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Poor Dalia recently wrote a post asking the question “Hyatt Globalist Status – Is It Really Worth Pursuing?”… I would’ve happily spared her a couple of hundred words along with a few hours of her weekend by simply answering “Yes” to that question.
It’s important though to provide some context to my answer – just like there needs to be more context when framing the question. There is no “one size fits all” answer to this and I’ve been finding the Bonvoy Brigade jumping at the chance to oversimplify the answer… whatever helps them cope I guess? 🙂
What does “Worth it” actually mean?
Worth is a measure of value. What something is worth to me, sitting in Ottawa, working a corporate job will be different to what the same thing might mean to a digital nomad working in Bali. There’s literally countless scenarios in which you could pose the above question to and get a different answer. Is the context in which the question is being asked for a Canadian? …who never stays at Hyatt’s? …rarely pays cash for stays? Then of course pursuing Globalist status with a brand they never stay at, is not going to be worth it. I question why that person is even considering it in the first place.
Take my own example – I got IHG Diamond status when the program made an ‘whoopsie’ and allowed anyone to register for status at the end of 2022. I was also made aware that paying USD ~$200 to get IHG Ambassador would automatically reset the expiry date on IHG Diamond status till the end of 2023 – with the possibility of repeating this over and over again until IHG wises up to that loophole. I didn’t extend it. Why? Simple – I have a grand total of zero IHG stays coming up this year and I know of maybe 1 IHG aspirational hotel that maybe I could have squeezed into my upcoming travel plans over the next 1-2 years.
That doesn’t mean that IHG Diamond status at $200 cost isn’t ‘worth it’ for most others – it would probably be a no brainer for the majority of folks… just not me. Dalia’s commentary seemed to be focused on the type of person for whom Globalist would not make sense for – i.e with little to no chance of organic stays from which to potentially pursue Globalist status from.
Lets be clear here – there is no major hotel or airline status that is “worth” chasing top tier elite status for, starting from scratch. In my view at least, the only way to fairly answer the question of ‘worth’ is to look at alternatives choices you’d have with the same opportunity cost. If a hotel program offers a quick shortcut by getting a credit card, then its not really an apples to apples comparison – all that impacts is that one program is “harder” to get than the other.
A better way of framing the question of relative “worth” of chasing status is for someone whom the remaining nights and cost to achieve Globalist vs Bonvoy Platinum (as an example) is comparable- so in this instance which status would be ‘worth’ pursuing. I can almost hear Dalia screaming at her screen saying “BUT YOU CAN GET A CREDIT CARD FOR BONVOY PLATINUM & HILTON DIAMOND”… that’s a separate perspective which brings me to my next point…
“Worth it” vs “Easier”
Something I thought was getting muddied a bit is the concept of “is Globalist status worth it” vs “is Globalist status more difficult to get”. Those two questions aren’t one and the same.
For starters – of course Globalist is a more difficult status to earn compared to Bonvoy/ Hilton Honors/ IHG top tier status – but it’s probably for that very reason that Hyatt can deliver an unquestionably better suite of benefits to its top tier members (well.. maybe not according to this chap who seems to have experienced his own modern day telling of Antigone with Hyatt), which to be fair, Dalia acknowledged as well. As has been oft repeated – if everyone is Platinum (replace with any program top tier status), then nobody is a Platinum.
What makes Globalist so valuable is the consistency of the benefits it delivers – as an example, I have stayed over 3 times the nights at a Marriot as a Platinum or higher, than with Hyatt – and being proactively upgraded to an available standard suite is a race that Hyatt win’s handily. Sure there are rogue properties belonging to Hyatt too – but at least to me it seems that Hyatt does a better job of reigning them in than Marriott. I can go on and on about that makes the the World of Hyatt a far superior program – but that is for another day.
My point above is that in being more difficult – some might correctly construe as “more expensive” – it delivers a far superior product. Is a BMW M3 not “worth it” over a Ford Pinto just because it’s more expensive? I think it is – which is why I can’t disagree more with the insinuation that having to spend more over the course of a year for Globalist is not “worth it”. Again – I’m talking about a rational example here.. not some lunatic overspending thousands of dollars for status.
Are there actually “so many that chase Globalist”?
Another thing Dalia seems to suggest is that there are a very large number of people brainlessly pursuing Globalist status. I tend to disagree – at least anecdotally, especially here in Canada. Maybe the Globalist FOMO makes it seem like it is – but at least to me, there are far more Canadian’s chasing Bonvoy status thanks to Canadian issued Amex Personal and Business Credit Cards, than there are status chasers with Hyatt. Just ask TownPlace Suites Petawawa.
That makes sense to me as well – after all, when are people more likely to mattress run to achieve status? When they are 60 nights away from top tier? Or when they get a head start from credit cards and easy access to hotels leaving them 10-20 nights to hit a worthwhile status level. So while it seems she’s suggesting this is a problem prevalent in Globalist circle’s – I think that assertion is misplaced as sadly I see this happen way to much for Bonvoy Platinum status.
5 Reasons for not pursuing Globalist?
Dalia’s staunch defense for not pursuing Globalist status is predicated on the 5 following arguments:
(i) Tiny Global Footprint& (ii) Limited Number of Aspirational Properties
Hyatt’s “tiny footprint” and “limited number of aspirational properties” are basically the same knock against them which is about their overall size. Well Dalia – size doesn’t matter! I’ll also push back on the second point. Marriott identifies its highest end brands as St Regis, Ritz Carleton’s and Editions (ignoring the few Ritz Carleton Reserves). These total ~180 world wide… and we won’t mention that elite benefits are only honored at ~60 of these 180 properties – mostly belonging to the St. Regis brand. We won’t mention that at all…
Hyatt, being a smaller hotel group struggles to compete in absolute numbers – but its not as skewed as its being made out. There are ~40 Park Hyatt’s around the world, 17 Alila’s and 3 Miravel’s. I think these are clearly what Hyatt would label as their top brands. A paltry 60 high end properties vs Marriott’s 180 high end properties? Ironically both have the exact same number of properties where they actually recognize top tier elites. So despite Bonvoy being >6x bigger – its top end footprint is 3x larger if we’re being kind.
Although there are a number of Andaz’s and Thompson’s that can clearly make a case for high end properties – so too are there brands like JW and Autograph’s in Marriott – so lets call that a wash. Despite that, I still feel that something being overlooked – and I can appreciate that it becomes difficult to quantify – are properties in the SLH, Unbound collection and all inclusive collections that would comfortably fit within Hyatt’s top end offerings. Hotels like Calala Island, 7pines Sardinia, Secrets resorts (most coming in around $1,000+/nt), Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa (SLH property) and countless others, would comfortably make the case of being considered aspirational. Additionally, we have seen Hyatt very focused on expanding its luxury footprint – something repeatedly reiterated in recent times by the company. Putting its words into actions have resulted in the acquisitions of Apple Leisure Group, Two Roads Hospitality, Dream Hotel Group to name just a few in the past couple of years.
So maybe there are more “aspirational” Bonvoy properties.. but the difference is probably a lot less than is being made out to be. We won’t even touch upon the fact that no table is necessary to decipher what a Globalist’s benefits are at these properties. Same can’t be said for Bonvoy unfortunately. So while Hyatt won’t be a great fit for a certain type of traveler who happens to only be visiting places where Hyatt’s footprint isn’t.. lets not get too far ahead of ourselves and label Bonvoy as the choice du jour for those who tend to stay more at the higher end luxury brands.
(iii) High Opportunity Cost & (iv) High Elite Nights Requirement
Both these arguments against Globalist go back to my initial point – why is someone even considering Globalist if they need to spend the entire amount on a US issued Credit Card, or have to overspend thousands to get status. On this I would agree with Dalia – but this is not exclusive to Hyatt – this applies for every status level where you don’t have the benefit of getting from a credit card. This will more often than not be a a detriment of your circumstances- not a weakness of the program.
(v) Guest of Honor Benefit
Guest of Honor (“GoH”) is undoubtedly a wonderful program benefit and offers something very unique amongst the hotel loyalty landscape. Dalia legitimately raises the point that pursuing Globalist becomes almost inconsequential for anyone who has access to the Chase’s Ultimate Rewards (“UR”) programs and can generate UR points – because you can always rely on getting a Globalist friend or family member to make a GoH booking for you so that you enjoy all the perks a Globalist would be entitled to. Well – true enough – I have often times advised close friends to do the same – forget about chasing status because their circumstances make it a bit of a stretch to qualify – and instead focus on redeeming UR for GoH stays.
There are two potential pitfalls of relying solely on GoH stays though. First – you better have a really close friend/family member to rely upon. GoH aren’t the most convenient processes. Aside from having to call in to make a GoH booking, if you intend to send points the other way to compensate for the booking – Hyatt only allows this to occur in accounts once every 30 days. Even then, the process involves both parties signing a form and sending it in for manual processing and could take up to a week for the points to transfer through.
As a one-off – it’s not so bad, but in a real world setting it can at times be a lot to ask of a friend – especially if they have multiple different point transfer pending. Over the last year, I have found myself politely declining GoH requests occasionally to friends as I’ve had various backlogs of point transfers of up to 5-6 months at times – becoming much too laborious and cumbersome to track and be out the points for.
Secondly – as rates – in cash and points – continue to float upwards across all aspects of life – its not always going to make sense to make a points booking over a cash rate, or a cash + points rate. As an example, lets say someone had been eying the Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island specifically for a family getaway. We know summer rates in the UAE can be cheap.. so a points redemption of 25,000 points would not match favorably with a cash rate of sub-$250 (especially considering at a minimum, 25,000 UR could be converted to USD $312.5 with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card). So what does one do here? Overpay in a valuable points currency or go with the most cost effective option but then forego the elite benefits – which are not insignificant at top tier properties. Perhaps most won’t run into this as much as I have in the post-COVID world – but it is food for thought nonetheless.
While I do understand- and agree to a certain extent to some points that Dalia wrote about – I just don’t think most of her criticisms are applicable to only Hyatt, and nor do I think its a fair question to ask in a vacuum when you’re viewing it from a very specific use case of someone who will have difficulty engaging with the program in their routine travel plans.
The question that is easier to answer is that Hyatt is a more difficult program to attain status with than its competitors, but in being so, its program also regularly outshines that of the others. Whether or not that “premium” makes sense for an individual in a particular situation is subjective. For myself – it has absolutely been worth it and its the one loyalty program I find I am not constantly cursing at – but if you’re someone from whom the footprint is paramount (as an example) – than have at it with Bonvoy or Hilton or whomever.
Lastly – to my dear Hyatt Globalist status – please don’t be put off by what Dalia said.. because remember..
“It is better to be envied than pitied – Herodotus”
I agree with Jon
stupid article. i agree its not worth it anymore. hyatt hotels are not consistenyly delivering benefits and cutting corners at every step.
Thanks for chiming in!
Though I would point out that Dalia wasn’t saying that the WoH is a trash program nor that its benefits suck.
Thr only thing that I personally agreed with in Dalia’s article is Hyatt’s lack of a BIG footprint, unlike Bumvoy or HH. Otherwise, the program works for me, and it only makes sense for me to hamsterwheel/ chase 1 program. Since 90+% of my travel is leisure.
Everyone’s entitled to a program opinion, and none of them is really wrong. Just for me, WoH work and nothing else matters. Though I occasionally stay on points at a Marriott Bumvoy aspirational property due to its BIG FEET.
So glad you are on Team Globbz.😅😅😅 Well said, and well written @Mo! I look forward to my many Park and Grand Hyatt stays in calendar 2023. Godspeed my friend.