors like Marriott/Starwood and Hilton.
Other recent changes have been more subtle. The company has made a habit of playing with room categories to make it much harder to obtain award nights. And while this is often attributed to franchisees not playing by the rules, it’s worth noting that this applies to Hyatt-owned properties too. In fact, one of the most egregious properties in this regard is the Andaz Maui, which is Hyatt owned.
Best Rate Guarantee Change
Hotel companies have waged war against online travel agencies (OTA) and similar sites. They’d prefer you to book directly with them so that they don’t have to pay commissions to these travel sites. And the hotels have used a number of different strategies to accomplish this. These strategies includes the exclusion of elite benefits/points earnings for not booking direct, member exclusive rates, and best rate guarantees.
Best rate guarantees are supposed to be one of the most effective tools in this war, especially for non-members. Typically, hotel companies will match, and then beat a lower rate you may find. But, for some reason, Hyatt doesn’t seem to think this is a good idea. So, beginning July 31, 2017, Hyatt will eliminate the beat portion of the best rate guarantee. Instead, they’ll match the rate you found and will give you a $50 credit towards a future stay.
That’s right. Soon, Hyatt will no longer beat a rate you find with an OTA. Instead, you’ll get a credit that you can’t even use on your upcoming stay. Rather, the credit will be issued to you four days after you check out of your stay. Oh, and it expires a year after being issued, which isn’t surprising given adjustments Hyatt has been making to other certificate expirations lately.
Hyatt Changes Best Rate Guarantee Final Thoughts
I don’t get what’s going on with Hyatt now days. Are they taking pricing lessons from Scott Kirby? I mean, this strategy could work if a $50 credit is enough to get infrequent travelers to book with them again in the future, but I’m skeptical. This change seems more like their shooting themselves in the foot. Especially if Marriott and Hilton don’t follow suit. Hyatt does, after all, have a much smaller presence than the other two. And in my experience, Hyatt’s tend to be priced a bit higher than there others too.
At any rate, this doesn’t really affect me. While I’ve considered jumping to Hyatt in the past, the recent World of Hyatt change has caused me to instead caused me to be less loyal to them. For now I’ll stick with Marriott Rewards and hope there aren’t too many negative changes during its integration with SPG.