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This past weekend, a group of points-travel enthusiasts gathered in Vancouver (BC, Canada) for #pmbmeetup. What happens when you have a bunch of points nerds gather in a city that has only ONE Hyatt property? Cue the Hyatt Suite Games. Thanks to the generous status promotions and extensions since 2020, the group included 4 World of Hyatt Globalist members, all eyeing a Hyatt Suite Upgrade at Hyatt Regency Vancouver. But before we get into the games, here is a quick summary of the hotel, and the World of Hyatt Globalist status – in case you are a rational human being who does not care about the peacock dance around status and suites.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver
A cat-3 property in the Hyatt portfolio, Hyatt Regency is a full service hotel, located in downtown Vancouver – Canada. A full review of the property is available here. As the only Hyatt property in town, it is not uncommon for the suites to get snapped up pretty quickly, especially on weekends. With travel demands still high, it was no surprise that the weekend rates for a standard room were listed at $512 CAD/nt, and competition for the Hyatt suite upgrade, intense.
Here is the list of suites at the property that Globalists were gunning for;
- 1 Bedroom Suite – Standard suite (750 sq.ft)
- Deluxe Suite – Premium Suite (400 sq.ft)
- Execuitve Suite – Premium Suite (800 sq.ft)
- Bi Level Suite – Premium Suite (1250 sq.ft)
- Presidential Suite – Premium Suite (1400 sq.ft)
World of Hyatt – Globalist Status
World of Hyatt members that stay 60 nights or earn 100,000 Base Points, qualify for a Globalist Status – the highest status tier in the program. The status bestows several benefits including free Breakfast, Resort fee waiver, free parking on award nights, Room Upgrades to standard suites (available at check-in), and more. A full list of benefits can be found here
A marquee feature in World of Hyatt is the Milestone Rewards program, which gives members access to Hyatt Suite Upgrade awards (SUA). Members can use SUA to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite for a stay up to seven nights, when booking an eligible rate. A globalist with 60 elite nights receives four SUA through World of Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards program. This is an incredible perk that guarantees Suite Upgrade in advance of the stay.
Hyatt Suite Games – Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Now, let’s meet the 4 Globalists of our story, in order of their check-in at Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.
Allan – Booked a qualifying rate, and applied Hyatt Suite Upgrade Award (SUA) to the booking through the Hyatt twitter support team. The SUA guaranteed that his stay would be in a standard suite. Having stayed at the property several times before, Allan also followed up with the manager (by email) and requested a Bi Level Suite (considered a premium suite). The manager was able to confirm this premium suite for Allan, in advance of his arrival date. This is amazing since Allan successfully leveraged the SUA benefit and topped it with some ‘suite talking’ for additional upgrade from the standard 1-Bedroom Suite to a (3x) premium Bi Level Suite. No issues at check-in, Allan was running circles in his bi-level suite.
Anshul – Booked two nights on a combination of Free Night Award (earned as a milestone reward) and Hyatt points redemption. He waited until a courtesy email from the Guest Experience Manager, two days before arrival, to request a possible upgrade to a suite. Was promptly informed that all suites were booked for the weekend, but was upgraded to the best available room – a large king on higher floor, with balcony. On the day of check-in, Anshul had checked suite availability (cash rate) at the property, and found none. He tried his luck again, and asked for an upgrade to a suite during check-in, but was again informed that all suites were taken for the weekend. He stood on his 27th floor balcony and imagined what it would have been.
Martin – Ran into reservation issues as the Hyatt system did not show any availability on points redemption (couple of days before stay). He contacted the ‘Concierge service’ and requested for one night stay on points, and was initially informed that points redemption was not available for the night requested. Martin impressed onto his concierge on how important it was for him to be at this Cat-3 property or be fed to the Bonvoy hyenas. To his surprise, the concierge service came through a day before arrival, and confirmed booking on points. Further good news awaited Martin, as he was offered an upgrade to the Deluxe Suite (premium suite) during check-in (two minute silence for Anshul who is stood in his king room balcony contemplating mysteries of life).
Mike – Booked himself a one night stay on points. Did not email a manager, or contact concierge service. Pranced his way to check-in and was informed that he was being upgraded to the Presidential Suite for his one night stay (two minute silence for everyone that has to hear Mike explain why its so lonely at the top).
Allan, Anshul, Martin, and Mike, walked into a bar… Martin learned he wasn’t special afterall. Anshul drowned his “misery” in single-malt, Allan insisted that the bi-level suite was better than Presidential Suite, while Mike smiled and invited everyone over to his suite for more drinks.
Hyatt Suite games – Take Away
While Mike clearly hit jackpot with his Presidential Suite upgrade, the Bi-Level Suite was aesthetically more pleasing with high ceilings, and wall to wall windows. Curiously, Martin’s 400 sq.ft Deluxe Suite which is listed as a premium suite, was roughly half the size of the standard suite (750 sq.ft 1-Bedroom suite), and almost the same size as Anshul’s 380 sq.ft King Room with Balcony.
Note that not all things were equal here – Allan was in for 4-night stay, Anshul for 2 nights, while Martin and Mike were popping over for just one night stay at the Hyatt Regency.
Here is what I really learnt – With so many moving pieces, the only way to lock in suite upgrade guarantee is to use the Hyatt Suite Upgrade Award. When hotels are at high capacity, a complimentry suite upgrade is more likely for members that are on short stays. Being a frequent visitor to a property matters, as does the relationship built with staff over time. Whereas, throwing around ‘status-weight’ can only go so far, and luck plays a huge role if it comes down to getting upgraded at the check-in desk.
Do properties play inventory games to manage suite upgrades, or control who the suites get assigned to? Absolutely. And if you are the only game in town attracting several top tier elites, it only makes sense that the high rollers and frequent visitors are taken care of first.
This is the complete opposite experience from my last three Hyatt stays as a full Globalist. At my most recent stay at Hyatt Las Olas Ft Lauderdale, I was told outright that I would not be getting upgraded from my 2 queen standard to a Deluxe King (twice the sq ft), even though it was showing availability. I wasn’t even gunning for a suite, which also showed availability. After several minutes of back and forth, I was offered a balcony King, which is the smallest of the room types, but has the balcony. The two other Hyatt stays before that I used a suite upgrade certificate and was given the lowest floor in the hotel with restricted views. I don’t get it.
Hi Tino – Hyatt Las Olas def does not like giving upgrades, and is very inconsistent in how they manage upgrades. I was there recently as well, and was told ‘suites were full’, when in fact they were not. I did not dig my heels since I was in for a short stay anyways.
Although Hyatt as a brand is a lot more consistent in implementing elite perks (compared to Bonvoy), there are properties that continue to play games, for sure!
This actually sounds fun. Mike should’ve brought the coke and hookers since he got the Pres Suite.
I have notified Mike 😉