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Why Marriott may win most with World of Hyatt

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WHY MARRIOTT MAY WIN MOST WITH WORLD OF HYATT

One of the reasons that I sought out the Hyatt brand over its competitors was that the loyalty program provided a competitive advantage. The program was so rich and beneficial to top tiers that it was worth seeking out Hyatts in order to attain status. While I still think there are some great perks if you hit Globalist the question will be, ” Is it worth the trouble?” Many business travelers end up mid-tier. In fact, if you hold an Amex Platinum you’re already Marriott mid-tier. I’d even say Marriott Gold is better than Hyatt Explorist because it guarantees club access. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why Marriott may win most with World of Hyatt.

1) Marriott has far more places to stay and earn points

5700 compared to 667 – that’s a BIG difference. Often times you have to make an excuse to stay at a Hyatt over Marriott. That excuse used to be an amazingly rich loyalty program.  While I think there are still some great perks if you hit top tier, but the question will be, ” Is it worth the trouble?”

Marriott has 5700 properties around the globe across 30 brands.

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Hyatt has 667 properties across 12 brands

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2) Marriott Gold is arguably better than Hyatt Explorist

Yes – it will take you 50 nights to get to Marriott Gold vs the 30 nights with Hyatt Explorist, and no you won’t get a free category 1-4 night when you hit Marriott Gold, but for a lot of travelers the difference between 30 and 50 isn’t really that big. The big thing is convenience and Marriott offers it in spades. The free night also expires within in 120 days. I’m not saying that those two factors aren’t important, but what I’m asking is which mid-tier status gives the best experience while at the property?

Looking at the two lists of bennies below – Club level sticks out the most to me. Marriott guarantees their Golds access to the club whereas Hyatt will only give 4 passes out each year. There are other differences but that’s a pretty big gap especially seeing as though you can find more Marriotts and get Gold free with a credit card. If you’re spending 30+, 50+ nights per year in a hotel, club access is great.

Marriott Gold benefits and requirements.

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And the Hyatt Explorist benefits

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How does the earned rate of points compare with redemption options within each brand? Marriott, despite a lot of low point valuations, holds up pretty well

  • Marriott Rewards earns 10 pts per $1 at most properties
    • Gold gives you a 25% bonus
  • World of Hyatt earns 5 base pts per $1 at most properties
    • Explorist earns 20% bonus

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As an example.

Hyatt Explorist, 10k spend.

Explorist requires 50,000 base points or $10,000 of spend to reach this status. Without additional promotions, an Explorist would earn 50,000 + 10,000 bonus reaching status.

Total 60k pts + a category 1-4 hotel. 

Marriott Gold ( assuming you got the status via Amex Plat or Starwood match), 10k spend

Gold earns 10 pts plus a 25% or 10×10000 + 25000 = 125,000

Total 125k pts

Let’s now look at what those points get us…

Marriott…125k points gets us 5 nights in a Category 6 hotel using buy 4 get 5th. Pretty good deal especially considering you would get club access if available.

  • Lots of Great hotels across Asia under Category 6
    • This includes JW Marriott Shanghai and JW Marriott Beijing. In fact, Beijing is category 5 – meaning you could have 5 nights there with club access and have 25k points over. It’s currently offering a huge window of Saver rates too, meaning you could stay there 5 nights for 80k – THAT IS NUTS!

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Hyatt – 60k points would get you 4 nights in a Category 4 hotel

  • There are some great category 4 hotels around the world. In fact, I’ll be staying in one soon in Vietnam and Cambodia.

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After the Starwood merger, Marriott has tons of unique properties. Prior to the merger, Hyatt had a bit of a competitive edge with Marriott and that’s been lost.

To name a few – the list is LONG now.

  • St Regis New York
  • St Regis Florence
  • St Regis Bali
  • London Edition
  • St Regis Maldives
  • Hotel Danieli
  • Ritz Carlton Bali
  • St Regis Mauritius

Knowing that there is a huge swatch of resorts and aspirational properties that are a part of the Marriott brand is a big incentive to stay within the brand for work. Hyatt not only has fewer hotels designed to accommodate conferences, it comparatively has fewer properties to aspire to… I’d say the full list now is such:

  • Park Hyatt Maldives
  • Park Hyatt Sydney
  • Park Hyatt Paris
  • Park Hyatt New York
  • Park Hyatt Tokyo

Hyatt’s Advantage – Chase Ultimate Rewards

The biggest reason I’ll continue to make a point of staying at Hyatt hotels is because I can transfer point at a good value from Chase into World of Hyatt. I’m Diamond this year, but probably won’t make it to Globalist next year, so we’ll see if they give me Explorist or not. If they do…I’ll definitely make use of those points while I have the Clup upgrades.

This deval reminds me of American Airlines. Hyatt was going to deval eventually…

My question is: Was it too soon? Marriott did right by Starwood loyalists. Gave them a fantastic match into Marriott and valued their points better than most had hoped. They are also HUGE, have a great mid tier loyalty program, and their reach to both corporate and luxury markets is rich. This situation reminds me a lot of when American devalued their Aadvantage program earlier this year.

American had cornered the domestic loyalty market, much like Hyatt had. Why not milk that cow for a while? Build more and more loyalists? In American’s case they have the overall size, but not the route map and quality of plane to truly be the best…yet. In Hyatt’s case, they lack the sheer size to truly compete head to head. It was their loyalty program that drew me to them stay after stay after stay. Now…I dunno.

Wrapping up: Marriott may end up attracting a lot of mid-tier Hyatt loyalists.

Hyatt has re-engineered it’s loyalty program to mirror those of chains with much larger footprints. While I can see why Hyatt would make such a move, it does make me wonder what the ultimate results will be, and was it too soon? Before the merger of Marriott and Starwood I would always think Hyatt’s biggest competition was Starwood. A smaller hotel chain that aimed to satisfy the needs of luxury leisure traveler and niche business traveler as much or more than it did the large corporate traveler. Now that Starwood has been acquired, Marriott holds a huge competitive advantage against almost any other chain – they can attract all kinds of customers. I’d say that this puts Hyatt in a competitive disadvantage. When in that situation it seems that they would try and entice customers by enriching or maintaining the competitive advantage that have, not try and compete on a stage that creates a competitive disadvantage. So in the end…will Marriott win most with World of Hyatt?

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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4 Comments

  • […] Cathay’s Elite devaluation and it got me thinking about an article I wrote last year, “Why Marriott may win most with World of Hyatt.” In that post I posited that the huge devaluation of Hyatt’s program actually […]

  • Christian October 31, 2016

    What does “club access if available” mean in realistic terms? Also, Marriott doesn’t offer breakfast to gold members at resorts, which sucks. Not to disparage the program, but it certainly has some drawbacks as well.

    • Christian November 2, 2016

      If there’s no club in existence, you obviously couldn’t use one. Are these capacity controlled? Is this an out for the hotel, so they can just claim the club is not available?

      • Nick June 11, 2017

        It means if the lounge is closed, they’ll give you free breakfast for 2(like, coupon for onsite restaurant). Eitherways if you value free breakfast the most Hilton gold is better as there are many courtyards. Resorts are different though, unless you find scrambled eggs and frozen patties aspiring, in which case why not spend 1% of the room charge and bring with you something from a supermarket?

        Drawback or not, Marriott and Hilton’s mid-tier are the best among all hotel programs and both have requirements and benefits equal to the top-tier for most other programs. Now Marriott is letting SPG mid tier members onto the bandwagon as well by matching “upwards” (gold to gold, however you only need 10 stay/25 nights/a $450 credit card for SPG gold but 50nights/a $450 credit card with spend requirements which itself is already a “backdoor” through Ritz) so they don’t jump ship while Hyatt is actively driving alway its own mid tier members away by dropping the ‘perks’ that were far from Hilton and Marriott in the first pace.

        All in all, bad move for Hyatt, it is quite obvious that those who spend over 60 nights in such a small chain are already more or less locked to them, yet Hyatt decided to throw money at those locked customers at the very risk of forcing people not locked to them to leave:)

        I guess the current ‘explorerist until Feb 19 if you work for a big company’ thing is a clear sign of Hyatt learning a bit from the mistake.

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